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C to C 2020
Day 5 - Thursday, July 16, 2020
Cinnamon Pass

Today is somewhat a driving day. Our next destination is the gold mine tour at Cripple Creek Colorado at least by tomorrow afternoon. We could make it an asphalt day - driving US-550 north to Montrose then east on US-50 - but we have enough time so why not check out some alternate routes. A checkbox item for me is to see what the road from Silverton to Animas Forks is like - is it family sedan capable? From Animas Forks, Cinnamon Pass is a yet-to-visit trail that heads east to Lake City. From Lake City I'm somewhat thinking of dropping southeast on CO-149 to Creede / South Fork / Del Norte with a destination of Cripple Creek. In the end, by the time we made Lake City we were in "find a campsite" mode. Not urgent - but that was the task.

While you can scroll through the whole page, you may also jump to a specific section:
0) Web page start
1) Bear Creek Falls
2) Silverton
3) Start Cinnamon Pass trail
4) American Basin
5) Lake San Christobol
6) UPS delivers to the forest

Out from the campsite, a couple 90-deg turns in the road and we're down to the stream crossing.

Out to US-550 for a fuel stop at Ouray

Old mine structure at the roadside

The classic US-550 asphalt ribbon cut into the side of the mountain picture

A couple structures across the valley - tan fan of rock at the building on the right

Info sign
Be on the lookout for these native wildlife species

Info sign
A snapshot of the geology at Bear Creek Falls

Info sign
Pathfinder of the San Juans

Bear Creek Falls

Head'n back to camp to pack and get moving east

We're packed and on the move - heading south on US-550 to Silverton where we'll take the county road up to Animas Forks - stop for lunch then jump over Cinnamon Pass to Lake City

The train depot - no trains today

An M2 half-track. Sorry no full photo.

Info sign

Diann and Mark should recognise these two mill foundations - the older, wooden mill to the left and the newer, larger concrete foundation to the right.

A first for me - the county gravel road to Animas Forks from Silverton

Avalanche debris

With 'just a bit' of snow remaining.

Up at Animas Forks. We'll enjoy lunch here.

On the move to Cinnamon Pass - looking back towards Animas Forks (that would be in the valley)

A bit of mining here too. Perhaps another day to spend some time walking to the structures.

Hmmm - un-natural "straight line" heading to the tan fan of rock. Someone dedicated some time to do a bit of digging and perhaps "strike it rich".

Click for a larger image

Looking east / northeast to where we'll be driving.

I think this will be the last "above timberline" visit for the trip. We'll travel to Slumgullion Summit and Monarch Pass - but I believe both are still below timberline.

On the move with some passenger side pictures

Until we reach those switchbacks

Things are GREEN!

A nice surprise - a beautiful mountain scene. It's called American Basin

American Basin
There's a parking lot in the basin and then a hiking trail up and over the ridge at the left of this picture.

Notice how the trees, uphill from the creek, are blown uphill - the flowing avalanche doesn't stop when it meets the valley - it has momentum and flows uphill on the other side, taking out more trees.

In the valley approaching Lake San Christobol - near Lake City

In search of a campsite we'll stop at the lookout point for the lake.

We have left the asphalt highway with the campground at Slumgullion Summit. There was a campground up at the summit - void of trees (lots of wind) and high in elevation. It'd be a COLD night. We're jumping down on some forest service road that shows three campgrounds. I'm hoping the road DROPS in elevation quickly before we get to the campground / hoping they're at a lower / warmer elevation.

We've driven by two campgrounds. The second looked promising. Moving to the third to check it out - all are within a mile or two of each other.

The third "campground" is now a day use picknic area. C wished to make a stop and while waiting I see UPS coming down, what I believe to be some forest service road - quick grab the camera for a shot. It's 6:15pm and in my book - THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.

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