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Box Canyon Blog: Days spent in wild places are not wasted

Form the bloggers at Box Canyon Blog.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

Peering into the bowl from an adjoining ridge, I found it near unfathomable that 400 hard-rock residents once called this unforgiving place “home.” Over time, the crushing weight of winter snows and volatile avalanches have taken a destructive toll on all but a couple of buildings. Gravity, like rust and scheming women, never sleeps.

The historic Virginius Mine is located in Governor Basin, a mere ten miles above Lovely Ouray. It is a magnificent otherworldly place, hemmed in cloud-snagging 13,000 foot summits of Gilpin, Emma, and Mendota Peaks. Between Emma and Mendota exits a raggedy-ass 13,000 foot sawtooth ridge known as Saint Sophia, the knife-edge demarcation between Ouray and San Miguel counties.

With the brute force of Petroleous Rex, our trusty 4 X 4 gas-hog of a pickup truck, Bobbie and I negotiated swollen streams, mud, and a narrow Jeep-trail—unceremoniously carved into an abrupt cliff-face as if someone double dog dared a road builder to try and put it there. It had been bulldozed clear of snow all the way to Governor Basin, I assume due to reactivation of the “Virginius” (now called The Revenue) mine. But ours was a search for another kind of “glitter,” beyond flakes and nuggets buried in the maze of shafts burrowed beneath these mountains.

To read the full story by The Box Canyon Blog, click here.

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