August 31, 2016
Leaving early today, we took a jeep ride up scenic and appropriately named Corkscrew Gulch to Hurricane Pass. The road climbs by numerous switchbacks (the last few are steep and narrow) to the red soil summit at 12,000 feet. At the top of Corkscrew, we took a side spur road higher up Red Mountain #1. Having taking this side trip many times, we were surprised to discover a sheep camp at the reflection ponds above 12,000 feet elevation. They had set up a tidy tent with metal stove pipe, a welcoming large sheep dog and a couple hundred noisy sheep. This falls under the title of “You never know what you might find along the trail.”
The Red Mountains always takes a minute for the eye to adjust as the many colors are created by the rich oxidized metals in the soils.
Continuing north to Hurricane Pass (12,730 feet), we had a great view of Lake Como and the panoramic San Juan Mountains.
The jeep had a poser at Hurricane Pass….
The high elevation tundra below California Pass forms the headwaters of the West Fork of the Animas River. Many mines are evident in the mountainsides.
Finally, we headed to the ghost town of Animas Forks settled in 1881. Here is one of the abandoned miners housing still standing today. With an outstanding view of Cinnamon Mountain it would make a great fixer-uppper.