Durango is….My Kinda Town!

My original intent is to spend only a couple of nights in Durango, long enough to ride the train. I end up doubling that. The little town has just the kind of “vibe” that I enjoy, which I often find to be the case in “river towns.”

There is much to do in Durango, a lot which centers around the Animas River. There is a beautiful walk/bike path that runs parallel for seven miles. Paddling and float trips are popular here also.  Thankfully, little evidence remains of the recent tragedy of the toxic Gold King mine spill Continue reading

Durango Silverton Train — When a Splurge is Not a Splurge

Of all the modes of transportation available to the traveler, train travel has always been my favorite.  I could sit for hours, hypnotized by the clickety-clack of the rails, as I watch the landscape unfold in front of me.   Seats on the train typically offer more leg room than buses or airlines, along with the freedom to move about at will.  Even when commuting in the northeast corridor when the company was footing the bill, the train was always my chosen method of transport.

But my love affair with trains goes much beyond practical transport. Continue reading

Riding the Rails with Blues and Views

Being a longstanding member of the “bucket list brigade,” I have made it my goal to ride as many scenic trains as possible over the years. So while being in Ouray in such close proximity to the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, it was not a matter of “if,” but “when.” I did a lot of research online to figure out which car, which seats, which route etc. would offer me the most pleasurable experience during peak tourist season. But then Bobbie sent me off on a different rail path altogether when she mentioned the Durango bi-annual Blues Train. Live blues bands? On a train? How could I resist? Continue reading

Ticket to Ryde in Telluride

After saying my reluctant “goodbyes” in Ouray, I decide to make Telluride my next stop for several reasons, not the least of which is a good excuse to chicken out of driving the Million Dollar Highway. I have been up and down the road a dozen times now as far south as Molas Lake in one of the gang’s Suburus, and it doesn’t intimidate me. However, Continue reading

One More Before I Go…Columbine, You Are MINE!

My plan is to leave Ouray the following day after the Bear Creek hike.  But I get an email from Bobbie saying “If anyone is interested in a hike on Tuesday, I’ll take you up to Columbine Lake.”   I have been intrigued by this hidden alpine lake since the Bullion King hike, when we stood at the top of the ridge with Blue Lake on one side and Mill Basin on the other, as Bobbie told us, Continue reading

Utopia Unraveling

Wildflower season is winding down in the San Juans, and so is our Ouray Utopia.  It has been an incredible time here, connecting with former friends and making new ones.  The hiking has been among the most spectacular I have done yet, way up there, where the air is rarefied.   My addiction for “getting high” has grown stronger than Colorado’s legalized marijuana business. Continue reading

Blaine Basin: On Misery and Mycophilia

Blaine Basin trail is a beautiful, moderate 6.5 mile hike with 1,850’ elevation gain.  The trail starts out through dense forest alongside a musical brook, crosses Wilson Creek three times, and ends up in a gorgeous wildflower-filled basin beneath the face of Mt. Sneffels.  That’s about all I can tell you.

I wasn’t feeling it on this hike, and I am still not feeling it looking back.  But that is certainly no reflection on the hike itself.  It was beautiful, and of all the hikes we have done in Ouray, it had the least incline.   But I struggled Continue reading

Just a Little Further…

Bullion King Lake was the last hike I did before leaving Ouray for Texas after receiving news from home that my Dad had died. But even if I didn’t have that sharpened sense of hindsight, looking back on such a glorious day from 106 degree heat of the dry dust-bowl of Central Texas, it still would have ranked up there with one of the best hikes ever. But then, while in Lovely Ouray, I seem to say that about every hike. Continue reading

Up There…Where the Air is Rarefied

Rare is the moment that I don’t have a song lyric playing through my head.  Any word, phrase, or scene can set me off, as my brain contains a database of songs for all occasions.  Most times, I can keep it in my head, but then there are those times when I just lose control, and lyrics come tumbling off my tongue like a case of tourettes syndrome.  Often times it’s subconscious, and I only realize it has happened when someone turns around and gives me the stink-eye. Continue reading