This evening Claudia and I tromped through the fresh powder up to our favorite “wine” spot above Ouray – but being winter, this time we brought a thermos of glühwein instead! Yum… Oh, and on the way up we passed a family of bighorn sheep… pretty cool!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Jack & Claudia here in Ouray, Colorado!
A wild sunset over Ouray on Tuesday evening, signaling the approaching storm that barreled through the San Juan Mountains and most of Colorado the last few days. This last series of storms dumped something like 5 feet of snow at Wolf Creek Pass on the south side of the San Juans, and we made sure to be there in the midst of it to score our first powder day of the season! And what a day it was on Wednesday, with bottomless powder and nuking snow all day long! Sorry, no pictures… I was too busy choking on snow! I’m glad that winter finally showed up around here.
On Saturday I was feeling antsy for an adventure, so we went out camping up on the “Bridge of Hayden”, a high ridgeline overlooking Ouray and the Sneffels Range. Early in the night we were laying in the tent when we heard some booming sounds echoing in the valley below. Was it mining operations up valley? No. A plane crash? No, it’s fireworks!!! We quickly scrambled out of the tent and ran to the overlook.
Stupid me, I had no idea of the Octoberfest party happening down in Ouray! I felt like the Grinch up on the mountain, looking down on Whoville. Apparently Ouray still had fireworks left over from 4th of July show, which was cancelled due to the drought conditions, and so they set them off for Octoberfest instead. It’s so funny that we just happened to be camping on one of the highest Ouray overlooks on the night of a fireworks show below!
I love watching fireworks in Ouray more than anywhere else – the booms echoing through the deep mountain valleys are as impressive as the fireworks themselves! And it was pretty cool to see them from almost 4,000 feet above!
Here’s a photo of Ouray, as seen from our new favorite “wine and cheese” spot. “Wine and cheese” you ask? Yes, one of Claudia and I’s favorite ways to unwind is to haul a bottle of wine and our plastic wine glasses up to a viewpoint and relax for the evening. Especially after a day stuck inside in front of the computer, fresh air and a fresh perspective works wonders to clear the head. Not to mention that wine is good for you, and so is hiking… a win-win situation!
Claudia and I have gone on wine hikes in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Germany, and Switzerland. Someday we will co-author a guidebook to the world’s best wine and cheese spots. The only problem with that plan is that I know next to nothing about wine, and definitely nothing about writing about it! So maybe it will be a picture book instead, with scratch-and-sniff stickers. Lest you think I’m just joking around about all this, I officially own the domain name WineHiking.com. Yes, that was a spontaneous purchase, but hey… you never know!
Here’s my first attempt at the photos I’ll need to be taking for our wine hiking encyclopedia. Here we have a tasty Malbec from Mendoza, along with some kind of Swiss cheese. It was good. I liked it a lot.
Yeah, I guess I need to work on my writing skills…
We started my birthday off right this morning with a hike up Hayden Mountain, high above Ouray. We found a new ridge-route to an awesome overlook point that I never realized was there, despite having hiked up past here numerous times before. This is definitely now one of my favorite Ouray hikes, along with the Bridge of Heaven on the opposite side of Ouray.
We are excited to finally go backpacking again in a couple days – for a week long trek in the Weminuche – woohoo!
After six months of working and dreaming, it’s finally time to shut down the computer and hit the road! Where we’re going, I do not know. With much of the western US up in smoke, so are my original backpacking plans and most of my other ideas. All I know is that I need to unplug, to get away, to completely obliterate my daily routine. This will surely involve some long backpacking treks in some mountains someplace. Someplace that’s not on fire or smothered with smoke or dried to a crisp. Somewhere blue.
Updates below… Continue reading “Time to Boogie!”
Taken last night at about 1:30am. So, today I posted this photo on Google+, and another photographer pointed out something cool that I totally missed – that there is actually a faint aurora visible in the image! Apparently there have been a couple strong solar wind streams the last few days, causing auroras at lower-than-usual latitudes. The high-ISO exposure here reveals an aurora that was undetectable to the naked eye, but noticeable in the photo as faint green bands of color in the sky above the cliffs. Certainly not a polar-worthy display, but pretty cool nonetheless!
Here’s a snapshot pano from an utterly relaxing hike on a gorgeous June Sunday on my favorite trail of all around here – the Bridge of Heaven, high above Ouray, Colorado, with the Sneffels Range in the background.
While I’m in the snapshot posting mood, here’s another one from a couple weeks ago, atop Twin Peaks, a rocky pinnacle on the opposite side of the Ouray valley from the first photo above. I gaze at the rocky pinnacle of Twin Peaks from my office window every day, often wishing I was up there looking down rather than down here looking up!