Kennebec Pass

Yesterday our friends and co-workers, Mary and Dave Ward invited us to take a four wheel drive trip with them to Kennebec Pass. They had gone there the week before and wanted us to see how beautiful it is, and it’s a place we could not get to without a four wheel drive vehicle. Mary and Dave are experienced four wheel drive folks, and they just bought a new Jeep Rubicon Gladiator four wheel drive, and is it ever nice.

To our daughter, Shantel, you met Mary and Dave last year when you came out to spend the day with us at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

The information I found on Kennebec Pass, after I took the trip, says “a truly epic road to the summit. Kennebec Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 11,683 feet above sea level in La Plata County, in southwestern Colorado. Located in the San Juan National Forest, this ride is epic with a few tight turns. Starting from US-160 near the town of  Hesperus, the road is 14.1 miles long. Along the way you’ll have to deal with some dangerous drop-offs. This is definitely not a Sunday drive and not recommended to newbies. The steep drive will take some skill, some patience, and some tolerance for vertigo”. Well, I’m happy to say I didn’t find the ride to the pass nearly as bad as the information I read about it said. I’m so glad we went because what I saw is hard to put into words. But I’m going to do my best to describe what I saw so our daughter, Shantel, might get a feeling of the beauty of the trip to Kennebec Pass.

On the way up to the actual pass we saw rolling hills and high mountains dressed in the greenest green grass I’ve ever seen. The grass looked like it had just been mowed all up and down the hills and mountain sides. We stopped and spent some time to just take in all the absolute beauty we were seeing.

Tall, tall green pine trees reaching all the way through the bluest skies with puffy white clouds that looked like giant marshmallows floating across the blue sky. Just breathtakingly beautiful.

Even the trees that had fallen over created a work of art. We passed one tree that fell exposing its roots, and the inside of the tree was hollowed out with a hole big enough for a person to climb into.

There were dirt hiking trails that stood out with a reddish brown color against the green grass.

The higher we went up, the more we could see down over the mountain tops for miles and miles. I thought to myself, this must be a glimpse of what it will look like looking down from heaven upon our beautiful earth.

Wildflowers of every shape and color. Blue white and yellow,

the brightest reds, and every color in between.

We took a walk along the hiking trail and had to keep stopping to just keep taking it all in,

and to capture a group selfie as a reminder of our day together.

Then it was time to move farther up the road to the actual pass.

Now anyone that knows me well, knows I’m afraid of heights, but I also do my best to not let my fear of heights get in the way of me experiencing things I want to do, to the extent that I can manage my fear. I’m glad I didn’t read the information about Kennebec Pass before we took our trip there, because it would have heightened my fear unnecessarily. I did have to pull my big girl panties up real high, but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. I just sat on the side of the jeep that would allow me to be close to the mountain side of the road rather than the cliff side..

The only time I got scared, and had to dig deep to not let my fear get the better of me, was when Dave had to turn that Jeep Rubicon around at the top of the pass. But Mary got out and did a great job helping Dave maneuver that tight turnaround.

But again, the views from the top of the pass were spectacular! We could see for miles and miles down into a valley over 11,000 feet below.

 

If one wanted to, and we, or at least I didn’t, you could continue down the other side of the pass. but the day we were there someone had their four wheel drive vehicle parked right in the middle of the narrow road blocking the pass… So we headed back down the road the same way we came up.

We stopped to have our lunch in a field of wildflowers and green grass, and again we enjoyed spectacular views of mountains rising up to touch the deep blue sky, and puffy white clouds that were floating by.

After lunch, as we continued back down the mountain road, we saw a deer with her baby standing in the woods. The baby was very young and was nursing from its mother. The baby still had white spots on it and the mother and baby standing there together were looking at us as if to say hope you enjoyed your visit.

Indeed we did enjoy our visit. Thank you Mary and Dave for inviting Bill and I to go with you to Kennebec Pass. It was a trip of a lifetime for me, and definitely one for the memory book!

Stay tuned!

Telluride

Bill and I took a lovely drive to Telluride Colorado this week. For those who don’t know, Telluride is a former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. “It is set in a box canyon amid forested peaks at the base of a popular ski-and-golf resort. The town’s historic district houses landmarks like the Sheridan Opera House, a performing-arts venue originally built in 1913, and the Telluride Historical Museum, which showcases local history in a converted hospital built in 1896”.

 

The town and the surrounding area of Telluride is amazing.

If you drive all the way through the town of Telluride, you will see Bridal Veil Falls. “Bridal Veil Falls is a 365-foot waterfall at the end of the box canyon overlooking Telluride Colorado. Hiking and off-road trails pass by the falls and it has a hydroelectric power plant at the top. In the winter the frozen shape of the falls forms an imposing challenge to intrepid ice climbers”. Yeah, no thanks, not this girl!

