Critters On The Loose: Larry Wasdyke

Larry Wasdyke’s trip along Black Bear Road, past Camp Bird Mine, and a ride on the Silverton train. (Added 2000 July 3)

Black Bear Road

Telluride, as seen from Black Bear Road
Telluride, as seen from Black Bear Road.
A tight turn on a switchback
A Jeep backing up to make one of the sharp turns that give the road the Z & W look.
Zs and Ws
The Zs & Ws.
Telluride is in the foreground. The road was very narrow in spots like it is shown here, with rock on one side and a drop off on the other.
The Jeeps used by most of the tour groups. The Jeep that we were in was a pick-up with 3 rows of bench seats in the rear, similar to the first jeep in the foreground. Telluride is a little closer in the foreground.

Camp Bird Mine

Camp Bird Mine
On the return road from Telluride.
Camp Bird Mine
From the same road almost 180 degrees from the first photo: the road looped around.

Red Mountain Pass

Plow driver memorial
This was a marker on U.S. 550, a few miles from Ouray on the way to Silverton. It is for the snow plow drivers who did not survive the avalanche zone of 550, the “Riverside Slide”. On the return from Telluride the jeep tour did pass the Public Works garage in Ouray and there was a snow plow parked in the yard that looked just the one on the marker.
Snow shed, north of memorial The snow shed, north of the memorial. This is a place where drivers can run to when a avalanche occurs. It looks like a man-made tunnel and allows the snow from an avalanche to pass over the road without causing any destruction.
Pink snow
Pink snow. I was told by a tour guide that the snow left over from the prior winter had a form of algae that turned it pink and made it smell like watermelon. I didn’t believe the watermelon part until I smelled it.

The Silverton

Entering San Juan National Forest
As the train entered the San Juan National Forest.
Along the Animas River
A photo from the train of the train as it wound along the Animas River.
Avalanche barriers
Along the Silverton’s route there were these things that looked like a child’s jacks from a ball & jacks set. They were steel rails welded into the jack configuration. I don’t know what they’re called or their use. If you have an idea of what they were used for let me know.

(In 2004 August, Critter Bruce Hoff supplied the answer: “I believe they’re avalanche barriers. I would guess you saw them in a place where trees (natural barriers) had been removed.”)

Looking down at the Animas River
Looking down at the Animas River.
Looking down at the Animas River
Looking down at the Animas River.
Close to the edge
Where the train runs closest to the edge.
Four hundred feet straight down
The Silverton on the edge of the canyon; and yes, the river did look “four hundred feet straight down”.
Needleton tank
The Needleton tank.