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Sep 27 2013
Randal_Schulhauser
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Colorado Fall Colours 2013, CO 
Colorado Fall Colours 2013, CO
 
Backpack avatar Sep 27 2013
Randal_Schulhauser
Backpack31.74 Miles 2,240 AEG
Backpack31.74 Miles4 Days         
2,240 ft AEG
 no routes
Colorado Fall Colours - September 2013


Prelude:

For those that know me, I’m in the habit of booking a quarterly “wilderness adventure” months in advance so I can work my schedule around the dates.

Q1-2013 was the “Salt River Canyon Wilderness Trek” (check out http://hikearizona.com/photoset=24440 )
Q2-2013 was the “Colorado San Juan Mountains Trek” (check out http://hikearizona.com/photoset=25725 )
Q3-2013 was the “Himalayan CardioRenal Screening Project & Trek” (check out http://hikearizona.com/photoset=26703 ) – still have photos from Stok Kangri Trek, Delhi, and Agra to post!

The plan was to also add a “Colorado Fall Colours” trek in Q3 using last year (check out http://hikearizona.com/photoset=21834 ) for timing guidance…


Thursday 9/26
Route plan per Google Maps indicates 7 hrs 22 minutes to travel 455 miles from Ahwatukee to Danzl Cottage on Dolores River via Tuba City.
Any time gained leaving work at a decent time and getting on the road before 4pm was lost waiting an hour trying to climb up I-17 to sunset point (major accident closed the highway until it was cleared).
Burg in Flagstaff and on the Rez by 7pm where we were greeted by a steady rain all the way to the cottage on the Dolores River between Dolores and Telluride.
Rain on the cottage roof made for a soothing song to put us to sleep after the long drive from the Valley to the San Juan Mountains.
FITBIT data; 4.46 miles, 36 floors

Friday 9/27
I had Disappointment Valley on my radar as a nearby location known for wild horses – this isn’t a political statement, but check out BLM Disappointment Valley/Spring Creek Basin (http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/sjplc/wild_horses.html ) and the musical celebrity laden movie on Disappointment Valley wild horses (Watch the 12 minute “Wild Horses & Renegades” video trailer at :next: http://theamericanwildhorse.com/ and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1532296/ ). Abort near Spring Creek Basin due to excessive mud! snow! and threatening rain/sleet/snow clouds...
Afternoon take West Dolores Loop for fall colours - turned out to be winter snow scene loop!
$4.64 per gallon gas in Rico - Yikes!
BBQ a couple of New York strip steaks back at Danzl Cottage FITBIT data; 6.21 miles, 19 floors (10 ft/floor)


Saturday 9/28
Plan to redux Dallas Divide, Double RL Ranch hay rolls, and onto CR7 for beaver dams and Blue Lake Trail hike. If time permits, sundown at Woods Lake.
FROSTY morning - 28 deg F according to my truck (failed to get photo evidence)
Actually start with awesome coffee in Rico at the little shack on east side of town - blows Starbucks away with a $2 cup.
Stop at Lizard Head Pass for photo op.
Stop at Sunshine scenic overlook on SR145. Aspen on Wilson Peak are still green - major let down :( :( :(
Take Lynn to Ophir - get some colours :) :) :)
Gas up in Teluride - Chrissy photo op by the Minersaur!
Stop at Last Dollar Road off of SR62 - plenty of photo ops, but too much traffic to my liking :( :( :(
Dallas Divide - still too early for optimum colours.
CR#9 and a Double R L Ranch - score! Plenty of hay rolls at southern most field. Combine and tractor pick up in action...
Off to CR#7 - an old reliable that's never failed to please.
Stop at Jason Hatfield's pond for photo recreation
Stop at beaver meadow for another photo recreation and lunch
Hike Blue Lakes Trail
Back to hay rolls on Double R L Ranch to catch long shadows
Telluride elk (are these employed by the Chamber of Commerce - they're always at this spot at sunset)
BBQ some chicken back at the cottage
FITBIT data; 7.82 miles, 79 floors


