Best little town in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Ouray welcomes with hot springs, bakeries, and the best small Western Museum. The exhibits are exceptionally diverse yet compellingly personal. Debbie Reynolds shot, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” on the Alpine Mountain Ranch, run by Marie Scott, a single, self made female cattle rancher (in the far right above). Debbie is belting it out with the cattle dog, while Marie probably contemplates buying up more land. She had a reputation for “buying any bucket of dirt”, accumulating $100,000 acres worth over $30 million in her life.
The mining industry provided work for all…if the conditions could be survived.
We played tennis in Silverton, finding little else of interest there as it exists as a tourist trap at the north end of the Silverton-Durango Railroad line. Durango is the Southern Terminus of the “Million Dollar Hwy” on the east side of the San Juan Mountains. It on has galleries, gorgeous old Victorian homes, parks, a beautiful college, and a wonderful riverside bike trail.
Heading north of Cortez, up the western side of the San Juans on the “Last Dollar Highway”, provides beautiful (free) camping by the Anima River, usually filled with campers and kayaks at higher water. We had it all to ourselves in late Autumn.
We stopped in Telluride, with big expectations befitting a town with many popular music, film and art festivals year round. It felt like a tourist trap with a lot of traffic. Even Tom Cruise fled, sellings out last year. Their mountains are beautiful so it may be great in the Winter.
Having finished our Autumn tour of the Colorado passes, we will head home via Arches NP and Great Basin NM. Steven has only been at home in Albany CA for 21 days in eight months, since last February. Suddenly, we just can’t wait to get home!
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Location:SAN JUAN SCENIC BYWAY