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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sneffels Overlook Hike October 9, 2015

Well, this is going to be a lengthy post I believe.  I've been all over this country where this trail is, but have never ventured up this one.  It will now rank near the top of my favorite places to hike.  I've walked past the branch for this trail many times going up into Blaine Basin.  I never took this one as I thought that it was only a hike in the trees, with no chance for mega-views like I prefer.  Boy was I wrong.  This was a perfect day - the weather was cool, the colors were changing, the tourists were gone, and there was no chance for thunder bumpers.  It doesn't get any better than that!


The sunrise was fantastic.  What stunning scenery.  Who can believe there is no God?



The sunrise was soooo good that I almost forgot I was up here to hike!  I'm not a very good photographer, but nobody could mess this up.



Sunrise on Mt. Sneffels.  Thank you Lord for sights like this.


Just more incredible beauty!



Headed up the trail.  Cirque Mountain in the background.  There are several log crossings over the creek.  It was frosty and slick on those rocks and logs.  I had to "shimmy" across stradling the logs.  Made for a cold damp backside.  But the alternative would have been colder and wetter!


Love that moss that is changing colors by the creek.


Still hiking up the trail.  I was just in awe of the beauty.


Trails like this just make me want to hike, hike, and hike some more.


X marks the spot.


As if what I'd already seen wasn't enough, the Sneffels Overlook was icing on the cake.  I stayed up there for over an hour just soaking in the beauty of God's creation.


Whoa, what a blessing to have eyes that see, legs that are strong, a heart and lungs made for high places - and a Father God who made it all!


What magnificent grandeur!  In the upper left out of the picture is Mt. Ridgway.  I've also seen this view from up there.  That reminds me that I need to get a post up on that hike.


Well, as beautiful as Sneffels Overlook was, all good things must come to an end....at least in this world.  One more glimpse of Sneffels through the trees on the way down.


A few clouds built up as I got back to my pickup.  But, no thunder or lightning - just more and more "eye candy".


I wonder if those horses know how privileged they are???  Pinch me to make sure this isn't a dream.


The parting shot on the way back down the road.  I was just praising the Lord for another beautiful day in His creation and for giving me memories that will last the rest of my life!

Soap Creek Outing 10/3/2015

It had been many years since I had been up Soap Creek.  There wasn't much of a campground up there then.  So, Joann and I decided to check it out.  Plus, I wanted to see about a couple hiking trails up there that I'll return to next summer.


It was a great place to build a fire and roast some hotdogs.



While I was down by the creek messing around, this squirrel paid Joann a visit up by the camp fire.



The colors weren't in full swing but good enough.



End of one season, and beginning of another.  I love fall, but really hate to see summer go....mainly because the hiking trails will soon be covered with snow.



The creator was sure starting to put on a show.  What an artist He is!



Mule deer doe posing for me.



It was another fantastic outing in God's creation.  Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oak Creek Trail Hike 10/2/2015

The Oak Creek Trail begins within the town of Ouray.  I'd never been up the trail, but had seen multiple times where it joins the Silvershield/Twin Peaks trail.  I'd heard that this trail was a real strain due to its steepness.  But, often those ideas come from those who don't hike much.  Steep is in the eyes of the beholder.  So, I decided to see for myself.


The beginning of the trail follows a road that goes to several homes in the area.  This was a beautiful fall morning.


The trail does a few switchbacks and then skirts along a cliff for a ways.  Now the views are starting to appear.


The trail gains altitude fairly quickly and soon beautiful views to the south open up.  Ouray is in the valley below and Mt. Abrams is up the valley in the center.  None of this section is particularly steep in my opinion.



The trail winds around the mountain and soon this sign is encountered.  Still it doesn't look that steep to me....but, we'll see.  The trail goes nearly straight up the mountain just above the sign.



Just ahead though....forget about switchbacks...it's straight up the mountain.  This is one of the very few sections where the Ouray Trail Group has graciously made some steps.  Without them, some of these sections would be very difficult.  The rock is very loose and you just can't get good footing.  Yep, the sign was right....this sucker is steep.



Just to the side of the steep cut where the trail goes....vertical.


One of the few spots level enough to stop and get a photo.  Wow, what breath the climb doesn't take away, the views do!


