08.12.2018 - 08.12.2018
Before we pick up the story, I have a rant and an observation. First the rant, VERIZON CELL SERVICE SUCKS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI!
Not kidding. We have both been loyal Verizon cell users for years but coming west has been an eye opener. Ruby has AT&T for her wifi and they kick Verizon's a$$ out here. We often have NO SERVICE on the phones and 3-4 bars in the truck. Now some of that may be her antenna but seriously?! Verizon needs to step up their game. And this isn't just in the mountains. It was in Fort Collins!
And the observation...dry heat really is different. After years of pooh-poohing people claiming 100 degrees in Utah was just not as hot as 100 degrees in Florida, I must eat crow. I think the real issue is that you don't sweat out here (I mean, I know you do but it evaporates instantly) so a.) your body may cool more efficiently, and b.) you don't feel a sticky mess. You do feel dusty, however! I'm gaining an appreciation, which is good because I'm fairly sure this is how Mexico will be!
Okay on to Arrradventures!
Colorful Colorado Backroads
We headed up to do a series of roads that started at Animas Flats Ghost Town and then went up California Gulch, over California Pass (12,930 feet), over Hurricane Pass (12,407), and down Corkscrew Gulch. The latter goes up and over and then down between the red mountains. Just incredible beauty. Scott's brother Carl joined us and it was nice to share it with him.
I tried something a little different. This first video is a series of photos and short videos, sort of a "slide show".
Check it out. There were just too many great shots to choose just a few but here's a teaser.
And this is a short video of what it was like to drive the shelf road down Corkscrew Gulch with, as promised, more Joe Walsh.
It begins to capture the heart-stopping nature of the shelf you drive down and the curves. The most amazing thing about it is that it is an actual county road, CR20. They basically keep the road carved out of the side of the mountain, remove any slide debris, and fix washouts. Again, this is off-roading Mecca!
Eric's Awesome "Let's Go See Cool Shit" ATV Tour
And last but not least, Scott and I took an ATV tour on our last day. When we showed up, the guide asked if we'd been out at all yet. When we told him where we had been he had to think fast because he was planning on taking us on the exact tour we did the day before to California and Hurricane Pass. In the end, he took us to spots he liked, visited, and thought were cool but didn't usually take tours. We saw some amazing places and drove roads we never would have found on our own. It was awesome! We told him he needed to use it again and name it the "Let's Go See Cool Shit" ATV Tour.
First we headed up toward two lakes. At the first, we ran into this guy taking photos for the historical society on a vintage camera. He was definitely suited to the work and dressed the part.
The second lake was really beautiful.
We went up to Buffalo Boy Mine's Headhouse. This was a typical mine in these mountains where the mines were up high and they brought the ore down on trams like these.
This head house loaded the trams.
Visiting all of these mines and ghost towns gets you thinking about the men and women that worked these mines, ran the boarding houses, and built the towns. They lived in the harshest of conditions and endured hardships unimaginable to us. I've mentioned before how we think about those that came and settled the West often but it strikes you especially here because the things they built remain and you can imagine easier what they must have gone through. Imagine maintaining these rails, or building that head house at 12,550 feet!
Finally we headed out Cunningham Gulch, which had a stunning view looking back. From here you could also see an old boarding house that was way up on the side of the mountain. The men and supplies reached it by riding in the tram buckets!
We also stuck our heads into a mine opening and saw what it must have been like, in a very minor way, to work inside them.
Check out this video for the down and DUSTY!
If you're ever in Silverton, make sure to look Eric up at San Juan Backcountry Tours and tell him we say hey!
Next up, Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week! Remember to follow us on Instagram @arrradventures for more real-time updates and photos.