Sunday 9/29
Plan to get to Alta Lakes and Ghost Town plus Lost Dollar Road and Woods Lake redux. Maybe check out Silver Pick Road...
Start the day with another cup of awesome coffee in Rico from the "High Ground Coffee Shack". Find out the coffee beans are from Ibis in Utah - will have to check this out - they're that good...
On to Alta Ghost Town and then Alta Lakes - amazing number of trout visible in Alta Lake - and friendly ducks agreeable to Skippy...
Check out Mountain Village above Telluride
On to Woods Lake via Fall Creek Road - disappointing fall colours :( :( :(
Return via Elk Creek Road onto Wilson Mesa and loop back via Silver Pick Road - Awesome view on Hughes Road - marked this one with geocoded iPhone photo.
Ilium to Ophir Loop and back to Danzl Cottage
BBQ some split cheese dogs...
FITBIT data; 8.16 miles, 63 floors

Monday 9/30
Getaway day, close up the cottage per Danzl winterizing instructions.
Route plan per Google Maps indicates 7 hours 58 minutes to travel 508 miles from Danzl Cottage on the Dolores River to Ahwatukee via Gallup NM.
FITBIT data; 5.09 miles, 27 floors


TOTALS
211 photos on Canon 7D
323 photos on Canon Rebel XT
53 photos on iPhone 4S
587 total photos to sort thru when I get the chance...
963 miles return Ahwatukee to San Juan Mountains
Prelude to fall colours (not the peak we were planning/hoping for…)
Unexpected winter scenes more than compensate!
28 degF frosty mornings
Awesome coffee warm-up from High Ground Coffee Shack in Rico CO each morning :next: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Annies-H ... 4149051267
31.74 miles on FITBIT
2240 elevation gain (224 floors on FITBIT)







Sent from my iPad
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
_____________________
Jun 14 2013
Randal_Schulhauser
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Colorado Trek - June 2013, CO 
Colorado Trek - June 2013, CO
 
Backpack avatar Jun 14 2013
Randal_Schulhauser
Backpack31.70 Miles 1,780 AEG
Backpack31.70 Miles4 Days         
1,780 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Colorado Trek - June 2013

For those that know me, I’m in the habit of booking a quarterly “wilderness adventure” months in advance so I can work my schedule around the dates. One of my Phoenix Coyotes’ season ticket partners has left me a standing offer to use his Colorado Cottage on the Dolores River plus a physician friend has been bugging me to come visit him at his Telluride retreat. So a 4-day weekend in the San Juan Mountains was the crux of a plan to escape the Valley heat. Memorial Day Weekend is a traditional “stay at home, avoid the holiday madness” mark on the calendar, so the real plan was to target the following weekend (or the following after that…). I got the F-150 prepped a week in advance with oil change, inspection, 2 new tires, placed the never-used spare on the specialty rims, and given that I had to put a new tire on the rig back in early April due to an repairable puncture, I effectively had 4 new tires (foreshadowing – take note of this…). Unlike my 2 previous treks into the San Juan Mountains (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=21834 and http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=20996 ), this trip was primarily a getaway with the wife and dogs with a menu list of potential destinations.


DAY #0 – Thursday 6/13 After a full day at a strategic planning event, got on the road a little later than I wanted at 6:30pm. Destination was 6 hours and 31 minutes away per Google Maps – the dog friendly Best Western Turquois Inn at Cortez CO (check out :next: http://book.bestwestern.com/bestwestern ... Code=06009 ). We arrived at 2:30am local time (forgot the 1 hour time change between AZ and CO), exactly 6 hours and 31 minutes’ drive time once you add in the 30 minute stop in Flagstaff for coffee and burgs.


