Anyone who owns a Jeep (particularly one with 4-wheel drive) knows the call of the wild. It is a subtle rumble of rocks under your tires, the breeze as it comes through the open windows, and the laughter of those riding with you. Back in August 2015, my husband and I decided to go on a spur of the moment adventure up to Telluride, CO. We had talked about visiting for years, drooling over photos of mountains and waterfalls on Google. Finally, we had the time and money to go!
We drove through Sedona, AZ, up Oak Creek Canyon into Flagstaff and north through Monument Valley. The beginning of our trip was familiar as we both grew up in AZ, but neither of us had ever been to Monument Valley. It’s been on my bucket list of locations to visit for years and it definitely did not disappoint!
As we arrived in the mountains leading into Telluride, a storm rolled in covering everything in low clouds. You know, the type of weather that makes you want to cuddle up next to a fire with a comfy blanket and hot cup of cocoa.
Then came the town of Telluride. A small mountain town where all the locals know each other and the tourists are there for one thing, the outdoors.
The day we arrived we poked around in town a little then set off into the mountains up Imogene Pass. Due to this area being BLM land, you are able to set up camp wherever you want (responsibly and following state rules regarding camping near water, etc). We explored until it started getting dark, then set up camp near the Tomboy Mine.
The views we had in the morning were beyond stunning. But they had nothing on what we would see throughout the rest of the day.
Imogene Pass stands at 13,114 feet in elevation. One of the highest roads to drive in the country.
We explored the town of Ouray and drove farther down the road to our next destination, Black Bear Pass. Black Bear Pass is a renowned 4-wheel trail that will make your squirm to like there’s no tomorrow.
Just above Black Bear Pass, we set up camp in what is by far the most gorgeous and epic campsite we’ve ever had.
The wildflowers were bright and endless. I had never seen anything like it outside of a dream. In the middle of the wildflowers was a snow melt lake. The next morning, we woke up and went for a short hike down to the lake…stripped down to our swimsuits and jumped in! I have never felt water that cold in my entire life or moved that fast!! I couldn’t get out fast enough, but my husband was crazy enough to jump in for a second time. Once out, the weather was perfect and we were refreshed for the rest of our adventure home!
And a vacation would not be complete without visiting some local breweries!
(Left: Smugglers Brew Pub, Telluride, CO – Right: Ouray Brewing Co, Ouray, CO)