Colorado

Bruce and Ethan's
Most Excellent Colorado Adventure!

Page Three: Jeeping out of Ouray

Page One: Taos to Durango to Silverton * Page Two: Silverton to Ouray

Page Four: Salida * Page Five: Aspen

Page Six: Hot Sulphur Springs and Estes Park

 

OURAY BACKCOUNTRY

This was one of the most astonishingly wonderful things I have ever done in my life. I want to go back and do it again! We were only on one route of many.

We rented a jeep for a day to venture into the back country where there is no civiliztion whatsover except for others in jeeps, RTVs and motorbikes. The scenery and views were beyond spectacular. Much of the time we were up above the tree line which is the altitude beyond which the trees will not grow. We reserved a jeep from Switzerland of America jeep rentals and tours. Tours involved getting in a larger truck with a flat bed with seats on the back. They drive and we look. Their tours were all booked up so we rented a jeep and we are glad we did.

Switzerland jeeps

There are a number of routes one can take on these dirt county roads. They adised us to take the Corkscrew Pass route. It begins about 8 miles south of Ouray (back toward Silverton) and then turns off east.

Here is a partial map. At the end of the red trail we swing back to the left back to 550.

Corckscrew pass map

It's early morning maybe 7:30 and we are just starting up the pass.

Jeeping

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Jeeping

We are not over Corkscrew Pass yet so on the picture below we are over beyond the Corkscrew Pass red arrow. We will come over that pass and continue on down the road you see.

Jeeping

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Colors have been enhanced in the next photo to bring out sharper contrast to reveal the exquisite design

Jeeping

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Going over Corksrew Pass (I think) below

Jeeping

Bruce and I are certain that if we got up really early each morning and pulled a trailer like this up onto one of the passes we could make a lot of money. There were really a lot of people up there. It took us 5 hours to get from 550 to Animas Fork and we went over a couple of passes. Driving on those roads is intense and I would definately have stopped and bought a cup of coffee had it been available. This is a joke of course, we would never think of marring the pristine landscape with such a tasteless wagon of banal culinary renderings.

Jeeping

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There are no trees here because we are way above the tree line which you can see down below in the picture. This has to do with altitude. The trees will not grow above a certain altitude.

Jeeping

This was at the end of a dead end road that came off the main road. There are many such roads along the way and they are marked dead end. The are striclty there to facilitate exploring.

Jeeping

That's our jeep in the picture below - you can see how small we are and how big are the mountains!

Jeeping

To give a sense of scale, you can see the road just below us on the left just below the rocks. Then on past the lake, there is a road that looks like a thread. We turned right on the thread road going toward California Gulch.

Jeeping

There are absolutely no guard rails up here. But everyone goes very slowly. We had our Jeep in 4-low meaning 4 wheel drive and in a super low gear. It was maybe 5 miles an hour most of the time. Parts of the road were so rocky and rough that we crawled over them. No way could any vehicle other than 4 wheel drive make it through this.

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Abandoned Frisco Mine. We got out and explored it. Also the next picture after this one.

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Very often the roads would narrow so that only one vehicle could pass. This mostly occured going over passes where you go up and down a mountain weaving back and forth over switch backs (sharp U turns). Here and there were narrow pull-outs or wider spots where a vehicle could pull in and wait until another one passed. If you pulled over and someone passed, often there would be several vehicles all traveling together. The first vehicle that passed would hold up however many fingers to indicate the number of vehicles in his party. If he held up 3 fingers, you knew to wait until two more vehicles passed. The people in ATVs (all terrain vehicles) had no windshields and their vehicles are smallish. They all wore bandanas across their face and nose and goggles because of the dust. Motorcycle riders too.

Jeeping

Jeeping

Jeeping

 

Go to

Page One: Taos to Durango to Silverton

Page Two: Silverton to Ouray

Page Four: Salida

Page Five: Aspen

Page Six: Hot Sulphur Springs and Estes Park

 

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