On the road to Ouray you will pass the Dallas Divide.
Another great photo stop.
On a summer storm or the
Fall Color this too can be
beautiful. As a side note
Ralph Lauren has a ranch here. Few years ago I rode
around the back side to get photos of Mt. Sneffels.
After a great ride down Phantom Canyon, I was off to drive the Million Dollar Highway and spend a couple of days in Silverton. Silverton/Ouray and Durango have been somewhat my second home stomping grounds. My father used to hunt the area starting back in the 1930's. Believe his last hunt there was in the early 1960's . Also he was an accomplished photographer and amateur film maker. In July of 1941 he shot a 16mm film on what was then a work train running sheep from Durango to the high pasture up at Silverton. Someday I may post it on this blog. Above is my father (right) Elk hunting around amateur. Below is my first trip to Ouray and Silverton. I was four years old. The other fellow was the guide my father hunted with Adolf Jordon.
As you can see now at seventy years old have a long history
with the area. Guess the West in imprinted on my soul. I
go back at least once a year.
Ouray is know as the "Little Switzerland" and it fits. Beautiful up there. Switzerland elevation is 7,792 feet surrounded by the high mountains of the San Juans. And of course it is in Ouray that the "Million Dollar Highway" starts. Anytime is a great time to drive/ride Highway 50; but if you can catch the fall colors it is spectacular
Below is a film I shot riding THE MILLION DOLAR HIGHWAY a few years ago on my motorcycle
But I get ahead here, Getting back to Ouray and Silverton. Ouray was named for Crief Ouray of the Ute Nation. The town of Ouray is the known as "The Jeeping Capital of the World" During the peak months of summer many of the trails are almost as busy as a Los Angeles freeway at drive time. OK, perhaps not that busy but you can bet you will encounter many many 4x4's ATV' and motorcycles on the trails. Should you arrive in a "street" car,; there are off-road outfitters that offer trail rides. You really should take the time to book a tour on the many trails; however if you are a bit skittish of heights beware of Black Bear Pass. With it's hairpin turns and cliff drop offs it will really get your attention!
A fact that I just learnd recently is in Ayn Rands great novel - ATLAS SHRUGGED - Galts Gulch was inspired by Ouray. "Atlas" is a great read and if you haven't read it you should. Hollywood has filmed several movies here as well. True Grit. Many TV shows have lensed the area. Commercials have been shot here. Take a look around at the magnificent scenery and you will know why.
Long before the movie camera or the 4x4s were roaming the backcountry trails; Ouray and the entire
area was a mecca for mining. All in all the area has produced well over 1.5 million onces of gold and about 4 million onces of silver. Most of the mines are now long gone; but their "bones" are still there.
Several hotels/motels and B&B's in Ouray plus camping.
For dining I always stop by two of my favorite. Breakfast and the best Home Made Donuts try the Timberline Deli. Offering the best homemade sandwiches and salads to
great hamburgers, and the biggest scoop of ice cream in
Ouray! Whether you sit inside or the outdoor patio with a view of the mountains or grab a sandwich to go
Timberline Deli is a good bet!
For dinner it is hard to beat O'Brien's Pub
Serving all your American plus many of your Irish favorites. To quench your thurst there are twelve beers on tap and
the largest Whiskey and Scotch selection
on the Western Slope of Colorado.
O' Brien's Pub offers up a very fine menu; but more often then not, I allways have Fish and Chips . Sometimes with a Guinness
or as this time a pleasent Chardonnay.
So, whether you have had a hot day on the trail with all the dust, or after a bone chilling day ice climbing, pop into O'Brien's for a beer or an Irish Coffee!
Next post will be to drive the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton. Perhaps drive up
to the ghost town of Animas Forks. And find snow in them thar hills too. Chances are good we might
visit a motorcycle trip as well.
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