Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
— Our National Parks by John Muir (1901, page 56)
John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist and an early advocate for preservation of America’s vast wilderness, including Yosemite Valley and the Sequoia National Park. While he helped establish several National Parks, he is also known for co-founding the Sierra Club. As Gretel Ehrlich wrote in her book, John Muir: Nature’s Visionary, his “eloquent words changed the way Americans saw their mountains, forests, seashores, and deserts.”
Living in Colorado has given me new appreciation to Muir’s passion and life’s work. These past few days I took a trip out west to explore some of Colorado I haven’t visited yet, including the Black Canyon National Park of the Gunnison, Telluride, and Ouray. As someone who loves words, words don’t quite feel adequate to describe all you see. Such breathtaking beauty.
I know I would have appreciated this trip anytime, but it was especially refreshing after all that has happened this year. To get away, to be in the mountains, to feel my soul revived…
The first stop was Black Canyon National Park of the Gunnison. Thankfully there were many viewpoints still open, so we were able to see quite a bit. While none of the viewpoints are hard to get to, on a sunny day you do feel it, so if you are going during warmer months, be sure to bring plenty of water with you.
– The Yosemite by John Muir (1912 page 256).
Day Two was a day trip to Telluride. This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places in America. You can be anywhere in the town and still have absolutely gorgeous views. We did the hike up to the base of Bridal Veil Falls. It was a harder hike, but absolutely worth it. If you hike up (you can also drive up), you have beautifully inspiring stops along the way, including more waterfalls and vistas. And the smells! If peaceful could be a smell, walking through these mountains would be it. I have yet to find the perfect mountain-ish candle, but if I ever do, I will buy them all.John Muir
Our final day was in Ouray, a town I hadn’t heard of before this trip. Not quite as big as Telluride (it isn’t a ski town), it is absolutely still worth seeing. There’s plenty of places to hike and camp. We did part of the Perimeter Trail and Baby Bath Tubs Trail. The Ouray Perimeter Trail is about 6.5 miles long and when I go back, I’ll definitely do the whole thing. Baby Bath Tubs Trail is super short and easy (so you can take kids!) and has refreshing (so cold!) water to dip your feet in or more.
Ouray is also the start of The Million Dollar Highway. We drove up a few miles in and the views are absolutely stunning. I don’t like heights at all, so I’m not going to lie, I gripped that steering wheel tight, but glad I was able to see some more views.Between the Covers Bookstore in Telluride and Ouray Bookshop in Ouray (which is officially one of my favorite book stores).
Oh and we stayed in Montrose. It’s quite a bit cheaper and a nice drive to all the places. Have you been to any of these places? Would love to hear about your adventures!