To complete the cowboy-feeling in the wild west I just had to do some horse riding. I really loved speedying with the horse since they get into this smooth rythm on high speed. But one thing horses dont think of when walking under a tree is that there is someone taller sitting on the back ;-)
Horses are especially good for the paths in deep snow where no car could go. This mountainside covered by snow was so beautiful. But be aware of mountain lions - we saw quite some fresh footprints in the snow. And they can make a horse go wild......
Hunting season is a big thing here. Larry gave me the chance to come along with him. I must say you need a lot of patience walking through the deep snow or waiting for hours for some movement. Most of the time you just enjoy the beautiful landscape and you return without hunting success - the only thing you shot are pics. But because of the rich wildlife, there will be a hit sooner or later. And Larry shot a huge elk cow.
Now shooting from far away is a clean thing - the bloody part comes later, taking it apart and trying to put those hundreds of kilos on the back of the truck. I was full of blood - not everybodies taste. But thats how the steaks make it on the plate, I guess......check out the other pics for details ;-)
Another unwanted way of hunting are roadkill accidents, that happen quite frequently because of the rich wildlife.
There is a great golf course situated on top of a table mountain - this is really spectacular! Plus I saw a herd of deer crossing my range, the complete course fit so well into nature, it did not feel artificial at all.
About golf, I must say I was just a mini-golfer before. But the huge ranges are way more interesting. It really is a great sport to relax! You might have some bad hits, but you will always remember the one you did perfectly and that compensates everything!
Ouray was named one of the most pittoresque cities by the Sunset Magazine, calling it the "Gem of the Rockies". Another popular comparison is the name "Switzerland of America".
Ouray really offers a lot: sparkling waterfalls, soothing natural springs (especially nice during snowfall!!!!), charming victorian architecture, more than 500 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and 4-wheel-drivers.....
In winter you have plenty opportunities for cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling and so on.
What I found very funny though was a retro-Oktoberfest - the plastic "Mass"-glasses were a setback - but during this time I wasnt officially allowed to drink alcohol in the states anyway, though where there is a will there is a way for that, too ;-) The youth prefered grill parties and lodges in the mountains for that reason - "Oh zapft is!"
Mt.Sneffels is highest peak around the Dallas Devide with 14150 feet. It is such a beautiful landscape with mountain lakes you should not miss it! It is best to reach from the Ouray side. For the most pittoresque mountain lakes you have to cross the Blue Lkes Pass (13.000ft).
This is a famous steam powered narrow gauge railway connecting Silverton with Durango. These 45 miles through spectacular canyons are quite popular for tourists who enjoy this historic train.
Trains go from May to October, plus a special winter train in December. An advance reservation is recommended.
What else but a Rodeo is missing for the real wild west feeling? Of course they have that too. The complete town was up for that. The funniest thing was the sheep rodeo for the small kids though! These little cowboys and cowgirls were put on sheeps and Yiiiiiiihaaaaaaaaa!
They grab the fur to stay on the sheep as long as possible while the sheep runs around in the arena....if they do a sharp curve.....oops, it is over ;-)
Blue Lakes Trailhead is 10 miles in off the highway and you cross some private land but don't be put off by the No Trespassing Signs, just keep going. You end up behind the Double RL Ranch and at the edge of the local wilderness.
After a wet June, early July there was lush and beautiful. Cow parsnips, geranium, violets and roses under dense, sweet smelling firs and spruce. Rushing creeks gurgle in the background. We used a small one for icing sparkling cider.
It's rustic, throw-down style, bring your own water and pack out your trash but there is a restroom if you must. Use the existing firerings, don't make more.
Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway or Ouray Hot Springs in Ouray are not too far away.
Ridgway is a very pretty and interesting town of under 1000 (up 31% since 2000) located along US Highway 550 not far from Ouray in Ouray County in Southeast Colorado. Ridgway has a very interesting history as a railroad town tied to the mining towns of Ouray and Telluride, as a paradise for outdoorsmen and as a file location. Ridgway was established in 1891 and was named for a Denver and Rio Grande Railroad boss. The statue for the Grammy is made here and a number of notable people have called Ridgway "home" at some point in their lives; like Ralph Lauren (the clothing guy), Dennis Weaver, and John Wayne filmed a few movies here including True Grit.
We went snowboarding in Telluride - very close to Ridgway. It was my first time on a snowboard during this time, but yes, it was a heck of a fun.....after I got the curves ;-)
On our way to do skiing we met plenty of deer that werent that shy at all. But wait for hunting season.....
Courthouse Mountain is a great trekking peak from where you have a nice view over the valleys and the town of Ridgeway. You can see this mountain also in John Waynes "The True Grit".
This wonderful countryside just calls you for camping - and what can be better than a nice fire at night and some burned marshmellows?
I Tell-u-ride away: this is a great mountain hideaway and a fantastic ski resort for nordic, alpine and telemark skiing in winter!