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 > San Juan Mountains trip report

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Nemo667

Louisiana

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Joined: 10/28/2004

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Posted: 08/25/12 01:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We met up with friends Don & Janet Curley for 7 days of pass running, fishing and relaxation in the San Juan's. The last time we were together was March of 2008 for a White Rim Trail run with our campers in Utah. It was good to see them again.

This trip was an introduction for us as it was our first time to the area. We parked the campers using them as a base and ran trails with the jeeps. It is safe to say that we will definitely be back. The San Juan Mountains contain some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen...

The schedule of events starts below:

- Departure Louisiana (Thurs 8/2 ~noon)

- Arrive (Fri 8/3 ~noon) ... Arrived in Ouray from Louisiana around 2:00 – 3:00 PM. Don & Janet arrive from La Sal. Camp at 4J RV park.

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- Day 1 (Sat 8/4) ... Box Canyon Falls & Yankee Boy Basin and return to Ouray camp. Side trips to Governor Basin, Sydney Basin and the Torpedo Eclipse Mine & Mill. Dinner at Outlaw's in Ouray at 6:30 PM.

Box Canyon Falls

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Yankee Boy Basin

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This double waterfall is the one depicted on the famous Coors Beer logo. Its located in Yankee Boy Basin and below Mt. Sneffels

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Tory's ritual...taste like Coors Light?

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Janet & Tory at the water fall

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Don & Ben

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Wright Lake

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Don & Tory at Yankee Boy

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On to Governor Basin

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Sydney Basin

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PLF Break...

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Don & Janet were thinking that this was the Atlas Mine in Sydney Basin
but after further research were not sure.

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Mine inspector at work...

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Marmot posing for his picture

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The road out of Sydney Basin and on to the Torpedo Eclipse Mine & Mill

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What's up Dave & Lynn?

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Don headed to the jeep for a Mickey’s...

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- Day 2 (Sun 8/5) ... Imogene Pass to Telluride and return to Ouray via Last Dollar Road. Lunch at True Grit Cafe in Ridgway.

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A few shots at the pass

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Above the Tomboy Mine. This was a large operation of about 900 people in its prime.

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Don getting a few pictures at Tomboy

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Tomboy was an upscale mining operation, tennis anyone? ...I think the fence was built around a mine shaft...

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Two story outhouse?

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Don & Tory in their best mine explorer pose...

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This is a shot from Imogene Trail of the switchbacks, Bridal Veil Falls and the power station on Black Bear Pass

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Above Telluride from Imogene

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From here we drove through Telluride and on to Last Dollar Road. Had a little weather moving in but still very beautiful.

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- Day 3 (Mon 8/6) … Do entire Alpine Loop via Engineer Mountain Road out of Ouray (Engineer Pass road to Lake City & return via Cinnamon Pass road). Side trip to American Basin off of Cinnamon Pass Road. Return to Ouray through Animas Forks and Silverton. Dinner at The Bent Elbow in Silverton.

The infamous cable across the road at the start

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Don orienting us at Oh! Point in relation to Ouray. Don & Janet did this at each pass. Kind of a neat thing to know where you are in relation to landmarks you have visited in the area all week.

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Rose Cabin Overlook

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Rose Lime Kiln

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Ute Ulay Mine

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Our lunch spot at Lake City

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American Basin

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Cinnamon Pass with rain and hail

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Animas Forks. Weather was deteriorating quickly at this point so we took a few pictures and headed to Silverton. ...Just in time too because we barely missed a rockslide that closed the road not too far behind us

View coming into Animas forks

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One more stop to see a waterfall and ended up in a mine...

The Waterfall

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The mine

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This thing went back far enough that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face

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My last picture revealed these 3 ghost at the back of the mine...

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A couple shots on 550 heading back to Ouray after dinner

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- Day 4 (Tues 8/7) ... Black Bear Pass to Telluride. Come back to Ouray from Telluride by way of Ophir Pass (west to east) & US Hwy 550 north.

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Baaaaad road...

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Steely eyed jeep driver

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Black Bear Pass

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Ingram Falls and Telluride below

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Don's TJ over looking Telluride

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Don & Janet on the First switchback

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The power station and Bridal Veil Falls

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We drove through Telluride and headed over to Ophir Pass. To us, Ophir Pass was the most beautiful

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Pulling into the pass

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And a shot looking east out the other side

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- Day 5 (Wed 8/8) ... We took a break; Bummed around town, ate lunch at the Ore House. The Ore House is connected to The Beaumont Hotel. This place is worth a stop for sure. Completely restored and lots of history.

Above Ouray

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The Beaumont Hotel

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The Ore House

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- Day 6 (Thurs 8/9) … Leave Ouray for Silver Jack via Owl Creek Pass; camp at Silver Jack campground & fish below dam in afternoon.