DAY #1 – Friday 6/14 After purchasing some groceries at the City Market conveniently located across the street from our hotel, Lynn and the dogs and I arrived at the Danzl Cottage along the Dolores River between Dolores CO and Telluride CO at mid-morning. After some quick unpacking and locating all the hidden padlock keys (Ralph had only equipped me with only the door keys) for the pump house and electrical panel, I had instructions to leave the cottage and outbuildings all unlocked for “Dustin the well specialist”. Dustin had installed a new pump and water system from the well earlier in the season and things weren’t operating 100 percent (more foreshadowing – take note…). Our plan was to head up the West Dolores Fork towards Dunton CO via Route#535/Dunton Road and take the FR611/Black Mesa Road 4WD road towards Black Mesa and Beaver Park and connect onto FR18/Fall Creek Road over to Woods Lake (a primo spot I visited on our last trek :next: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=287874 and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=16913 ) and Hwy145 near Sawpit. We stopped along Dunton Road for a couple of photo ops prior to intersecting with FR611 near the village of Dunton. Heading up FR611 a couple of miles, I spotted a meadow full of wildflowers and open views to Dolores Peak – a suitable place to stop for lunch (and we did! Check out :next: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.790201 ... 1&t=h&z=15 ). We continued along FR611 making multiple stops along the way at assorted beaver ponds, waterfalls, and babbling brooks. At Beaver Park, turned onto FR618/Fall Creek Road and started to climb. Had to wonder if Beaver Park (check out :next: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.899392 ... 8&t=h&z=15 and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17810 ) was an old logging camp and FR611 an old railroad bed – will have to dig into some history. As we were climbing the switchbacks of FR618 I hit the brakes as there was a recent windfall aspen blocking the road. As I hit the brakes, my ”LOW TIRE PRESSURE” sensor was tripped. Well the aspen was too heavy to move and I could hear air pissing out of my passenger rear tire. Since we were on a notable grade, decided to make a 20 point turn and head back to the intersection of FR611 at Beaver Park. Flat tire changed – tire I had replaced in April was remarkably worn since the start of this trip – got to give factory original Goodyear Wrangler SR-A P275/65R18 a major “thumbs down” for durability! Looked like a center tread puncture from a sharp rock – yikes! Disappointed, but unfettered, we altered our route to take FR611 west to its terminus at CR-M44 and head east and then north joining onto Hwy145 just west of the Hwy62 junction near Placerville. Our detour was rewarding given the multiple elk and deer sightings, plus a close-up mother bear and cub encounter. Pulled into Telluride early evening to find out where I could get a new tire on Saturday. Telluride Tire & Auto Service located off Ilium Road was suggested by the locals (along with a “Good luck” and a smile). A “shout-out” to the gas station at Hwy145 and Telluride Road (with the Minersaurs :next: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=287932 ) for solving my lost reading glasses problem by donating men’s readers that were sitting in their lost-and-found for a couple of years. Arrived back at the Danzl Cottage a couple of hours after sunset, yet it still seemed quite well lit outside. BBQ steak with mushrooms and asparagus plus a couple of Kilt-Lifter’s to end the day. Ralph indicated that if Dustin resolved the pump problems, water would be running in the cottage. Nothing when I flushed the toilet… Fitbit mileage = 8.44 miles, 65 floors (650 feet AEG).


DAY #2 – Saturday 6/15 Got up early to drop off the flat tire at Telluride Tire & Auto Service only to discover the doors locked and the hours on the door noting open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. With cell phone reception in Telluride, also called Ralph to find out the status of the cottage pump per Dustin. The prognosis is not good – problem with electrical service box (extreme voltage fluctuation) requiring local power company to fix – no running water for our visit. With no running water at the cottage, I needed to pick up half a dozen gallon jugs of drinking water. Also, with no spare tire, our off-roading would have to be of the conservative nature. Scratch “Plan A” to head up to the glacial lakes (Clear Lake, Island Lake, Ice Lake; check out :next: http://adventr.co/2012/08/clear-lake-ice-lake-basin/ and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12991 and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12990 ) at the end of FR585/South Mineral Creek Road and revert to “Plan B” to head up CR#7 off Hwy 62 to explore a couple of primo sites from last visit (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=287910 ). Once on Hwy 62, made the requisite stops at Dallas Divide and Double RL Ranch (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=287873 and http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=287871 ) to see if I could match up my fall colour photos to this year’s late spring photos. No giant hay rolls along CR#9 so we headed east along the highway to CR#7. We made our way through a couple of rain showers before stopping at the beaver dam meadow just before the Blue Lakes TH and terminus of CR#7. This time I was able to find Jason Hatfield’s (check out :next: http://www.mountainskyphotography.com/ ) exact “Teakettle and Cirque” photo location – fence line towards the restroom (large camp was set up at this location last year so I didn’t venture down to this spot). Set up lunch at this meadow and then explored the various beaver dams and side ponds along the East Fork of Dallas Creek (check out :next: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=38.048501 ... 1&t=h&z=12 and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17811 ). We packed up late afternoon checking out the Blue Lake TH and Blaine Basin TH (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17812 and http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=16199 ) for future hiking treks before heading back the way we came (Hwy62 to Hwy145) while making a stop in Telluride to walk the main streets checking out the shops plus a slight detour around Trout Lake to check out the railroad remnants – water tower and trestle – along FR626 following the old railway bed (check out :next: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37.811513 ... 1&t=h&z=18 and http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/images/P0 ... 81Page.htm and http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/images/P0 ... 74Page.htm ). Lots of elk in the meadow as you enter Telluride. Arrived back at the Danzl Cottage a couple of hours after sunset (again), yet it still seemed quite well lit outside (again). BBQ dogs with mushrooms and asparagus plus a couple of Sam Adams in cans to end the day. Fitbit mileage = 7.45 miles, 21 floors (210 feet AEG).


