10/20/2004: Million Dollar Highway
So, we left the low-lying Montrose (only 5,400 ft above sea level) and went south. We saw lots of mountains, and some threatening weather in the distance. Luckily, we only hit some snow flurries. The San Juan Skyway, (U.S. 550, or the Million Dollar Road) is truly a scenic wonder. We stopped here and there. Most notably in the marvelous little valley town of Ouray ("you-ray"). This town is deep in a valley, but still at about 9,000 feet. We hiked up a steep trail to see the Cascade Falls. It's been quite dry, so the falls were but a small stream and spray.
The year-round hot spring in Ouray was closed for the week for cleaning! That was a bummer. But Karen is soaking in a hot spring here near Durango as I write this.
I'm not sure how to get across the view. "Wowie-zowie!" is what Karen said as we entered the Skyway with its layered mountains, scudding clouds, vivid yellow trees, and occasional sheep.
We drove over 3 passes, all over 10,500 feet. The air still seems thin to me up there when I walk around to take pictures. But a few hours later I feel almost normal.
If any of you get the chance to come out to Durango, you have to eat at Sweeney's, next to the Days Inn on 550 a few miles North of Durango. The food is excellent, but the hand-made wooden, iron, and stained glass architectural design of the place is worth the stop. The place is a favorite among locals.
Pictures: I took 97 shots today (340 so far, this trip), so count yourselves lucky.