July 12, 2020 Montrose, CO Telluride (Day 2)

It was another beautiful morning! We did our usual routine and got ready to leave on our drive to Telluride today. We pulled out around 10:00. The temp was 82 degrees here, but we were hoping it would be a little cooler up in the mountains in Telluride. We took Highway 550 to the town of Ridgway where we took Highway 62, the San Juan Scenic Skyway, through the valley and red rock canyons.

We started our climb to an elevation of 9000 ft. before we started our descent again.

Up ahead of us was Mt. Sneffels (14,150 ft.), Uncompahgre Peak (14, 309), and Red Cloud Peak (14,034).

The scenery was stunning!

The sun had not come around to this side of the mountain yet.

The road paralleled the Uncompahgre River for a ways.

Jane pointed out the ranch of Ralph Lauren. He had hundreds of fenced-in acres with the most amazing views. We never saw where his house was, but there were a few strategically placed teepees near the road for us to see.

Outside of town Jane spotted a herd of elk in the meadows.

We arrived in Telluride just before noon. The place was abuzz with people,

Telluride had some great statues placed around the area. These are just a few.

In town, we spotted many other Jeeps parked along the main street that had been 4-wheeling as seen by the dirt on them. This group was from New Mexico.

Telluride is a cute little western town with lots of well-maintained older buildings.

From the street, we could see some of the ski runs and the gondola building which had gondolas carrying people up to the top of the hill.

We drove through town to the end of the valley where we found the parking area for hiking to Bridal Veil Falls. This is not Bridal Veil Falls, it is the in the same valley.

From the parking lot, Bob pointed out the Black Bear Pass Jeeping road that he could see from below. We had read about it and seen videos of people driving on it. On the trail, were a string of Jeeps coming down the one-way road at a VERY slow pace. You can see them in this picture. The road is rated 5 stars–EXTREME — with a lot of switchbacks, narrow roads, rocks, no guardrails, and sheer dropoffs. It is one of the most difficult ones in the country and definitely not for the faint of heart. People have died driving on this road…or is it driving off of this road. If you look really hard, you can see two Jeeps on the road in the first picture and one in the bottom picture.

We sat and watched the Jeeps for awhile. From the parking lot, we also got our first view of Bridal Veil Falls. It was awesome even from that distance.

The building to the left of the falls is the historic Power Plant and if you hike all the way to the top there is an elevation gain of 1,380 ft. It is the second oldest AC generation facility in the U.S. It was built in 1907 to supply power to Smugglers’ Union Mine.

Bridal Veil Falls is 365 ft. tall and is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado.

The sign said the hike was 1.2 miles to the base of the falls and mostly UP! I really wanted to go to the base of the falls, but didn’t know if we were up for it. We decided we would go as far as we could to get a closer picture of the falls. We got to this white mound and the view of the valley below was amazing!

We continued on the path which was rocky with lots of slow climbing to check your footing–crawling over and between rocks.

I had to stop often and catch my breath, so it took a lot longer to go that short distance. Maybe I should have stopped to pick up some oxygen in town.

We stopped for a water break and to check the All Trails app which was supposed to show us the path and where we were on it. It wasn’t very accurate, so we kept climbing.

We probably only climbed 1/4 of a mile, but we got to where we had a much better view of the falls.

From there, we could see two more falls.

That was as far as Bob and I decided to go. Ran and Jane kept going and ended up climbing to one of the next waterfalls on the hike. They were gone another hour before they turned around to come back down. Bob and I went back to our Jeep and watched some of those Jeeps come down from their drive over Black Bear Pass.

There were a couple of short rain showers which lasted only a few of minutes. It was a busy place in that parking lot with more hikers and other vehicles attempting the 4-wheel drive over the pass. Ran and Jane returned about 2:00 and we drove back into town for a bite to eat. We parked and walked along Colorado St. where the restaurant seating was enlarged and blocked off to take over some of the street.

We walked along the sidewalk looking for a place to eat and followed some great smells and some plates of food to this authentic Mexican restaurant.

The restaurant was La Cocina de Luz and it seemed to be a very popular place. We placed our order and they delivered our meal to our table in the street.

We were all hungry, so we brought very little back to the campground with us. From our table on main street, the sun finally came around and lit up the area where there was another waterfall in view. This is the view you see driving down main street in town.

Our drive back through the canyons and valleys was just as pretty going in the other direction.

The Ridgway Reservoir at Ridgway State Park was much busier now with people enjoying the water. There was also a very nice campground on the hill above the lake.

Now that the sun was lower in the sky, different parts of the mountains were lit up by the sun and became more visible.

On our drive back, we spotted this helicopter with a basket that was practicing forest fire maneuvers with the local fire and sheriff’s departments.

Bob and I were wiped out from our short hike and all the fresh air. We got back to the campground around 4:00 to spend some outdoor time with Auggie. Ran and Jane went back to their campsite to maybe hit the pool or go for a bike ride. Bob and I weren’t planning on dinner, since we were still full from lunch, so I worked on my blog and chilled in the shade. It was quiet and peaceful in the campground and I had to fight the urge to take a nap. We made plans with Ran and Jane to get together for a campfire later. We returned a few phone calls and got caught up with news from home. A nice guy from the campground saw our Florida license plate on the Jeep and stopped by to chat about Jeeping trails. He was a wealth of information about the trails we were looking for. We found out he lives in Clearwater and came here as a ICU nurse during the COVID pandemic to help out. After awhile, he left and came back shortly with a great book of trails for all different levels of Jeepers. He shared his book with us and gave us suggestions about trails to try that won’t scare the pants off of us. We also talked about Jeeping in Moab, which is where we head to from here. He and Bob got to talking about boating in Florida and Bob gave him some advice about different types of boats he was looking at to buy. He even offered to take us Jeeping if we were here a few more days, but we aren’t. That’s a bummer! We were grateful for all his advice and local knowledge. As the sun started to set, Auggie and I took our evening walk and then headed over to Ran’s for the campfire. We had to deal with a few raindrops off and on for awhile, but then the dark clouds moved on. We called it an earlier night after today’s adventures. Tomorrow we are going to check out the town of Quray and do some Jeeping on 4WD trails in the area there.

2 thoughts on “July 12, 2020 Montrose, CO Telluride (Day 2)”

  1. Awesome pictures!! Hiking at those altitudes is definitely a bit different than Florida. (And where we are in NH.) A can of oxygen and lots of water helps a lot. We actually bought bladders for our backpacks which worked out well for us. Definitely easier to carry and you can sip as needed without digging in your backpack for a bottle. Thanks for sharing your travels! Have fun and stay safe!

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