The promise of a fair day was quickly broken by dark clouds and white sheets of Corn-snow. For a good while it pelted with some fury, stinging bare legs and arms like a swarm of bees. On with the jackets, on with the hike to Silvercloud Mine, on with the "show," even as thunder rumbled from afar.
If unpredictable weather is the new face of global warming, how is one supposed to plan forays into mountains? I fear odds are getting slimmer by the year. Eventually, "fate" will shine its ugly face upon a couple of unsheltered geezer-hikers as they cower in the short grass of some alpine meadow, boots and socks blown from smoldering feet, memories wiped clean as a Monday morning blackboard, and a look of surprise from singed, half-moon eyebrows.
At least the day started off pleasant. The drive over Red Mountain Pass was anointed with touches of color from Ms Autumn's wand.
But soon enough, clouds and rain swept in, swamped our hopes, sank our boats, and spit on Jello plans.
Like the "choo-choo," we stayed the course to Chattanooga Valley, then hung a right into Mill Creek's drainage. We parked Sue Bee and began a hike to Silvercloud Mine... way up by the "Big Vee," which, as you will recall, is exactly half the "Big Dubbya" in Mad Mad Mad World, where the "treasure" was buried. Sure enough we struck gold. But it wasn't buried, it was on the slopes of mountains. Clouds parted off and on, allowing glimpses of the glow... teasers of what's in store for the next couple of weeks around Lovely Ouray...
Colors being what they were, which was beautiful, to say the least, we drove on after the hike in search for more... past Silverton, over Molas Pass, and down to the bottom of Coalbank Pass, where, suddenly, foliage had yet to be touched by Ms Autumn's wand. There, like the Red Sea parted, summer green stretched as far as the eye could see. It was if we'd stepped back in time to languid days of summer, when barefoot girls in sundresses swirled to the rhythm of Reggae in Town Park, and children played like school was out forever.
We turned around, went back over Molas and waited for sun to set fire to a particularly bright patch of aspen trees. The Grenadier Mountains provided a rugged backdrop of ragged peaks upon which to rest our eyes.
|The Animas River and valley... flowing out of Silverton|
|And last, as well as least, we spied a half-moose hiding in the willows. This is about as close as I could get without pissing him off :)|
Mark and Bobbie, your roving reporters for an outdoor life.