Outskirting Ouray

I have been following the Box Canyon Blog since before I even had an RV. I figure I have read through about a hundred posts touting and tempting life in a box canyon affectionately referred to as “Lovely Ouray, the Switzerland of America.”  So I knew before I got here it would be a special place.  Give me a box canyon, and I am happy. Give me one filled with hikes, a brewery, a hot springs, and a chocolate shop selling “Scrap Cookies” made from left over chocolates? Well, about the only thing you could add to top that would be to throw a couple of good friends into the mix! Life’s own version of the Scrap Cookie.  😉

Lovely Ouray in the distance.

Lovely Ouray in the distance.

When you're this beautiful, Y not?...

When you’re this beautiful, Y not?…


I can’t remember when the conversation shifted from “Where will you be spending this summer?” to “Colorado sounds good!” It had to be sometime during the 98 degree heat of Mittry Lake, when the calendar felt like it had flip flopped “down under,” and I was wearing flip flops with my summer shorts in January. Seems like the seeds had to have been planted at one of those nightly happy hours, as all the same participants are on a converging path into Mark and Bobbie’s back yard. Jim and Gayle, Debbie, Kim, Chris, and who knows who else might show up before Ouray hangs out the last “No Vacancy” shingle. And that’s just the Mittry contingent. Add in John Q and Joallen from our red rocks hikes last fall, and Chris and Mindy, “jeepers” and BCB fans from Illinois, and well, it’s a party in the making.

Million Dollar Main Street, from the Ouray Brewery window.

Million Dollar Main Street, from the Ouray Brewery window.

Lucky are the people on the other side of that IMAX window...

Lucky are the people on the other side of that IMAX window…

Beautiful Victorian homes line the side streets.  This one dates 1896.

Beautiful Victorian homes line the side streets. This one dates 1896.

But given the circumstances back home, I thought I was going to have to RSVP to the party with regrets this summer. It just seemed impossible from where I was sitting in Central Texas. One by one, the house of cards kept folding, from spending the 4th of July in the ER with my Mom having an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, to having a rodent take up residence in the Tracker AC blower. One after another, my red letter departure dates on the calendar kept getting scratched out.

The calm before the summer storm at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool.

The calm before the summer storm at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool.


I said if I can just get to the Colorado border and get a whiff of relief from the heat, I will be happy. But once I was within striking distance just on the other side of Monarch Pass, I felt like it was within reach. As long as the situation remained stable back at home, I had to go for it.

I cannot imagine a more welcomed "welcoming committee!"

I cannot imagine a more welcomed “welcoming committee!”

The Venus farm sits on what is considered a “hilltop” at an elevation of 600 feet. Arriving in the San Juan mountains, it felt like every muscle in my body was competing for oxygen, leaving none for my brain. Ouray is nestled in the mountains at an elevation of 8,000 ft. For every 1,000 feet that you ascend in elevation, a loss of about 3 percent of oxygen absorption occurs. You do the math. I can’t because my brain is oxygen-starved!IMG_2594



The only thing “level” in Ouray is the surface of the hot springs pool, so it took me an hour (not an exaggeration) to get level. If Debbie hadn’t arrived before me, I may have given up. But she just kept saying “It will all be worth it,” and she was right!

Cascade Falls, along the Perimeter Trail.

Cascade Falls, along the Perimeter Trail.



Mark and Bobbie armed us not only with pizza on our first night, but also maps and suggested hikes. In order to acclimatize, they recommended we start off with the Perimeter Trail, a 5 + mile scenic loop overlooking Lovely Ouray. Given their propensity to hike like mountain goats, this trail equates to sending your visiting relatives off for a little window shopping. 😉 We came back with our “shopping bags” loaded with SD cards filled with waterfalls and cliff-side overlooks, Christmas tree smells, wildflower meadows, and some of us, a “Scrap Cookie” or two…

The  Uncompahgre River.  I never tire of that name.

The Uncompahgre River. I never tire of that name.



Uncompahgre Gorge, Box Cañon Falls


Aaaaaahhh, it feels good to breathe again, even if it is at a 24% reduction in oxygen absorption!IMG_2633

18 thoughts on “Outskirting Ouray

  1. Gorgeous scenery and pictures!!! Absolutely gorgeous!!! I am so glad you got to go!!! Keep enjoying!!!! Love you

    • Hi, Susan — With the situation back at home, I am taking it a day at a time, but keep us posted on your plans!

  2. Nice write up. I was in Ouray briefly last month (early June) and stayed in Ridgway State Park to explore the area. I would be interested to hear about where you’re camping. Is it at USFS Amphitheater? Just curious as to what its like for an RV spot. Looks like you’re having fun.

    • Thanks, J. Dawg — It’s a private road alongside the home of some friends of friends. The Amphitheater is beautiful, but it has been full…I think you can make reservations, though. I did take a drive through there. Most spots are best for tenters, but there were a few suitable for our sized rig…

  3. Your photos are gorgeous! So, Terry and I have a question, can we be your hiking friends too and head to Colorado? 🙂 I can only imagine how hiking those trails must feel. So happy for you that you were able to connect with the group.

  4. Ahhh you did the math finally! HAHA! What a fabulous place (as it seems are all of the places you visit). You definitely hooked up with a great bunch and I adore your photos! Glad you are back on the road and the trails.

  5. Ouray has been on my bucket list, your descriptions and pictures has cemented that.
    thanks for the inspiration. That trail is not wide enough for me to walk, much less with my canes so your pictures will suffice, that and my imagination.
    Enjoy that hot pool.

  6. I’m still trying to catch my breath…I would be winded getting in and out of my rig!
    I am happy you are with friends and nature…best combination.

  7. I empathize with your rodent problem. So glad you made it out of TX to the lovely CO and with so much support from the gang who needs oxygen. 😉 Seems everybody used every leveling board on board in Oray but those views would be worth a slight tilt. Even the recommended easy trail looks like a challenge. But then I’ve seen Mark and Gayle’s posts about some of the other peaks you’ve conquered. Breath deep, it’s good for your soul.

  8. Great to see all of you together again, even if only in (amazing beautiful and well-captioned) photos. Please say hi from me and Pete!

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