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Old 07-18-2010, 03:13 PM   #7
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Central WV
Oddometer: 557
I decided I would do a little off road riding today. Dropped my windshield (I broke the last one the last time I did much off road) and switched to a smaller counter sprocket. I wasn't sure what to expect after some of the things I have read about.

This is at Ouray. I didn't spend much time there, but it seems like a nice town. All the towns in this area are very tourist oriented.

There is a nice campground just as you start south from Ouray. The Amphitheater I believe it was called.
You have to watch the elevation of where you are camping. A couple thousand feet can make a big difference in the temperature overnight.
A view from the campground.

Let's check out some of these back roads.

The road was not as bad as I thought.

Plenty of snow still in the higher elevations.

First we'll check out Engineer Pass.

So many rocks, it's almost like it's paved...

Some beautiful views on these mountains.

Also lots of Jeeps and four wheelers.

Particularly on the Alpine Loop, 4th of July week, there was a lot of traffic. Turns out you can stop in just about any town around and rent a jeep or ATV of some type to take over these roads. They say there are a few you are not allowed to cross with a rental, but we will get to that later.

Decisions, decisions...

I head on up to Engineer Pass.

Going up!

Looking down on some of the roads below.

Like I say, there are a lot of roads on some of these hills. Back in the 1800's they pretty much mined most of this area out. There are only a few working mines left. It looks to me like the biggest industry left in this area is tourism. These passes are a big part of that.
Even if you come through this area in a cage, or street bike, it would be worth looking into one of the rentals just to see some of these mountains and ghost towns.

They call this area the Swill Alps of the Rockies. It is definitely a beautiful area.

A few pictures on the way down.
How about a little cottage on the hill?

I can imagine there could be some devastating landslides in this area. I wouldn't want to winter in a mining camp here.

Some interesting things to see hanging around.

This took me back into Lake City. I then turned around and headed back the other part of the loop.

There is a lot to see around here.

Back up we go again. Towards Cinnamon this time.

Lots of snow still. Of course that is what keeps the water falls running.

There was enough traffic up here that the sign was blocked when I got there.

More fun roads on the way down.

This drops down to Animas Forks. A mining ghost town.

I'll have a little more on this later as I came back through here and across Cinnamon again. Also a story about the snow banks on top.

Part of this is on the TAT and I was trying to follow it through this area. I wasn't certain which way to turn at Animas Forks and was trying to work that out, when a fellow came down the hill and stopped with a TAT sticker on his F800 GS. It was around 4:30 in the afternoon and he was thinking of taking the route into Silverton. He had the TAT programmed in, so I asked him to show me which turn to take. He started to go ahead and follow it with me until we came to a washed out bridge. He wasn't too interested in fording the creek, and turned back towards Silverton. I went on, knowing there was another pass ahead.

I love being able to look down on these roads, and on the little alpine lakes.

I guess there is another pass or two on the way out.

A little snow on top?

The sign could use a little work.

Hurricane Pass.

I took this picture then noticed something...

That is a rain storm coming my way!!!

I have read in several places not to be on one of these passes when a thunder storm is in the area. So I head out of there.

Of course there is still a lot to see on the way out.

Including another pass.

I come back later to finish this loop. I veered off to follow the TAT and was glad I did. Barely even got wet.

I would definitely recommend doing this loop if you are in the area.

Few more passes later.

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