DAY #3 – Sunday 6/16 After stopping in Rico CO (check out :next: http://www.ricocolorado.org/vis/documen ... -30-06.pdf ) at the Mercantile Store for some light groceries, headed towards Alta ghost town and Alta Lakes along FR632/Alta Lakes Road. Given I didn’t have a spare, I thought this would be a safe road to take – just before Alta ghost town (check out :next: http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/co/alta.html ) my ”LOW TIRE PRESSURE” sensor tripped. Now I’ve been getting a ”TIRE PRESSURE SENSOR FAULT” ever since I changed the flat tire on Friday (assumed flat tire with no tire pressure to sense would trip the fault message), so this message is thought to be real. Get out and check the tires, nothing notable, but not wanting to tempt fate, head into Telluride to check tire pressures and air up. Tire pressures all measure 35 pounds (as they should), I air up to 38 pounds to see if the sensor message is reset. Scratch “Plan A” and revert to “Plan B” – Lizard Head Trail (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=16211 ) with a busy TH parking area at Lizard Head Pass. We have our morning hike cut a little short as a thunderstorm comes in from the east over Sheep Mountain and Yellow Mountain. Back at the windy TH, no apparent tire pressure issues, so we decide to head downstream along the Dolores River and have lunch at the Bear Creek TH (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17813 ). Trailhead lunch and an afternoon hike along Bear Creek Trail #607. I was surprised by the mountain bike and horse encounters along the trail – never encountered anyone along the other trails the past couple of days! We arrived back at the Danzl Cottage a couple of hours before sunset (just for a change). BBQ dogs with corn and asparagus plus a Kilt-Lifter and Sam Adams in cans to end the day. Fitbit mileage = 10.49 miles, 78 floors (780 feet AEG).


DAY #4 – Monday 6/17 Getaway Day – back home to the Valley heat in Ahwatukee with some minor stops along the way. Quite the contrast being treated to 4 days of 75degF Hi and 45degF Lo in the Colorado San Juan Mountains… Fitbit mileage = 5.32 miles, 14 floors (140 feet AEG).




MUCHO GRACIAS to the Danzl Family for the use of their Colorado Cottage on the Dolores River

4-days in the San Juan Mountains

Many elk and deer, plus a mother bear with cub

No TV, internet, or cell phone reception

1 problematic flat tire and tire pressure sensor

1 problematic electrical box at the cottage

2 people learning to flush a toilet without running water

235 images on 2 cameras (68 on 7D, 167 on Rebel XT)

Fitbit totals of 31.70 miles and 178 floors (1780 AEG) [8.44+7.45+10.49+5.32=31.70 and 65+21+78+14=178]

Added 1386 miles to the F-150 odometer [451+141+193+97+504=1386]

Practice for August in the Kashmir Himalayas

Priceless!

:) :) :)
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
Sep 29 2012
Randal_Schulhauser
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Colorado Fall Colours 2012, CO 
Colorado Fall Colours 2012, CO
 
Backpack avatar Sep 29 2012
Randal_Schulhauser
Backpack15.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Backpack15.00 Miles5 Days         
1,500 ft AEG
 no routes
Colorado Fall Colours 2012

I'm in the habit of booking a quarterly "wilderness adventure" months in advance so I can work my schedule around the dates. After having my first Colorado Adventure into the San Juan Mountains this past summer (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=20996 ), I snapped up the offer from one of my Phoenix Coyotes' season ticket partners to use his Colorado Cottage during the height of fall colours. With a 5-day weekend booked the end of September/beginning of October, I began researching primo fall colour photo ops weeks in advance (check out :next: viewtopic.php?t=7211 ) narrowing down to 5 selected shots from various pro's and trying to figure out the exact location they captured their image.

Image #1 "Highway and Farm near Telluride" by Shane McDermott (check out :next: http://www.shanemcdermottphotography.co ... 2&lb=1&s=A ). Thanks to a tip from the photographer, I was able to confirm location on Airport Road (aka Last Dollar Road) near Telluride and enter GPS coordinates into Google Maps (N 37.952726, W -107.877846). My "interpretation" certainly doesn't do Shane McDermott's wonderful image any justice (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoID=tbd ), but I had fun doing the detective work trying to figure out the location (thanks also to Jake for the Google Maps tip!).

