Time Traveling: Black Bear Pass

It's Sunday afternoon as I'm writing this post. We did some riding here in Silverton this afternoon, but I want to bring you up-to-date on the time we were offline before catching up here to the present day. I'll tell you about today's ride in tomorrow's post. For now, let's just travel back to Friday afternoon. We were still working around the road closure, and so we didn't leave the camper until just before the road opened at noon. They knocked off early on Friday, and so we only had to keep ourselves busy until 4:00 p.m. that day. Except for telling you about the quilt shop, this post will bring you up-to-date on our ATV riding while we were near Ouray. I have lots of pictures for you, so pour yourself something good to drink and let's get going.

Once again, we were amazed at the aspens turning fall colors. It's beautiful in Colorado this time of year.

We rode to our highest point ever on this ride. As before, we were seeing the beautiful trio of Red Mountains. If you look at that highest peak, you can see it is crater-shaped, a nod to its volcanic past.

There was more pretty larkspur along this trail.

We rode to a dead-end spur where our guide book informed us a "short hike" (ha!) would take us to a waterfall and a lake. Sure enough, we found the small waterfall.

It didn't take long in this high altitude rarefied air for me to start feeling light-headed and downright unwell. We were hiking uphill, and with the huffing and puffing, I felt as if I was going to pass out. Mike walked on for a short distance before he came to a dead-end. We never did find the lake. Oh well. We did find a place where I could tell you about that orange water I mentioned in a previous post. Here's an explanatory sign that tells it better than I can:

Back in the late 19th century, nobody was worried about the environment. We've visited ghost towns where folks just threw their garbage out right next to where they lived, and so these problems with contaminated water probably never crossed their minds. In the image below, you can see the orange stream water. Indeed, look beyond where Mike is standing, and you can see the remains of some mining activity there.

Higher up, above the mine, the water was clear. It hadn't yet run through the mine tailings that would contaminate it farther down the hill. It's running over some volcanic rocks that give it the dark color, but the orange is no longer present. 

It's probably clean enough to drink here, unless you're worried about giardia...which I am. No, thank you. We bring our own drinking water when we're out riding the trails.

We saw more butterflies on this ride. I believe this first one is the hesperis fritillary butterfly.

Here's another one, found on this tuft of yellow wildflowers.

I believe this one is a checkered white butterfly

I believe this next one is the tailed copper butterfly.

We've seen one other butterfly. One flew right past me while we were on the Yankee Boy Basin trail. And then again today I saw another that lit twice, but I wasn't able to get my camera out and ready fast enough. Nevertheless, I can identify it as a mourning cloak butterfly. Here's one I found on the Creative Commons website:

(Image source: "Mourning Cloak butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa)" 
by J. N. Stuart is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We still have a few rides ahead of us. Maybe I'll catch my own image yet. 

So after our little hike, we rode on to the top of the Black Bear Pass. This is the highest we've ridden yet. 

As for the pig...I don't know. It was there when we got there. The road ahead would take us to Telluride, but it was a narrow one-way road, and we would not have been able to return that way.

Looking behind us, we saw this:

From there, we headed down the hill and back to the staging area. I stopped to snap this image showing the volcanic rock we encountered along the way. That's Mike ahead there.

And there were more splendid views on the way back.

Clouds were moving in and casting shadows on the landscape.

The road back to the state park was lined with aspens.

And let me just tell you, that is one winding mo-fo of a road.

We paused at an overlook where we could get a good picture of Ouray, Colorado, known affectionately as the "Switzerland of America."

There were a couple of information signs there as well.

If you look almost dead center, a little below and to the right in the image above, you can see a red building. That is the Beaumont Hotel referred to on the sign below.

Smitty was out for several walks while we were at the state park. He's nervous when he's out, but he did pretty well on these walks.

He had some nibbles of the Colorado grass...his favorite fat blade grass...to calm his nerves. No worries. It's legal here in Colorado.

Sadie kept a lookout from the catio.

Okay and I wanted to tell you about a little dessert I made that night. When I was packing our food and cleaning out the refrigerator in the house, I came across a half-used container of mascarpone cheese. If you're unfamiliar with mascarpone, it's an Italian cream cheese...kind of expensive...and I hated to just throw it out. I knew it wouldn't be good when we returned home, and so I went in search of a recipe that would use it. I came up with this recipe for Grilled Peaches Cinnamon Mascarpone

We picked up some nectarines while we were in Grand Junction. I got nectarines simply because they looked better than the peaches. They were first brushed with a combination of melted butter, honey, and peach schnapps. (The recipe calls for peach brandy, but I didn't have any. I brought a small container of peach schnapps from home.) Then Mike grilled them on his portable Traeger grill.

Earlier in the day, I'd whipped up the mascarpone with some brown sugar, 2% milk, and cinnamon. We plopped that over the peaches, and dessert was served. Mike liked it so much, he licked the bowl. I'd definitely do this again.

And that was the end of our time in Ouray. I still need to tell you about the quilt shop, but that will wait until tomorrow. I need to tell you about the riding we did today, and then we'll be all caught up. 

I hope you're enjoying this time traveling...no time machine necessary. Stick with me. There's lots more to come.


Barbara said...

Butterflies are nature's angels. They remind us what a gift it is to be alive. ~ Robyn Nola

MissPat said...

I was delighted today to discover our local farm stand still had peaches and sweet corn and lots of good looking sweet peppers. Your dessert looks delish. nd the scenery's not bad either.

Christine said...

Oh! What wonderful views...absolutely breathtaking. Thank you
Looking forward to the retail therapy ....

piecefulwendy said...

Whoa. You were really up there, and found some amazing views. Good to see Smitty out for a walk, and having a nibble on some grass. Of course, that dessert sounds very tasty, and I need to add that to my list!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I know there's such a thing as information overload but I wonder if there is also a thing called 'vista overload'?? My goodness, everywhere you look the scenery is spectacular!

Anonymous said...

cats are great!

Kate said...

It really is spectacular in that part of the country. You definitely found a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I have a shot from that Ouray overlook that looks just like yours.