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Ouray, Colorado – Base Camp To Explore Southwest Colorado

I posted on July 4th that Ouray filled the need for cooler temperatures and a change of scenery after a week of “red rocks” and desert country – but it has become something so much more!

Nestled in a small river valley at nearly 8,000 feet with a few nearby peaks soaring to 14,000 feet, Ouray and the surrounding region is home to beautiful mountains, jagged peaks, rugged canyons, alpine basins, endless aspen groves, cascading waterfalls, and historic districts – in other words – home to some the West’s most unforgettable scenery.

This is the Rockies of my dreams! Didn’t the list in the last paragraph get your attention too 🙂

And, like recently departed Moab, UT, it is an outdoor junkies dream too! So, call me a junkie too – what was going to be a one week visit has become my longest stay in one place since I started my own journey of discovery.

I am not that familiar with Colorado but neither am I a stranger. I know some of what I’ll call the I-70 Corridor – the area from Denver to Glenwood Springs – and has been the destination for many trips – winter and summer trips – fishing and hunting – with family and on my own – as a young man and as a grey beard!

I even got married in nearby Aspen many years ago on the shores of Maroon Lake beneath the majestic Maroon Bells

But sadly all I had to show for Southwest CO was a T-shirt from Telluride – yup – one of those “all I got was the T-shirt” after S and her girlfriend R visited Telluride and explored this area a few years back.

The area was on my “bucket list”

So, with S traveling to Denver and the I-70 corridor on a sales mission, it made sense to try and join up for an exploration together of the area. Maybe I could get a cap to go with the T-shirt 🙂

S stayed a week but one week turned out to be far too short to do justice to this region – and, even though I won’t leave until July 20th now, I feel like this is another area I will need to return to…

Ouray is a wonderful historic town – a place that very little has changed through the decades. I read that nearly 80% of the historic Victorian era buildings still stand. Like other towns in this region -Silverton, Ridgway, and even Tellride to some extent (but Mountain Village is way too chic for me!) – that some describe as “remote and far away from what most of us consider civilization…”, time seems to have stood still. The rugged mountains of the San Juans impede lots of what we all think of as “progress” – works for me!!

So S and I set out to experience this absolutely beautiful area. We drove mountain roads where the views were astounding – and then we would drive further and they would get even better – would that be “mega-astounding” – hairpin turns brought us to amazing vistas.

S decided she would call this a “work-cation”…enjoy the area and also open some new client accounts! Well, it worked on all counts.

She opened a few good accounts; she scored some great jewelry; I got the cap to go with the T-shirt!!!; a chance to see Telluride’s historic district (even witnessed a great local wedding); ride the gondola; take a horse back ride as well as go on a few fabulous hikes.

Maria – a Russian orphan turned Colorado cowgirl guided us to 9,400 feet overlooking Ouray and the valley below

And, since this is a “journey de cuisine”, enjoyed a number of fine meals in Telluride – an area that did distinguish Tellruide from the other towns

But, as I mentioned at the outset – a week was not going to be enough – I still needed to drive the “Million Dollar Highway”; hike and photograph the high country; explore the old ghost towns; jeep ride over the high mountain passes…climb my first “14er”…fish some world class trout waters…so much more to do

Stay tuned…more to come

See you down the road….

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