On The Page: Exploring The Historic San Juan Triangle

I finally go smart this summer and made a box specifically of “books I haven’t read” since I’m on a strict “you can’t buy any more books until you finish the ones you already have” budget. One of those books was Exploring The Historic San Juan Triangle by P. David Smith. I bought this book back in 2013 when I first moved to Ridgway and it just never seemed to be accessible when I needed a book. I definitely missed out due to my procrastination!

Exploring the Historic San Juan Triangle

Smith’s history of the San Juan Triangle, the area roughly bounded by Ouray, Telluride, and Silverton, is an excellent crash course in the history of settlement and mining in the region. The first chapters of the book describe the histories of the main towns in the region: Silverton, Lake City, Ouray, and Telluride. (My beloved Ridgway sits just outside the triangle and has some definite ranching vs mining roots.) Just a few pages into the history, as Smith described how miners started to drift into the San Juans while they were still officially Ute lands, I realized I know nothing really about this area. Since the book is written partially as history and partially as a travel guide there was some emphasis on the locations (past and present) of key buildings but I really enjoyed that since I could picture each of the towns.

After the histories of individual towns, there is a series of chapters that give a fairly exhaustive explanation of mines and ghost towns that existed along Jeep routes in the area. I can picture many of the places he mentions but I’m just itching to get back out and check out the rest of them! In addition to covering the “classic” routes (Imogene, Black Bear, Cinnamon, Engineer, etc.) Smith talks about spur roads and lesser known routes as well.

Beaumont Hotel Ouray,CO

As I mentioned, the book is written as a guide to travel so sometimes the narration is a bit clunky. Dividing the history up into specific locations is helpful when you’re driving or visiting one of the towns but sometimes that also makes for a bit of repetitiveness to the history. That being said, however, if you like history and context for your exploring and you plan on visiting the San Juans (or if you need some inspiration to come check out my gorgeous mountains), Exploring The San Juan Triangle is an excellent place to start diving in!

Colorado 14ers: Uncompahgre Peak

After the wild weather the night before, I wasn’t sure what Sprocket and I were going to wake up to. I shouldn’t have worried. We had the most gorgeous fall day for hiking! I had left home unsure if I’d take Sprocket on the hike but he quickly decided for me: this dog knows what sleeping at a trailhead is all about and he was not about to stay behind.

Below Uncompahgre Peak
Nellie Creek Basin
Uncompahgre PeakSprocket and I made decent time heading up the trail, enjoying the views. Considering that we were on a 14er, we hardly ran into anyone at all!

Trail selfieSprocket seemed to be soaking up every minute of the hike. He’s been quite the summit dog this fall—he definitely always seems to feel that the correct direction is up! (He also totally impressed me on this hike when he was able to pretty much ignore another off leash dog that wanted to play. Sprocket instead was focused on the hike.)

Sprocket on Uncompahgre Peak Trail
Sprocket on Uncompahgre Peak
Sprocket on the Uncompahgre Peak Trail
Just in case there were any worries about Sprocket handling the short scramble section on Uncompahgre, let me lay that to rest by saying he definitely lead me through this section:

Uncompahgre Peak Scramble
Celebrating Sprocket’s first 14er!

Summit of Uncompahgre Peak
Sprocket on Uncompahgre Peak
Summit Selfie
I feel so lucky to call this place home:

San Juan Mountains
Uncompahgre Wilderness

High Country Jeeping, Ouray to Lake City Edition

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve actually had posts scheduled days in advance! As of Monday, however, 3Up Adventures moved down into Ridgway from our property north of town and our apartment has internet (and these amazing views, but that’s almost bragging). I’m really excited to get things rolling again and catch you all up!

A few weeks ago, we headed out on yet another high country exploration trip in the jeep. Our plan was to travel from the Mineral Creek trailhead (just outside of Ouray) to Lake City via Engineer Pass then return via Cinnamon Pass and Pougkeepsie Gulch.

Mineral Creek Road

Mineral Creek Road

Poughkeepsie Gulch

Mt. Abrahms from Mineral Creek Road

A few weeks ago, we hiked up to Brown Mountain ridge and walked along it for a bit. Mt. Abrahms is the mountain on the left and stands out prominently from Ridgway and the Million Dollar Highway.

Brown Mountain Ridge

Mineral Creek Road

Below Engineer Pass


Mt. Sneffels Range

TJ Engineer Pass

Engineer Pass

Lake City side of Engineer Pass

TJ Engineer Pass

Waterfall Lake San Cristobal

Baby deer

Beth on Cinnamon Pass

A combination of me driving over Cinnamon Pass and then being way too busy looking around coming down Poughkeepsie Gulch meant that our pictures end with the above: me just starting up Cinnamon Pass. We’ll be up and down and around so there will be pictures of those areas eventually!