Our journey from Vernal to Ridgway Colorado was smooth, though we did travel along a very curvy section of RT-139 in Colorado that was a little nerve wracking. At least the road was paved, though, and had road lane markings for a change. I am so happy, again, that I have a truck with an exhaust brake.
Our campground in Ridgway CO was nestled in a valley so it was several degrees cooler than just a few miles up the road. Just about zero connectivity there (no Wi-Fi and very limited cell coverage), but it was a nice location to explore the area with friends that joined up with us during our four-night visit. We kicked off the stop with chili and margaritas, so it was a great start!
Our first full-day in Colorado was spent in Telluride, a small town with a world class reputation for skiing and bluegrass. This is yet another place I could live, but there is no way I could afford to (sad face).
After arriving, we hitched on our hiking gear and set out along the Bear Creek Trail, a trail that starts above 8,000 ft MSL, and was mostly uphill all the way to Bear Creek Falls, but it was a nice workout before cruising back down. We definitely felt tight muscles the next morning.
After completing the trail, we headed a short distance into town to ride the free gondola. There is a large network of gondolas and other assorted lifts to support the huge number of ski runs in the area. Some of them were in operation during the summer for mountain bikers; they would ride to the top and then bike down.
After riding the gondola, we wandered town for a bit before, OMG, look! It’s a brewery! Beers for everybody!
The next day we went north to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Before I started trip planning for Colorado about three months ago, I had never heard of this National Park. I have no idea why, because it is just incredible. I’m not sure I will care about the Grand Canyon after seeing this canyon. Deep and narrow, with gorge-us vistas (hah, I’m so punny!). While the Grand Canyon is very wide, this canyon provides the opportunity to clearly see the other wall. And like the Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone Canyon, the south rim provided the best views.
Our last day was spent in the small town of Ouray, a short distance to the south of our campground. We started out on the Ouray Perimeter Trail, but I should say that we “attempted” the Ouray Perimeter Trail, because none of us completed it. Seriously, this was a trail mislabeled as “moderate.” Some parts were moderate, but many parts, including the beginning, were very steep and rocky.
But fortunately, after failing to complete the trail, we found a brewery in the middle of town to enjoy lunch.
This was a wonderful visit with great friends and great scenery. We are off to Moab Utah next to enjoy the wonders of Arches National Park. See you in a couple days!