Beating the Heat in the San Juan Mountains

Saturday & Sunday, June 23-24, 2012

After spending a few hours in the morning at the Shavano Valley Petroglyph Park near Montrose, we continued driving into the San Juan Mountains to get out of the heat for the weekend. Shortly after crossing over Red Mountain Pass we turned down the road along the South Fork of Mineral Creek and found a campsite for the weekend. After setting up our camp we drove through Silverton and made our way up Cunningham Gulch to the trailhead for the Highland Mary Lakes. As soon as we passed through Silverton the valley started filling up with smoke, and by the time we reached the Cunningham Trailhead the smoke had become pretty thick and there was even a little ash falling from the sky. We would later learn this smoke was from a wildfire that had started near Mancos.

A view of the smoke in Cunningham Gulch from the trailhead.

Smoke in the Gulch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Entering the Weminuche Wilderness.

Weminuche Wilderness by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Smoke fills the sky with a view of the trail below through some pine trees.

Trail Below, Smoke Above by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr