I was again blown away with the lush green peaks as far as the eye could make out. With not a tree in site as once again we were at the 12,000' mark.
Due to our side adventure of hectic repairs on Poughkeepsie, we were a tad later then we wanted to be looking for a camp site. Eventually we came onto a nice spot on the North Fork Henson Creek. Upon arrival we noticed a very loud clunk coming from our companion Dave's 2nd Gen, the only 2nd Gen left on the trip. Turns out his adapter nut for his rear 5100 had come complete off. After we settled into camp the tools where brought out and for the second time that day, we repaired a truck on our team. That was a campfire of many accomplishments that night with many laughs and drinks to go around.
The next morning was very exciting for me personally. As our main trail for the day was one I had been looking forward to for a long time. Engineer pass. The photos I had seen of this trail were absolutely mind blowing. And I could not wait to live it myself. My god, it did not disappoint. From Lake City you ascend up and up riding among the peaks till once again, you end up at a whopping 12, 800 feet. It also is one of the only places I noticed you can manage to escape the vast peaks and view the valleys far far away. But only just. Pictures hardly do it justice.
From here we continued on Engineer and hit every side road we could. There were at least three that we did and each one was different and brought us someplace very unique and interesting. Engineer pass from Lake City comes back into the same area as the beginning of Cinnamon where we had started the day before. This time we continued on to Silverton.
What a cool little town it is. Old Main Street is still nothing but dirt! After we had refueled and a few groceries, we went and ate at a local pizza place. Talk about good homemade pizza! Of course it could have been that it was our first full meal in almost a week that we hadn't cooked over a fire or camp stove that helped make it so great. Either way, I highly recommend it if your there! Made us happy.
Finding a camp spot proved trickier then we had originally though coming out of the peaks to Silverton as most of the land in the area was private. I envy the owners, but they could at least let us camp next time! We finally find a lovely spot far up the canyon and had a wonderful last night around our campfire.
We moved much slower in the morning knowing it was our last day together as a crew but eventually we got back on the road and hit Animas Forks again back toward California pass, Hurricane pass and Corkscrew gulch.
California once again delivered vast lush green meadows as far as we could see. But this time, the mines were bigger. Much bigger! We could not help ourselves, so we pulled next to them to get out and explore them. Out of all the abandoned buildings I have been in, these seemed like they didn't want to die. There was not a creepy odd feeling with these. The mood felt more like they wanted only to be used again, fighting off all the crushing snow they face every year, the buildings deserved to be used. Alas, they weren't. But they made for great exploring and photos.
Before we started up Hurricane, we ran into a group of Land Rovers that were in the area for their annual international meet up. However, one had blown out his clutch on Poughkeepsie and was being towed by a fellow Rover. That would not make for a fun day on the trail. They graciously allowed us in front of them before the assent up into Hurricane.
Hurricane offers some of the coolest views I think we saw. The valley down below looks like it has rivers of gold flowing from the peaks to the green valley below. Someone else had caught wind of this and had started a mining operation at the bottom. The gold was mere hint of what Corkscrew would be like.
At first I thought this pass was mis-named and it should be Cinnamon. I mean look at those peaks! Exploding with reds and browns! But it wasn't until we started down it that we understood the real name. There were so many switchbacks on this pass we lost count going down.
After Corkscrew we finally ended up back on pavement and pulled into Ouray to say our good byes. Several were going to stay an extra night but a few had to leave. It was the parting of the main group and saying good bye is never fun to people you love spending time with. But we had our adventure, one of a life time that we will cherish till our dying days. Hundreds of miles on dirt roads and trails, thousands of miles on the pavement, the newly dealt scars on our rigs from Southern Montana to Southern Colorado. It had been an extraordinary two weeks. This was the type of trip you never want to really end, but just continue on and on forever.
But it was not meant to be as we said our good byes and head back into the reality of the real world. And so ends the tale of our great adventure. I hope you all have been inspired to get out and go to these places yourself or find gems like this in your own area. They are out there. All you have to do is get out and look, and before long, you'll be writing your own story and calling it...