South Mineral Creek Getaway - July 11 & 12
As the story goes,
we needed a break. The pressure of getting ready for Ouray and buying
a house over the previous three months had driven us to the edge. We
needed a getaway before the gathering of Full Size Jeeps to ascend upon
Ouray. We packed out on Monday morning and I boiled Wally over before
we even got to Durango. Then the fuel pump took a dump 8 miles north
of town towards Silverton, so we turned back for repairs at the Checkers
there. Once on the road with new pump installed, there was vapor lock
on the Coal Bank Pass. Of course, Phoebe and Jeepstress churned right
along while I felt less than adequately prepared for the adventure to
higher elevations. Molas Pass was taken at lower speed and I found Wally
could tolerate that better. We made it to the turn off for South Mineral
Creek as the sun was moving low in the sky. We drove above the tree
line looking for a camp site. Wally vapor locked as I went ahead to
look a bit more and Jeepstress stayed and walked the dogs in the alpine
meadow. I managed to back down to a level spot and cooled off a few
minutes before he started up again. It was clear that camping above
the trees would be chilly and possibly exposed to rainy conditions,
so we headed back to a spot we drove by down in the spruce trees. We
discovered it to be an excellent camp spot above the last camp ground
that was managed. The roar of the creek in the background sounded more
like a river to me. We struck camp with the help of our Coleman lantern.
A quick fire was built and we had brats on a stick over the flames.
We were exhausted already! Well, being at about 9500 feet shortened
our breaths to... =8-)
The next morning
was a bit chilly and I made the rounds at camp in jeans and a fleece.
There were incredible ledges along the creek and a few water falls.
There was still a lot of water in the creek for this time of year. The
air was also damp and felt good in my lungs. "We are on vacation"
I thought. "Cool!" We took our time getting going that morning
and before long, Don and Doris S rolled in. It was really good to see
our FSJ friends from Texas. They made the trip in Don's 99 Frontier.
It was more than adequately set for the mountain trails. We all talked
and got caught up on some things while Jeepstress and I got breakfast
cleanup finished. Then we all went to scout along the creek and take
a few pictures. The sun was bright and the air began to warm. We had
heard it was 86 at the camp ground below us. Might be another warm,
dry day. We decided Wally would stay at camp that day and we rode in
to Silverton with the dogs and Phoebe looking to see who else might
be in town from the FSJ contingency. The first stop was to fill the
tank and check under the hood. All good... Then down to mid town Silverton.
Right after we got parked, we saw some of the other FSJers cruising
into town. We met up with Steve, Kenny and Kerry & family at the
saloon. We all sat down for lunch and talked about our trips and got
caught up on a bunch of stuff. The gathering had begun!
After lunch, Jeepstress
went to check on the dogs and discovered serious fuel leak from Phoebe.
Oh Boy! She turned the Waggy around and saw the drippage was not as
bad and went and got me for a closer look. Well, looked like the fuel
pickup had a seal problem. I walked back to the gas station and got
6 feet of 3/8 fuel line so we could pump 5 gallons out with the electric
pump. That did the trick for now. Don and Doris hung out with us while
the other FSJers ventured off to higher elevations. Hey, we weren't
in a hurry to be anywhere. We got the heck out of Dodge and were on
vacation! We headed back up to camp and got to do some more talking
about the FSJ and life adventures behind and ahead of us. Don and Doris
struck camp with us and we enjoyed a quiet evening by the fire. The
only back drop was the sound of water flowing down the mountain.
The next morning
we decided the fuel tank should be dropped on Phoebe and broke camp
early to head for the Ouray KOA so we would have a good place to wrench
and meet up with other FSJers.
I had made arrangements
for Ryan to pick up BeachMaster at our house and drive it up on Wednesday.
More on that later!
on the thumbnails to enjoy the pictures below.