A Trip to Ouray, Colorado… 07/27 & 07/28/16

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It’s known as the #SwitzerlandOfAmerica and is nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of #TheRockyMountains… It’s known for its crazy jeep trails and roads, it’s sulfur free #HotSprings and a world-famous #IcePark…. It’s #OurayColorado folks.. I had never even heard of this place until Tracey mentioned it… Tracey almost took a job there previously and thought it was a great place to spend a couple of days off #exploring….

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If you haven’t had the chance to drive through the Colorado Rockies, let me tell you, what an amazing drive… It’s up and down mountains the whole way and the roads open up and give you visuals like these, above…. A couple back at #TaylorPark thought we were nuts doing this drive in the evening yet they don’t know what #TheMillenniumFalcon is capable of… so I forgive their lack of faith… which I find disturbing…

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We parked at a pull off only miles from town… We woke up to a roaring #river and this gorgeous, peaceful sight… I’m going to start making it mandatory to park by a river every night… There’s no better way to wake up! I caught Tracey having a #SpiritualMoment with her long lost father… If you wander out into nature, nature will talk to you… But you must first start a conversation with her, to actually hear her…

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It was a beautiful, warm day out, in the high 70’s… Tracey and I were feeling great today and ready to explore this new territory…

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You didn’t really see much civilization around here… #Ouray is tucked away deep in the #mountains… Everything was so much more vivid out here…

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The smells were fresher, the sounds more audible and the sights more clear… You knew you were in a place that is hard to get to because nature just seems more vibrant in this area… The #trees more rich in color…. the river more mighty in sound… The air more ticklish to your skin…

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It’s funny how things feel so much different even though you are still in civilization but way deeper into #MotherNature’s heart…

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I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of this pull-off… The day was clear and the #sun was giving me so much!

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If there wasn’t a main road right next to me, I would seriously consider trying to buy this little piece of land… I felt very connected to my surroundings…

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And this town just kept on giving folks… I took so many pictures, it took me forever to sift through them all for this #blog post…

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Ouray was tucked right smack in the center of these glorious mountains… Ouray is the end of the road because there is no where else to go… well in a regular vehicle that is…

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Ouray is like #Nature’s little #Cul-de-sac… You drive all the way out here to find that you have reached the end of the road, where paradise awaits…

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Once again Tracey and I have found a town where there are practically no #corporations… Everything is privately owned… I couldn’t even imagine a #Walmart out here… Oh how horrible it would look in such an innocent, rustic little haven…

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Ouray has the population of about 1,000 people…. A lot of #IceClimbers, #skiers, #hikers, #hippies and #travelers come through here every year and Ouray depends mostly on its #tourism to keep it’s residents fed and happy…

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Of course #summer is their really busy season where they make most of their bread… then the winter brings in a slower, yet steady crowd as the residents still work, yet take it a lot more easier than in the summer… Many Ice Climbers across the world come here to climb some of the most magnificent ice formations on the sides of these glorious mountains…

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The buildings alone are works of art… You could see a lot of that european Victorian style in these buildings… A common style in small, old towns like these thanks to a famous architect from over seas named #CharlesBulfinch…

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I’m sure modern times have made this town a lot busier, knowing people can get here a lot easier than back in the day… And little towns like these are becoming more and more popular as we become a nation ruled by Corporations, who advertise to us at every turn they can…

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Ouray doesn’t rely on such advertising because it’s uniqueness brings in its’ crowds… You walk down the streets here and deer walk along with you… So we are not the only ones who use this town as an escape…

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Hardly any of the roads were paved, except for the main road driving in… Houses are scattered everywhere with little dirt roads passing through…

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Tracey and I decided to go for a long #hike… #TheTravelingMac couldn’t resist snapping a shot of #TheFalcon parked in front of this mighty #mountain… You know you are in a magnificent place when you are taking pictures of a parking lot… lol!

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Now I am against #mining of our #NationalParks and the changing of America’s natural landscape for a quick buck, but I have to admit this hike was gorgeous…

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And it wasn’t just nature that made it beautiful… All of the mining and the tunnels created by man, makes for one hell of an interesting hike….

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And it wasn’t an easy climb up.. Almost every step was uphill… and where there wasn’t a climbable hill, man had gone ahead and put steel steps there… Tracey and I stopped for a quick photo op on this huge bridge that cut across a deep #canal below us… God I love this girl’s lips… lol!

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This was once a major operation with pipes, bridges and #ManmadeTunnels… As prospectors blew up and washed away rock to sift through, hoping to find precious ore…

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Ouray became very popular with the silver and gold mines at the end of the 19th century…. Miners found long #GoldVeins which made many people rich and helped build this town into what it is today…

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For who would be crazy enough to hike all the way out here and battle the crazy winters with no profit in mind? These prospectors were lucky enough to get out here and mine before the Government took it away to preserve as a National Park…

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For where there is profit, there will always be innovation… I like to remind the ones who bow down to the Corporations that it is man who creates all of this and it would be created with or without these mammoth corporations… My point is that no big company creates anything! It just incorporates a bunch of experts who create what it wants… It’s the people they hire that do such… All a Corporation is is a company that has legal rights as an individual in the courts… It may not sound like much but when you are a billion dollar business that is recognized as one man in the courts, you can get away with quite a bit…

Yet there are so many who actually think the #government is the problem… A Government is only as good as the things that form it and when you have greedy pricks like these making their way around congress with their enormous wallets, I’m sorry, you’re going to get a corrupt Government… As they say, if you want to find the corruption, just follow the money and greed…

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After checking out one section of this magnificent mining area, Tracey and I decided to hike higher and see more… And boy did this #trail get up there…

