Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Day in Durango - Mountains, Floats and Beer

Southwestern Colorado - that corner that contains the towns of Telluride, Durango and Ouray, the Million Dollar Highway, the San Juan Skyway, Mesa Verde National Park and the Continental Divide Trail - is certainly not lacking in beauty. We simply had too little time to discover all that it had to offer. And that may well be why so many choose this area for their vacation year after year - there's just too much to see and do.



We stayed just outside the town of Durango and really only had one day there to explore. Our choice was to see some of the mountain scenery, take a float trip on the Animas River and end the day with a visit to a craft brewery and dinner.


Mountains - 
We started the day with a drive on the Million Dollar Highway - US Highway 550 - between Durango and Ouray. Our first stop was at Molas Pass with it's beautiful overlook of Molas Lake.( There are picnic tables and restrooms at Molas Pass) You can also stop at Molas Lake which has a campground - voted the most scenic campground in Colorado by AAA - picnic tables, restrooms and kayak rentals. There is also access to the Colorado Trail - a 500 mile trail from Denver to Durango - at Molas Lake.







Floats
We had booked our float trip on the Animas for late in the day so after our Million Dollar Highway run, we headed to the rafting office. There are several companies that offer rafting but we used Mild2Wild Rafting. The Animas contains  Class I, II and III rapids when the water is high. Our trip came at a very low water point so it was a mild float trip - with a guide though. Mild2Wild outfits you with all the gear you need - oar, water socks, life vest, waterproof jacket plus a helmet if you would like - and they transport you by school bus from their office to the put in spot. We had 8 people plus guide on our raft - 6 adults and 2 children. Our ride was incredibly mild with only a ripple now and then so it was very relaxing. We helped paddle a bit but it was mainly floating until the end of the ride when there was actually a rapid. I enjoyed it but I think the others in my party were hoping for a bit more excitement. Maybe next time  - if the water level cooperates!


I wasn't able to take my camera on the raft so I'm doing something I rarely do - using other's photos. Both of these photos come from rafting companies and can give you an idea of what rafting is like on the Animas.

Source

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Beer
We rewarded ourselves with a visit to Ska Brewery - a wind-powered, music themed brewery with a twist - you can drink your beer in a second story shipping container with a view of the mountains. And our view of the mountains had a rainbow included!


The shipping container hangs off the left side of the building

Nice frame of the mountains









A bit of the rainbow we saw

Our last stop of the day was Carver Brewing Company (The Southwest's Original Brewpub) in downtown Durango for some dinner on the outdoor patio. I really can't remember what we ate - some pub grub - but we were hungry and tired and the ambience was good so we were all happy. After a short walk around downtown Durango and seeing the town, it was time to call it a night for our long drive back to Denver the next day.





A brewpub patio with lots of bicycles - big and small



A mural in downtown Durango about the famed Jack Dempsey vs. Andy Malloy fight in Durango. Dempsey was from Colorado and went on to become heavyweight champion in 1919

How about you? Have you been to Durango? Rafted the Animas? or had beer in a shipping container?


This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party and Weekend Travel Inspiration!









12 comments:

  1. We've not been there but I really love the look of it from your photos. "mountain scenery, take a float trip on the Animas River and end the day with a visit to a craft brewery and dinner" - sounds perfect to me.

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    1. Pretty perfect for me also! Southwestern Colorado is so beautiful it's hard not to have a perfect day. Thanks for visiting,Jan!

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  2. The mountain views are beautiful! We've never gone rafting but this seems like the perfect place to try it!

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    1. It was pretty calm rafting but if you're just starting out it might be a good first go. Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  3. I have never been to Durango or the southwest corner of the state. I like rafting on rivers but I think I would like a little more flow (excitement) too.

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    1. It's a beautiful part of a beautiful state. Just a bit more difficult to get to than Denver of Aspen. Thanks for visiting, Rhonda!

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  4. Wow, this is beautiful! I haven't been before but I'll be adding it to a future Colorado road trip! Thanks for the travel inspiration! #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. Thanks Jim! Thanks for the link-up - and thanks for visiting!

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  5. What fun! The scenery from the river looks stunning, and the level of the rapids on the day you rafted sounds right up my alley! Not a big daredevil... Love the twist of the tasting room in a shipping container! #wkndtravelinspiration

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    1. It was the perfect day for me! Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  6. It looks so beautiful! We have been to Durango and we enjoyed how quaint the town was. We used it more as a jumping off point to Mesa Verde and to Monument Valley. I wish we had more time to do the rafting trip. I would definitely have preferred your level of rapids.

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    1. I wish we had more time there but there was just so much to see and do in the area! And we are headed back to Colorado this summer and my son just informed me he'd like to do an overnight, 25 mile rafting trip. I replied No Thank You! Ha Ha Thanks for visiting, Mary!

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