Saturday, August 16, 2014

About That Montrose, Telluride, Ouray, Silverton and Molas Lake (August 9 - 16)

Dear Family and Friends,

The title of this blog depicts a very busy week in Colorado. Last Friday, our son Rob and his family drove through Montrose on their way to Telluride, from Dallas. They dropped off our six year old grandson, Jackson, for an overnight visit with Mimi and Grandad. We had such a great time before driving him to join his parents and sister in Telluride on Saturday morning.

 Presents from Mimi and Grandad

 Jackson and Grandad are having fun flying planes.

 Have you ever squirted whipped cream into your mouth?
Jackson thinks this is great!

 Jackson's cozy bed for the night.

 Bear wants to sleep with Jackson.

We arrived in Telluride on Saturday morning, before noon. Roger and I wanted to hike one of our very favorite, but tough hikes - The Jud Wiebe Trail. We have hiked this trail many times, but love the views. The pics below show what we saw on that hike.
 Roger, Abby and Bear just before the hike.

 On the Jud Wiebe Trail

 A beautiful view of the box canyon with the town of Telluride in the foreground.

 Telluride from around 9,000 feet.

 Ski Trails

After the hike, Grandad and Mimi tell Jackson and his family goodbye.
Roger, Bear and I headed back to Montrose.

We left Montrose for Ouray on Tuesday morning. Ouray (pronounced Uray) is considered the Switzerland of the United States.

The Unity leads the way to Ouray.
It was a quick trip.

The view out of our front window for the six nights we spent in Ouray.

Tall mountains all around us.

A picture of the Unity at the J and J Campground.

Uncompahgre River runs through the town.

Roger poses on Main Street in Ouray.

Ouray, an important silver mining town in the late 1800's, is now known for it's hiking, jeeping, world class ice climbing and cycling these days.  We decided our first hike would be Perimeter Trail that surrounds the town. After a steep climb, the trail leveled out.

 Ouray sits at 7,700 feet.

 Bear and Roger pause for a pic.

 The Cascade Waterfall

 Another pic of Ouray.

We took a day trip to Silverton and Molas Lake. The drive took us south, out of Ouray on the Million Dollar Highway. There are no barriers on this very steep road because in the winter, the accumulated snow has to be pushed off the road. It is truly one of the most spectacular drives that we have seen.

 This short tunnel had to be carved out of the mountain.
We could not have driven our Tour on this road, through the tunnel.

 Molas Lake

 Molas Lake

 Molas Lake

 An overview shot of Silverton
Silverton was a very famous silver mining town.

 Million Dollar Highway (Ouray to Silverton)

Sheer rock cliffs line the highway.

Our hike on Saturday morning was Bear Creek. This was the hike that really tested us with a steep, very narrow vertical climb over lots of rock. As usual, Bear had no trouble.

 Our hike took us over the tunnel on the Million Dollar Highway.

 Red Mountain sits at the back of the picture.

 These are truly the moments that your breath away.

Ouray is at the bottom of the canyon in the distance.
What a great hike!

Finally I leave you with the fact that this is the 169th pictorial blog of our adventures over the past 3 1/2 years. We have made the decision to stop full time RVing and will reside in Park City, Utah, beginning August 19th. We are excited about the next phase of our lives and doing the things we love: skiing, hiking, mountain and road biking and yes, they have Pickleball courts!

We will keep the Unity for short trips back to our favorite national parks in the West. We feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel in North America. Driving, a total of three RV's, over 40,000 miles, we have seen breath-taking scenery. Along the way we met great people and resumed friendships from elementary through high school days, college days, and Air Force days. We have truly had an incredible adventure and feel so fortunate to be Americans!

Thank you to friends and family who have followed us in this adventure via the blog. We truly have appreciated your interest in our RVing lifestyle.

I also leave you with my favorite quotation that sums up the experience for me: "Life is not measured in the number of breaths you take, but in the moments that take your breath away."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

About That Gunnison and Montrose, Colorado (August 2 - 8)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Montrose, our fourth stop in Colorado!

We left Buena Vista on Saturday morning, arriving in Gunnison in the early afternoon. Gunnison's motto is "the base camp of the Rocky Mountains." It was named after John Gunnison who stayed for three days while scoping out sights for the transcontinental railroad in 1853. The railroad finally arrived in 1880. Fur trappers and miners were a part of the early history of Gunnison.

 Now that we are traveling in the Rockies, Roger is driving the Unity and I follow in the Fiat. It was easy climbing Monarch Pass without towing a vehicle.

While in Gunnison, we took a 28 mile trip to Crested Butte to take a look at the ski area. What a beautiful drive through meadows with lots of wild flowers.

 Crested Butte

We decided to take a hike in the National Forest near Crested Butte. This one, called Meridan Lake Hike, did not disappoint.
 A very steep climb led us to Meridan Lake.

 Bear had no trouble with the height or altitude. He is such a great hiking companion. Bear loves to run down the trail but never gets too far away from us. With this method, he actually doubles what we do on all hikes.

The wildflowers are just a little past their prime.

On Monday we drove to Montrose, also located at the base of the Western Rockies. We are staying at the KOA for eight nights, until next Tuesday. This is a great area for hiking and biking.

Tuesday was a trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Congress made it a national park in 1999.  We were truly amazed at the steep depths of the canyon. There is a north rim and a south rim, without a bridge connecting the two rims. The major entrance is near Montrose. We drove roughly 20 miles to the end of the road, stopping at overlooks along the way. Bear is not allowed to hike on any of the national park trails, but is welcome on the short walks to get to the overlooks.

The Black Canyon
It is very steep in the canyon, thus giving the Black Canyon it's name.

The Painted Wall of the Black Canyon is the most famous overlook.
To give you an idea of how tall it is, the Empire State Building is only half the height of this wall.

Roger and Bear pose in front of the national park sign.

Montrose is considered a high desert area. This town is larger than Gunnison or Buena Vista and we are really enjoying our time exploring Montrose.

On Wednesday we hiked into Spring Canyon, located a few miles from Montrose. The  hike took us from the top of the canyon, down a steep path, that bottomed out. 

Roger at the start of the hike, before we started the hike down to the bottom.

Roger and Bear heading down into the canyon.

The trail was basically dirt with lots of rock scree. Really good technical mountain bikers share this path. Except for two cyclists, we had the hike to ourselves.

A picture of Roger heading back up the canyon.  

On Thursday morning we rode our bikes around the town, taking some roads that led out of Montrose to get some more mileage.

Our son, Rob with his family are driving to Telluride from Dallas on Thursday. They are passing through Montrose and will drop off our grandson, Jackson, for a night in Mimi and Grandad's RV. We look forward to having him with us for one night and then the three of us drive to Telluride to return Jackson to his parents.

Thank you for checking in with us this week. The next blog will feature our week with our family in Telluride, Ouray and Molas Lake near Silverton.