Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hiking with the Locals in Ouray

There's nothing better than coming to a gorgeous outdoor destination and being able to get out in nature with the folks who know it best! Mark and Bobbie have lived in Ouray for many years and Mark writes the excellent Box Canyon Blog which is how we became acquainted. Do check out his blog; Mark is an extraordinary storyteller and his photos will leave you enthralled.

We managed to sync up our schedules for a couple of hikes...

First, we hiked the Gray Copper Trail to Vernon Mine with Mark. This was a seven mile hike that took us to the base of Red Mountain #1 (no, I don't know how many there are, nor why they didn't use a little more imagination when naming them!). There were some lovely waterfalls, some very steep sections, mining debris, beautiful vistas, and just a few mosquito's. We need to remember to use bug spray before every hike, it's just that time of year!

Watch out! Goofballs on the trail!
Looking back down the valley from whence we came.
Rolling green hills give way to the striking colors of Red Mountain #1.

On our next hike Bobbie was able to join us and we hiked to lovely Ice Lake. Bobbie is a wealth of information about the mountains and mining operations and trails and flowers and I had fun picking her brain for details!

This hike was about six miles long with a lot of elevation gain, topping out about 12,200 feet. Our steep climbs were broken up by walks through lovely meadows with many waterfalls and amazing views. Reaching the lake was worth every bit of effort as we gazed upon its turquoise brilliance surrounded by jagged 13,000+ foot peaks.

About a quarter mile into the hike we had our first stream crossing.
Mark, Bobbie and Hans pausing to catch their breath before continuing the climb.
Taking photos gave me an excuse to pause and catch my breath at regular intervals.
We were awed by the beauty all around us.
The trail leveled out in a beautiful valley, with massive, treeless peaks looming over the saddle above us.
This meadow will be covered in flowers in a few weeks.
Once again we begin to climb towards a saddle.
The angled white line on the rock face to our left is a waterfall.

Looking back at the valley we just crossed.
Almost at the top of this particular steep section...
turns out we weren't done climbing yet!
We just have to get over the saddle to our left to reach the lake.
Notice we are now above the tree line...
Our reward is just over this last rise...
You can see the bowl forming at the base of the mountains.
Notice the tiny specs of my fellow hikers on the rock at center bottom.
I can't remember how to use the panorama function on my camera so I can only take photos
of sections of this amazing scene we are witnessing.
Notice how crystal clear the water is.
I put my hand in the water and my fingers were numb for half an hour!
This the stream leaving the lake and dropping into the valley below.
After lunch and soaking up the beauty for a while,
it's now time to head back down, down, down.
There were quite a lot of early blooming flowers along the trail.
This is the stream coming out of the lake.
Notice part of the flow comes through the tunnel formed by giant boulders.
This was an out-and-back hike so we had to recross the streams again.
And the final stream crossing.
People had tried to build a bridge, but it was mostly submerged and the logs were very slippery.
Dinner at the RV to celebrate meeting wonderful fellow hikers on the road!

Thanks Mark and Bobbie for introducing us to the beautiful country you are so fortunate to call home!


  1. WOW!!! That second hike looks amazing! Sorry we missed that one, although I don't know if my knee would have made it. We're in Grand Junction but we've decided to move on today - it is way too hot here!

    1. You would have been doing a lot of scooting! Someone told me that REI makes some shorts with double fabric on the rear...just for scooting! :-) I hope you make it to cooler temps quickly!

  2. And thank you for a great pork roast dinner...and the beer samplers...and the "Surf" concert by Hans, we had front row seats!!! The guy can really play a guitar, as well as hike like a Billy Goat. Now I get that beard he wears :).
    Great photos, Lisa! Panorama or not, you got "skills" with that camera.
    It was a good day.
    Box Canyon Mark

    1. Ha, ha, ha!!!! I hadn't thought of the Billy Goat resemblance...good call! Lisa

  3. You sure got lots of great shots of the area.

  4. Geez--absolutely gorgeous! I did a fair amount of hiking in the Gunnison area of Colorado and near Missoula, Montana in my twenties and you have rekindled my passion for these vistas. Judging by the way you are dressed, it doesn't look like it was too hot either. I will have to remember that trick about the photographer getting extra time to catch her breath!

  5. Wow and that is a big wow, they dont have those spectacular mountains here out east. Lovely hike at an awesome place. WE will be there one day, thanks for the previews.

  6. So glad you got to meet and hike with Mark and Bobbie. They took us to Vernon Mine but we didn't make it to Ice Lakes. I had to laugh at the picture of Mark, Bobbie and Hans stopping to catch their breath. I think Bobbie just stops every once in awhile to be nice !!

  7. Hate we didn't get to do that hike, but it was much easier just looking at your gorgeous photos!

  8. Wow! Did you hit another jackpot! Both hikes are amazing. The red mountains are so pretty. Can't wait to see them. Ice Lake reminded me of a little Crater Lake. So icy blue. It is always good to "stay back" so you can take pictures (at least it always sounds good to me)!! Great hiking!

    Sounds like you had a fun dinner and concert!

    Enjoy and keep those beautiful photos coming:)

  9. What a beautiful hike with gorgeous photos to accompany it!

  10. Simply lovely. Can't wait to get to Colorado next year to do these hikes. I miss the west. My RSS feed for Mark's blog somehow got corrupted ... I need to re-do it for the new reader and stay abreast of it once again.

    You mention bug spray ... what kinds of bugs are we talking here ... just so we're prepared.

  11. Great pics! I will be adding this hike to our "must do one day when in the area" list.