Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Montrose & Ridgway (9/22 & 9/24/2016)

On my last trip to Silverton, it was apparent that fall colors were starting to emerge.  I figured peak color was about a week or so away.  Having appointments Monday through Wednesday, I looked forward to going out on Thursday to check on the fall color.  Unfortunately, the weather didn't go along with the plan.  Thursday morning was completely overcast, but there was some clearing after noon.  Always optimistic, I started toward the San Juans as soon as I finished lunch.  About fifteen miles from home, I could see the clearing just wasn't happening around the mountains.  I knew it would be a waste of time to continue on, so I quickly changed plans and turned into the Billy Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, an area I had never explored.

The sanctuary is a large (about 5400 acres) tract of wilderness area, primarily used for hunting, camping and fishing.  It is surrounded by even larger parcels of public land, so the total area available is vast.  Some cottonwood trees near the entry showed fall color, but most of the other vegetation is small...sagebrush, goldenrod and gambel oak.  In other words, not the kind of color I was looking for.  Still, it made for an interesting afternoon of exploring, with a little photography thrown in.

Friday was a complete loss due to solid cloud cover, and Saturday started the same.  However, some clearing around noon encouraged me to try again, so I headed south once more.  By the time I got to Ridgway, I could see there was no point in continuing south, the clouds were just too thick.  To the west, there were some breaks in the clouds.  Most of the clouds were concentrated over the mountains, as you might expect.  Hoping for the best, I headed west, but took a few photos around Ridgway.

Highway 62 skirts along the northern edge of the San Juan range, offering some spectacular views of the mountains and several spur roads that lead into the national forest.

In my next posting, I'll pick up with one of my favorite roads into the Uncompahgre National Forest.

No comments:

Post a Comment