The Back way to Telluride

Stopping in at a local visitor center is the perfect way I like to start exploring a new area. The first time Al and I camped at Ridgway State Park was the first time we experienced this part of western Colorado, and I couldn’t wait to dive in and explore.

Lost Dollar

Last Dollar Road – back way to Telluride, CO

And by diving in and exploring, that meant taking the roads less traveled. One of the activities that is super popular around the town of Ouray, Colorado, is 4×4 back country travel. If you don’t have your own 4×4, there are several businesses eager to rent you a Jeep, ATV, or UTV or you can sign up for a guided tour. Free maps are available noting these back roads with a designation from easy to difficult.

This is another reminiscing post about our travels to western Colorado. Although, I will truly miss a Colorado excursion this summer, new adventures await here in Arizona.

Roads less traveled

It was July 2013  ….  Al and I review the atlas and peruse all the information we picked up at the Ridgway State Park visitor center.  From the state park to the mountain ski town of Telluride should be about a one hour drive if we stay on the main roads.  Al and I talk about it, and contemplate our route. “Hmm, we have all day.  What’s the hurry?” one of us asks.

Telluride

This southwest part of Colorado was a buzz of mining activity in the 1800’s.  Even Telluride’s logo is that of a miner’s pick.   This mining activity created a multitude of back roads throughout the picturesque San Juan Mountains.

Today these back roads are available for Jeeps and OHV (off highway vehicles).

Some of these back roads are assessable by regular automobiles, but most require high clearance, and others demand four-wheel drive capabilities.  The roads might be gravel, dirt, rock or any combination of the three.

Last Dollar Road

Last Dollar Road – this road is classified as “easy”

The back way to Telluride

My little red four-wheel drive Toyota Tacoma should be able to handle most of the roads we were interested in and researched.  Al and I err on the side of caution and pick a couple of “easy” roads to explore …. one of which is called the “Last Dollar Road”.  As far as mileage goes, this is a shorter traveling distance to Telluride than taking the main roads.  However, time wise it would be double.  Obviously, we won’t be driving this road at 60 miles per hour.

Last Dollar Road

some ruts were a little deep, but no problem for us.

For the most part, it was an easy drive even though there were some mud puddles from the storms the day before.  The visitor center publication was informative, spot on, and we were glad to have read it before hand.  Some of the ruts, mud, and water would definitely present a problem for a vehicle without a high clearance.  We encountered no problems, and the drive presented some amazing scenery complete with wildflowers.

Telluride

Telluride

Telluride

It was the end of July and the wildflowers were starting to wane, but I was still thrilled with the tufts of color here and there.

Telluride

The drive from Ridgway State Park to Telluride took us about two hours and that included all the photo-op stops.  I didn’t think that was too bad considering the slow speed that the road necessitated. It was a beautiful drive that I would do again in a heartbeat. Plus it wasn’t too challenging of a drive and was relatively easy to navigate.

I might venture to say, mid July and mid September would be the two most perfect months to explore these back roads. Wildflowers in mid July are at their peak and fall colors mid to end of September are at their peak.

TellurideOnce in Telluride, we stopped at the visitor center in town to gather up some local information. Al always likes to ask locals for lunch recommendations.

We found ourselves at a kind of sports bar housed in an old house off a side street.  It appears to be a favorite with locals.  Lunch was good, but nothing special, and I’m not sure I’d return, especially with so many other restaurants to try.

After lunch we headed over to the gondola station for a ride up and over the summit to Mountain Village.  The folks at the visitor center highly recommended this. Pretty cool that the ride is free considering other mountain towns in Colorado charge upwards of $25 per person for their gondolas. The Gondola here in Telluride operates year round free of charge and is a common form of public transportation for workers, school children, mountain bikers, hikers, and of course, tourists.  Oh, and it’s pooch friendly too.

On the way to the gondola, we encountered a farmer’s market and quickly took notes as to some potential purchases we should make before heading home.  A grocery list quickly formed in my head!

Gondola

 

Once we arrived at the gondola, we noticed all the mountain bikers and hikers. The Telluride side of the mountain is pretty steep while the Mountain Village side appears to be more moderate.  That’s where these two young mountain bikers were heading.  They’ll disembark at the summit and ride their bikes back down toward the town of Mountain Village.  We also saw quite a few hikers doing this as well.  There appeared to be very few hiking or biking down on the Telluride side of the mountain. Too steep perhaps!