All smiling here because we are reveling in our blatant civil disobedience...inspired by Don's tackle box, we were whistling the theme song from Mayberry RFD

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Don harvesting Cutthroat

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- Day 7 (Fri 8/10) … Go fishing at Clear Lake and Cimarron River (stay camped at Silver Jack campground).

While Don & Janet fished Clear Lake, We fished the Cimarron River. Notice that it is a little cloudy or silty. Not sure of the reason but this was typical of a lot of the creeks and rivers we saw. Could be because of low snow fall this winter or maybe the fires had something to do with it. Didn’t seem to hinder the fishing any.

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Fisher girl at the reservoir with cool hat...

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final fish count was 5. Janet and Don caught 2 nice size cutthroat at Clear Lake and we caught 3 small ones on the Cimarron River which we released.

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That about does it folks...we leave Silver Jack for home in the morning on US Hwy 50 via Big Cimarron Road.

** For a comprehensive trail report on the San Juan area see FishPOET's post with maps San Juan Mountains Epic Adventure 2012

Thanks to Don & Janet for the grand introduction. Their knowledge of local history, geological fixtures and trail experience made the trip a very complete success. Beautiful location, fantastic food and good friends. …Doesn’t get any better than that.

Thanks to all of you for coming along with us...

Ben & Tory

* This post was edited 08/25/12 02:43pm by Nemo667 *


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DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Joined: 12/27/2006

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Posted: 08/25/12 02:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice write-up & pics Ben. Janet and I very much enjoyed joining you and Tory on this trip to one of our all-time favorite areas in Colorado.

And for those who might not know what Ben was referring to in his photo of "The infamous cable across the road at the start" of the Alpine Loop on Engineer Mountain Road, that was the low slung cable at the Mickey Breen mine that stopped us in August 2008 when we took our Dodge 3500 & Outfitter Apex 8 on the same route ... where we had to end up back-tracking to Silverton to do the Alpine Loop from there. (Although jefe 4x4 did subsequently make it through that spot since then by doing some road excavation). [emoticon]

Also, I thought I'd include an overall list of the main places we ended up going to in the San Juan Mountains along with their respective elevations:

- Yankee Boy Basin (12,235 ft)
- Governor Basin (12,338 ft)
- Sidney Basin (11,840 ft)
- Imogene Pass (13,114 ft)
- Last Dollar Road (10,735 ft)
- Alpine Loop ... comprised of Engineer Pass (12,800 ft), Lake City (8,761 ft), American Basin (11,600 ft), and Cinnamon Pass (12,640 ft).
- Black Bear Pass (12,840 ft) ... along with the notorious Black Bear switchbacks.
- Ophir Pass (11,789 ft)
- Owl Creek Pass (10,114 ft) ... finishing off with two days of fishing in Uncompahgre National Forest in the Cimarron River & Silver Jack reservoir area.

All-in-all a great trip with no breakdowns and pretty good weather with great times & great people involved. Thanks Ben & Tory!

Don


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spacedoutbob

SF Bay Area

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Posted: 08/25/12 02:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice photos and trip report. Thanks for posting. Don, did you bring a telescope with you on the trip? I figure you would probably have some great skies there.

Bob in Oakland, Calif.


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DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 08/25/12 02:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No, my 16" scope is permanently mounted in my observatory, so I don't take a smaller scope along with me anymore.

DiscoChicken

Lawrenceville, GA

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Posted: 08/25/12 03:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great TR. Thanks for the pictures. I hope to make it there someday soon.


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weymard

NORMANDY

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Posted: 08/25/12 04:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice report on awesome landscapes. Thanks.


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cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 08/25/12 05:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

The San Juan Mountains contain some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen...

You certainly proved that in your TR! Thanks.

Quote:

The infamous cable

Is that cable actually doing something? If so, fine. If not, why hasn't someone taken a battery powered sawzall to it? Or is it 'protected' for some reason?


Cal


DesertHawk

Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Posted: 08/25/12 05:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Photos! You guys must have had a Blast. Thanks for sharing.


">DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
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Nemo667

Louisiana

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Posted: 08/25/12 05:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cewillis wrote:

Quote:

The San Juan Mountains contain some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen...

You certainly proved that in your TR! Thanks.

Quote:

The infamous cable

Is that cable actually doing something? If so, fine. If not, why hasn't someone taken a battery powered sawzall to it? Or is it 'protected' for some reason?
Cal the cable is part of what remains of the Mickey Breen mine. It is a very long thick 1.5" or so cable with a lot of tension on it. ...It wasnt a problem in the jeeps.

ryoung

Oregon

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Posted: 08/25/12 05:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was through that area last year but had to stay on the beaten path. Thanks for sharing what I missed. Beattiful country!

ryoung


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