The Colorado 14er Project: Day 3

Watch our Day 3 Adventure!

Day 3 of 14

After a day of “rest” we had to get back on the trails. Afterall, if we were going to succeed at hiking fourteen 14ers in 14 days we couldn’t take too many days off. So, on Day #3 our alarms rang at 3:30am, we hit snooze a few times, and finally dragged ourselves out of bed.

We set up a home base in Silverton for the first few days to avoid dragging Little Bear all around the San Juan mountains. This made moving around easier, but also made for some early mornings and long driving days. Today, we had 1 hour 20 minutes to get to the trailhead for Mount Sneffels (14er #2) in Yankee Boy Basin.

When we took our Colorado Wildflowers & Waterfalls photography workshop up here a few weeks prior the road was in about the roughest shape Kendrick’s ever seen it. Once again, the hard working road crews fixed it up and had the road smooth as can be up to the lower trailhead.

Mount Sneffels is an incredibly scenic mountain that can be seen from Yankee Boy Basin as well as the classic photo spot on the Dallas Divide. The standard hiking route ascends the South Slopes of the mountain and is a tedious climb up steep, loose scree. So, Kendrick decided that we’d ascend the more scrambly route up Sneffel’s Southwest Ridge. This route has a few steep, loose sections of scrambling that left Mandy a little sketched out, but she took her time and made it up alright.

Once again, we were treated to amazing weather and decided to linger on the summit for well over an hour! Of course, we had a flask of “summit whiskey” to enjoy up top! Eventually, it was time to begin our descent. On the steep scree slope Mandy opted to scoot down on her butt, while Kendrick tried to stay upright and ended up a little bloody. At the bottom of the scree slope we were finally able to start jogging a little bit back to the truck.

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Our truck was parked in one of the most beautiful places in Colorado—Yankee Boy Basin! This place is known for its amazing views and beautiful wildflowers! So, it made since to pick out one of the many flowers to feature. We chose the Foothills Mertensia (Flower #3).

From the sprawling flower patches we launched the drone to get unique views of the Twin Falls of Sneffels Creek (Water #4). These impressive falls are part of a series of cascades that start high in the mountains and join other streams of water before finally finding their way down into Ouray.

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The drive from Yankee Boy Basin down into Ouray via Camp Bird Road (Drive # 3) was a fun drive in the dark, but it’s hard to beat the amazing views you get during the day! Camp Bird Road extends about 5 miles from just south of Ouray up into towering mountains. The drive is pretty mellow with a few bumpy stretches. Eventually, you can access Imogene Pass Road, Governor Basin, and Yankee Boy Basin; all of which essentially require four-wheel drive and high clearance. If you head out on this drive you’ll enjoy views of 13,000+ foot peaks, flowing streams, waterfalls, driving on a short stretch of shelf road, and driving through a section of road blasted into the mountainside!

Whew… These early morning wakeups and hiking 14ers sure works up a thirst. So, without missing a beat we headed down into Ouray to visit KJ Wood Distillers (Distillery #4). Mandy enjoyed a sampling of their vodka, gin, bourbon, and rye whiskey, while Kendrick just took a neat pour of the rye. We had the joy of meeting the amazing family behind RV Medic, an RV repair shop in Grand Juntion. Warren, Rhonda, Wes, and Marilyn were great people and even surprised us with a gifted bottle of the rye whiskey! Make sure to stop by their location in Grand Junction and tell them we said “hi!”.

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Now, it was 5:30pm and we hadn’t ate all day! So, we headed to Ouray Brewery for some much needed food and a beer, obviously. This place is family owned and operated. We enjoyed some chicken wings and beer while listening to the owners daughter, also our bartender, talk about life in Ouray. This place is always a “must go” when visiting Ouray!

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By now we were starting to feel the exhaustion that comes from waking up before 4am, hiking a 14er, and having a busy day of taking photos and videos. That’s why Kendrick planned Mouse’s Chocolates and Coffee (Coffee #3) for our last stop of the day! It’s hard to go into this place and not buy one of every chocolate and a few ice cream cones, but somehow we managed. We did indulge and buy one of their famous “Scrap Cookies” (cookies made from all of their imperfect chocolates) to accompany our Americano. This was just what we needed to stay wide-eyed awake for the drive back over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton where Little Bear was waiting on us.

We finally crawled into bed exhausted, yet content, with another great day exploring the beautiful state we call home.

Here’s to 11 more days exploring Colorful Colorado…

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Info & Links for Day 3 Travels:
(click for more info)

Fourteener 2/14: Mt. Sneffels

Water Feature 4/14: Twin Falls

Wildflower 3/14: Foothills Mertensia

Scenic Drive 3/14: Camp Bird Road

Distillery 4/14: KJ Wood Distillery

Coffee Shop 3/14: Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee

Brewery 3/14: Ouray Brewery

Images from Day 3:
(click to enlarge)


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