Telluride

Telluride

With our ‘tourist’ day coming to an end, we picked up some goodies at the local farmers market held on Friday mornings during the summer months, and promised each other future visits to this beautiful mountain town would be a must.

For our return drive to the RV, we took the highway back to Ridgway State Park and arrived about an hour later.  I’ll admit, even the scenery via the highway was lovely, although not quite as beautiful or adventurous as taking the Last Dollar Road but lovely just the same.

It was a great day exploring amongst some breathtaking scenery and we couldn’t wait to tackle another back country road.

Telluride

Al and me at Mountain Village – love the European feel

Another back country road

From our campsite at Ridgway State Park, I had an unobstructed view of unique rock formations known as Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock. My curiosity was piqued and I once again scoured the maps and information that I’d picked up at the visitor center.  The map indicates there’s a back country road labeled as easy that will take me closer to this mountain range.

Ridgway State Park Colorado Site 3

We catch County Road 10 just a couple of minutes south of our camp at Ridgway State Park and head east toward Chimney Rock.  The road is wide and gravel and no four-wheel drive is necessary. We pass some of the most beautiful ranches with unbelievable views.

Ranches near Ridgway Colorado and Owl Creek Pass with Courthouse Rock in the background

Somewhere along this stretch is the field where they filmed John Wayne taking on the bad guys in the movie “True Grit”…. reins in teeth and guns a-blazing.

Ranches near Ridgway Colorado

We continue our trek up and over Owl Creek Pass toward Silver Jack Reservoir.  Although the road is gravel, it’s in great shape and easy to negotiate. This is the perfect Owl Creek Pass Ridgway Coloradodrive for anyone who has a problem with altitude because it doesn’t go much above 10,000 feet in elevation and there aren’t any sheer drop offs for those with a fear of heights.

It’s a great excursion easing oneself into the remote countryside. However, the views aren’t nearly as spectacular as the other mountain passes. Much of this road meanders through forested land.

Silver Jack Reservoir and Campground is about a 21 mile drive from Highway 550 and not the preferred route for RV’s.  The easier route to take for campers would be from the town of Cimarron off Highway 50.

Silver Jack Lake near Ridgway Colorado

Silver Jack Lake, Colorado

The Silver Jack Campground sits in a forest of Aspen and Pine trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest.  Some of the sites are large enough to accommodate our 31′ Fifth Wheel, but there’s no internet service.  We couldn’t even get one bar on our phones 😦 We didn’t find the reservoir to be easily accessible, finding only one road leading down to the water’s edge.  There were, however, numerous hiking trails.

Owl Creek Pass, Colorado

Back road near Owl Creek Pass, Colorado

This was another great driving excursion offering us some beautiful scenery and solitude.

Still on my list

Our time in the area was over before we knew it, and I still had a few more back country excursions on my list. Unfortunately, those roads will have to wait for another time…. there’s Imogene Pass and Engineer Pass, but the Yankee Boy Basin Road remained at the top of my list. It’s classified as moderate and four-wheel drive is highly recommended.  We shouldn’t have any trouble driving Yankee Boy Basin with the Tacoma, but it would be a more challenging drive than Owl Creek Pass or Last Dollar Road.

Mid July, when wildflowers are blooming, would be the perfect time to visit and do a little high country hiking at the end of this out and back road – that is, if I think I can handle the high altitude.

Columbine flower Colorado's state flower

For those of us looking for an “extreme” Colorado adventure, check out this video of Black Bear Pass. This is the one pass vehicle rental companies will not allow you to drive with their equipment. If you do not have your own Jeep/UTV or you don’t feel experienced enough to negotiate this treacherous pass, but are still interested in experiencing this adrenal filled excursion, there are tours available in the town of Ouray – something that’s on my bucket list.

Black Bear Pass is a one way single lane road starting from just outside of the town of Ouray and traversing up and over the mountain into the town of Telluride. The road is only open starting sometime in July and closing sometime in September. Because there have been fatalities, (ya know – folks rolling off the side of the mountain) there are talks of closing off access to this high country pass. So knowing that, would you be interested in such an excursion? I’m game, if you are!

Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue – John Muir

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RVing in Colorado

This will be the second summer in a row that we won’t be spending any time in Colorado… sigh! I love Colorado and called it home for over twenty years. Once we sold our Colorado home and moved into the RV full-time, we still continued to spend our summers meandering around the state, that is, up until last year.

Cherry Creek, Colorado

The RV has allowed us to explore and see parts of Colorado that we never had the opportunity to experience while living in our sticks and bricks house. And while we aren’t returning to Colorado this summer by choice, that doesn’t mean a part of me isn’t missing it.

We arrived at our summer ‘home’ in Prescott, Arizona on the 1st of May and were quickly reminded how weather in the high country likes to surprise us with one last winter storm before giving way to spring.

Our home for the summer in Prescott Valley, Arizona – photo taken May 2nd 🙄

Our first full day in Prescott Valley brought inclement weather in the form of rain, thunder, hail and sleet. Al and I chuckled as the loud sound of hail pummeling the roof of the RV made having a conversation impossible. After five minutes, the hail stopped leaving in its wake a thin layer of white covering the landscape which fortunately melted quickly. And also fortunate, the hail was small in size and caused no damage.

This spring storm reminded me of Colorado and made me smile as fond memories flooded my mind. With that said, I thought I’d do a little reminiscing by sharing with you one of my favorite mountain towns in Colorado. Here’s a blog post I wrote a while back….

Everyone’s Favorite Mountain Town

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like Telluride, Colorado.  If I had to recommend one Colorado mountain town to visit, it would definitely be Telluride.  There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, how could anyone resist a place where there’s usually a herd of elk in a meadow on the edge of town welcoming visitors to the area?

Telluride, Colorado

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting this charming mountain town a few times over the past few years and each visit was truly a joy.  First off, Telluride is beautiful.  I mean, drop dead gorgeous. It sits in a canyon surrounded by steep forested mountains and cliffs along with the stunning Bridal Veil Falls seen at the far end of the canyon.

Telluride was founded in 1878 as a mining settlement.  By the 1970’s, the extensive mining in the area was replaced by ski tourism.  By the mid 1990’s, Colorado’s best kept secret was discovered by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, and Oliver Stone.

Although Telluride is well-known for outstanding ski slopes, the summer months have actually become more popular with tourists as the town hosts a variety of festivals, including film festivals and endurance events all summer long.  The outdoor recreation is fantastic and even offers extreme hiking: Via Ferrata.

Via Ferrata

Via Ferrate in Telluride. Photo courtesy of Wiki

Telluride, CO

Newer home styles seem to blend in well with the surroundings.

I love the architecture in Telluride. Each structure is one of a kind. There’s a beautiful blend of old and new which captivates my attention and appeals to my taste. There’s a hiking trail that allows one to wander from town all the way out toward Bridal Veil Falls allowing a visitor to admire the houses along the way …. each unique and attractive.

Telluride, CO

I was in love with these houses – restored 1800’s

Trivia:  The famous bank robber, Butch Cassidy, committed his first recorded major crime in Telluride by robbing the San Miguel Valley Bank in 1889 and exiting the bank with over $24,000.

Telluride, Colorado

This charming Rocky Mountain town located in southwestern Colorado is most definitely worth a visit and goes to the top of my favorites list.  The town boasts a population of less than 3,000 and sits at an elevation of 8,750 feet.

Bridal Veil Falls

At the base of Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls in the far distance

We’ve enjoyed hikes to Bridal Veil Falls, shopped the Friday morning Farmer’s Market, and taken the free Gondola ride – a bonus not to be missed. We’ve taken a back country 4×4 road to get to Telluride which I call the ‘back way’.  We’ve eaten at several tasty restaurants, met fellow bloggers for a brew, and generally savored the vibe and beauty that is quintessential Telluride.

Where to eat in Telluride

We’ve eaten at several restaurants throughout town but our personal favorites are eating at the local farmers market or Smuggler’s Brewery. At Smuggler’s Brew Pub, they serve up a great burger along with some tasty brews. Al always orders a beer called “Debauchery“. With its 10% alcohol content, it’s served in a brandy sniffer in lieu of the normal beer glass. With Debauchery’s high alcohol content combined with Telluride’s near 9,000 foot elevation, one drink is usually hubby’s limit, especially if I’ve planned lots of walking afterwards 😄

Telluride, Colorado

Camping near Telluride

Whenever we’ve visited Telluride, we’ve always camped at Ridgway State Park, about an hours drive away.  The park offers sites accommodating tents and large RV’s alike.  Ridgway State Park is one of our favorite campgrounds in western Colorado.

