Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pass Creek Hike on Engineer Mountain

Jellystone RV Park of the Black Canyon
Montrose, CO
July 30, 2014

Our change in altitude has not been so kind to Joe. Taking the trails in Pearl had not been a problem, but hiking has been...some fatigue and shortness of breath. So, imagine my excitement when Sue and Paul invited me to join them on a hike with their Cobble Creek Hikers Club. Their hike was planned for Wednesday (7/30) about 13 miles south of Silverton. It was early to rise to beat the afternoon thunder storms forecast for the day. As it turned out, its a good thing Joe didn't go because it was about an 8 hour excursion.

Gaining 2,300 feet in about 2.8 miles, this out-and-back climbs the slopes of Engineer Mountain. The rewards are the high-altitude wildflowers and spectacular views.

Right from the beginning it was a mouth dropper for be walking on this narrow path lined with wildflowers as tall as I am was like a dream come true. As usual, I found myself at the back of the line. I sure didn't want to hold anyone up photographing everything in sight...and this was just the beginning! Imagine being face to face with these beauties.

Mix in some Tall Larkspur and Cow Parsley...worked great to keep my mind off the fact we were traversing a steep grassy slope.

 Our climb intensified as we entered the spruce-fir forest...but not to worry. There was plenty there to keep me occupied.

You know how I love trees, bark, ferns, forest smells, damp dirt, green, more green, other colors, shapes, anything that moves...just
 everything about the forest!

So what did I see?

A hummingbird...


tiny bits of color hiding among the green...

a helper...

many beautiful clumps of Columbine...
 red, purple, and cream...

Red Columbine

Elephant Flower

Ram's Horn (Curly Lousewort)

a butterfly...

a lake...
very tall trees and very short flowers...
and a friend...
just to name a few.

We continued to climb past the tree-line. As promised, our efforts were rewarded by panoramic views and fields of flowers.

No one in our group chose to climb to the summit...another 0.6-mile out-and-back and 700 feet in elevation...rock scrambling required!
Summit of Engineer Mountain
 The Montrose-Ouray area offers so much to satisfy adventurous spirits. We have just begun to scratch the surface here. Every second spent in this part of Colorful Colorado has been "the icing on the cake" so to speak. One of the many reasons we have chosen to full-time RV...what a life! I am already counting down the days till we can return. Sue says I must see the aspens in the fall. Sounds mighty nice to me!

 Friends Ronnie and Carol and Dave and Lynn moved on to new adventures this past Wednesday while I was hiking.
Lynn, Dave, Allie and "Red" in the back spot...Ronnie, Carol, Cooper and Jade in the travels to all!
 Today was our packing up day. Tomorrow we head to Moab for awhile. So, until next time...follow your heart...
Alpine Marsh-Marigold

 and happy trails!
Up next...not sure, so stay tuned!


  1. Gay, what a beautiful and unforgettable day you experienced. You will remember this day forever. Beautiful, gorgeous photos of lovely Colorado! Drive safe to your next adventure!

    1. You are so right is for sure we will definitely visit Colorful Colorado again...hopefully many times.

  2. More excellent pictures on an energetic hike.

  3. Just beautiful!!! We hope Joe is doing much better at this time. Looking forward to seeing Moab. Safe travels.
    BTW, I will check out the wildflower book you mentioned. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Gayle...I hope you like the book. It has lots of interesting facts about the flowers as well as all the identifying parts.

  4. That definitely was a day well spent. Looks like some beautiful flowers along the trail.

  5. Beautiful! We hiked that trail about a month ago and it remains one of my favorite Colorado hikes. Nice to see how many more wildflowers have opened since then :)

    1. Hi Amanda...this hike rates high on my list too. It was my first high-altitude hike and one I will never forget. The flowers were amazing!

  6. Another nice thing about lagging behind to take photos on these high altitude hikes is the ability to take a moment to catch your breath! We spent two months last summer at high elevations with lots of very high altitude hikes thrown in and I never got completely acclimatized. But I still enjoyed every moment of being in those glorious mountains! Love your photos!

    1. Thank you Lisa. I guess I should consider myself lucky as the high altitude didn't bother me. But then I did not have the chance to do a 14er. One of my goals in life is to hike one of those least one time. Maybe next time.

  7. I love your photographs, without being too nosy, what type of equipment do you use (camera, lenses)?

    1. Thank you Steve. It's not being nosy, in fact it's a compliment. I have never been asked that before. I have a Nikon D7000 and my everyday lens is a Nikkor 70-300.

  8. What a gorgeous hike!! Beautiful wildflowers:) Yes, Moab again!! Gay, what is "our" site number again?

    1. You really ought to add this hike to your time in this area next summer Pam. It is so pretty and the weather was perfect....highs in the high 50s.

      Site #30! But we didn't take that site for this stay. We are in a back-in #22 because it has a pergola with a sunscreen and really comfy chairs! We plan on being here for 3 months!

    2. Thanks so much Gay! Three months sounds heavenly. Make sure you take pictures of your new site. Look around and give me an idea of which sites I should request. We are looking at April 6th to May 6th. April 5th should be the last day of Jeep week. Since we haven't been there for a year and half, I am sure some of the sites have improved. I appreciate your help:)