Saturday morning dawned, and we hopped in the Escape for a day-trip to Ouray. We left Durango, going north on US 550, and wound through 47 miles of beautiful countryside, to the town of Silverton. On that leg of the trip we came to a couple of different summits that were between 10,000 and 11,000 feet. The fall leaves were beautiful and, of course, were more brilliant at the higher altitudes. Here are a few pictures taken between Durango and Silverton.
This is the town of Silverton, as seen from US 550. We did not take the Silverton exit, but chose, instead, to push on to Ouray. Both Silverton and Ouray are small towns, rich in gold mining history.
We weren't very far away from Silverton when we saw a pretty waterfall up on a mountainside. There appeared to be a gravel road going up that direction, so Dan, wanting to get me to a spot where I could take a great photo, drove off the highway and made his way up this gravel road. We came to a clearning, and saw that there was another road/trail that continued up the side of the mountain, in the direction of the waterfall. We rolled down our window to talk with a local lady and her children who had just come down that road/trail. Dan asked her if it was safe to drive up there, and she said it would be fine, with 4-wheel drive, and that part way up there was a nice spot for turning around. That was all that Dan needed to hear, so up we started, with me chewing my fingernails.
When we got to the spot where the lady had told us we could turn around "easily," that was not the case. We actually had to back up into the rocks at the base of a small waterfall (not the big one that we had originally sought). Dan had me get out of the car and give him directions, so that we wouldn't hit the cliff beside the falls or puncture the underside of the car on some of the big rocks. Or at least that's what he said. I really think he just wanted me out of the car in case . . . well, let's not go there. I'll just mention that it would have been a long fall if the car went off the edge!
Here's where we turned around. Trust me, it was scarier than it looks in the picture. I guess you just had to be there!
That night I couldn't go to sleep for re-living this "adventure." But the good news is that we made it back down, and we sustained NO damage to the car. (Thank you God!)
A little shaky from our off-roading adventure, we continued on US 550 to Ouray. That leg of the trip, too, had it's own thrills! Check back tomorrow for the rest of the narrative and pictures.