Tee PeeMuch closer to Telluride is a delightful National Forest Campground;  Sunshine Campground.  The campground is super close to Mountain Village where one can park and catch the free gondola taking you up and over the mountain into Telluride.

We would love to stay at the Sunshine Campground due to its stunning views and near proximity to Telluride, but unfortunately, we’d barely fit into a couple of sites and the turning radius to navigate into and around this campground is tighter than our comfort level allows, but this campground is perfect for smaller RV’s.

Further down the road is the Matterhorn Campground, also a National Forest Campground, and this place can accommodate just about anyone, but finding an available site might prove to be difficult. It’s a very popular place.

 For those traveling with tents, vans, or small RV’s,     the perfect place to camp to really immerse oneself     into the Telluride lifestyle is the Telluride Town Park   Campground.  Nestled in a grove of pine trees along   a   creek, it’s within walking distance to festival   venues,   restaurants, and shops.  Obviously where   there are   trees, there are low branches and tight   turning   radius’.  Thus, not an option for us.  Once   again, small   RV’s have the advantage.

Note; during festivals this campground is jam-packed making it difficult for even a Honda Civic to navigate.

Lodging in Telluride

And when it comes to other types of lodging, should camping not be your thing, Telluride has it all.  Check out this guide for more information on planning your visit to Telluride, one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns, and enjoy your own Rocky Mountain getaway. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

With so much natural beauty along with an abundance of things to see and do, it’s no wonder Telluride could easily be referred to as ‘everyone’s favorite mountain town‘.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away – Maya Angelou

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Everyone’s Favorite Mountain Town

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like Telluride, Colorado.  If I had to recommend one Colorado mountain town to visit, it would definitely be Telluride.  There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy and how could anyone resist a place where there’s usually a herd of elk in a meadow on the edge of town welcoming visitors to the area?Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, ColoradoWe’ve had the pleasure of visiting this charming mountain town a few times over the past three years and each visit was truly a joy.  First off, Telluride is beautiful.  It sits in a canyon surrounded by steep forested mountains and cliffs with the stunning 365 foot Bridal Veil Falls seen at the far end of the canyon.

Telluride was founded in 1878 as a mining settlement.  By the 1970’s, the extensive mining in the area was replaced by ski tourism.  By the mid 1990’s, Colorado’s best kept secret was discovered by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, and Oliver Stone.

Although Telluride is well-known for outstanding ski slopes, the summer months have actually become more popular with tourists as the town hosts a variety of festivals (including film festivals) and endurance events all summer long.  The outdoor recreation is fantastic and even offers extreme hiking: Via Ferrata.

Via Ferrata

Via Ferrate in Telluride. Photo courtesy of Wiki

Telluride, CO

Newer home styles seem to blend in well with the surroundings.

The architecture is a beautiful
blend of old and new that always
captivates my attention.

There’s a hiking trail that allows one to wander from town all the way out toward Bridal Veil Falls.

The houses passed along the way are unique and delightful.

Telluride, CO

love these 1800’s restored homes

 

Tidbit:  The famous bank robber, Butch Cassidy, committed his first recorded major crime in Telluride by robbing the San Miguel Valley Bank in 1889 and exiting the bank with over $24,000.Telluride, Colorado

This charming Rocky Mountain town located in southwestern Colorado is most definitely worth a visit and goes to the top of my list;  Top 5 Colorado mountain towns.  The town boasts a population of less than 3,000 and sits at an elevation of 8,750 feet.

Bridal Veil Falls

At the base of Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls in the far distance

We’ve enjoyed hikes to Bridal Veil Falls, shopped the Friday morning Farmer’s Market, and loved the free Gondola rides; a bonus not to be missed. Previously we’ve taken a back country 4×4 road to get to Telluride.  You can read about that excursion here.  We’ve eaten at several tasty restaurants, met fellow blog followers for a brew, and generally savored the vibe and beauty that is quintessential Telluride.  I can’t wait to return!Telluride, Colorado

Camping:  Whenever we’ve visited Telluride, we’ve camped at Ridgway State Park, about an hours drive away.  The park offers sites accommodating tents and large RV’s alike.  Ridgway State Park is one of our favorite campgrounds.  I did a post on the area a while ago and you can find it here.

