COLORado! Here I come!!!

October 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

October is my favorite month, not only as a photographer, but I really don't do well in the heat of summer.  I love, love the crispness of the air and the colors! This is usually the month we take our really long road trips and this year we decided to go to Colorado.  I had been there during the summer with my kids and grandkids and could see the potential that would be there when the leaves turned.

 

Unfortunately, the only way to get to Colorado from where we live in Northern California is to cross Nevada, which can be one of the loneliest and most boring parts of the trip.  Along Highway 50 there are few places to stop and a full tank of gas is a must.  There are stretches of that highway where we would not see a single car or building...and no cell service!  At one point we clocked 65 miles of this "nothingness!"  But Nevada does have it's own beauty.  The sand dunes here are really beautiful and often, near Fallon Naval Base, fighter jets will fly low during their training maneuvers. Any very often we would sight wild horses...

On a previous trip it even snowed as we crossed most of the state...

The very, very little town of Austin is a favored "potty stop"...

Because there is little to stop and see across Nevada and because we were anxious to get to Colorado, we girded our loins and made the 14 hour journey in one pass.  Our goal was to spend the first night in Green River, Utah, and then push on to Durango the next day.

After a quick sleep at the KOA in Green River, we headed for Grand Junction the next morning.  From there we headed south on Highway 141 through the scenic Uncompahgre National Forest and along the plateau.  Uncompahgre means "dirty water," or "red water," which probably refers to the often red dirt that washes down from the mountains.  The area is vast and so beautiful!  This here is along the Dolores River near Gateway.

After more than 100 miles we headed east on Highway 62 along the Dallas Divide toward Ridgway.

This place literally took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes with its beauty.  THIS is why I had come to Colorado in October!  The colors were absolutely amazing contrasted with the purple haze along the San Juan mountain range.

I could have stayed here for hours, but we were also anxious to get to Ouray and the Million Dollar Highway.  Ouray is considered to be the "Switzerland" of America.  This historical and very quaint little town is nestled in a small valley in the midst of towering mountain peaks.

The Million Dollar Highway, a stretch very narrow highway between Ouray and Silverton is varied in the terrain and exquisitely beautiful.  Here are a couple of the many abandoned silver mines along the highway.

Parts of the highway are so narrow and the drop off so steep that it was impossible to stop and take photos.  At one point the sides of the mountains rose straight up the cragged edge of the road, the other side of the road dangerously straight down!  

 

Molas Lake at sunset was a treat along the highway...

Silverton, a historic mining town, up the mountain from Durango had its own charm.  We had obviously missed the peak of the autumn season, but it was still very beautiful.  Of course, Silverton's claim to fame nowadays, is the Silverton/Durango steam train that travels between the two towns.

One of the big attractions in this area are the many "hot springs" along the highway...

We arrived in Durango just in time to enjoy the Annual Cowboy Days Parade!

We fell in love with the vibe and atmosphere in this wonderful town.  We could easily live here!

A late afternoon drive just north of town took us through gorgeous ranches...

We decided to forgo the train ride and instead wait under a trestle for the train to go by...

Loved this quaint little home all decked out for Halloween.  Could it have any more charm?

And this little outpost??

A quick day trip out of Durango took us to Mesa Verde National Park.  Most of the dwellings and tours were already closed for the season...

But the drive up to the mesa was SPECTACULAR!

On our way back to Durango we came across Nancy and Dave in the little "wink and you'll miss it" town of Mancos.  We couldn't help but stop and explore their eclectic array of folk art...

And these arrows along the highway...

After four days exploring around Durango we headed northeast toward Crested Butte...

From Pagosa Springs, we headed north on Highway 160 through Wolf Creek Pass...

Then on through Creede...

From here to Crested Butte it was just miles and miles of the most spectacular ranch land and mountain pass vistas!  

Crested Butte is a favorite.  It's quaint and we love the atmosphere of this remarkable little resort town.  During the winter it's apparently the coldest and snowiest part of Colorado.

An afternoon trip up Kebler Pass outside Crested Butte...

And my favorite image from the entire trip...

From Crested Butte, we headed over Monarch Pass and into Canyon City to visit our grandsons...

A zip-line ride over the Royal Gorge...

We took a day trip up to Bishop's Castle.  This eccentrically built "castle" was built in protest of the government.  You enter at your own risk and nothing is built to code.  It's really quite remarkable and nothing like it elsewhere in the world.  Find it in Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Jim Bishop, it's constructor...

On our way home we came upon views in Utah we missed when we came through in the dark...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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