If you’re curious about our first week in Colorado, go check it out here.
After spending way too long in Durango (no offense!), we finally hit the road on June 18th and made our way to Telluride. Telluride seems to be such a hip little mountain town but it is also a former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River, right in the San Juan Mountains. The town sits in a box canyon – steep forested mountains and cliffs surround it, with Bridal Veil Falls situated at the canyon’s head.
The 8km-hike to Bridal Vail Falls was a bliss. We took a wooded trail up to the first 2 falls. The second one was so powerful, we got cold and wet as we got closer. Finally we reached the top, gifting us one last waterfall, a mill and superb views on Telluride. It’s definitely a hike I would recommend if you are in the area.
We slept at the trailhead that night and woke up to the sound of the water. Which we’re not sure was entirely legal but definitely was stunning!
The following morning, we cooked ourselves some bacon and eggs in front of the charming view and took the road towards our next big hike : Blue Lakes.
Located in Ridgway, this hike is a paradise for outdoor lovers. Found in a glacial basin in central Colorado (or southwest really) in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness, this 19-km-long hike is filled with wild flowers, 3 wonderful lakes (including one that is more accessible than the other 2). I think what struck me the most was the blue shade of the water. I got my feet in one of the lakes but the cold was simply absurd. We stayed there a couple days, 1 day to hike and 1 day to recover. Nola was definitely tired after this one.
After a good rest, Black Canyon of the Gunnison was our next stop. We didn’t hike there much but we absolutely enjoyed driving through. The park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River and contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon. The canyon’s name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, “Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon.”
That night, we established camp in Gunnison National Forest. We made a campfire and instantly regretted not having marshmallows with us! Our smell being hidden by the fire, we got the surprising and lovely visit of a few deer. Everything was fun and game until Nola actually went and chased one for a good 15 minutes deep in the woods and out of sight. We thought we lost her but she made her way back to the van, on the brink of a heart attack and as happy as a dog can be.
Ensuing a good night sleep, the 3 of us directed ourselves towards Aspen. The town itself was so clean and cute and rich, we didn’t feel super at ease with the van. Also, we usually don’t spend much time in cities, to avoid crowds and inconvenience. So, after an hour, we decided to move on to the surrounding areas – and the road did not disappoint. On our way, we discovered the Grottos trail, just outside of Aspen. The trail offers a very easy walk passing ice caves, erratics and waterfalls. We didn’t know what we were getting into but it was particularly impressive, especially because it was not cold outside of the caves but rather sunny.
The rest of the drive kept astonishing us since we drove along the Independence Pass. Part of Highway 82, the road passes over the Continental Divide between Leadville and Aspen. The highest paved pass in North America is a classic Colorado drive and has an elevation of 12,000 feet (a bit more than 3000m). It was cold up there but the 360 view on the valley was fascinating.
We then spent the night in Pike and San Isabel National Forest, in the middle of nowhere, rocked to sleep by an electrical storm.
June 22nd was when our Central Colorado adventures ended. I’ll talk to you soon about exploring Denver and around. Hope you love the pictures as much as we do!
Coco, Bobby, Nola & Vanito!