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Getting Away to Refresh

Book and Bench

This Week's Pondering:

Q: Where is your favorite place, within a day's drive from your home, to get away and refresh?

A: Ouray, Colorado

I travel over three mountain passes, cliff-side and winding for about 2.5 hours to get to Ouray from Durango. The landscape is exquisite. There is no describing the drive - it's one you have to experience in order to comprehend the majesty of our planet.

Ouray is a tiny town with fewer than a thousand people, nestled in a tight mountainous canyon. The town is built on a 16% grade! It's kindly nicknamed the Switzerland of America because of the breathtaking landscape. Dropping down into Ouray from Red Mountain Pass is a thrill. Steep cliffs hang over you on one side of the two-lane road, with sheer cliffs on the other side. No guardrails; and a roaring river at the bottom of a 100-foot drop.

The views are stunning.

Once there, I like to go to the toy shop, O'Toys; and believe it or not, the Ouray Hardware and Mercantile. I can spend quite a bit of time just wandering the aisles picking up must-haves and novelties that can't be found anywhere else. The Wiesbaden hotel has underground vapor caves and underground hot springs. But beware - no children or smokers are allowed to stay there! Of course, there's the Ouray Hot springs, too, which are a must-play location when visiting Ouray.

There are waterfalls and a rim hike around the entire town. There's ice climbing that you can participate in or (for me) watch in Box Canyon located at the south edge of town. You can also hike into that box canyon.

My favorite place to eat is the Outlaw where you can get a beautiful and HUGE rib eye steak served on a plater.

As far as day trips go, Ouray is my favorite.

Your Turn: Where is your favorite place to get away and refresh ... if you had only a day to be there?


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