As we were driving through town I couldn’t help but notice these adorable, colorful, little houses. How cute are these? I could definitely live in one of them.

After driving from one end of town to the other, we found a lovely park, just across this stream,

with lots of shade and perfect views,

where we could sit, relax, and enjoy our picnic lunch I packed. Bill had a grilled salmon sandwich with homemade tartar sauce. I turned my grilled salmon into salmon salad with some of the tartar sauce used in the dressing. YUM!

After lunch we decided to take a walk through town to see if the Gondola was running, and if so, how long the lines would be.

Much to our surprise and delight, the Gondola was running, and they were using safe practices by using a machine that disinfects each cabin each time it is emptied out. Plus, you only ride with the peeps in your group, there were not very many people in line, and it’s all free…

So we hopped on board,

and off we went.

The views were amazing. This is a picture of the Telluride airport strip.

The ride took us all the way to Mountain Village. Mountain Village Colorado is “situated 9,545 feet in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, and connected by a gondola to picturesque Telluride. Mountain Village is comparably a world apart from other towns: beautifully orchestrated, planned and overflowing with charm, and sophistication”. It was charming, and very high-end. We didn’t spend much time there, but we had to get off the gondola there and get back in line to get on the gondola again to take us back to Telluride.

On the way back down the mountain we continued to see spectacular views like snow drifts still clinging to some of the mountains.

And this view of Telluride as we continued to make our way down, down, down the mountain…

As we entered the exit point, I had to capture this picture hanging on the wall of these adorable dogs. The happy expression on their faces says how I felt riding the gondola with Bill.

It was a lovely day in a beautiful area of Colorado. If you’ve never been there you should go. You won’t be disappointed.

Stay safe, and stay tuned!

 

Streets Of Durango

Streets of Durango, doesn’t that sound like the title of a great western movie?

Bill and I are only an hour drive away from the Historic Downtown area of Durango Colorado. I love old western towns, so of course, we had to make the trip, and explore all there is to see and do in Durango.

The first thing that caught my eye when we rolled into town, was this magnificent old hotel building. This is the Strater Hotel. “Built in 1887, the historic Strater Hotel is one of the West’s iconic hotels and a prominent downtown Durango, Colorado landmark located two blocks north of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, one hour from Mesa Verde National Park, several hours from the Four Corners Monument, and deep in the heart of the rugged San Juan Mountains and the San Juan Scenic Skyway. The Strater Hotel is adorned with beautiful handcrafted woodwork, period wallpaper, and the largest collection of American Victorian walnut antiques which are used to decorate the hotel and guest rooms. Operated for three generations by the Baker family, the Strater Hotel invites you to experience the best of the Old West and an iconic Durango, Colorado hotel”.

The sidewalks of old town Durango are lined with pots overflowing with beautiful flowers.

There were several little shops that are closed due to Covid 19. Rose Duds, an adorable upscale consignment store, was not open when we were there, but upon checking their website I see it is open now. I thought the downstairs entry was cute, and was worth a look-see, so I guess we will just have to make a trip back to see what we missed!

I had to chuckle when I saw the sign “main mall” on the outside of this corner building.

There is a little something for everyone on the streets of Durango. Like a reversible colored cow peeking out of the entry way of a little shop,

because, why not?

Or a full-sized skeleton decked out in blue top hat and tails…

How about a giant green and white striped dinosaur drinking a beer? This one is practicing physical distancing, and wearing the required face mask…

Of course everyone knows there is no better way to scare off would be crooks, than to place a giant mountain lion right outside your store front. Makes you wonder what might be lurking inside right?

After we explored the streets of Durango, we decided to try the Lone Spur Cafe for some lunch. They were definitely practicing physical distancing with the tables placed six feet apart, and only putting folks in every other booth.

This is my kind of place with all the western artwork on the walls,

This painting reminded me of one of my Bev Doolittle western paintings I had in my house.

I loved all the antique things hanging all over the walls. Like this 1938 Colorado license plate.

And check out this sign above the pistol. “you can have my gun when I run out of bullets”. Can’t you just hear some cowboy, or cowgirl, saying that?

Who can’t appreciate boots and saddles hanging on the walls. Wow, I could live in this place. I love it!

And why not make a chandelier out of you deer or elk antlers…?

The food was great too. I had smoked pulled pork and onion rings. YUM!

On our way back to our car, we stopped in an adorable little shop called Animas Trading  Company. The sign said “for the free spirit in you”, so how could I resit? I bought some prayer flags. The information sheet said “traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space”. I need all that, so I bought them… I think I have enough to wrap my whole motor home! Ha!! 🙂

If your like me, a cowgirl at heart, or if you just appreciate the history of the Old West, Historic Downtown Durango will not disappoint.

Stay Tuned!

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