Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sutton Mine Hike - A Race Against Rain 7/18/2015

I just needed to hike on this day, and hoped the predicted rain would not stop me.  I picked a quick, easy trail to scratch my hiking itch.  I was also using a new camera (Panasonic FZ200), which I ended up returning.  Lugging the heavy DSLR gear is not always what I want to do when going light and fast.

Yep, that's the trailhead.  This was also the weekend for the Toyota FJ Cruiser Summit.  Their website said there were 341 vehicles and 923 people attending this year's event.  I think all 341 of them passed me as I was unloading and donning my backpack.  I was surrounded in a cloud of dust.  But, it was fun to see all the modifications and colors of FJ Cruisers.

Everything looks good so far.  Blue sky, sunshine.  But, the ole weather grump says that will change. So, I'd better get moving just in case he's right.....again.  He's been pretty accurate with all his rain predictions this summer.  Lots of purple asters all along the trail.

Asters a-plenty!

Even a few sego lilies.

View back down on Ouray from the overlook.

Mt. Abrams up the valley.

The trail was lush from the summer rains.  The weather still looks good - maybe ole weather-dude made a mistake!

In fact, at spots the trail was so overgrown it was like walking through a jungle.  I'm not complaining, it's far better than drought.

This is a boggy area the trail goes around.  A couple years ago when I was up here I did not see any dead trees.  The pine beetles are wreaking their havoc.  By the way, those gray clouds are looking more threatening.

This is the tallest paintbrush I've ever come across.  It was about 3 feet tall.

This squirrel got all twitterpated at me.  It was only about 10 feet above my head and made so much racket that I wondered how he took a breath.

View across the Uncompahgre River gorge to Bear Creek Falls.  Some day I'm going to hike down there.

If you've ever driven on Hwy 550 over Red Mountain and seen a building across the gorge with laundry on the line - this is it.  I used to think somebody lived over there and they must be dirty people as they are always drying laundry on the line.  It's actually one of the mine buildings and it has become tradition for hikers to leave pieces of clothing hanging on the line.  I didn't have any to spare today!

Mine building interior.  If only those walls could talk.  I'd like to hear some stories about days gone by.

Another mine building.

Bloomers???  There's another story there I'm sure - maybe I don't want to know this one.  Some old photos on the wall give clues to stories better left untold.

An ore car hanging on the edge.  Highway 550 is in the background.  Just left and slightly below the ore car is the parking area for the Bear Creek Falls overlook.

It looks like ole "weather dude" was right.  Time to make a beeline back to the trailhead.  It started to sprinkle when I was getting close to the end.  As I reached my pickup I hurriedly tossed in my backpack and just as I shut the door there was an explosion of thunder and the sky literally opened up in a deluge.  It was a major downpour all the way to Ridgway.  I'm glad I made it back when I did.  Thanks Lord for another great - though short - hike!