I know this winter has been a weird or bad one for a lot of the country. Boston and a good chunk of the North East is buried. California’s wildfire season may start tomorrow considering their very low snowpack (with the Northwest not far behind). Even the south is getting hit with a winter storm right now.
Here in Colorado, we had no snow in town at 7,000′ and most of our south facing slopes up to almost 12,000′ were getting patchy. They were calling for some snow and although during my hike with Sprocket Saturday it looked like the snow might actually be coming it didn’t materialize before I went to bed that night.
I woke up Sunday morning to some wet, heavy snow falling. I had to go up to Ouray and when I returned, I shoveled about 3″ from my driveway and headed inside. It never seemed to snow hard but it snowed pretty constantly the rest of the day. I got a phone call as I was getting in bed that school would be delayed 2 hours the next morning. I shut off my alarm (Sprocket would be alarm enough with a delay!) and went to bed.
In the morning, I learned school was canceled. There were about 16″ of snow on the ground and it was time to get shoveling.
A couple of weeks ago, Sprocket and I went for a hike on the slopes of Baldy Peak. We didn’t reach the summit as a result of a late start and insufficient calorie consumption by the biped of the duo…
Baldy Peak from Ridgway:
As is usual for me, not reaching the summit only fueled my desire to get there especially since it is visible from town. Valentine’s Day morning, I asked a friend to drop me off at the end of County Road 14 and started the hike. Looking north, I could see dawn on Horsefly Peak and still twilight shrouded valley south of Ridgway.
A lot of snow had melted between our attempt two weeks earlier and this one. There was no bare ground visible here last time:
Instead of sticking to the snowcovered trail, Sprocket and I forged a path upwards to the ridge through the scrub oak. I kept heading up and to the northeast and ended up with a route that was fairly direct.
We paused for me to take off a layer and to watch the sunrise over the hill across the small drainage:
Once we attained the ridge we began working our way north towards Baldy. The ridge was snow covered in places and bare in others. I did a lot of taking my snowshoes off and putting them back on as we headed for the summit.
It was another beautiful bluebird day. I sat on the top and contemplated the mountains surrounding me and was pretty content.
Sprocket and I headed off Baldy’s west ridge and began traversing north towards an abandoned road. There was a lot of bushwacking through deep snow—Sprocket was one tired puppy when we got done.
The snow was really wet and as I walked down the escarpment towards Highway 550, I was soaked, muddy, and quite pleased with my hike.
A few weeks ago, Sprocket and I set out on a gorgeous afternoon to hike Baldy Peak. Baldy sits just southeast of Ridgway and I’ve been noticing that the southern slopes seemed very free of snow and it was just begging to be climbed. We started our hike from the end of County Road 14 where we were treated to great views of Mt. Corbett to the west. We got a late start at 11am so I wasn’t sure if we’d summit but that’s the bonus of being close to home—it’s always easy to come back later!
At the end of the County Road, I drove just too far on the snow and got the Jeep stuck. I thought about airing down and attempting to extricate it but the snow was fluffy and cold so I decided to hike first and worry about the extrication when I got back down. I was fairly sure I wouldn’t need snowshoes so I left them in the car and set off for the Baldy Trailhead which was about 3/4 of a mile down a snowcovered road. (On the ridgetop leaving the snowshoes behind turned out to be a mistake…)
It was a long slog up the hill. I tried to follow the trail instead of simply pushing straight up the scrub oak covered hill and in a lot of places its in a narrow trough that would have made using snowshoes sort of difficult.
Once we finally attained the ridge, I was really sad I didn’t have my snowshoes. I was getting tired and it was already 2pm. (I should have probably eaten something real before I embarked on a six mile snow-slog as well. My Luna bars weren’t making a dent in my hunger…). We called it a day about a mile from the summit.
I have no complaints though—I get to call this place home:
Back at the Jeep, I aired down the tires to about 15psi which is usually enough to walk right out of a situation (especially when you didn’t panic and bury your tires, which I didn’t). It didn’t work. I aired them down to 10psi. And then, I had to stop, sit, and think so I didn’t start panicing. It really was not a big deal. We could easily walk out, hitchhike home, and find a friend with 4-wheel drive to pull us out but I hate asking for help like that. (Also, normally I have a winch but I’d taken it off so I could sell the jeep…) I got to thinking. It was mostly my rear tires that seemed to be spinning. So I started brainstorming ways to add traction. Eventually, I emptied my pack, shoved it under one of the rear wheels and was able to back out (with some creative steering).
Before we’d head for the Outdoor Retailer Show, F and I had put in an offer on a lot in Ridgway. As life circumstances changed, the question became do we forfeit our earnest money or does one of us purchase the land solo? After thinking about the question for a week, I decided to go for it.
Last Wednesday, it became official, my very own chunk of land in my most favorite town:
After signing paperwork, Sprocket and I headed over to the property with a bottle of prosecco to toast our future.
I’d say the views from here are pretty sweet. Who knows what the future holds but I do know, we’re a lucky pair.
About a week ago, our little family loaded up the camper, hitched up the Jeep, and headed east on I-84. Destination? Ridgway, Colorado.
Mt. Hood gave us a lovely goodbye:
And then we continued through the Columbia River Gorge:
And then across Eastern Oregon:
We slept in Ontario, Oregon before crossing the border into Idaho the next morning. I couldn’t help but giggle a bit as we definitely wouldn’t be going 80 mph fully loaded:
Hours later, we crossed into Utah:
The Spanish Fork exit on I-15 is one of my hopeful places, gateway to Moab and southwestern Colorado:
South of Price, Utah, we paused on our homeward mission to watch a thunderstorm:
And then, finally, we crossed the border into Colorado:
Hello, Colorado. It’s good to be home.
Monday was Ridgway’s Labor Day Parade so the fuzzy child and I stepped outside to go enjoy the spectacle. As part of the Ouray County Fair and Rodeo, there were plenty of horses to go with the awesome assortment of random small town parade entries. (Including a semi-truck advertising ice cream?)
New to the 3Up Adventures social media network: Instagram.
I added a widget to display the latest shot over on the sidebar. I’m still getting the hang of photography with an iPhone but I’m having fun with it so far! It’s really nice to document the “little” things as they happen.
The time has come for us to try to make our way into the business world. For us that looks a little bit like this:
The official launch of Alpine Tour Co. will be next April but the soft-launch is well underway! We’re super excited about offering amazing Jeep and hiking tours throughout the San Juans between Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and our home base in Ridgway. See you on the trails!
Holy Cow. Apparently I forget to upload pictures from our point and shoot camera. I shot these back in early June! Sprocket loves his swimming beach here in Ridgway:
Further reasons to love Ridgway:
I wish I could take credit but all photos here by Forrest from the porch of our apartment in Ridgway, Colorado: