Day 171 of 365;Oh Ouray!!!
Today we continued South towards Ouray , taking the bottom end of Wyoming through the NW side of Colorado- I am SO happy I decided to take the scenic route vs. going through Iowa/Nebraska. I had never been to this part of Colorado or Wyoming! I LOve love love seeing something/anything new!
We arrived in Ouray around 4pm, and oh my GOODNESS…. this town was Love at first sight for me, it is called “The Switzerland of America” and now I see why. I have been to Colorado, but never.. never did I think a Colorado town like this existed!
It is PERFECT. A sweet small town (I relate it similar to Bayfield, Wisconsin, except nestled in a circle of beautiful mountains, some covered with snow).
We set up camp at 4J +1 + 1 RV Park right in the town of Ouray, it is a very nice campground, and we loved the fact that we were right in town so we could explore easily and then come right back to the camp-site when we were done. We didn’t have too many camping neighbors this night (Tuesday).
We made burritos on my sisters’ camp stove, shoveled it all in and then headed up the block to Colorado West Jeep Rentals to pick up our rental Jeep!!! The staff was VERY nice and the Jeep was BEAUTIFUL. We got a yellow Wrangler and were ecstatic to drive it away and keep it for 24 hours.
We went back to camp and gathered up emergency gear, food, drinks, jackets, hats, gloves, (it is warm and Summer but in the mountains you NEVER know what you will come across, better to be over-prepared then to get stuck on top of a cliff with nothing!)
We headed on the first trail recommended to us by the guides (and a friend), and were SO excited that we (2 girls) were going Jeeping in the mountains! Pretty sure some guys only dream of this 😉 hehe.. We headed up Yankee Boy Basin and around the first corner we started seeing that we would be driving on the edges of cliffs…there was enough room for ONE Jeep (and all of these trails are 2 way trails so you REALLY have to pay attention at all times) , on the right side of us was the mountain side going UP, on the left side of our tires was a DROP of maybe about 4,000 feet straight down. Ouray’s elevation is 7,000 or so, and where we were it was about 11,000 feet. Around the first corner, the very first thing we say was two crosses by the edge of a cliff…I must say my heart became a BIG LUMP in my throat -thinking, am I REALLY here? So we slowed WAYyyyyyyyyyyyy down and crawled around that corner, as we turned the first corner, there was a small waterfall trickling down then mountain side on our Jeep. The KEY to all of the trails in Ouray (and the mountains) is to go SLOW and take your time, if you were to hit one rock wrong going TOO fast that’s all it takes to flip you over…the cliff. Go Slow, don’t look down and watch RIGHT in front of you/your tires.
Back to the story (I’ll post a whole blog about Jeeping advice we learned as we went, etc. in a few days)… we kept crawling along and came to the old town of Sneffels , which has an abandoned home that has shifted off of it’s foundation, but looks really neat , a mining shaft and other buildings across the way.
Up at the end of the trail there was a truck parked with his back window open in the bed of his truck and all we could see was a sleeping bag, the guy was taking a nap up in the mountains, it looked like he has been snowboarding and skiing up where there was snow, as there was a big pile of snow equip. outside of the truck.
We took a quick rest and got out of the Jeep just to feel our feet secure on the ground. Then hopped back in the Jeep and headed back down the trail as it was almost dark and we didn’t DARE want to even think about taking the trail near the cliff in the dark :O.
Tomorrow would bring a FULL day of Jeeping and exploring in the mountains!
If YOU would like to visit the BEAUTIFUL Switzerland of America/ Ouray, Colorado just visit the Ouray, Co Website here.