Friday, June 10, 2016

A weekend in the Switzerland of America

So, the end of May found my husband and I spending a whirlwind of a weekend in Ouray, CO - the Switzerland of America. It has been a much anticipated trip for us! It has been on our bucket list for awhile and it was a dream to finally experience all this town in the mountains has to offer!

 Here we are experiencing the San Juan Mountains in all the glory, complete with some miraculous waterfalls!

Upon our arrival in Ouray, we made a stop at a delicious cafe for some breakfast. It is not often that I come across cafes that carry gluten free bread as great as Roast and Toast. Five stars for them!

Our first adventure was a tour through the Bachelor Syracuse mine. It did not disappoint. About 1500 ft in, our tour guide turned out the lights to have us experience the reality that miners faced in the late 1800s - having to make their way through the dark! Our tour guide was of good humor and very hospitable.



Next on our list was horseback riding! I put this high on our list of things to do because I knew it would not disappoint. The lead wrangler of the stables was eccentric and awkward - probably very common for a 60-something-year-old man who has only lived in small towns and been around horses his entire life. Thankfully, he wasn't our trail guide for the afternoon so we got to escape his quirkiness for an hour. During the ride, I was in absolute bliss and felt as if I was floating on happiness. The view was simply breathtaking and our horses were spirited. It was fun to have energetic horses for this ride as they did much trotting and I was pretty much bouncing in the saddle the entire time. The warmth of the sun and the gusts of wind as we rode worked wonders on me! I haven't felt such a swell of unexpected happiness in a long time and I gladly invited it in! The photos below were taken with our cell phones, thus the poor quality compared to the rest of our Ouray photos.

 That afternoon we explored quite a few shops along Main. There are plenty of adorable little nooks in this town, as well as beautiful old structures! It was all so lovely.

Before checking in to our B&B, Nolan thought we should make a quick visit to Box Canon Falls. This was a fascinating little place to behold - and all within the town limits! There are water falls at almost every corner in Ouray! This gem is the culmination of the rushing waters of Canyon Creek which eroded this canyon. We took the walk through Box Canon as well as the trail that went overhead which led to a bridge over looking the falls and town.

A selfie on the bridge, of course!

We arrived at the B&B, The China Clipper Inn, with the surprise of them giving us an upgraded room! Since it was the weekend before Memorial Day weekend and business was slow, the owners generously gave us the choice of one of their themed rooms for the same price as one of their basic, smaller rooms. We chose The Sovereign of the Sea, which was conveniently situated right near to the outdoor hot tub, which we enjoyed later that evening. It's fun to pretend that you live in the lap of luxury for a day! The other photos beneath the ones of the room are of the parlor room/library, dining room, and entry way of the bed and breakfast, which we made use of the following morning. 

 After settling in and relaxing from the long day, we dressed up and went out to enjoy dinner at the Rooftop Brewery which overlooked Main St. It was a pleasant end to a great day!


The next morning, we took a stroll around the neighborhood and then arrived back at the B&B just in time for a glorious breakfast which consisted of homemade blueberry muffins, sausages, quiche, fresh fruit, and so much more. I couldn't stop eating! Afterwards, Nolan and I documented our stay there by taking a photo outside the inn together. Then, we made our way to Cascade Creek Falls, which is another incredible place just near the town. One of the neat aspects to visiting Ouray is that wherever you go, you feel extraordinarily small! The mountains, the waterfalls, and the structures are all towering there!

 As we left Ouray, we made a stop just around the Million Dollar Highway (oh those gloriously terrifying winding drop-offs with no rail guards...yay!) to take some photos of yet another waterfall gushing out from underneath the side of the road.

Do you see me?

 The last two photos above are the landscape between Ouray and Silverton. While there was a lot of snow along the drive up, I was happy that Ouray was pretty warm and green (aside from the snow capped mountains, which were perfectly gorgeous!). Ouray was everything special and unforgettable! It was the highlight of my year and probably the best place I have ever vacationed. It was worth the two years I spent waiting to make this trip happen! And after a difficult and rocky beginning to 2016, Ouray was therapeutic for both my husband and myself. Mountains and waterfalls do wonders to ease burdens and create bonding moments for any relationship. At the end of our weekend, I found myself whispering my gratitude for the memory of Nolan and I together in that quaint little mining town. These are moments that will bring back smiles for all of our years together and that makes me grateful.