By Eilene Lyon
Just over 35 years ago I made the decision to settle in southwest Colorado in the foothills of the spectacular San Juan Mountains. I hope I never have to leave this beautiful place. I’d like to share some of my favorite high-country photos and touch on a few aspects of life up high.
Besides hiking and mountain climbing, there are many activities going on in the high country. We’ve gone backcountry skiing a couple times, though usually we stick to lift-accessed terrain.
Ice climbing is popular in Ouray, but that is something you won’t find me doing! Though a large swath of the San Juans is protected as the Weminuche Wilderness, there are many roads in the National Forest and on BLM lands, so 4-wheeling is a major outdoor activity.
Things aren’t always happy in the highlands. There are many risks as well. A couple of local men perished recently in an avalanche. The roads can be as treacherous as the backcountry.
The high peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado are important as a primary source of fresh water in the west. The continental divide splits the state down the middle and serves as headwaters for the Colorado River flowing southwest, and the Rio Grande flowing southeast.
The San Juan Mountains, like much of Colorado, has a history of mining. There are ghost towns and the remains of old buildings created to serve the mining industry.
I could share many stories, but I’ll just leave you with a couple more slideshows to showcase the beauty of the land I call home.