Ignoring the Barking Dogs

Phantom Canyon and Shelf Road Drive

This entry will be a bit shy on scenic photos because I really didn’t think I had many that were worth showing. Conditions on the day we took the drive weren’t so good for photographs, but it was good for the drive.

When I take photos, I sometimes prefer somewhat cloudy weather as it adds to the effect of the photos. When it is all sunlight, the photos seem to not have as much color. Sometime in the future, I will post some photos of Phantom Canyon and that area that I took in October of last year when the colors were changing. Those are a lot more interesting than the ones I took this year.


On our drive today, there were seven of us in two Jeeps owned by Richard and our nephew Ray. Ray’s jeep is a Rubicon and he has raised it and added bigger tires for more serious off-roading than Richard has done. Since I was in Ray’s Jeep, it was somewhat “challenging” for this old, overweight gentleman to get back into the Jeep after taking pictures. It was a good thing that he also had a roof rack that gave me something to hold onto while I got in. It is also a good thing that no one took video of that process.


When one takes the Phantom Canyon road, one gets to Victor, Colorado and joins with the Shelf Road just outside of town in Victor. Victor is the site of a very large gold mining operation. In fact, mining probably built Victor. There are tours of the mine, but if I remember right, they are limited to two tours on Saturdays.





While the land looks scarred because of the type of mining, I’m told that the company is already making plans on reclaiming all the land back to a more natural state and is working with the state to get the proper permits and rights.


Going on, we began the journey across the Shelf Road, which is a normally narrow (think one lane) road running from Victor back down to the area of Canon City. While it is possible to drive the Shelf Road in a full sized pickup or car, there are spots where it would be “close” for two vehicles to pass each other.


There are also areas where the road is well up on the side of the canyon. (Pardon the following picture as it was taken through the windshield of Ray’s Jeep.)


We found the perfect “little hideaway” for those interested in living in the mountains. It is even for sale. (Look in the lower part of the close-up picture and you will see the road going up to the house.)



A little further along on the road, we stopped at a curve and wide spot in the road where there was a cattle guard across the road. There was a grate covering what seemed to be a vent shaft in the side of the canyon wall. The air coming out of that shaft was really cold. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what and why that shaft was built, unless there is another mine that used to be in that area.

While I was taking pictures of the scenery, the others called me back, saying that they had seen a bear back down the road from which we’d come and off in the brush. They had seen her go back into some of the vegetation in that area. Naturally, I wandered off down the road to clear some trees to see if I could see her myself.

The others then started chastising me and asking me if I had “ever heard of bear attacks.” Since I couldn’t see the bear anyway, I walked back and Ray suggested that we drive back down the road and see if we could see the bear. We went down and around to another place where we could turn around and started back to where the bear had been seen.

I never did see the bear that they saw, but looking through the trees and behind some brush that would have hid him before, I saw a bear cub. You know, I’m kind of glad I didn’t walk further down that road. I’m sure everyone has heard how protective a mama bear is of her cubs.


I’m sorry for the fact that the picture doesn’t show a really close view of the cub, but that was the best that my 200mm zoom lens would do. Before we even started driving forward again, he took off into the brush where his mother probably was, so we weren’t able to get closer with the vehicle to get a closer look.

The Shelf Road was an interesting drive, and it is one that I will want to take on another occasion when there aren’t so many people along and I can stop and take pictures when I want. Being that there were so many of us and we needed to get back to Canon City, I was hampered by not having the time and also by not being on the right side of the vehicle. Our son, Eric, was actually on the left side of the Jeep in the back seat while I was in the front seat on the right. He had better opportunities to take pictures of the canyon along Shelf Road.


This entry was published on August 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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