Tee PeeMuch closer to Telluride is a delightful National Forest Campground;  Sunshine Campground.  We would love to stay here due to its stunning views and near proximity to Telluride.  It’s super close to Mountain Village where one can park and catch the free gondola taking you up and over the mountain into Telluride.  Unfortunately, we might only fit into a couple of sites and the turning radius to navigate into and around this campground is tighter than our comfort level allows.

Further down the road is the Matterhorn Campground, also a National Forest Campground and this place can accommodate just about anyone.

For those traveling with tents, vans, or small RV’s, the perfect place to camp to really immerse oneself into the Telluride lifestyle is the Telluride Town Park Campground.  Nestled in a grove of pine trees along a creek, it’s within walking distance to festival venues, restaurants, and shops.  Obviously where there are trees, there are low branches and tight turning radius’.  Thus, not an option for us.  Once again, small RV’s have the advantage.  Note; during festivals this campground is jam-packed making it difficult for even a Honda Civic to navigate.

And when it comes to other types of lodging, Telluride has it all.  Click here for more info and enjoy your own Rocky Mountain getaway. I promise, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Telluride Trails: Hiking Passes, Loops, and Summits of Southwest Colorado (The Pruett Series)
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Two Cents Tuesday Challenge – Silly

Last week we met up with some folks in the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado.  This famous ski town located in southwest Colorado is full of charm and character…. graced with stunning scenery, fun eateries, plenty of festivals, and frequented by Hollywood stars.

Telluride Colorado

The town of Telluride. Photo taken from the Gondola

Telluride has a low-key vibe and lack of pretentiousness that has Al and me coming back at every opportunity; not that we’ve had that many opportunities mind you.  As a matter of fact, last week will only make our third visit to this awesome mountain town.  The reason for the visit, even though we don’t really need a reason, was to meet up with fellow bloggers Barb and Maynard.

Elk in Colorado

As we approach the town of Telluride, we see a herd of Elk in the distance.

Elk in Colorado

I zoom in on this female Elk

Smuggler's Brew Pub

The main street in Telluride. Photo taken last summer.

Al and I always get a kick out of meeting folks from the blogosphere.  Sometimes we have a vague idea of what they look like, but many times we don’t….. especially if they don’t write a blog themselves.  Then we not only don’t know what they look like but also don’t know anything about them.   However, they sure have plenty of info on us from this blog.

That said, Maynard and I started communicating via email when he realized our travels would be taking us in similar directions at similar times.  He and I set up a date, time, and place to meet – Smuggler’s Brew Pub in Telluride.

Al and I entered the Pub and I was immediately greeted with a “INGRID” followed by a huge hug.  Ok….. I assumed this must be Maynard LOL. The four of us continued introductions and when we realized the Smuggler’s Brew Pub wouldn’t be ready for the lunch service for a while (can’t always believe what you read on the internet), I stepped up to the plate as tour guide.  This was Maynard and Barb’s first visit to Telluride.

I whisked hubby and my 2 blog followers toward the gondola for a bird’s-eye view of Telluride.  The gondola is viewed as public transportation and is free to the public.  (“Hey, Aspen – you might want to take note”.)  Little did I realize, Barb was none too fond of heights or gondolas.  Oops, perhaps I should’ve asked!  The three of us did manage to poke a little fun at her, and she was a good sport, but when I went to open the window…..she was quick to exuberantly exclaim “NO!”, thinking I was going to open the door.  It’s locked, silly 😉

Telluride Colorado

Me behind Barb….she had no idea what Maynard had gotten her into!

After that little sightseeing tour, it was back to the Smuggler’s Brew Pub where the guys imbibed in a brew called “Debauchery”.  Need I say more?  Drinks and lunch were delicious and we would definitely recommend the place.

Telluride Colorado

Maynard being silly

Following lunch, the tour guide reappeared for a side trip to Bridal Veil Falls.  Since this visit was still early in the season, the one lane gravel road up to the base of the falls was closed.  So a long distance view would need to suffice.  Maynard and I had our cameras out and there were lots of joking and silliness going on.  Turns out, hubby and I were Maynard and Barb’s FIRST blogger meet up.  Ta, da….. virgins no longer!