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Yet the sights just got even more amazing the further we went… They even have a visitors center at the top, with all kinds of history to explore…

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Because Ouray goes way further back in history… Way before the white man settled here… It used to be the home of the #UteIndianTribe…

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There’s a reason these early prospectors carried guns… They were in the heart of #IndianTerritory and definitely not welcome there… (Here’s a small shot of the land before it was mined, above…)

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But this famous #IndianChief of the #UteIndianTribe would be the hero that made this town possible… Probably the reason they named the town after him… #ChiefOuray was the leader of the Ute tribe…  He helped broker peace with the white man in this area and agreed to move his tribe elsewhere so the prospectors could mine for gold…

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Well, I thought I was in the heart of it all, hiking the mining area below…

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But as we climbed higher, more amazing sites revealed themselves…

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I wonder how long it took these men to carve all of this rock out of this mountain… I wonder how many lives were lost and how many lives were enriched, with the valuable metals they were finding out here…

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To think this was a huge mining area with many nervous, hopeful men… Hoping to strike it rich so they can go back to their families and live a life they had never imagined..

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As you walked along yet more steel, man made ridges, you couldn’t avoid hearing the mighty river below… It was quite the drop yet the river still let you know she was there…

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And this river water was very important to the prospectors… they would use its’ might to channel through hoses and create a concentrated force of water to blast away hard mud and stubborn rock in which the dynamite explosions left behind…

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The water ripped through the canal below like a godly force, splashing violently against the rock as it clumsily makes its way down the mountain…

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But throughout all of the violent splashing and crashing, you would find little calm pools tucked away in crevices that seem to avoid the violent path down…

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It made me wonder what caves and holes were actually natural and which ones were not… And it really made me wonder what this area looked like before it was mined…

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The hike soon came to an end, where steps guided you down to the floor of the mine… It seemed calmer down here… This little area was like a turn off from the crashing water… Probably a good mining location considering they could channel all the water they wanted to break into the the walls of this cave…

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And just when we thought there was no more climbing and we thought we had seen it all…

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More steps!!! Holy cow!

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And more climbing! Oh my…

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We climbed so high, we could see the whole town of Ouray below us… This is what the miners and #explorers saw up here… This is probably where they discovered how special and habital this place could be…

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It almost looks like the town has been there forever… No huge smoke stacks, no huge corporations, no light or sound pollution…

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Just gorgeous natural sites to explore meshed in with a respectful, peaceful town… Tracey and I were so taken with this place, we discussed coming back next summer to work here…

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I would go as far as buying land out here… We could spend our summers out here and retreat to another warmer place during the winter… Or who knows, maybe we will try and experience a winter up here…

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And the trail just kept on going up, without hardly any relief…

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Tracey and I were huffing and puffing at this point…

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It was remarkable how quickly we got up here considering the heights we had hiked… In the picture above, you can see how far the river is below… And the town is 100s of feet below that…

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Ouray is literally a hole between all of these mighty mountains… It’s hard to imagine that we are already thousands of feet above sea level, only to climb higher yet feel that we just left ground level…

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Not all of the hike was just one path… There were turns and loops to explore all along the trail… This bridge took us to a really special, man made place…

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As we crossed the river once again, at even a higher point…

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Oh yeah folks, #tunnels… Now these man made miracles are very hard for me to comprehend… You have to have one hell of a knowledge of #explosives to make such a perfect, mini tunnel like this one…

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It was so cool to walk through and the temperature drop really indicated how deep inside this mountain you really were…

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I mean think about it folks! We are walking through the heart of a massive, gigantic mountain… Something I think we take for granted considering how long it had to take to make this long tunnel through hard, practically indestructible rock…

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This hike just kept on giving… This was the first time I have ever walked through a tunnel mined out of a massive mountain… I am amazed at what man can get accomplished when prosperity is in mind…

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We soon headed back down, following the trail which looped back to where we started…

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It was a steep descent which you had to navigate cautiously… We soon realized how far we had climbed as we carefully made our way back down…

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The sign warned of chipmunks on our way up here but never did I expect this…

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It was like a little #chipmunk refuge up here… They were running all around, gathering sunflower seeds somebody left for them…

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and of course, grabbing a drink..

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They weren’t afraid of the humans at all… they just went about their business as people giggled and pointed in glee…

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The millennium Falcon was soon back in our sights… We were pretty tired at this point… both exhausted from a challenging hike while battling the ever thin air up here…

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This is where they kept their explosives… A very important building for a miner to keep the explosives safe and dry…

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It’s fitting that a building built to house such dangerous devices still stands today… I’m sure the walls were built thick to protect ones from a sudden, accidental explosion inside…

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Tracey and I grabbed a quick bite at a cute Mexican restaurant after a long day…

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A perfect end to a nice, vigorous day of hiking and exploring…

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The view from our dinner was breath taking… Everywhere you look, you see mountains… The spirit of nature surrounding us at every turn of the head…

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And this town doesn’t shy away from giving credit where credit is due… For the permanent #mayor of this town is the chief it was named after… Do you think he even had a notion that he would be commemorated like so by the white man?

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That’s why I always take pride in what I write and what I do because you never know if you are going to be apart of history, from the time you once lived… You never know if something you wrote or did would go down in history… That’s why I always get excited about progress because if you are apart of that progress, then you are apart of history, even if it’s not recorded…

Chief Ouray did what was best for his people and used peace to negotiate with the white man… And now look at what it has produced… A beautiful, rare town that is a model of what we were and what most of us strive to be in the future…

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It was a nice ride home as we left the sun behind us, discussing what we had seen and what the favorite part of our trip was… Back to work folks! Back to making money so we can enjoy more of these special journeys… Oh what a life we live…

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