Image #2 "Hay Rolls near Sneffels Range" by Derek von Briesen (check out :next: http://www.pbase.com/sedonamemories/image/139539899 ). Thanks to a tip from HippyPunkPirate (aka Jake) and others, it turns out that this is an iconic view taken from the Double R L Ranch along Highway 62 near Ridgway. It took a Colorado resident to clue me in that Double R L Ranch, as in Ralph R. Lauren's ranch, is known to everyone in the Ridgeway/Telluride area. Take County Road 9 off of Highway 62 and spot the field near GPS coordinates I entered into Google Maps (N 38.118892, W -107.829008). My "interpretation" certainly doesn't do Derek von Brieson's stellar image any justice (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoID=tbd ), but once again I had fun doing the detective work trying to figure out the location (thanks Jake for the Google tip - Google RRL Ranch images and see what you get...).

Image #3 "Aspen Stand and Fence near Sneffels Range" by Jason Hatfield (check out :next: http://www.mountainskyphotography.com/colorado ). Hats off to Jason and his most informative eBook "A Photographer's Guide to Colorado's Fall Colors - the Best Locations & How to Photograph Them" (check out :next: http://www.mountainskyphotography.com/ebook.html ), 14 locations are in the San Juan Mountains! Take County Road 7 off of Highway 62 and spot the open field near GPS coordinates I entered into Google Maps (N 38deg 2' 58.42", W 107deg 48' 31.01"). My "interpretation" certainly doesn't do Jason Hatfield's awesome image any justice (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoID=tbd ), but once again I had fun doing the detective work trying to figure out the location (thanks Jason for sharing your inside information - highly recommend if you are heading into the San Juan's to pick up Jason's bargain priced eBook :next: http://www.mountainskyphotography.com/ebook.html ).

Image #4 "Dallas Divide in the Sneffels Range" by Darren Kilgore (check out :next: http://mycolorado.org/landscapes/san_ju ... large.html ). I found the "Dallas Divide" on the map and noted a Scenic View turnout along Highway 62 between Telluride and Ridgway. Taking a leap of faith, I entered GPS coordinates into Google Maps (N 37.952726_tbd, W -107.877846_tbd) and hoped for the best. Although my "interpretation" certainly doesn't do Darren Kilgore's splendid image any justice (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoID=tbd ), I had fun exchanging thoughts with about 20 other photographers jamming the turnout along Highway 62 trying to capture an image in the waning afternoon light.

Image #5 "Wilson Mesa Property for Sale - $12,995,000" by unknown realtor (advertisement had photo of San Miguel Mountains reflecting off lake surrounded by flaming yellow aspens - unfortunately no internet link). Armed only with a real estate ad from a Telluride Homes magazine I picked up at a Telluride gas station during my July 2012 visit, I looked for various clues in the photo and the map and could only conclude that this had to be Woods Lake on Wilson Mesa. Taking another leap of faith, I entered GPS coordinates into Google Maps (N 37.952726_tbd, W -107.877846_tbd) and marked a route along Fall Creek Road that seemed to connect to Woods Lake. Although my "interpretation" doesn't justify the real estate asking price (check out :next: http://hikearizona.com/photoID=tbd ), I had fun meeting a photographer from Maryland (sorry, forgot your name!) also trying to capture the perfect reflection off the lake.


DAY #1 - Saturday 9/29 After a Friday airplane commute to and from our Diabetes division in Northridge CA, I headed on the road early Saturday to start a 5-day weekend with Lynn and the dogs at the Danzl Cottage along the Dolores River between Dolores CO and Telluride CO. Lynn packed everything we needed except some choice Colorado brews. Stopping at the Dolores Liquor Store, I picked up a 6 pack of Dark Lager by Durango Brewing Company (Durango CO) and 90 Shilling Ale by O'Dell Brewing Company (Fort Collins CO). I thought it was strange that none of the Dolores Brewery or Telluride Brewery beers were available here. Arriving at the Danzl Cottage with about an hour of daylight, I got the well pump primed and the hot water tank filled (while evacuating all the airlocks) and the electric heats plugged in and fired-up (low of 29degF forecast for tonight). With the cottage up and running, time to focus on tonight's BBQ dinner - burgs and dogs...