Bridal Veil Falls Telluride

Maynard and Barb on the left – Al and me on the right – Bridal Veil Falls in the background

Obviously, Al and I are working on our social skills; overcoming our shy, quiet, conservative, and introverted ways…….        I know – SILLY!

Two cents Tuesday Challenge – Silly
Of course – I know it’s Friday and I’m posting a “Tuesday” Challenge.  I’m still within rule #4. Perhaps I’ll post a Friday challenge on a Tuesday.  I do live on ‘RV’ time after all  🙂

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography

Feeling Great!

Al turns onto my brother’s circular driveway with ease and plenty of room to spare.  Within minutes we’re plugged in and have the RV set up.  It’s lunch time.  While I whip us up a couple of sandwiches, Al raises the blinds and opens some windows.  He comments, “Wow, Ingrid.  Check out these views”.  We have some pretty darn good views of Grand Junction’s Bookcliff mountains.  Great views, great price, great company…..brother and sister-in-law may regret extending the invitation for us to stay in their driveway for the week.

With lunch complete, Al’s off to run some errands while I contemplate a blog post…..

Ouray

San Juan Mountains, Ouray, CO

As I sit in my comfy chair in the RV staring out the window…..actually admiring the view. I have my laptop on my lap.  I think about the past week.  We enjoyed plenty of hiking and exploring.  The weather wasn’t always agreeable but we managed. I review our time spent camped at Ridgway State Park.  What exactly is it about this place that we’re drawn to?  Probably the location….the location is awesome;Ouray Colorado

Ouray, Colorado

Ouray, Colorado  (pronounced – your ray)

  • The town of Montrose is only twenty minutes to the north providing us with a large grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, and more.  To the south are the towns of Ridgway five minutes away and lovely Ouray just another 10.
  • Plenty of hiking trails out our front door with plenty more a short drive away
  • Views…..beautiful Colorado scenery in all directions
  • Exploring…..abundant amount of ghost towns, old mines, and 4×4 roads
  • A lake for kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and more

    Ridgway Lake

    Ridgway State Park. You can see the RV’s beyond the water. We’re camped on that hill.

As I compose this list, the word ‘hiking’ jumps off the page….it makes me smile.  It feels great to be back out hiking again.  For about a three year period, hubby and I were confronted with some difficult times that left us physically and emotionally exhausted.  Perhaps one day I’ll share.  For now, let me just say, exercising took a back seat.

Our first two months on the road, hubby and I focused on recovering.  Recovering not only from the events of the past 3 years but the physical move from a sticks n bricks house into a RV.  Our decision to go full-time wasn’t planned over a long period of time.  It just kind of evolved naturally over a few months and on a whim.  And then the house sold in 48 hours.  Yikes, we went into overdrive.  Exhausting to say the least.

I can honestly say, hubby and I are feeling more like ourselves than we have in a very long time.  We’re back in hiking mode and feeling better for it.  We started our hiking endeavor off slow by taking the “nature trail” at Ridgway State Park.  It’s more of an interpretative trail with plaques describing plants, geological items, and an authentic tee pee.Nature Trail

And from there….. as Emeril would say, we took it up a notch.  The hiking got longer and more challenging.  Sometimes we would hike an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening or we’d hike two hours in the morning, aware weather was approaching later in the day.  One way or the other, we found ourselves out on the trails every day.  Yep, the paws have been hurting, but in a good way.

Telluride

Hiking the 4×4 road to Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, Colorado

TellurideWe hiked every trail at Ridgway State Park; some easier than others.  However, our real push was tackled in Telluride when we hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls.

From the Pandora Mill to the falls is a 1.8 mile distance with a 1200 foot elevation gain.  At the top of the falls is a restored house/power plant that provides 25 percent of Telluride’s demand for electricity.  Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free falling fallings in the state of Colorado; 365 feet in length.

The hike took Al and me approximately two hours round trip.  Elevation around 10,000 feet.

Telluride

The Pandora Mill is near the bottom by the Mill’s runoff pools. That’s where we parked the truck. The town of Telluride off in the distance.

Al and I felt great after completing this hike.  It had been the longest and most challenging to that point.

Telluride

Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, Colorado

We drive back into the town of Telluride, park the car, and walk the main street looking for a place for lunch.  We enjoyed a great burger at Flora Dora’s Saloon.  Always on the lookout for cute T-shirts, after lunch Al asks if I’d like to browse the shops a bit.  “Sure I’d like to, but these paws are telling me otherwise”.  Time to head back to camp and tackle another hike tomorrow.Telluride

Telluride

Telluride

Hiking the road back down.

