San Juan National Forest
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There were trails up Silver Mountain, I think at least two. They look well used. I went investigating a road in Mayday I thought would be a promising start, but if I found it, nearly a quarter mile south of where the map had it, the only mark on it is a public notice about Sunrise Mines starting operation again and requesting public comment about that. Since they are starting in 2017, that comment period is probably up. I noticed some unwelcoming signs for Sunrise Mines on my first pass through, so I think some of the public will be having their say for a while longer. Right up until 2027 when this window of operations cease, perhaps. Combined with absolutely no parking nearby, I decided that wasn't promising after all. One of the trails I was seeing seemed to come down toward a mystery road just on the other side of a small lot of private property next to Miners Cabin Campground, so today I'll try that.
|The road is marked "no camping" and nothing more, but it is clearly fording La Plata River right there.|
There seem to be rocks nicely edging the ford as the road goes through La Plata River, but maybe that's a consequence of the ford since some of them are a little wobbly. Still, I can get across without getting my feet wet. Then there's finally a private property sign. Complete with rape joke. Ha. Ha. These seem to bring the greatest humor to the sort of person that would be most traumatized if it happened to them. Anyway, never mind. I should probably consult Alltrails, which does have an entry for Silver Mountain. It's just not very accessible from here. Now I find myself simply wanting to wander around and figure out a little of the maze (well, not so much of one) of road and trail that is available on the other side of the main road. First up is that mystery road that sits unsigned across from the campground entry.
|Some of this is definitely forest. Sign beside a corner of the Comstock Mine.|
This road does follow the route, more or less, of the road shown on my USGS map going up to Lucky Discovery Mine. It clips a corner of private property, but that just means a vanishing spur signed against trespass and another 1986 surveyor monument with the same license number. A little further is a spur into a tight little canyon with a campsite at the end. There are a few recently cleared trees, but it gets less and less use as it winds upward until it looks like there has only been a tractor recently. The tractor dug out a small tank at the side and quit. Trees are down, but they are thin enough that people have attempted to drive over them. One looks like it might have got in a good bit of retaliation once. The road narrows down to a single track trail about 100 feet of intersecting the current route slightly west of the intersection. No wonder I missed it even though I passed it twice.
|There's some nice, big rose hips ripened up.|
|Across to Deadwood Mountain, or a shoulder. It's not that great a day for views, I suppose.|