We finished up the snacks, heard the horrific/delightful Black Bear stories, then the four of us drove out of the box canyon and into the town of Telluride. We parked, and scheduled ourselves to be back in our cars in 45 minutes. Jerry and I strolled a couple of blocks, spending most of our time in an art gallery.
There’s lots of skiing around Telluride, a town unique in that it offers a free gondola that functions most of the year. We didn’t have time this trip, but on our last one we boarded the gondola and went to Mountain Village, spent time there, and returned on the gondola. The Telluride Magazine writes:
“While anyone in America can choose to commute via biodiesel or electric car, only Telluriders can get to work on a free gondola, a commute so unique it was featured last January on Good Morning America. The three-stage system between Telluride and Mountain Village runs 275 days a year, 7 a.m. to midnight, and carries an average of 1,918,445 riders annual. Obviously, not all of these people are going to work. But those who do have what is widely dubbed as “the most beautiful commute in America.”
A few miles out of Telluride, we turned off toward Ophir, drove through the tiny town and onto the trail. During the past few days they had received a fair amount of rain, which caused the trail to be very rough. We bounced and jolted around so much that I had a hard time taking pictures. Once, though, I turned around, saw this view, stuck the camera out and clicked. I’m astonished it turned out this well. The tiny town you see is Ophir.
A long narrow shelf constitutes part of the trail…a bit scary, as you can see here. That’s Berl’s jeep ahead of us, and I took the picture through the windshield, so you can see the trail our car is perched on.
I was still photographing through the windshield, when we came up this steep grade, and were treated with this vivid scene.
The pass is quite short, and rather soon, we came to the highway that led us in to Silverton, then on to Durango.
Taken in (See more photos here)