Telluride

Stunning scenery all around

Telluride

We drive through a residential area in Telluride on our way to Bridal Veil Falls. Such cute houses!

No Invitation?

squirrelWell….I waited….and waited….and then waited some more.  But received no invitations from my good friends;  Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise.  These well-known folks all own property in or near Telluride, Colorado.

I remember watching Oprah’s special when she visited Ralph Lauren’s 17,000 acre ranch just outside the town of Ridgway.  The scenery resonated through the camera lens and was spectacular and it’s even more stunning in person.  Ah, to call this home!  Well, I can….at least for the week.

Ralph Lauren

part of this valley is the Double RL Ranch – Ralph Lauren’s Ranch

As Al and I head west on Highway 62; destination Telluride, hubby somewhat perturbed by my slow driving speed and wandering eye, finally asks, “What are you looking for?  You know we have at least 10 to 12 miles before our turn to the Last Dollar Road?”  “I’m looking for Ralph Lauren’s place”, I quietly comment.  In a rather sarcastic tone, Al says, “And why?  Oh, let me guess.  We’ve been invited for dinner…..whatever shall I wear!”

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren enjoys an unobstructed view of Mt. Sneffels

I proceed to tell Al about the Oprah special.  My natural curiosity in all things Real Estate related, has me being a nosey-kins.  Come on….I made my living by buying and selling Real Estate and just because I live in an RV does not negate my general interest in Real Estate.  I have and will always have an interest in Real Estate.Last Dollar

teepee

teepee at Ridgway SP

“Look Al, look…. that’s Ralph Laurens fence”, I exuberantly exclaim.  “Ooh, ah….and what a lovely fence it is”, Al responds in that I don’t give a crap kind of tone.  I’m happy.  I’m excited.  I comment, “Now look for Teepees, honey. I wonder if we can see his Teepees or buildings.  Wow, this fence just doesn’t end, does it”.  We turn onto Last Dollar Road and somewhere along the way the fence style changed, leading us to believe one ranch property ended and someone else’s began.

The land around here is gorgeous.  As we come around a bend in the road, I come to a screeching halt….well not exactly screeching…..  I’m on gravel after all.  I did form a cloud of dust though from the sudden stop.  “Now there’s a fixer upper”, I exclaim.  Al tilts his head to the side, raises an eyebrow, and smiles giving me that look of, “you can’t be serious”.  Ok, moving on.fixer upper

For the next hour and a half we travel through some gorgeous back country accompanied by numerous side roads clearly marked Private Property or No Trespassing.  During the 19th and early 20th centuries mining, agriculture, and ranching were the primary industries.  Mining disappeared, but ranching and agriculture are still big business around here, as evidenced by all the cattle we saw today.

Ranch

Last Dollar Ranch- it’s actually For Sale….if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it –              So I’ve been told 😉

Telluride

Aspen Tree

As we exit the forest of Aspen trees, we are greeted with an amazing vista.  The road eventually widens and improves.  We start passing a home here and there.  Some small and some LARGE.  I’m drawn to a huge house positioned on a mesa surrounded by mountain views.  It has all the rustic elements of Colorado architecture with all the grandeur you would expect from a celebrity.  “Now THAT has got to be Tom Cruise’s house”, I matter of factly exclaim.  Al says, “How do you know?”  “It kind of looks like it from Oprah’s show“, I respond.  “Sounds like you and Oprah have been spending a lot of time together”, Al quizzically comments.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise’s house – well it could be!

In all reality, I rarely watched Oprah but when she would visit a celebrity in their home, well this nosey Real Estate loving person just couldn’t resist watching.  Since we’ve already established I’m nosey about Real Estate, allow me to share some information I found extremely interesting regarding Telluride Real Estate.  First, between two Real Estate offices, I counted 81 Real Estate Agents and there are more than 2 offices….

