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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Heavenly abode

Here goes my travel account... our trip to the San Juan(its pronounced "San Huan" because of Spanish explorer ) National Forest.
After lots of planning, net surfing n little packing we set off on a sunny Friday. We had taken an SUV on rent. The journey would take around 16 hrs. We would be crossing Texas, New Mexico and finally reaching Durango Colorado.
We started of around 11, driving through the green pastures and farmhouses of Texas. This part of Texas is beautiful. There are cultivated farms,beautiful farmhouses, cattle and horses grazing, ranches. We pass through the city of Amarillo. Soon we enter the state of New Mexico and the landscape changes dramatically.. from farms and ranches to barren lands and then to deserts. we pass Albuquerque city by 9 and head towards our destination. By 2 in the night(rather morning) we finally reach Durango. Nestled in the Animas river valley,Durango is at the foothills of San Juan. The city has a victorian charm. Tired and exhausted we retire for a exciting day ahead.
Next day we start for Ouray. Our travel would take us through the San Juan scenic skyway. We would be passing through the mining city of silverton. We start ascending the winding roads of the mountains. The victorian steam engine pulled train running from durango to silverton accompanies us for sometime. The landscape is strewed wild flowers, alpine and aspen trees, gushing creeks and gorges. Soon we arrive at our first stop: Molas pass. We are captivated with the panoramic beauty. There in the center is the half frozen Molas lake surrounded by Alpine woods and the snow capped mountains. We go down to the Molas lake. Never have I seen such a beauty. A poet's imagination is just before my eyes. We move on further in the mountains. We reach silverton, a small sleepy town with mountains rising in all directions. Now we head north along the "Million dollar highway" (named for the amount of gold and silver mined).It takes us through ghost towns of Eureka and then the "Red Mountain Pass" called so because they are actually red in color because of rich deposits of ironore. The Red Mountain Pass is the highest point(aprox 11000 ft) . Another photographer's paradise,the place is completely covered in snow in this month of May. We finally reach Ouray "the Switzerland of america". The high snowcapped mountains cradle this beautiful valley. After devouring a tasty Mexican Lunch (at 3:30 pm) we hike the short n sweet trail to the cascade falls. A small but beautiful creek carries the snowmelt off the mountains.
Leaving Ouray we head towards Ridgway , a tiny town with beautiful lush green meadows. The skyway leaves the mountains takes a turn towards Telluride at Ridgway. But we head towards Montrose where we are staying for the night.
Next day we start towards Telluride taking the skyway from Ridgway. We pass through the Dallas divide , a picturesque valley with ranches , dotted with oak and aspen trees and overlooking the snow capped mountains. The Dallas divide veer us to Telluride, the Victorian city. Mountains rising from the valley, and tumbling crystal clear waterfalls gives a spectacular view. Soon we start off for the bridal veil falls(aptly named as it looks like the veil of a bride) trail. The hike is as scenic as everything else.. small streams gushing out of nowhere, slender waterfalls falling from the snow of the mountains. At some places the trail was covered with slippery snow. Finally we made it to the falls.. "heavenly" that is the only word I could say. Icy water sprayed on our faces, our clothes getting drenched with the mist.. oh it was so beautifully romantic. Holding hands Arnab n myself sat on a rock for sometime....finally we hiked back. After having lunch we start for Mountain Village. The twisting and turning roads take us through green grasslands and aspen groves we make it to the ghost town of Ophir. Ophir is another beautiful tiny valley surrounded by mountains .Time to headback to Montrose as we suddenly see clouds hovering on the mountains..
As were retired to sleep that night, we decided to come back to explore the beauty and wilderness of San Juan.

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