Saturday, October 22, 2016

DAY TRIP TO MAGGIE GULCH AND CLEAR LAKE

We  parked in Ouray (7,800 ft.) for visiting Silverton (9,300 ft.) and exploring the area again.  For the first few days we had rainy mornings, with enough clearing to do some sightseeing in the afternoon. This day we drove up Maggie Gulch to its head, and on the way back to Ouray also drove up to Clear Lake. Both were in and out roads. 

 

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Leaving Silverton on the Eureka road, we passed the Mayflower mill. It was in use until the Sunnyside mine finally closed after being in production about 30 years. The mill has been stabilized and somewhat restored by the San Juan County Historical Society for tours. The nearby Old Hundred mine also has very good tours. Despite millions of dollars being spent for drifting tunnels and building a large mill, it never was a paying mine.

 

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We continued toward Eureka in the wide valley of Animas River. Tracks of the Silverton Northern railroad ran on the far side of the canyon past Eureka to Animas Forks.

 

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Here we began our 3000 ft. climb up Maggie Gulch. Note the ore bucket on the cables high above the road.

 

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At the end of the road a little mine machinery remains.  A foot trail begins here going to the continental divide on the far ridge.

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This is all that remains of the mill.

 

 

 

 

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Going back, our road winds down to the bottom of the canyon and continues to the right.The road at the  left goes up to another mine.

 

 

Later that afternoon Jo suggested that we visit Clear Lake.

 

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Our road to Clear Lake winds around  after many switchbacks. This is near the top.

 

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The South Mineral road is in the bottom of the canyon snaking its way to the Bandora Mine. The 13,000 ft. Beattie peak on the far horizon is popular with climbers.

 

 

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Here is another example of green, yellow and red blending in turning aspen leaves.

 

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Here is our destination, Clear Lake, elevation 12,000 ft.. The road is about 8 miles long and takes an hour to drive.

I fished the lake several times in past years, with little luck. In past years even in August there usually were snow fields going down to the lake.

 

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Clear Lake is drained by the stream going over this unusual falls.

 

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On the way down back to South Mineral Road and 550, sunlight briefly illuminated more nice aspen trees.

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