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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Corkscrew Gulch

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 →
Peace out!


  1. Happy anniversary to you both and happy Fathers Day, Mark. I love the panoramas.

  2. Nice way to spend your anniversary! We hiked three miles up at 10,000' with only 900' of elevation gain yesterday and it nearly killed us. Hope you can find some easier hikes when we get to Ouray;-)

  3. Happy Anniversary and Father's Day! You always capture the mountains so well.

  4. Happy Anniversary to you both and glad to read that you're doing better. Just hope you didn't start back hiking too soon.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  5. We were so looking forward to coming your way this summer and hiking up to see those red mountains. I've watched them from your photos long enough. However, we needed to get in a visit back east to see my mother. After coming up with all kinds of ways to get there, we decided to take two months this summer and drive back. So once again no red mountains for us:( Maybe next summer! It was nice see that you are feeling well enough to climb those beauties. Be careful out there:) Happy Anniversary!!

  6. Those postcards are just about the most beautiful yet. So real, I can feel my lungs burn! Happy Father's Day, Happy 29th Anniversary to you and Bobbie, and Happy New Blog Design Day. I like it!

  7. You post made me envious, as usual. Great postcards. Happy Anniversary and Father's Day..

  8. Happy 29th. Hope you enjoy. 29 more!!

  9. Yowza! A perfect way to mark an anniversary!

  10. So beautiful. It's not 34, but 29 is nothing for the faint of heart. Congratulations to you both.

  11. A great way to spend your anniversary. It must be a wonderful feeling to walk from sunshine into the sunshine and snow.

  12. Happy Anniversary and happy hiking!

  13. Happy 29th Anniversary to the Colorado couple! Such great pictures of snow covered mountains melting a path for summer hiking.

  14. 29 years together--remarkable! Congratulation and happy anniversary

  15. A great way to spend your anniversary and celebrate 29 years of hiking together. Love the views, but not the snow.

  16. So happy that you're feeling better and well enough to do these hikes. I think it would require a portable oxygen tank for me. Happy Anniversary!

  17. Happy Anniversary to OURAY'S finest example of LIVING THE MOUNTAIN LIFE STYLE.
    I think you both have achieved something in your life that's the envy of many folks alive today.
    The saying goes, Life is a about the journey not the destination and you both are showing lots of folks
    how wonderful & exciting it can be.
    We will drink a toast to you tonight and thank you for taking us all along on this beautiful journey.
    From the Shadows
    ..maybe we will come out of the shadows some day
    Sonoma County Guy


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