American mink (Neovison vison)

I nearly divorced Regis today. While preparing the motorhome for departure, he ran in and grabbed the camera and ran back out. I continued to prepare for departure and sometime later he returned and told me he got some pictures of mink. I have never seen a mink. I nearly killed him on the spot for not telling me, that’s why he grabbed the camera. I think he felt bad and he took me back out to see where they were and they were not there. I was plotting his demise. He is very fortunate that I eventually saw movement in the rocks and saw my first mink. Regis will live to see another day. Minks are carnivores and their fur is coated with oil to repel water. They have webbed feet to make it easier to swim. These little guys made me think of miniature otters. We saw otters in Washington State that were very comfortable in the water and on land. These little minks were as at ease in the water as they were scrambling through the rocks and boulders on the shore.

Mink with some tongue action.

We departed our campsite in Silt, Colorado and we are now camped near Ouray, Colorado. We are in the San Juan Mountains which were created a recent 35 million years ago from volcanic activity. They are the youngest mountains in the Rockies and they are stunning. The mountains are crazy beautiful and we haven’t even begun to explore.

I have been wanting to come to Ouray and Telluride since we purchased our first Jeep Wrangler in 1979. I had read this was the place to be for back country driving in a Jeep and we just never made it here. It took over 40 years to finally get here. We now have our third Jeep which is a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. It is made to go four-wheeling, but perhaps not the same as a Wrangler. Plus, it has leather seats. Regis calls it the leather seat four-wheelers. We have already demonstrated our ability to get stuck on this trip, so we better watch it.

As we were getting near our campground, there were lots of signs about low clearance and other road issues ahead. Our plan is to go south from here to Albuquerque. After arriving and checking out the situation, we need to go through a very hairy pass to go south. It is perhaps the worst mountain situation we have encountered with the motorhome. We have 4 inches of clearance through the tunnel and that’s before we start to go up these high mountains to the pass. We are going to do it in the car tomorrow to see if we can make it work in the motorhome. We are considering not towing the car and driving separately. We’ll see.

I drove into town to try to get some local maps (no go) and some Chardonnay (yes!). OMG the town nestled in the mountains is beautiful. There are numerous Jeep rental places. That’s what they say “Jeep rentals”. One of the places was offloading some Razor Off Road Vehicles and they were thoroughly muddy. We intend to hit some back country trails while we are here. Our Jeep is already dirty from being towed so what the heck. More mud won’t make too much of a difference.

This campground also has more tent campers than any place we have been in our travels since 2015. We see some tents now and then, but this place has lots of tents.

Shortly after arriving in our campground in Ouray, we saw this evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus). This is my first evening grosbeak and I was thrilled to see it.
I saw this little Chipmunk (Neotamias minimus) in our campground in Silt, Colorado. He was in a natural area. I usually see chipmunks in areas where they are begging for food at rest stops or campgrounds. It was thrilling to see this little guy being a normal chipmunk.

2 Comments on “Mink

  1. Linda – I agree grounds for divorce! Glad you saw the mink.

    How did you find that broad-billed or tailed hummingbird nest?! Congratulations on that find.


    • As I was walking along the trail, I spotted a hummingbird flying around. I watched until it landed in a nest. I was fortunate. I would never have seen the nest otherwise. It is unbelievable to me that I arrived at just the right time to see it. If the bird was just sitting on the nest as usual, I would not have noticed.


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