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A Drive Around the San Juan’s

Labor Day Weekend | Sunday & Monday, August 31 – September 1, 2014

After our overnight backpacking trip into Wetterhorn Basin we decided to stick around the San Juan Mountains for one more day and drive a few of the high mountain passes and trails around Silverton. After lunch in Ouray, we drove over Red Mountain Pass and found a campsite up in Mineral Basin. While I was pretty sure we’d be able to find one of our usual campsites in this area open, I was surprised to find that there was no one else around considering it was Labor Day weekend. We had the area to ourselves for the night. We spent a few hours resting in camp before driving up to a few passes in the late afternoon to catch the sunset. The fast-moving clouds that had been around all day made for another spectacular sunset!

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Handies Peak II

Saturday & Sunday, August 16-17, 2014

Diane has been hiking in the mountains with me all summer and was finally ready to try climbing her first 14er. She left the decision of which 14er we would climb up to me, so I decided we would hike up Handies Peak in the San Juan Mountains. Handies Peak was my first 14er back in 2010, so I knew it would be a good one to start out on. It’s also one of the easier hikes at 2.9 miles in length (one way) with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. She has hiked longer trails with more elevation gain with me before, so I was confident she would make it to the top. Since Handies was my first, I was also looking forward to climbing it again to see how much easier it would be for me the second time around. Plus I was looking forward to getting an earlier start this time so I could watch the sunrise with a better camera from near the top.

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Silverton & Ouray

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The desert has been heating up recently and I’ve been looking to start getting up into the mountains soon. The first reports of roads opening up in the San Juan Mountains have been coming in, so I decided to head up towards Silverton and Ouray to see just how fast the snow was melting this year so I could start planning some mountain hiking trips. Much of Colorado’s high country got a lot of snow this year, so trails and roads are opening up later than they typically would. There is still a lot of snow up in the mountains, but it appears to be melting fast.

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Beating the Heat in the San Juan Mountains

Saturday & Sunday, June 23-24, 2012

After spending a few hours in the morning at the Shavano Valley Petroglyph Park near Montrose, we continued driving into the San Juan Mountains to get out of the heat for the weekend. Shortly after crossing over Red Mountain Pass we turned down the road along the South Fork of Mineral Creek and found a campsite for the weekend. After setting up our camp we drove through Silverton and made our way up Cunningham Gulch to the trailhead for the Highland Mary Lakes. As soon as we passed through Silverton the valley started filling up with smoke, and by the time we reached the Cunningham Trailhead the smoke had become pretty thick and there was even a little ash falling from the sky. We would later learn this smoke was from a wildfire that had started near Mancos.

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Alpine Loop, Ophir Pass & Last Dollar Road

Saturday & Sunday, July 2-3, 2011

Amanda had to work on the Fourth of July Weekend so I was on my own to find something to do. It was getting pretty hot in the desert, so I decided to take a break from searching for rock art and head up into the mountains. There weren’t too many roads open yet because of the snow still up in the high country, but there were enough to keep me occupied for the weekend. I decided to head south to the San Juan Mountains and take my time exploring the Alpine Loop. After passing through Ouray I followed the Uncompahgre River and Mineral Creek up to Engineer Pass.

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