One of the most beautiful locations in one of America’s most beautiful states is the site of RMOWP’s 2015 conference, and if Mother Nature cooperates we’ll be there just in time for the area’s fantastic fall colors. The conference is September 21-24 (that’s Monday through Thursday), based in the southwestern Colorado community of Ouray.
Named for a chief of the southern Ute tribe, Ouray got its start in the 1870s as a gold- and silver-mining camp. By 1886 it had over 1,000 residents, a school, a hospital, dozens of saloons and brothels, and even a few churches. Today, still with a population of about 1,000, Ouray retains much of its 19th-century flavor, with many of its original buildings still standing, and serves as the perfect home base for exploring the spectacular San Juan Mountains.
Workshops, meetings, and most meals during the conference will take place at the Ouray Community Center, 340 6th Avenue, and we’ll also have field trips throughout the area, including nearby Ridgway, and of course into southwestern Colorado’s spectacular high country.
Although we’re still in the early planning stages, we have nailed down a full-day four-wheel-drive tour for Wednesday, September 23.
Switzerland of America, a well-respected Ouray tour and jeep rental company, has created a custom tour, “Ghost Towns in Fall Splendor,” especially for RMOWP. Heading into the mountains south of Ouray, it promises splendid views of both scenery and remnants of the area’s mining days. Among other things we’ll see all three Red Mountains, several mountain passes, as well as the ruins of various mining camps, including Gladstone. A stop in Silverton is also planned.
The conference will also include photography and writing workshops, additional field trips, sunrise photo shoot, Anne Sullivan writers forum, and lots of opportunities to see RMOWP members’ photos.
You might want to bring your bathing suit for an hour or two in the soothing mineral waters of Ouray Hot Springs Pool, or leave the suit at home and drive the short distance to the community of Ridgway for a dip in the clothing optional areas at Orvis Hot Springs.
Prefer exploring on your own? Our 4X4 guide company, Switzerland of America, offers a number of half-and full-day tours to other area attractions and also rents four-wheel-drive vehicles. Tell them you are with Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers & Photographers and they will give you their group discount rate for individual tours and rentals. See soajeep.com or call 866-990-5337 or 970-325-4484.
For additional information on the area see the Ouray Chamber Resort Association’s website, ouraycolorado.com, or call the Ouray Visitor Center at 800-228-1876 or 970-325-4746.