So, we woke up and drove down from Heart Lake towards Highway 550 after spending a while heading down roads that the Forest Service had closed. Several showed they would go through and cut down to Stony Pass, but never did. It's all part of the adventure.
As we headed towards Stony Pass we saw this sign.
The handlebars of the bike it swing back and fourth. That was cutting it close!! This section before Stony Pass was actually a lot rougher than the road to come. We saw two trucks with flat tires that had it under control, but I could tell they were in over their heads. They both insisted that help was on the way so we kept on cruising.
Heading along Sweetwater Creek. I think that signs been there for a while.
Stony Pass is pretty, but it was Friday before a huge holiday weekend and so it was what we were calling crowded. Sure it was only 15 or so trucks, but it was enough to make D and I hurry out of here.
Coming down the west side of Stony Pass there are some amazing remnants of Ore tramways.
I wonder how many more years these buckets will hang up there.
This building was the lower tramway building. The wires from the ore buckets went right into it. Even better I could see that the windows were of a newer era and there was a For Sale sign on it. We had to walk up and grab a flyer. For the price of a normal home in say Orange County you could own a 100+ year old piece of history and live in it!
The holes are sealed up, but this is part of your new home. I can just picture the rich ore dumping out.
There is even a fire escape, if the fire is bad enough to trust 100+ year old wood!
Not a bad back yard!
This tramway building is down in the main valley on the way to Silverton. It's on the property of a modern mine. Hopefully the newer roof keeps the rest of the building preserved for a long time to come.
Perfect for a ride to work or to take ore down the mountain!
We dropped by Silverton very briefly, but the crowds had come to town. We found a brief respite at the city park and then we headed out. First we had to drop by the steam engine.
The perfect grocery getter for the San Juans!
As we drove up and out of Silverton I saw a 3rd generation 4runner heading my way. It's funny that we both instantly recognized each others trucks. As he flashed his lights I flashed mine. Haha!
I turned around and we chatted for a bit. It was Jake Quinones of New Mexico Backroads. He was headed up to Ouray for the long weekend to do some exploring and photography. His pictures are just amazing. Have a look at the link above.
We drove down the highway and turned off on Lime Creek. I've heard that this side road that parallels the highway is really pretty. We had a good time being on dirt, but considering the mileage we traveled the day before I was ready to be off of this particular side trail. I was exhausted. We didn't see a lot of mine buildings so we just kept cruising and listening to Jason Ellis on Sirius.
Once we were back on the highway we headed to Purgatory (Durango Mountain Resort, but I refuse to call it by the new name) and up the Hermosa Trail that I mountain biked the week before. We raced up in elevation until we were at a spot that we found a week before but deemed "too high" in elevation to camp after just coming from Phoenix. We were more than prepared since we'd been camping at 11k to 12k feet.
Tonight's camp was amazing. We were sitting at 11,800 feet right on the Colorado Trail. The view to the left.
The view to the right.
Not a bad view. What a great night!!
A great night for reading! And smores, gotta have smores!
I had the first tinge of sadness that the trip was coming to an end. We had a night or two more, but considering how long we'd been traveling that was a very short time.