July 23, 2013
We invested in Butler Maps Back Country Discovery Route collection. The maps were specifically designed to traverse a state off road on an adventure bike. We knew it could be done in a Jeep. What we didn't realize is that when the map said a section was easy, that a two wheel drive sedan could manage it. The last several days worked out, easy roads and phenomenal scenery.
Today...not so much. The scenery and weather were lack luster. Over cast sky, dry dusty roads, meh landscapes = a cranky driver.
We packed up the compound and said goodbye to the Last Dollar Road. From Ouray, we hit a country road with National Forest access and started our climb.
We stopped at an over look for a quick taco lunch then continued on. Owl Creek Pass was our first destination. We made it to the sign that said we were at the pass and we were....let down. Silverton spoiled us. Cinnamon and Engineer Passes were something to behold. Owl Creek provided a muddy river section.
My driver was grumpy before we even finished this loop. It was long, easy and boring. We hit pavement on 50 and drove by the Morrow Point Reservoir.
We needed to make camp for the night, but finding an easy spot proved difficult. We had passed a tell tale brown sign that pointed towards camping south of 50, so we headed back that direction.
Of course, once we passed through a neighborhood, we found ourselves faced with an Indian Reservation. Hmmn... perseverance pays off, right? It did. We found ourselves on National Forest land, and next to a swift moving river. A nice fisherman pointed us in the direction of a good spot.
The sun briefly made an appearance and Mike played with the dogs in the river. Rommel would get the tossed rock, Elly would get Rommel and Mika would get....well I wasn't sure what she was digging at.
The water was icy and the current was pretty strong. Elly didn't go past her elbows, and she got out and watched from above with me for a while. Rommel is a strong swimmer, he would get caught in the current and expertly (and calmly) swim diagonally back to shallower waters. Mika....panicked. I pictured her being swept away and urged her to stay in shallow waters.
After water play, everyone was toweled off to prevent a drastic drop in body temperature after sunset. Mika toweled herself off, much to the chagrin of her dad.
It briefly rained, but it was consistently windy in the canyon. As pretty as this campsite was, I knew based on the winds, we would only stay a night. We made lemon chicken and fresh veggies for dinner, then turned in.