Having survived with no (apparent) ill effects, Bobbie and I went snowshoeing again the very next day after our trek up through the old mining remains around Guston. This time we started from Red Mountain pass, 11,000 feet above sea level, and slowly made our way up to the Longfellow Mine-head—so picturesque with it's rusty colored wood and iron against pure white snow. It was warm again, almost too warm, but I didn't hear any complaints from the "locals."
After a few days of fresh snow, it is supposed to be warm and sunny again today. Guess where we're going? Yep, back up Red. I'd like to check out the route to the summit of Red Mountain number three—see if it can be done without risk of triggering an avalanche.
I forgot to mention we found some Lynx tracks on our Guston trek. They have had good success at reestablishing them in the San Juans, much to the dismay of snowshoe hares. Lynx are about the size of a bobcat and bear some resemblance, except for a bobbed tail and pointy fur extensions from tips of ears. As you can see below, they are built for snow; long legs and big feet. Oh hare beware...
That's the south face of Red Mountain number three pictured in the photo below. We tried to find a route up from Longfellow Mine, but the terrain became too steep and unsafe. Today we'll try another route and see how it goes.
Since the Longfellow route was a bust, we backtracked and went south to the St Paul Lodge, a popular ski-in bare necessities "hotel" not far above Red Mountain Pass. Smoke trailed from a chimney pipe, and there was the sound of occasional laughter coming from inside. I pictured burley men around a table next to the fireplace, drinking beer and telling one-up stories. Off the back porch colorful backcountry skis sprouted from deep snow like spring irises. Further behind, orange geodesic dome tents trailed off into forest.
On our way out we met Annie and her little big pup, Pach, an Australian Shepard/Lab mix that would grow to be 60 to 80 pounds as an adult. Who couldn't love this face….
After a couple of hours I was ready to head home; two days in a row had my gut aching. I took a few windshield shots on the way back to give you a feel for the colorful "Million Dollar Highway," and to show off the new catch-fence intended to keep rockfall from hitting cars.
I can just see Greyhound bus passengers scrambling to the right side on this section of highway with no guardrails :))
The Spring issue of the Monitor Magazine is out. I have an article in there, and Bobbie has an Aspen watercolor. Here is a link to the on-line edition in case you want to have a peek.
Peace out from Lovely Ouray...