After driving the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway from Durango through Silverton and Ouray, I stopped for the night in Telluride, Colorado. As I pulled off Route 550, the scenic byway loop road, from Ridgway onto Rt. 62, I drove through a red rock canyon awash in greenery. A couple of mockingbirds flitted past while Dawes sang “Right on Time.” Actually, it wasn’t right on time, as my 3:20 arrival was too early for my 4:00 check-in at the Victorian Inn. To kill time, I drove through Main Street to the end of the road, where it ends abruptly at trailheads for Bridal Veil Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls is a 2-pronged 365-foot (111 m) waterfall at the end of the box canyon in which Telluride nestles amidst steep forested mountains and cliffs. Hiking and off-road trails pass by the falls and a hydroelectric power plant sits at its top. Weathered ruins of old mining operations dot the hillsides. In winter the frozen falls pose an enticing challenge to intrepid ice climbers.
The town features over 30 hiking trails ranging in difficulty level. Some of the more popular routes include Ajax Peak, Bear Creek Falls, Hope Lake, and Bridal Veil Falls. Hiking season begins in May and lasts until early October. Nearly all the trails feature waterfalls, wildflowers, and high alpine lakes.
A former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River, Telluride is now known for its famous ski resort during winter, as well as an extensive festival schedule during summer. The Telluride Historic District, which includes much of the town, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of Colorado’s 20 National Historic Landmarks.
Still too early to check in, I walked down Main Street to take pictures and explore the town. It was an overcast day, so not great for photos. Much of the town seemed deserted because it wasn’t high season yet.
The town features art galleries such as Lustre, outdoor outfitters such as Paragon Outdoors and ECO Adventures, and restaurants such as Tomboy Tavern, Steamie’s Burger Bar, Diggity’s Dog House, Crazy Elk, and Esperanza’s Mexican Restaurant. Pip’s Fine and Funky Consignment offers all things vintage, and BootDoctors outfits people for the outdoors with skis, snowboards, boots, clothing, and accessories. The Swanky Buckle is an upscale women’s clothing-and-accessories boutique. Spas are called Palmyra and Spa at the Peaks, and Apotheca is an “integrative pharmacy.” Between the Covers, one can find books and an espresso bar.
The New Sheridan Hotel was built in 1891.
When I stopped in Tourist Information, they recommended several restaurants, including Smuggler Brewpub, and told me I should check out the Wilkinson Public Library because, for a town so small, it was quite special. I walked through the library but was not overly impressed except for some murals in an outdoor courtyard.
I strolled to Smuggler Brewpub, where I sat at the bar and had a long conversation with a 25-year-old young lady named Laura Ann, who worked as a bartender and server at Brown Dog Pizza; she had to work that evening. She said she was from a podunk town in the Bible belt outside of Charlotte, N.C. and was the black sheep of her family, her siblings being wildly successful and accomplished. She said when her parents cut her off financially, it was the best thing that ever happened to her. She’d been in Telluride for 4 1/2 years. When I admired her earrings, she told me she got them in Madrid. We shared our love of Spain and I told her I was planning to walk the Camino in September. She loved Spain, especially Valencia, Salamanca, Barcelona and Toledo. We shared our experiences of getting lost in Toledo. She had never been to the south of Spain but wanted to go.
She told me that the following week was the Mountainfilm Festival (May 25-28) and that things in town would pick up then. She said the town of 2,500 swells to 15,000 for the Bluegrass Festival and it gets crazy; she makes good money in season because rich people come and spend a lot of money.
Telluride is well known for its many festivals: Mountainfilm Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Bluegrass Festival and Jazz Festival, Mushroom Festival and the Imogene Pass Run. Blues & Brews, scheduled the third weekend of September, is a favorite because it celebrates the start of fall colors and the coming of ski season.
After Laura Ann left, I enjoyed my pale wheat beer and a “small plate of assorted wild mushroom toast: a mix of wild mushrooms, sherry, cream, pecorino Romagnolo cheese.”
After leaving the bar, I took a short walk down a trail along the San Miguel River.
Telluride Ski Resort is definitely the main attraction of Telluride in the winter. In summer, Telluride transforms into an outdoor recreation hot spot, with tourists visiting to enjoy mountain biking, hiking, river rafting, sightseeing and more.
Soon it started raining, so I walked to my hotel and checked in. I didn’t go out again for the rest of the evening because of the rain, but in the morning, before leaving to complete my drive around the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway to Mesa Verde National Park, I took a quick walk around the town under blue skies.
I must have picked a bad time of year to visit because the town felt a bit like a ghost town, and the dreary skies of the previous day hadn’t helped my perception of it.
*Saturday, May 19, 2018*
*Steps: 14,191 (6.01 miles)
“PHOTOGRAPHY” INVITATION: I invite you to create a photography intention and then create a blog post for a place you have visited. Alternately, you can post a thematic post about a place, photos of whatever you discovered that set your heart afire. You can also do a thematic post of something you have found throughout all your travels: churches, doors, people reading, people hiking, mountains, patterns, all black & white, whatever!
You probably have your own ideas about this, but in case you’d like some ideas, you can visit my page: photography inspiration.
I challenge you to post no more than 20-25 photos and to write less than 500-1,000 words about any travel-related photography intention you set for yourself. Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, April 18, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation, every first and third (& 5th, if there is one) Thursday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!
the ~ wander.essence ~ community
I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community. I promise, you’ll be inspired!
- Anabel, of the Glasgow Gallivanter, put together a series of spiky unicorns; the unicorn happens to be Scotland’s national animal.
Thanks to all of you who shared posts on the “photography” invitation. 🙂