Western Follies

So all the long driving and the constant plan changing has been tiring us out, so we were excited to just relax for the few days we had left, and enjoy the Colorado scenery. We once again discussed moving here, what we were going to do for work, where we would live, and both of us agree that it’s going to be an exciting new chapter in our lives. We woke up refreshed and were eager to start the day. My wife really wanted to go shopping in Silverton, she liked the stores there, so I obliged…this of course also gave me the opportunity to get there by going over a mountain, so we got dressed and headed out.

The road is scenic in any direction you look

As we pulled off the paved road and onto the dirt track leading into the town, we smelled what we thought was a wildfire, but as it turned out, it was just a construction crew burning wood

As you head into this tiny town, it makes you wonder how people live up here in the winter time, the amount of snow they get must be measured with a 10′ pole, and it’s not as if the local plows come up here

The town folk have seized on the opportunity to capitalize off of all the 4 wheeling tourists, so you see a lot of stands right in front of their house for lemonade, t shirts, trinkets, etc. I bought an Ophir Pass tshirt from a little kid, do my part of contributing to the local economy.  Once you pass the town, you enter the tree line with all the insects

Then you quickly ride above the tree line

The snowmelt is almost all gone, but there are a few creeks that are left flowing, which was a plus, since I can say I’ve actually had some water crossings on this trip 

Once you get high enough, a few alpine lakes come into view

Finally when you really get above the tree line, you are rewarded with the true magnificence of the San Juan mountains

As you climb higher, the trails turns quickly from fairly easy, to dangerous (not so much difficult.) The rocks are fairly large, they are sharp, and they are extremely loose. They are constantly shifting, making the vehicle seem like it’s sinking in some spots. It also has the weird effect of acting like ice, making the rear end dance around and slide, not too pleasant when you have in spots, 1-2 feet of space before a tire slips off the edge. My wife managed to snag a little bit of footage when we were climbing the final leg towards the summit.

Just recently, a family in a rental Jeep rolled off one of these trails, and have to be med-evaced out by helicopter. Inexperience on these trails can really lead to serious issues, and I myself have run across quite a few of them on the trail.

The top of the trail brings you between two peaks…

Looking back at Telluride

And somewhere in the distance is the town of Silverton.

As we descend, we stop and admire the views once more, and you can see the empty channels where snowmelt in the spring would turn them into a raging cascade of alpine water.

After we enjoyed a little time in Silverton, we headed back towards our hotel (a 2 hour drive on pavement through the windy mountain roads) but we made it just in time for a beautiful sunset. Tomorrow would be our final day before we had to start our trip back home.