Lovely Ouray was socked in like Seattle—down valley; up valley; in town. We looked for a hint of let-up out Imax windows, trying to decide whether to ignore, or go, in spite of a dismal forecast and steady rain. It's been a peculiar summer here in The Crevice—a sopping wet hole smack in the middle of wildfires and drought.
We've had a good run of luck... thumbing our noses at "weather-guessers." Why let a little water ruin an otherwise perfectly good day? So we booted itchy feet and headed up to Ironton on Red Mountain, a tad over 10,000 feet above sea level. There are wonderful dense groves of aspen up there, perfect for a leaf peeping hike (see header photo). Bobbie chose to wander the serpentine Richmond Pass trail, one I had yet to consummate.
Route 550 south switchbacked us up, up, up—through mists of gloomy clouds that hung like a bad mood over Lovely Ouray. Traffic was light. Wipers intermittently squeegeed Sue Bee's cracked windshield in time to Rapper rubbish playing on KURA. I sighed to Bobbie that it probably wasn't going to be a good light day for photography. As we ascended ole "Red," sprinkles of fall began to dot mountainsides with color. Ms Autumn always prefers to start at the top and work her way down. While Ironton wasn't anywhere near "peak," there were certainly showy spots enough to appetize eyes hungry for fall colors.
Wouldn't you know, ole Sol managed to torch a hole through clouds; much of our "stair master" climb to Richmond Pass was dry. Wind gusts stormed the pass. We snuggled behind protective boulders for a quick lunch. Mount Hayden's baldy crest beckoned from above. Smitten with a little Jimmy Carter "lust in my heart," I eyed the knarly ridge-run and additional 500 feet of elevation that stood between me and a summit. But our placid "eye of the storm" was collapsing... wind, rain and hail, hosing my mountain fever into a languid puddle of impotence.
We hustled off Richmond's windswept pass into sheltering arms of weeping aspen—stained with tears that streamed from watchful, sad eyes.
|Winter's Fairy Dust...