Saturday, October 1, 2011
Taking the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and Ouray
Orinda wanted to make sure the sign at the pass was right and sure enough, our gps registered 10,900 -- pretty close to the advertised 10,910!
After clearing the pass, we began the decline into Silverton, seen here in the valley. This old mining town is the terminus for the steam railroad that travels from Durango, about 50 miles and over a few thousand feet in elevation away. No wonder the train takes about 3 hours to get here!
Of course, we had to go over another pass -- Red Mountain Pass, which is even higher than Molas Pass. In fact, I think this is the highest we have been for quite a while -- over 11,000'. This also serves as the continental divide. We were especially interested to learn that horse and mule drawn wagons crossed this very road way back in 1878. I will bet that was a tough journey.
Dropping down from the pass, we entered the classic Colorado mining area. Apparently, this area was crawling with miners 125 years ago and you can still feel the history of those events today.
In fact, here is a piece of that history in the town of Ouray. This is the Western Hotel, built way back in 1891 and still in operation today. Interestingly, Rick's mother actually came to visit the operators of the hotel back in the 1940's when miners still worked the area.