Sometimes, although not often, we have to use our gas money not for driving to a trailhead or for Jeeping at 13,000 feet but to go to a city and take care of those “big city” shopping needs. For what was on our list yesterday, Durango (population 17,000) fit the bill.
We’ve teased Sprocket about stopping at Andrews Lake several times but we had some extra time and we know how much our puppy loves swimming. Turns out it is a beautiful spot. Just far enough off the highway to be quiet but close enough (less than a mile) that it’s an easy stop along US 550 (“The Million Dollar Highway”).
While Sprocket was swimming, an older gentleman and his dog came down from the Crater Lake trail. Sprocket and the pup had a blast running and swimming together. Finally, though, it was time to hit the road and keep heading south. Sprocket promptly gave us the sad, “But why am I not swimming anymore?” eyes.
After running errands in Durango (and an early birthday lunch at the Indian buffet), we headed north. It was a bit late in the day to plan for a hike since thunderstorms could threaten anytime so we chose to take the Old Lime Creek Road as an alternative to US 550.
As soon as we turned on to the road, we saw this sign and had a good laugh:
The road wound up past Scout Lake where we all looked for moose and Sprocket contemplated how great it would be to splash around in the shallow water:
After Scout Lake, the road climbs a bit more and the views open up to Lime Creek’s valley. The road is on a shelf high above the creek giving some amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
When the road came down to meet the creek, we noticed an abundance of beaver chewed trees. As we poked around, it became apparent this was one busy beaver! Poking along down the creek we found his two dams and the beaver lodge. Sprocket was really thankful for that pond!
Old Lime Creek Road reentered US 550 just north of Coal Bank Pass…and just in time for us to stop off at Molas Lake for Sprocket to do some more swimming. Standing next to the lake looking around at the mountains everywhere was perfect.
On our way to Silverton, we tried out a new dirt road. For awhile, we thought it might actually reenter the highway. Instead, we hit a cliff looking down onto the pavement… We got a cool view of Silverton though!
It’s nice we have such pretty Alpine Tour Co. Jeeps to adventure in, no?
Once we hit the road out of Silverton, Sprocket’s content sleeping said it all: there’s no such thing as a bad day in the mountains.
I forgot my camera so all photos from my iPhone.