Our granddaughter Ashley put on a 1-year old birthday party for our first great-grandchild, Maddie, two weekends ago. We were really busy with working on tax return extensions and had just taken a week off to travel to Steamboat Springs a couple of weeks earlier – but, how can you miss the first birthday party of your oldest great-grandchild. I worked Friday morning and early afternoon then we got in the Jeep and drove to Durango to spend the night. We got up early the next morning and were at the Durango Diner to open them at 6:30 Saturday morning. You can’t be near Durango in the morning and miss having a green chile omelet at the Durango Diner. We headed north after breakfast over the passes on Highway 550. There are 3 passes each over 10,000 feet on Highway 550 between Durango and Ouray, CO. It is a magnificent drive that we have made many, many times over the years. I always look forward to it and never tire of the windy road and incredible views. The Aspen leaves had mostly dropped up higher on the mountains, but closer down at the road some golden leaves remained. We drove over Coal Bank and Molas and Red Mountain passes with only light traffic which the Jeep took care of handily. Just over the top of Red Mountain we pulled off the highway and drove down a little trail to a grove of Aspens with views of Red Mountain.
In years past the side of Red Mountain was the site of Yankee Boy Mine, a good sized silver mining operation in the first half of the twentieth century. You can still drive dirt roads up on the side where several weathered mining buildings remain. In the middle of the picture you can see mill tailings that remain from the operations. If you’ve never seen Red Mountain you owe it to yourself to drive over the pass someday. It’s an experience with the views that will remain in your head for a lifetime.