Finally, and, I might add, suddenly, summer is here. With temps soaring into the 80's in Lovely Ouray, we've taken to the mountains. Don't it feel good, Jojo, to get back to where you once belonged. All that late spring snow that kept postponing our destiny is now melting down faster than you can say "Chernobyl."
Last week Bobbie and I took advantage of the first 0% chance of rain/snow forecast in over a month and headed up "Red." Hearing that the snow on Corkscrew Gulch Jeep Road had just been bulldozed, we decided to try a hike up to the pass. So grab your cheap sun glasses, lather on some SPF 50, and take a flying leap into a few Postcards from the edge.
With rapidly diminishing pain and symptoms from the three pulmonary embolisms that lodged in my right lung the week before, I felt pretty much back normal. Time to start doing the mountain stuff again, maybe shoot for Corkscrew's 12,200 pass. It's why we live here, after all.
We got an early start, dodged rock-fall on the Million Dollar Highway all the way up to Ironton—about 10,000 feet—and had boots on the ground by 0830 hours. The air was Aqua Velva brisk, a 38 degree "slap" to a half naked hiker. Remember, for every thousand feet of elevation gain the temperature cools 5.5 degrees… more if there is snow on the ground, and there was plenty of that, and cooler yet if in the shade, which we were.
After a chilled-out mile or so we broke into full sun and went from too cold to too hot in a matter of a hundred feet. Along the way we passed an area reminiscent of Yellowstone, complete with the malodorous hint of sulphur water oozing from mustard colored soil.
There were a few tricky high-water creek crossings to negotiate.
After a thousand feet of elevation gain, we were surrounded by Red Mountains, white snow, and green forests.
Higher still, there was still enough snow to do some ski runs. I thought of Gary—still laying in a hospital bed after crashing doing just that over three weeks ago. Averill is still at his side, though. What an angel.
Bobbie and I took turns throwing snowballs at Jeep-tour tourists as they motored by. They took it in the spirit of fun, squealing and laughing.
Getting close to the pass, now… snow everywhere.
On the pass, a little over three miles and 2000 feet of elevation gain.
Bobbie strikes her "top this" pose. Today is our 29th wedding anniversary!
Panorama Postcard shots below, scroll right →