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.