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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crying Eyes

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... 


  1. Gorgeous fall colors but I could do without the snow. That tells me it's time to head down hill and south.

  2. What a great hike and splendid photos. Beats doing a marathon any old day. thanks for hike.

  3. Great pictures of the changing colors, thanks for sharing them.

  4. It's amazing how fast Fall colors and cooler weather hits the mountains of Ouray. Saturday July 21st, Boonie, Coffee Girl and myself were in short sleeves hiking the same Richmond Pass trail. Had fun getting to know Boonie and discussing our solutions to saving the world. I think you and Bobbie were working that day. Strenuous up hill switch backs from US550 up through the Aspen trees to arrive in the open basin. We could have kept going but as you know the rain clouds do roll in during the afternoon. Thanks for the pictures and the reminder of yet another challenging and joyous Ouray hike. Looking forward to Monday night Broncos/ Falcons football.

  5. Always my favorite time of year. Love the colors & smell of Autumn as well as cooler air. It is a cozy time. A time for reflection & a gathering of one's thoughts for day's ahead. Nice photos:))

  6. Who says you can't get good pics on a stormy day? You did great.

  7. Is that snow or just an accumulation of hail? Looks beautiful.

  8. Gorgeous photos !!! I LOVE Colorado !! Seems fall is coming early. I hope to catch the fall colors next week up Ca. 395 along Bridgeport to Lee Vining. Planning about a week camp trip. Beautiful fall colors in the southern sierras if you catch it at the right time.

  9. Gaelyn,
    Snow will fall on you soon enough, and the bottom of those night time temps will drop out of the RV range of comfort. How nice to be a "seasonal" traveler.

    Some hikes seem like "marathons," but only because of my insatiable need to see what's around the next corner :)) thanks!

    You are welcome! It's what I do until I can figure out how to save the world from itself :)) thanks!

    John Q,
    Yes, you have done Richmond a few times, just not with us (darn work). I'm sure your trees will still be green after our's are bare. It is amazing. And that we can leave (no pun intended) Lovely Ouray and catch up with Ms Autumn in Zion is wonderful. If you figure out how to save the world, be sure and let Boonie and us know. GO BRONCOS!

    Bayfield Al,
    Autumn engages all the senses, eh? I know your feet itch to get going in your motorhome. It sounds like you will be doing that after the leaves fall in your area. I truly look forward to your photos of Autumn in Canada... more reds than here I'm sure! Thanks for commenting,

    Travel Bug,
    Thanks, but the light was a tad too flat for my liking. We do the best with what is given, right? Thanks for your kind words!l

    Jim and Gayle,
    Tis snow... but it doesn't last long till November. Thanks!

    Sierra Sue,
    Appreciated! Never experienced a California fall... post some photos (Like I have to ask) :))
    thanks for chiming in...


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