Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 4: Engineer and Cinnamon Pass

After our rest day, we set out for a full day of Silverton's best mountain passes.  First we drove the length of the road we were camped on to try and find another suitable, more remote spot.

While be-bopping around I spotted a large brown rock....that moved.  Lo and behold, a BEAR!
My first wild bear sighting. I was thrilled. Plus, I got to whip out the long range lens too. He was about a mile or two from camp. I wasn't really worried. He seemed to be finding food on his own.

I turned around to get back in the Jeep and was greeted with this face...
Little turd.

We headed through Silverton to County Road 2 where we started our off road journey for today.
The roads are littered with dilapidated mining shacks and buildings, waterfalls and green trees. We stopped along the road to air down the tires and were passed by a Jeep club. Up past Animas forks, towards Engineer Pass.

Animas Forks
Water fall (lost count of how many we saw)
A quick stop to exercise the dogs.
Engineer Pass

Just below Engineer, we stopped, picnicked and played. Meeka made an appearance.

Back on the trail, onward towards our next stop.  A small cabin and a nice waterfall.
Yes, Rommel got wet.

This one we could hike to. Mike and Pete stayed up with the dogs, but Mandy and I explored the falls.
It was a nice diversion: the spray on my face and lovely sound of the water. But the boys pressed us to leave. The day was barely over and we had some mileage to cover.

The weather was forcing us to pick up the pace as well.
We hit slab, paid an exorbitant amount of money on fuel and headed towards Cinnamon Pass. The weather was getting worse, temperatures were dropping and the rain was taunting us with occasional drops.

But a quick potty break was in order.

It was getting late. It was growing greyer and cooler.
We hit Cinnamon Pass just before the skies opened up. I was able to snap a few pictures prior to a major rain.
Thankfully, the roads are gravel and not soft sand. Minimal mud was encountered and we had good tire grip on the way out. The rain didn't let up. It was still raining when we hit slab in Silverton. It was after 7PM and I sent Mike to zip up the RTT while Pete, Mandy and I got a table and ordered bison and elk burgers.  There would be no camp cooking tonight in the pouring rain.

The day was long, exhausting, but full of great mountain passes, waterfalls and play breaks. I'm not sure Pete and Mandy were prepared for how we vacation. Mike needs a full day. After the 10 hour day today, tomorrow will be slower paced, peppered with relaxing.

Man, I love Colorado.

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