Bruce and Ethan's
Most Excellent Colorado Adventure!

Page Four: Salida

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

Page Three: Jeeping Out of Ouray * Page Five: Aspen

Page Six: Hot Sulphur Springs and Estes Park


We continue North out of Ouray and leave the mountains. We could still see them but we weren't in them. There is something that is comforting about being in the mountains like we are enfolded in the womb of existence. This is what is nice about Silverton and Ouray - these small towns are IN the mountains!


Perhaps it is the spectacular beauty of being in the mountains. It has a healing effect in the same way that some describe being at the beach or on the ocean. When our senses are focused intensely on Nature, it causes our mind and body to harmonize and resonate with the Natural Order - the Cosmic Plan. For this reason Amma suggests that we spend at least 10 minutes each day looking at Nature. It is just plain ol' therapuetic! So when we are in the mountains and surrounded by the fire of eternity - millions and millions of years old - we are blessed and we feel happy.

It is only 30 minutes from Ouray to Montrose. Probably eveyone in Ouray shops in Montrose and everyone in Silverton shops in Durango. Montrose was incorporated in 1882 and currently has a population of 19,132. The elevation is 5,807 feet and so we have dropped about 2,000 feet from Ouray. At no time did Bruce or myself feel any ill effect from the high altitude such as Silverton being over 9,000 feet.

I confess it is a bit anti-climactic to be in Montrose which sits on flat open land. However, we are happy we can stop at a Nature's Grocers health food store and stock up. There were no health food stores in either Silverton or Ouray - they are just too small. We have discovered how handy are the packets of Indian Food like Bombay Potatos or Channa Masala. At three bucks a pop they are a bit pricy for continuous home consumption but they are perfect for camping. You just plop them in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes and wah-lah! Brown rice also comes this way. We also stocked up on Coconut Water which comes in various flavors. Sandwiches are pretty big with us too and we like sliced vegan cheese, smoked tempeh strips, avacados, baby spinach, tomato and mustard. These things are really easy to make and oh so good! We also got a package of Paul Newman's fat-free Fig Newmans and a package of tamari roasted pumpkin seeds.

We turn straight east or right on US Hwy 50 out of Montrose. We were about 5 miles out of town when we see an obscure simple sign that says Black Canyon with an arrow to the left and it says 5 miles. So we bite and turn up the two lane black top road. We are both wondering if this is a 5 mile wild chicken chase. We were soon to discover a most astonishing and beautiful natural canyon run by the National Park Service. They want $20 for a day pass but I have a life time seniors pass that cost a one time fee of $10. Heck-of-a-deal! Free!

Wikipedia: The park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. The canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon."

Black canyon

Black canyon

Black canyon

Black canyon

Black canyon

Next picture: They call these the Painted Cliffs. The marbling was caused 28 million years ago by volcanic magma being injected under pressure into crevices, clefts and cracks of precambian rock (billions of years old)

Black canyon

From the Black Canyon we continued east on Hwy 50 to Salida. We went over one high pass called Monarch Pass.

Monarch pass

Starting down Monarch Pass - all the way up in third gear and all the way down in third gear (standard transmission)!

Monarch pass



Elevation: 7,083 feet
Population: 5,236

The word "salida" means "exit" in Spanish so we joked that we had finally found the way out of Samsara. Why else would anyone name a town Salida? We couldn't think of any other good reason.

Because Salida is an exit from Samsara, it has interdimensional levels like taking an elevator to Nirvana. In this picture below, you can see a big 5 on the hill indicating the level. There are 9 levels altogether. Nirvana literally translated means like a candle flame blown out. Nirvana is commonly translated as "extinction" or "annihilation." This refers to the annihilation of the illusory ego and not the Self which is beyond birth and death and thus immortal. The latter being our true nature. We use "Self" with a capital S to denote a common or universal Self that is at the core of every person and every being. This is what we really are and this is what is immortal. This is in contrast to "self" with a little s which refers to the person or ego. This is constantly changing and thus is not immortal. The good news is we are not the limited "self." We are the Self. Here is a good book about this if you are interested: The Light of Primordial Awareness.


There is some great rafting out of Salida on the Arkansas River. So we booked a half day with Independent Rafting. We really enjoyed this! Our river boat captain is named Odyssius (who pulled off the Trojan horse) which is how he introduced himself to us. He is a freshman in college and planning to make a career out of being a chef. The other boat captains called him Odie.

We were on the river and he asked us if we wanted to hear about the geology of the mountains we were seeing all around us. I told him we would rather hear about his sex life - that got a good laugh out of everyone including Odie. I have to report the event here because I am not a funny person and I have to tell maybe 10 jokes to get one good one. Well that was a good one and I am proud of it so there you have it. I then told him it was a joke (he knew that already) and that we would like to hear about the geology. What I remember is that Colorado is home to 52 "Fourteeners" which are mountains 14 thousand feet or more.

We spent two nights in Salida. We first booked a campsite at the rafting company but, upon visual inspection of the site, we decided to find a motel. It turned out to be the American Inn Classic. They had a couple of vacancies. We got a room with a queen and a single bed so Bruce and I flipped a coin to see who got the single bed. The room was small but clean. It might be classified as a one or two star hotel. But the price! $156! We checked another similar hotel and it was the same story same price. It was tourist season.


On the next page, Page Five, we will be off to Aspen!

Go to

Page One: Taos to Durango to Silverton

Page Two: Silverton to Ouray

Page Three: Jeeping Out of Ouray

Page Five: Aspen

Page Six: Hot Sulphur Springs and Estes Park


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