Ouray is a small town located in Southwestern Colorado. It is known as “Switzerland of America”, and the “Jeeping Capital of the World”. There are lots of jeeps in town and passing through. Jeep tours are available to get to the back country which really where you want to go to enjoy the views, trails, and old and current mining sites. We had a wonderful “jeep” experience the four days we were there with San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours, http://sanjuanjeeptours.com/, and a very attentive and helpful driver, Brian.
|AMERICAN BASIN GARDEN|
On our first day in the San Juan Mountains we were off early (what else is new?) to visit American Basin. The elevation at the Basin was about 12K feet, which takes your breath away in more ways than one. I found myself moving slower than I wished, but had to in order to get pictures, etc. This is about 4K feet higher than what we were working in around Crested Butte, and 11K feet above my home town.
|COLUMBINE w/ AMERICAN BASIN IN BACKGROUND|
|ROSY PAINTBRUSH AND COLUMBINE, AMERICAN BASIN|
|AMERICAN BASIN, ANOTHER VIEW|
The flowers were abundant, varied, and quite prolific. The landscape was magnificent. There were a number of familiar flowers, but many new ones to me as well:
|ROSY PAINTBRUSH BOUQUET|
|ELEPHANTHEADS / ELEPHANTELLA|
We did not really stop for lunch as the Tour provider supplied us all with a brown bag lunch of a large sandwich, chips, and a large apple. We ate this as we traveled from place to place. We were not just photographing the flowers and their landscape, as we stopped at Animas Fork Ghost Town for some ghost town photography as well.
|CABIN, ANIMAS FORK GHOST TOWN|
|NAVIGATING A JEEP ROAD|
After the Ghost Town, we headed off to Governor Basin. It is another high country basin located in the San Juan Mountains. Driving to the basin is on a narrow jeep road with few places to pass. As you can see from the photo, you have to be cautious and keep your eyes on the road as the driver. This from our tour operator: “We Drive, You Look.” The afternoon turned cloudy which added a bit of drama at times to the photographs.
|ABANDONED MINE, GOVERNOR BASIN|
|SCARLET PAINTBRUSH AND TUNDRA PAINTBRUSH|
Our second day in the San Juans started with a stop at Silver Basin, The lake is a beautiful bluish color, thus it’s name. We spent well over an hour near the lake, and then slowly worked our way down from the Basin, stopping to capture some waterfalls. We were slowed for a time, by some tree trimming, and then waiting for the road to be opened.
|SILVER LAKE 2|
|STREAM AND PARRY'S PRIMROSE|
|MARSH MARIGOLD AND WATERFALL|
|VIEW FROM SILVER LAKE SADDLE|
|RED MOUNTAIN #3 SADDLE VIEW|
|ALPINE SUNFLOWER AND VIEW|
|HIGH MOUNTAIN GARDEN, RED MTN. #3 SADDLE|
From here we went onto Yankee Boy Basin. On the way up the road, we passed several mining sites, some of which were active and a couple that were not. This Basin is well known for the wildflower show that it puts on every year. There was a regular flow of vehicles on the 4x4 trail of people exploring the area as we were close to the peak show of the year. It is also known for its water falls below the Basin.
|COLUMBINE WITH CORN LILLY PLANTS|
|CAPTURING THE LIGHT|
|A MOUNTAIN STREAM|
Tonight we ate at another steak house called The Outlaw. The interior is designed as an old saloon, and the restaurant is located right on Main Street in Ouray. Regrettably I was not able to stay and enjoy the dinner as I was struck with a case of diarrhea. I went back the hotel to clean up and rest. My roommate brought me my dinner, but I put away for consumption tomorrow.