  • For the first six months of 2013 – Jan-Jun
  • Number of houses sold – 7 ; average sold price $1,700,000
  • Number of condos sold – 16 ; average sold price $650,000
  • Residential land sold – 4 ; average sold price $1,500,000

Suffice it to say, I won’t be getting involved in Real Estate in Telluride in any way shape or form anytime soon.  The amount of Real Estate available For Sale is incredible.  I guess one can make a purchase in five minutes, but it could take five years to sell.  Not my kind of odds.  Architecturally speaking, most of the homes are stunning……old and new and it’s always fun to look.Rocky Mountains

Although we didn’t receive an invitation from any famous people, we did receive an invitation from my brother and his wife.  They pulled into camp late yesterday and invited us over for dinner; New York Strip Steaks….yum.  And the company wasn’t too bad either!

Oh, and FYI….on our return to Ridgway State Park, we saw the Double RL Ranch entrance and the teepees.  Fun ending to a great day 😀

Rocky Mountains

The Back Road to Telluride

Telluride, Colorado has been on my radar for quite sometime.  Although I’ve called Colorado’s Front Range home for nearly eighteen years, between work and children there never seemed to be enough time to explore Colorado’s Western Slope until now.

Lost Dollar

Last Dollar Road on the way to Telluride, CO

Al and I review the atlas and peruse all the info we picked up at the Ridgway State Park Visitor center.  From Ridgway State Park to the mountain ski town of Telluride should be about an hours drive if we stick to the main roads.  Hmm, we have all day.  What’s the hurry?

TellurideThis southwest part of the state of Colorado was a buzz of mining activity in the 1800’s.  Even Telluride’s logo is that of a miner’s pick.   This mining activity created a multitude of back roads throughout the picturesque San Juan Mountains.  Today these back roads are available for jeeps and OHV (off highway vehicles).

Some of these back roads are assessable by regular automobiles, but most require high clearance, and others demand 4 wheel drive capabilities.  The roads might be gravel, dirt, rock or any combination of the three.

Last Dollar Road

Last Dollar Road – this road is classified as “easy”

My little red 4 wheel drive Toyota Tacoma should be able to handle most of the roads we researched.  However, Al and I err on the side of caution and pick a couple of “easy” roads to explore this week.  One of which is called the “Last Dollar Road”.  As far as mileage goes, this should be a shorter traveling distance to Telluride than taking the main roads.  However, time wise…..double.  Obviously, I won’t be taking this puppy at 60 miles per hour.

Last Dollar Road

some ruts were a little deep, but no problem for us.

For the most part, it was an easy drive even though we veered to the left at a fork in the road.  The publication informed us a left at the fork would be a little more challenging.  Some of the ruts, mud, and water would definitely present a problem for a vehicle without a high clearance.  For us, it wasn’t a problem and the drive presented some amazing scenery complete with wildflowers.Telluride

Telluride

Telluride

It’s the end of July and the wildflowers are starting to wane, but I’m still thrilled with the tuffs of color here and there.  All the more reason for us to return to this area next July during the peak of wildflower season.Telluride

The drive from Ridgway State Park to Telluride took us about two hours and that included all the stops for photo ops.  Not bad, and it sure was pretty.

TellurideOnce in Telluride, we stop at the visitor center.  Al always likes to ask locals where they enjoy eating.  We find ourselves at a kind of sports bar  housed in an old house off a side street.  It appears to be a favorite among locals.  Lunch was delish!

After lunch we head over to the Gondola station for a free Gondola ride up and over the summit to Mountain Village.  On our walk to the Gondola, we encountered a farmer’s market and quickly took notes as to some potential purchases on our return to the vehicle.  No sense in carrying stuff for the next hour.

GondolaThe Gondola operates year round free of charge and is a common form of transportation for workers, school children, mountain bikers, and hikers….and then of course there’s folks like Al and me – tourists.  Oh, and it’s pooch friendly as well.

The Telluride side of the mountain is pretty darn steep.  The Mountain Village side appears to be more moderate.  That’s where these two young boys are headed.  They’ll disembark at the summit and ride their bikes back down toward the town of Mountain Village.  We also saw quite a few hikers doing this as well.  We saw very few heading down on the Telluride side of the mountain.Telluride

Telluride

With our ‘tourist’ day coming to an end, we pick up some goodies at the farmer’s market and promise each other a return trip to this beautiful mountain town.  We take the highway back to Ridgway State Park and arrive in about an hour.  I’ll admit, even the scenery via the highway was lovely……not quite as beautiful as the Last Dollar Road but lovely just the same.  It’ll be tough to top this awesome day!Telluride