Took a drive up Owl Creek Pass - but the Cimarron Peaks were under cloud cover. The reservoir was very low and muddy; Gary had no luck fishing there - not even a bite! But the drive was pretty...this area is famous for being featured in the movie "True Grit" with John Wayne.
All set up in full hookup Weber RV Park (our first full hookups in a very long time!), we're less than a mile from Orvis Hot Springs and 9 miles from Ouray - plenty to see and do for 8 days. Ouray is "Switzerland of America" - aptly named as it is surrounded by rugged peaks such as Mount Sneffels - and also the "Jeep Capital of the World" because of the number of challenging 4-wheel drive roads; we will attempt some of the moderate, less EEEK off-road adventures.
Our first little excursion: Box Canon Park in Ouray....a nominal fee to visit and a short 1/2 mile hike to the upper bridge, and/or a short 500 ft walk to the lower area (anything more than $3, I may have refused based on principal - but this is much more reasonable than the $12 per person to drive up Pike's Peak near Colorado Springs!)
Looking down from the bridge above, to the bottom of the Box Canon falls; looking across Ouray where you can also see Cascade Falls on the east side of town.
At the bottom of the falls, we enjoyed the tremendous roar of the water, cool damp air, and we even saw the rare black swift bird which nests here in summer.
Stopped at Ouray Visitor Center and took a look next door at Ouray Hot Springs, run by the city of Ouray, which is fed by natural hot spring waters piped directly from Box Canon Park. We have not visited these hot springs which are fairly crowded most of the time, and more of a "public pool" arrangement than the natural setting we prefer.
Our route from Aspen took us north into Carbondale, then west through the McClure Pass / Mount Sopris, hooking back into the West Elk Loop which we had driven when touring Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We were just "over the hill" (Kebler Pass) from Crested Butte. Then we were back down through several coal mining towns and ranching communities, through Delta and Montrose to Ridgway for our longest stay in quite a while - 8 days in one spot!