Planning for most of the spring, we were watching pass reports for the San Juan Mountains before we make the sojourn across New Mexico from West Texas. Looked like the end of July to first of August would be the best timing.
Biotex was franticly preparing his CJ10A for the trip. Time to “pull the trigger” and we headed for Colorado with a CJ7, CJ10, and a JK Rubicon. We worked from base came at the Ouray KOA.
Able to get on the trails the last day of July, we started with Governs Basin to find it to have similar “pucker factor” of Black Bear Pass. The CJ10 being so unique, attracted a lot of attention:
Because some of the group had to return in a few days, we started the next day with a busy agenda.
Mineral Creek, Engineers Pass, Cinnamon pass, California Gulch and Pass, Animas Forks, (take a breath) and Lake Como, Hurricane Pass, Corkscrew Gulch and Pass. Days started with sunshine then clouds and rain as the day progressed. We waved to the clouds as they pass by going over at cold and windy California Pass.
The next day started with my favorite, Imogene Pass. Most of Imogene was done in sunshine. We had a clear look at Hwy 550 below and Corkscrew (where we had been the day before) across the way. As you watch the video (see below), see if you catch the corkscrew image in the orange colored mountains.
The next trail was selected to get back to the other side of the mountain, back to Ouray. We chose Last Dollar. It starts at the Telluride Airport. It is a pretty trail cutting through stands of Aspin and has many high overviews along the way. We climbed from the airport to a point level with aircraft final approach. Again, note in the video an image of the aircraft at eye level on final for Telluride Airport.
Losing some of the party on the next day and a failed meeting, much of the morning gone, the remainder of us picked a pass that we could do quickly.
Only opened for a week now, we had good weather. Black Bear is not a trail to take lightly. It is literally a killer and has a high “pucker factor” as well as some great views of Telluride and two great waterfalls.
When you are at the “STEP” at the water fall, you look down at the shear drop, you start to sweat, your heart rate increases and the little voice inside your head keep telling you over and over “ you’ll probably still be alive at the end of the day”.
Take care at the switch backs, they are the most treacherous part of this trail. Just as I start on the switchbacks, a water bottle lost from the day before shows up……right under my peddles. (take note, learn from that....makes for less stress in your life).
The return was done via Opher pass. Narrow on the west side, a fun Pass.
Our last day, we wanted to make it to Stony pass and go by a cabin owned by frends. It is a long hall, and we started with a trip up Poughkeepse Gulch.
By far, Poughkeepse is one of the roughest trails I have been on in this area, not just the wall. It is a great trail with many challenges and wonderful sites.
We had to do some winching and finally had to rely on a fellow jeeper, a stranger (but then non of us in jeeps are strangers?.....maybe just strange) to help us up the wall.
We made it to Stony, OK challenge and down to the Rio Grande (yep, the same one that ends up in Texas.......whodathunkit?)
Stony pass was a long way away and after that pass, we had to hit pavement (pavement sucks) to avoid coming back across in the dark, not a good thing.
Click on the link to the video, This is my first attemp to post a video, hoping it works, it takes a little over 4 minutes, for about 65 photos (but I took about 380 photos just from my cameras).
It tells more of the story, and is more to be told as we assimilate more photos. "Take it easy on yourself"