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 > Colorado's San Juan Triangle

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Clattertruck

Centennial Colorado

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Posted: 10/08/10 03:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

San Juan Triangle

We have explored Colorado's Southwest mountains several times since the 1960s, but we have never seen all of the area. We tend to concentrate on the San Juan and San Miguel mountains. The San Juan Triangle encompasses the Ouray, Telluride, Silverton, and Lake City areas.
We usually stay at Ridgway State Park or in Ouray at the 4J RV Park which is right in town. It is a short walk to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. and close to downtown. My wife, Margot, is prone to altitude sickness and cannot tolerate elevations over about 7500 to 8000 feet. She can go over a high pass as long we come down quickly. At Ouray, she can go to the pool or town while I head for the12,000 ft jeep roads.

The San Juans are the largest single mountain range in Colorado, and occupy more than 10,000 square miles. These are the most beautiful mountains in Colorado. They come from a time of great volcanic activity and upheavals. Historian Hubert Bancroft in 1890 called the San Juans "...the wildest and most inaccessible region in Colorado if not North America." Fourteen peaks in the San Juans exceed 14,000 feet with hundreds more over thirteen thousand.

Mining is a big part of San Juan history. Rich deposits of silver were found in the 1860s along with considerable gold. The rugged mountains presented serious logistic problems. The influx of miners caused much frustration for the Ute tribe.

On the 10th of September we left home towing our Jeep Rubicon and headed to Ouray. We recalled that this was our 56th wedding anniversary. Our friends, Steve and Vonna, came to the 4-J a few hours later.

We were a little early for aspen yellow or the trees were late changing. Here are a few of the images from the early September trip. Later on September 27 Steve and I would return for the golden aspen.

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The campground has narrow sites, but it is handy to the town.

[image]
After a 7 hour drive, some refreshment is in order.

[image]
Margot settles into her Reading and knitting projects.

[image]

After we settled in we went west of Ridgway and took the Log Hill road to get some altitude for a view of the Sneffels Range.

[image]
Next was a short run up East Dallas Creek to a good spot to see Mount Sneffels, 14,150 ft.

[image]
The next day it was Red Mountain Pass and on to Silverton.

[image]
Near Silverton we went to the top of Stony Pass, 12,600 Ft. Summer was gone up there.

[image]
Steve and Vonna on top of Stony. Margot stayed in Ouray . we returned to Hwy 2 and went north to Animas Forks

[image]
I always make a photo of the Duncan house at Animas Forks. Some of the guide books misidentify it as the "Walsh House". If one reads the biography of Tom Walsh's daughter, she does not list Animas Forks as a place where they lived. also The USGS identifies it as the Duncan House.

[image]
Dallas Divide on Hwy 62 presents a fine view of the Sneffels Range. A short way from the top on the west side you can take the Last Dollar road that leads south

[image]
the Last dollar meanders through fine ranch country where the John Wayne movie "True Grit" was filmed.

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Clouds over Last Dollar.

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After passing thought a heavy pine forest the road comes out above Hwy 145 near Telluride. This is a grand view of the Wilson Peaks to the south. Wilson is 14,017 and El Diente is 14,159 ft.

[image]
When you come down to Hwy 145 you can bypass the crowds in Telluride continue south toward to where this is a left turn to the quaint old town of Ophir, which lies at the base of Ophir Pass.. Going up the pass there are some good photo spots. The mountains are South Lookout Peak, 13,357 and U.S. Grant Peak, 13767ft.

[image]
A closer look into the circs shows the last trickles of water from tiny spots to snow.

[image]

The next edition of this report will show the brilliant color change that came by September 27 to October 3,2010.


Clattertruck
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c.traveler2

Moreno Valley,Ca.

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Posted: 10/08/10 03:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice photos you have,enjoy read your trip report and looking forward to the next one.


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btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 10/08/10 04:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You seriously take some nice pictures and congrats on the 56 year anniversary. That's awesome.

joe b.

Florida

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Posted: 10/08/10 05:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice photos. I sure miss Ouray especially in the fall time. When we first moved to Ouray for our 10 year stay, we stayed at the 4J for about 8 weeks in our motorhome. The Clarks and Williams went out of their way to make us feel comfortable at their campground. Fine families.
I doubt anyone will ever be able to change the name of the "Walsh" house as it has been called that for so many years. Where did the name of Duncan come from? The original owner? Builder? What camera are you using for your photography these days? Your are getting some fine color and sharpness to them. Looking forward to the next series, which I assume you have already taken by now.
Thanks


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turtletalk

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Posted: 10/08/10 05:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

These great shots reminded me of past camping/elk hunting trips in that area. Thanks so very much for sharing.We've been married 46 years--maybe a trip back to Ouray for 56!

wanda573

missouri

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Posted: 10/08/10 06:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, Your pictures make me say I want to go too. Thanks for the great pictures.

Oldtymeflyr

Arapahoe Hills, CO

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Posted: 10/08/10 08:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have done a good job of creating the feel of the area.

Thanks for the ride.

Rick

BradW

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Posted: 10/08/10 08:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some of your photos look like post cards. Good job.

Brad


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Matho

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Posted: 10/08/10 09:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fantastic photos Clattertruck.


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Wanderin fool

Woodland Park, Colo.

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Posted: 10/08/10 09:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are those seriously your pictures?! They are incredible! I love that area also. We have done it by dirt bike and 82 CJ-5. The bikes were quick and the Jeep almost beat us to death, but it sure is one of the prettiest areas in the state.
Lordy, I thought I was doing good at 24 years,,,,,
Time for a toast to you two!!!


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