Chasing Fall Colors

Fall Colors 2012
Saturday & Sunday, September 15-16, 2012

On Saturday morning Amanda and I got in the Jeep and drove south to the San Juan Mountains again. This weekend I was hoping to find some early fall color and had heard a few reports that there were already some nice colors around Red Mountain Pass and Silverton. Those reports would turn out to be pretty accurate!

On our way to Silverton we took a quick drive up to the Portland Mine above Ouray. While we were up there Amanda spotted a few aspen trees that had some bear claw marks. Some of the scratches went up pretty high on the trees like a bear had climbed a few of them.

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Scratches by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

It looks like the bear couldn’t hang on to this tree and slid down it a way. These scratches were pretty high up off the ground, so I doubt these are just from scratching or stretching.

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Can’t Hold On by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we searched around Silverton for fall colors, I came across this waterfall in a small canyon and had to stop for a few photos.

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Deadwood Falls by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Upper Deadwood Falls by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Top Fall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge steam trail was parked in town when we drove through Silverton on our way to Animas Forks, so I stopped there, too

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Durango – Silverton by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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486 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Tender by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We didn’t stick around Animas Forks long since there were a lot of Hummers parked there, but I did find the time to get another photo of the Duncan Residence. I can’t seem to drive by this one without taking a picture.

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Fall in Animas Forks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We continued past Animas Fork and into California Gulch.

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California Gulch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View from the Mountain Queen Mine over California Gulch.

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Mountain Queen Mine by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we crossed over California Pass we couldn’t stop because there were so many Jeeps parked up there. Apparently there was a Jeep Jamboree based out of Ouray this weekend. We also got stopped by a another large group of Jeeps from the Jamboree at Hurricane Pass.

As we climbed up to Hurricane Pass I took this photo of Lake Como and Poughkeepsie Gulch below.

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Lake Como & Poughkeepsie by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finishing up the loop of Jeep roads by crossing over Corkscrew Pass we went back to the Ironton Park and Red Mountain Pass area to photograph the fall colors in the late afternoon light.

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Changing Colors by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Yellow Leaves & Mountain Top by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I was exploring a large and colorful grove of Aspen I looked down and saw this shadow at the base of one of the trees, and it really caught my eye.

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Shadow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Beautiful colors over Red Mountain Creek and Ironton Park.

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Fall at Red Mountain Creek by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Ironton View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was some nice color just below the Yankee Girl, as well.

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Yankee Girl Color by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we were driving back over Red Mountain Pass again, I decided to get another photo with the sign since it was still here. Lately this sign seems to be missing more often than not when we drive by.

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Red Mountain Pass by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was down we drove back into Silverton to get some dinner from the Brown Bear Diner and then went back to camp to get some sleep. After a cold night in the tent (we stayed nice and warm in our sleeping bags) we drove up to Little Molas Lake to watch the sunrise.

Early sunlight strikes the top of a few unnamed 12,000 foot peaks near Little Molas Lake. There were no clouds in the sky this morning.

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Unnamed Peaks Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I was hoping for some nice reflection photos this morning, but a slight breeze kept the water moving. Though, I do like the ripples in this one.

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Ripple Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way back down from Molas Pass we stopped by a nice colorful area just outside of Silverton.

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Animas River Valley by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After leaving Silverton, we stopped back at our campsite to take down our tent and pack the Jeep and then headed back home. Amanda had a wedding to go to in the early afternoon, so we couldn’t stick around too late.

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Mineral Creek Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We had a nice relaxing weekend with some nice fall colors starting to appear. I’m looking forward to searching for even more color next weekend!

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