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!

Click on the thumbnails to enjoy the pictures below.



South Mineral Creek

Water Falls

South Mineral Creek

Water Falls

South Mineral Creek

South Mineral Creek

Water Falls

Water Falls

Water Falls

Water Falls

Frog on a Log

Water Falls

Water Falls

South Mineral Creek

South Mineral Creek Camp

To Higher Elevation

South Mineral Creek Camp