Last weekend Brian and I had the opportunity to escape, just the two of us. So we thought we would try to get as close to heaven as possible and hike the Bridge of Heaven trail out of Ouray.
I love this small Colorado town, nestled at the base of the San Juan mountains, it has been dubbed "the Switzerland of the West" or "Little Switzerland. If Ouray is the miniature, less grand, version of Switzerland, I MUST travel there some day.
We headed out of town Friday night, stopping at a delicious Tai restaurant along the way. Once we got into Ouray we wound our way up the East side of the town. It wasn't long before the nice dirt road became a 4 wheel drive trail through the thicket of trees. We found a perfect pull off camp spot and set up camp in the back of the Sequoia. (Truthfully this was the part of our trip I was most excited about).
The next morning we headed the rest of the way to the trail head and began our ascent to Bridge of Heaven. It was really, cold; though the sun was coming up we were on the west side of a steep mountain and it was several hours before we finally broke into the sun. This first part of the hike was through a beautiful aspen grove, though all the leaves were on the ground, they were still the most vibrant yellow. A few hours later of switch back hiking we finally reached the summit... of that hill. This was a beautiful place to be, the saddle between peeks overlooking the quaint town of Ouray.
The second part of the hike was a bit more steep and at (obviously) a higher elevation, so our pace was just a bit slower. We found a comfortable spot just off the trail with a great view and had our lunch. The rest of the climb was climbing along a few ridges, but just before the summit we ran into snow.
Though we were prepared for almost everything, we were not equipped to hike through snow pack on face of a mountain. Though it was disappointing to have hiked that far, we thought it wiser to return with no injuries.
That afternoon we arrived in Ouray and treated our selves to our favorite Ouray treat....Key Lime milk shakes from Mouses Chocolates. I was still a little chilled and decided to warm up with an Americano... YUMM! We had some time before check in so we wandered along the main street for a while.
We stayed at the Beaumont Hotel. This hotel had sat vacant for over 30 years and was almost in ruins. The restoration took almost 5 years, and it looks amazing. For dinner that night we went to Bon Ton, an Italian restaurant, and devoured some delicious dishes! Dessert was called Black Nasty, and it was incredible, a thick chocolate moose pie with strawberry garnish and whipped cream.
We took our time getting going the next day, enjoying one last cup of coffee and the breathtaking jagged mountains and headed back to reality.
Learned: I have never been one to find the typical romantic gestures (flowers, chocolates....) all that romantic. For me, this weekend by far surpasses that romantic level.