DAY #2 - Sunday 9/30 After rustling up breakfast of maple sausages and eggs on the BBQ, we loaded up the F-150 and headed along Hwy 145 and the Dolores River Valley towards Telluride. There were multiple stops along the way taking in the riot of colour. Hard to judge if we missed the peak, some trees were bare, some were still green, others where ablaze in yellows and golds. Arriving in Telluride, we headed up Airport Road to find "Image #1" location to re-create Shane McDermott's "Highway and Farm near Telluride". As we rounded the first bend to the north, it was found! Near the Telluride Airport, the road becomes Last Dollar Road (IMO - a fall colour "must" route). We found a roadside clearing onto a bench outcrop that made for a perfect lunch location - mountain views, fall colours, perfect temperatures! After a Tibber-mode flurry of photo stops, we popped out onto Hwy 62 and headed east towards County Road #9 and the Double RL Ranch. Hay rolling was in progress, but not in the field captured by Derek von Briesen in "Image #2". I did find another field with the hay rolls in situ to create my own composition. Next on the list was County Road #7 to recreate "Image #3" by Jason Hatfield. CO#7 has a number of choice locations noted in Jason Hatfield's eBook and I think I found them all. With the sun beginning to set, we left CO#7 and headed back to Telluride (also discovering the Dallas Divide scenic viewpoint on Hwy 62 and recreating "Image #4"). With an alpenglow on the peaks, had enough light to show Lynn Bridal Veil Falls and downtown Telluride. It must have been 10pm when we got back to the Danzl Cottage and fired up the BBQ for our evening meal in the glow of the full moon. There was a strange banshee screaming at the moon - a bobcat in heat?
Hike of the Day :next: Dolores River Trail (actually an abandoned bridge and section of old Hwy 145 near Rico CO) ~5 miles.


DAY #3 - Monday 10/1 Perfect weather in the forecast again as we headed to Durango and up the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton. Animas Forks Ghost Town was the objective of the day - thwarted by a misplaced boulder hitting my skid plate and damaging an airflow/sound barrier plate. Unable to do a field repair, we heading back to Silverton to the lone garage mechanic for miles around. We removed the off-road customized airflow/sound barrier plate and were on our way. Adjusting our plans, we headed north on Hwy 555 towards Mineral Creek and Kendal Camp Ground for lunch. Next up, the Red Mountain Mining Area followed by Ouray, Ridgeway, and another stop at the Dallas Divide (another "Image #4" recreation attempt). Our adjusted plans allowed us to tour Fall Creek Road and the Wilson Mesa area in search of Woods Lake. To my great surprise, there was ample signage to Woods Lake where I made numerous attempts at recreating "Image #5". With all 5 of my "pre-work" images now in the bag (or on the FLASH card), it was time to drive back to Danzl Cottage and a choice steak waiting to be BBQ'd...
Hike of the Day :next: Woods Lake Campground Trail ~5 miles. Check out :next: http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsint ... Campground


DAY #4 - Tuesday 10/2 Today's agenda includes CR38/Township Route 535 (aka Dunton Road - IMO another Fall colour "must" route) and the Lizard Head Wilderness area. With multiple photo ops along the route, we decided to take a lunch break on top of Stoner Mesa via CR-M/FR875 (aka Stoner Mesa Road). I found a meadow/camp area on the top of Stoner Mesa surrounded by aspen stands on every side where we broke out the tailgating chairs and had lunch. IMO - Stoner Mesa Road had the BEST Fall colours of any route we had been on during our 5-day weekend. We had time to hike a few miles towards Navajo Lake from the Kilpacker TH and The Meadows. Great views of the San Miguel Mountains and the Lizard Head Wilderness area!
Hike of the Day :next: Kilpacker Trail ~5 miles (intersects with Navajo Lake Trail http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=13715 ). Check out :next: http://4cornershikestell.blogspot.com/2 ... trail.html


DAY #5 - Wednesday 10/3 Getaway Day - back home to the Valley heat in Ahwatukee. Quite the contrast being treated to 5 days of 72degF Hi and 29degF Lo in the Colorado San Juan Mountains...


MUCHO GRACIAS to the Danzl Family for the use of their Colorado Cottage on the Dolores River
Many elk, deer, mountain goats, beaver, and bald eagles
No TV, internet, or cell phone reception
1 tank of gas from Phoenix to Colorado
5-days in the San Juan Mountains
420 images on 2 cameras
Spectacular fall colours
Perfect weather
Priceless!
Fauna
Fauna
Beaver Elk
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Extreme
_____________________

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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