For nearly a decade we owned a former gold mining plot high up in the rugged San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, near the tiny town of Silverton. The property was something that we stumbled upon by pure accident during one of our many trips to the region, fell in love with, and impulsively decided to buy it on the spot.
Was the impulsive purchase worth it? Totally! After all, the mining claim was readily affordable… except for the three sealed gold mining shafts located on the property, there was nothing there — no cabin, no power, no water, no sewage, no road, nothing. A muddy access path was punched in by bulldozer as we finalized the purchasing paperwork, and we were left with an idyllic wilderness camping location — one that we could usually access by foot, or sometimes via a serious 4-wheel drive vehicle during the drier seasons.
We were fortunate enough to visit our little slice of heaven once or twice a year during the time that we owned it. If we arrived during the snow season, we would stay in a hotel 10-miles away down in Silverton — otherwise we would camp on the property in our tent. As nature lovers, we couldn’t have picked a more stunning location. Our plot was located on a steep slope, began at 11,300 feet in elevation, topped out at over 12,000 feet, and was surrounded by 13,000 foot peaks well above the tree line — a taste of which you can see in the second image above.
The black and white photo was taken on June 12, 2007 — the last time we camped on the property. There was so much snow — six feet in places — that we couldn’t drive to it, even with a rented 4×4… so we had to hike-in for the last half-mile with all of our gear, which required several trips to the car and back.
The last night that we were there, we had snow fall on us during the early morning hours, and we woke up to nearly an inch of fresh powder on the outside of the tent. Being an early riser, I let Cindy continue sleeping while I got up and explored the magic scene all around us.
Truly, we have some wonderful memories of that time.
Studio painting info:
Schmincke Horadam watercolors
Indian 100% cotton rag 300 lb rough press paper
Black and white image info:
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd digicam