Aspen gold

Ouray, Colorado

September 18, 2016

The aspens are turning gold high in Ironton Park in the Uncompahgre National Forest.  I hiked up a hill to get this view of the Red Mountain #1 and #2.

_DSC0204_5_6_2016-09-18-Ironton-Park-autumnLooking east into the San Juan Mountains the color was coming out strong in the strong sun light.

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A view of Trico Peak taken with a telephoto lens.

_DSC0300_1_2_2016-09-18-Ironton-Park-Trico-Pk-ortnWe have enjoyed out time on the trails in Ouray and Silverton.  As usual the Alpine Loop is our favorite.

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Yankee Boy Basin

Ouray, Colorado

September 13, 2016

On a very cold and windy morning, we headed up Yankee Boy Basin.  The popularity of this trail continues to grow with jeeps, tour guides, hikers and atvs.  Rain from the night before made the cascades full.

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Near the twin falls, the view shows fresh snow near Stony Mountain and fall tones getting a good start.

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A nice hiking trail near Stony Mountain and if it wasn’t so windy, I might have gone further down the trail.

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The jeep posing at the height of the trail.  The San Juan Mountains always seem to have their own weather system.  If I keep posting jeep pics, he’ll keep driving me to these wonderful locations.  Good deal.

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Red Mountain Mining Tour

Ouray, Colorado

September 11, 2016

We took a quiet, peaceful tour of the Red Mountain Mining District early this morning.  On the 15th anniversary of Sept 11th, the mood was somber.  Many mining towns sprung up in this area in the 1880’s with names like Guston, Ironton Park, Chattanooga, Red Mountain City, Hudson Town and Rogerville.  These now abandoned towns bring to mind the true spirit of America with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The miners embody the American spirit in my mind.

Our first stop was the famous Yankee Girl Mine with the first vertical shaft house in the area.

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A view of the old Genessee Mine remains

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My favorite is the Longfellow Mine with it’s beautiful setting high in the San Juan Mountains.

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a close-up of the remains of the Longfellow Mine.

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A view of the San Juan Mountains as the rain clouds closed in at over 12,000 ft elevation. Time to head down to a safer elevation.

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Corkscrew Gulch

Ouray, Colorado

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.”

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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.

SSC-9084-87-90-2016-08-31-Hurricane-Pass_Panorama1Lake Como

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The jeep had a poser at Hurricane Pass….

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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.

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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.

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Wapiti

Yellowstone National Park

August 23, 2016

Yellowstone has an abundance of elk or wapiti (pronounce WOP-it-tee).  The names are used inter-changeably as they refer to the same species.  I see wapiti as a more poetic name as it is handed down by the Shawnee Indians.  It meaning is “white rump” and is a description that aids in their identification.

The subspecies of elk inhabiting Yellowstone and the Tetons is called the Rocky Mountain Elk, a native to montane forests and subalpine foothills.

This lovely youngster posed for a shot along the Madison River.

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Taking a short rest break in a beautiful meadow

DSC_0114-2016-08-22-Madison-Rvr-am-elk-2-crp-txt-ortnA young buck crossing the Madison River

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Finally on our last day in the park, I spotted a large buck taking a rest in the shade.  He was a beauty but never stood up for me.  A wonderful way to end our visit on the 100th anniversary of the national parks.

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The American Buffalo

Yellowstone National Park

August 21, 2016

The American bison (Bison bison), also commonly known as the American buffalo or simply buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds.  They became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle, and have made a recent resurgence largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves.

It is a wonderful experience to watch the herds of buffalo roam freely on the wild open spaces in Hayden Valley and along the Yellowstone River.

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A tired-looking family unit takes a rest top for the little ones to nap.

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If you weighed a ton, you might enjoy a sit in the sunshine too.

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Could be twins….

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There always seems to be a watchful eye around the young.

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a portrait of this peaceful animal.

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