Do you know why they call it Ouray?

June 11th

When we got back that night from the pizza place, I had a go at some astrophotography again. Both are un-driven of course, so no correction for the Earth's rotation. However the second is centred on the Pole Star, over the lights of the town, so the Pole is stationary, and there are star arcs progressively from the centre. The first is a longer exposure, giving a nice look at part of the Milky Way over the mountains.

Milky Way over Silverton (theoretically)

Silverton under the stars

Perhaps I should also mention that while I was patiently waiting around for each exposure in the complete darkness, on the edge of a town in the middle of nowhere, I could hear strange grunting noises away in the distance (Well...?); bears are regulars up there of course. After an hour or so, I then heard the most beautiful but haunting sounds - a coyote called from the hillside behind the town, then barked/screeched for a bit. About 5 minutes into it's performance it was answered by another on the other hillside away behind me. They sang to each other for a while, and I forgot to stop the exposure, so entranced once I.... ... before hearing another grunt off in the darkness somewhere. I grabbed my camera (well, it is Beth's :)) and ran for it, back to the camper.

"Scared?" Asked Sarah, now wrapped up in bed, but who just an hour earlier had been joining in on JD shots with the locals in the pub. "You should try a shot. I'm not scared of bears or coyotes or mountain lions or anything.... " (Manic laughter) (snrrrrrr).

"Good night Sar."

A nod to Mr Talbot's Haystack

The next morning we had a last coffee at our favourite Avalanche Express (complete with a very strange run-in with the guy serving - he was struggling with the new iPad-based register, and apparently it was my fault he got it wrong when he charged me 18$ for two coffees and a scone). We still recommend the place though if you ever make it to Silverton.

Dubiously, we then headed off up the US550 Million Dollar Highway - to Ouray. You know why they call it Ouray?

Cos that's all you have the breath to say when you survive the road and reach the town.