Black Canyon, Ouray and the Million Dollar Heart Attack!

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North America » United States
May 21st 2015
Published: June 1st 2015
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Heading out of Aspen, we went to one of Terry’s top destinations, the Black Canyon near Gunnison. Based on research, we chose the remote, unvisited North side which had a more narrow and dramatic canyon span. Although unhikable into the canyon on the North side, we enjoyed a perimeter hike including Exclamation Point.

From the Gunnison area, we had to stop at Ouray, “Little Switzerland” Colorado. Years ago, I promoted it to Terry as the location of one of my fondest childhood memories. From my recollection, there was an enormous communal hot springs pool where we swam below steep alpine mountains. Returning as an adult during early Spring years ago, it seemed to be an almost ghost town and became an ongoing joke between us. Determined to redeem Ouray, I definitely wanted to drive through it on our way south to Arizona. This time, we were so impressed with its beauty and character, we actually wondered if it was the same place!

I was almost ready to re-locate UNTIL we drove out of the lovely Ouray valley. I took over the driving reins as we began the “Million Dollar Highway”, the stretch of mountainous highway between Ouray and Silverdale. Coming from Silverdale in the south, you are hugging the rocky inside lane. Going from Ouray, you are on one of the scariest roads south of Ice Road Truckers. There are almost no guardrails or shoulders to give you any visual reassurance between you and the steep cliff. As Terry observed, in some areas, there isn’t even a full white line! Even driving at almost no miles an hour, I was white knuckling the steering around the tight hairpin curves and for the first time in my life, had to “tap out” and ask Terry to drive. It was that scary.

We don't have photos or video clips because we were quite preoccupied to say the least. I did go to youtube to see if anyone had recorded it and specifically filtered for Ouray to Silverdale (southbound), the much more terrifying directions. Here are some that I found but they can hardly do justice to the first-hand experience.




When we finally arrived in Durango, I asked a local resident in a retail store how they handled driving to Ouray, especially in winter. She said they always checked the weather first and if it was
Terry looking into North side Black CanyonTerry looking into North side Black CanyonTerry looking into North side Black Canyon
bad, they took the longer route through Telluride which added 45 minutes. When asked if there were any fatalities, she admitted there were 3 cars that had driven off during the last winter. Two young men (solo drivers) were extracted from the canyon and none from the third which remained a mystery. Ouray is beautiful but I’m removing it from our relocation options!

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


North Side Black CaNorth Side Black Ca
North Side Black Ca
Black Canyon RiverBlack Canyon River
Black Canyon River
Leaving Black CanyonLeaving Black Canyon
Leaving Black Canyon
Crawford, ColoradoCrawford, Colorado
Crawford, Colorado
Ouray Hot Springs SignOuray Hot Springs Sign
Ouray Hot Springs Sign
Mountain Pass to DurangoMountain Pass to Durango
Mountain Pass to Durango
Big Horn Sheep, San Juan MountainsBig Horn Sheep, San Juan Mountains
Big Horn Sheep, San Juan Mountains
Majestic Big Horn Sheep]Majestic Big Horn Sheep]
Majestic Big Horn Sheep]
Silverdale to DurangoSilverdale to Durango
Silverdale to Durango

13th June 2015

Sister follower
Wow~ spectacular with a capital "S" and aye yai yai!
13th June 2015
North Side Black Ca

Sister follower
Certainly not the North Side we know!
17th June 2015

Wooooo Hooooo
Becky, So glad to see you went back to Ouray and all the Million Dollar views along the Million Dollar Hywy. I remember all those little towns you went through, especially Tulluride, Silverton and Durango. Your journey so far looks amazing. Love the photos and Blog thus far. Hope you are well and enjoying life on the "outside"
29th July 2015

Thanks, Richie! It's now been over 3 months on the outside and each day is really amazing. Thanks for following and hope all's going well!

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