Highway 550 below.  The trail comes straight up the mountain just beneath the rocks in the foreground.  Even the switchbacks are very steep....I bit the dust several times.  Fortunately, there are lots of trees, so you wouldn't go far if you started sliding.



After the steep stuff, it's sure good there are rewarding views.  This is looking up toward Yankee Boy Basin.  Time to park it for a bit and let the legs get rid of that "rubbery" feeling.  They haven't felt that way for years.  


Up, Up and away!



Soon I was back on top of things and had joined up with the Silvershield/Twin Peaks trail.  It was decision time.  That trail was so dry and loose that going down would be far worse than coming up.  I had planned to hike on up to Twin Peaks.  However, if I continued on and made a loop around the Silvershield trail, I wouldn't have time for the run up Twin Peaks.  I opted to make the loop.  This is the view back toward Bridge of Heaven to the east.


I believe in the timber industry they call these "widow-makers".  The wind was howling and trees were popping all over the place.  It was kind of unnerving looking up at these guys waving in the wind.  The pine beetles have really made havoc of our forests due to the drought.  There are "widow-makers" all over up here.


Nice spot where I was able to hunker down in the trees out of the wind for awhile.


View across the valley to Gold Hill with a mine shaft and building hugging the cliff.  Those miners were some tough dudes.  Hope they weren't sleep-walkers.  I met another older gentleman on the Silvershield Trail and mentioned that I had come up the Oak Creek way and was making a loop.  He called the Oak Creek Trail a "puffer".  That's an apt description to say the least.  Thank you Lord that I made it safely up the "puffer" and had another fantastic day in your creation!

Porter Reservoirs - Grand Mesa 9/25/2015

I took the day off and decided to check out a place I'd not been to for at least 25 years.  The last time I was here was with my dad, who has since passed on.  We had to leave a 4 wheeler up here due to being caught in a rain storm.  This road has the worst "gumbo" mud on the planet.  It completely stopped the wheels of one of our ATV's.  We had to ride up the next day and bring it out.  Although the post is titled Porter Reservoirs; most locals will still call them the Davies Reservoirs.  They used to be great fishing.  However, I learned from a couple locals in the area that the lakes were completely drained a couple years ago and all fish were lost.  Supposedly they have stocked them since, but I saw no evidence of fish.  I was looking at hunting potential as well as fishing.  This is a very rough road and taking my ATV was the only way I was going up there.

On the way up - fall colors are just underway.  I saw trucks of hunters up here with generous amounts of Colorado "pinstriping".  Here's a section that will definitely result in some scratches.  The oak brush was intent on yanking me off the 4 wheeler.



A few mallards enjoying a pond along side the road.



First stop was Morris Reservoir.  It was very low and I did not see any evidence that it still held fish. I've caught some incredible brook trout from this lake.



So, I then headed on up the mountain to Lower Davies lake - or Big Davies as we called it.  Again, it is very low and no sign of fish.


So, it's on up to Upper Davies, or Little Davies as we called it.  Again, low water and no sign of fish.


In between the two lakes is a cabin.  I was surprised to see it still standing.  I've stayed in this cabin several times.  My dad, myself, and Cortie Blackburn used to drive the old two wheel drive pickups up here and spend the night in this cabin.  The road is so rough and full of mudholes in the summer, that getting stuck was a given.  We had some great times in this cabin.  Cortie was a "snorer" and he would literally make the walls of the cabin shake.  But, Cortie could catch fish when no one else could.  He was a "dyed in the wool" fisherman.





A shot through a broken window.  The outside is defnitely gettin in.  It looks the same as it did back in the 60's and 70's.




After rekindling memories it was back down to Duggart Reservoir.  It was the only one that was full. I met some nice hunters from Wisconsin that were camped at the lake.  They had not seen any evidence of fish.  Sad!  But, there were some nice colors around the lake.


Lots of fall beauty.


Fall was getting underway in fine fashion!


One last shot!  It was great to get back up there.  Memories were rekindled.  I enjoyed sitting by the lakes and reliving fishing there with my dad and Cortie.  I'm not sure I'll ever go back - we'll see.  If there were still brookies in there like there used to be; I'd be willing to endure the torture of that road. But, until I know they are back, I think I'll just enjoy the photos of a great trip.  Once again - thank you Lord for great memories of great trips, great people and scenery beyond compare!  I'm blessed!