Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ouray and Silverton

Ouray is a very small town (800) nicknamed Switzerland of America. It's a National Historic District where many of the buildings are still standing from the 1880-1900 mining boom. There are several natural hot springs. At the other end of the extreme is the worlds first artificial ice climbing park. It is free and attracts climbers from all around the world.

We didn't know any of this. I just knew it was a scenic town we would be passing through on our way to Silverton. Fuchsia knew that it was home to one of the best chocolate shops west of the Mississippi and that we would be stopping there on the way back.

As we drove through town the first time, a mule deer walked down someone's front steps and slowly meandered across the street. It was our Northern Exposure moment.

Silverton is a former silver mining camp (go figure!). Even smaller than Ouray (531) but at 9,305 feet it is one of the highest towns in the United States. The biggest draw is the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad which roughly parallels the Million Dollar Highway.

We didn't do the railroad but we did do some major touristy shopping (major for me. Probably not so major for most people). After shopping, we hit one of the many restaurants that dot the town. The one we chose was a former brothel. Then again, most of them made that claim.

Fuschia and I had our picture taken at an old tyme type studio. We donned chaps, vests, guns, and hats. The photographer decided he wanted to take a few shots outside where 'the light was better'. That also made us free advertising for the other tourists. Half an hour later we had our sepia toned photos. He used sepia to mask my daughter's hair color. I liked the cowboy look so well I decided I would have to buy a hat before I went home.

On our way back to Montrose we stopped in Ouray at Mouse's Chocolates. Between the 2 of us, we spent close to $100 on candy. I was on vacation after all.

Unfortunately it was 90+ degrees. Needless to say we scooted straight home and put the goods in the fridge. For all I know, they are still eating it a week later. I know for me, one piece a day was plenty.

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