Pat and I made a whirlwind, two-day getaway to the western slope earlier this month, visiting Ouray, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Colorado National Monument. Today's post features a few pictures of Ouray (pronounced you-RAY), a little mountain town about 30 miles south of Montrose. Ouray is nicknamed the Switzerland of America, and from these pictures you can see why. It's gorgeous. It's the most beautiful little village I've ever seen. There are only about 1,000 lucky residents, and they have a nearly 360° view of the San Juan mountains. We couldn't believe how pretty it was! It's a very small city, so it driving through it only takes a few minutes, and the main road takes you quickly into the San Juans as soon as you exit the downtown. Almost immediately we came upon a scenic spot that had beautiful views, so we parked the car (there was a generously sized parking lot just for this purpose). We could see that there was a platform that jutted out over a deep gorge. I was happy to just take in the mountains without venturing onto the platform, but Pat discovered that there was a mind bogglingly beautiful waterfall to be seen from it. So I took a deep breath and crept out there and holy crap it was amazing. So very beautiful! But scary, because did I mention that Pat and I both have a healthy fear of heights? So we were simultaneously scared out of our minds standing on that platform while being blown away by the sheer beauty of this place. After taking a few pictures (you're welcome, I was scared to death but I took these for you, dear readers), we decided to continue up the road and see if it got even prettier. We saw a cattle truck proceed before us, so we figured it was an easy drive. Wrong. It turns out we were driving on Highway 550, the infamous Million Dollar Highway, which features breathtaking views, hairpin turns, sheer drop offs, and no guardrails. It's a one lane road, and it was getting dark out, and both of us were terrified when we realized what we had gotten into! No thanks! After about half a mile of white knuckling it, we found a good place to turn around and headed back to Ouray. I must say, I've lived in Colorado almost my entire life and am extremely accustomed to driving mountain passes. Even the scary ones (like Independence Pass) don't faze me. But the Million Dollar Highway was terrifying! So if you ever go to Ouray and decide to drive the Million Dollar Highway, it's a good idea to do it in the daytime, make sure your car has good tires and brakes, and be extra careful. And enjoy the view!
Ouray from above. It's so pretty.
Here's a little video I made of Bear Creek Falls. It's amazing how steady my hands were, considering how terrified I was!