My RV Trip with Ayden and his broken arm in the Summer of 2017 continues. Perhaps my favorite spot in the world is Ouray, Colorado. Despite his injury and against the advice of doctors, we shifted the UTV up over 13,000 feet over gnarly, uneven and sketchy, at times, terrain.
|Imogene Pass - Elevation 13,114 Feet
(The afternoon/evening prior)
As we drove up the mountainous road leading into Ouray, I could tell that this place would be special to me. The beautiful greens, the sculpting tones of the protecting mountains and the pure color of the river:
Just off the main street in town, a sign to Cascade Falls. Let's follow:
Just a few steps up a fairly steep paved road, voila - A Waterfall!
There is a looping trail system here offering a couple different routes and miles of hikes, but we kept it to a minimal. For one, it was near evening and as we learned about Colorado, if the rain hadn't hit by late afternoon, it surely would any minute. The drizzle had begun.
Ouray, a scene from the old west, hidden between the canyons. The atmosphere was of an effervescent elation. The tourist and villagers culminate for a bliss of euphoria. This was jeep town; preparation below to climb the trails above. UTV's were being pulled by trailer to reach the many trailheads. Nearby town of Silverton actually allows the Razors to drive the streets. I haven't visited there yet but for sure plan to one day soon. There is a popular train that will guide you through the mountains if off-roading is not your forte. Driving by car in the summer months is simple enough along the Million Dollar Highway.
|Ouray Hot Springs
Funneled by the natural waters beneath the surface, these pools are warm like bathwater, very enjoyable to relax as the evening falls. Ayden, for the first time, took off his splint so he could soak his arm in the elixir.
Climb to Imogene Pass:
Near the trailhead in Ouray, there is another hiking trail that leads to another waterfall but the main attraction was the off-road adventure. If you do not have your own UTV or Jeep, I suggest renting one from Colorado Jeep Tours in Ouray. We only rented for a half day, which was enough time to ride to Yankee Boy, cut back to climb Imogene Pass, rode down to Telluride and then hustle back. Okay, most people may need more time than the 4 hours we did this in, but we made it work. There are also dozens of other UTV trails, some for novice and some for the experts. Despite what you may read about the Imogene Pass route, it is very doable and heavily traveled - anyone can do it!
Thistledown is a thoroughbred race track in Cleveland. When I was young, perhaps 7-years-old, I was there with my dad. I remember the wind swirled up all the losing tickets on the ground and I flew like Superman catching them. I got lost in my dizziness, but then my eyes, which were at an adult's butt level, focused on the khaki pants on who I thought was my dad. I followed him to the ticket window and tugged his shirt. The man turned around, but it was some ugly man smoking a cigar. The place was full of smoke and from my perspective, was never ending. I broke down in tears, I remember it well. I wandered about calling for my daddy and then spotted a security guard. I waited there for a race or two until my father rescued me. That would be the last time that I went to Thistledown for nearly two decades. However, the harness track of Northfield became an every weekend event from the age of 8 to 19. After an adult pause for actual legal purpose being there, I found myself there nearly every night at the age of 26. That was certainly a rough time in my life. I no longer gamble...
|Our route to Yankee Boy
The route to Yankee Boy at first seemed much easier than the off route options. This was my first time driving a UTV, and I was quite cautious. It amazed me though how it climbed rock so well - nothing like an ATV in my opinion. Yankee Boy soon became too changing for us. I think I got as far as one would recommend going, so we turned around here...
Our initial accent on the Imogene route began with a decent through the woods, but soon opened up to natures finest!
|Gaining Confidence and Passing Others!
|Prepare to Climb!
|Climbing over the Snowline!
|Full Speed Ahead!
|Heading down to Telluride!
|Walls Iced with Snow
We rode the trail down all the way to the city street. However, you may not ride your UTV on the street, so the only other option now is to park and walk or hightail it back! If you drove in a Jeep, then sure, you may continue through the city streets. Of course, it would take you twice as long, if not more, to conquer this hill. --For us, we went full speed back to Ouray, jumped in the rental car and drove around to Telluride that way. We got to the town just in time for the rain - joy.
|Views of the above from Telluride!
Telluride is a cute town, similar to Ouray but seemingly more populated. And then the rain came:
Good Times in Colorado. The towns around this state are like no other. Ouray, Telluride, Vail, Aspen, Salida, just to name a few. By far, Colorado is my favorite state. My trip was centralized around my Uncle Fred, who lives in Denver. It had been more than a decade since I've seen him however I do hope to plan a cross country trip this summer and intend to tour through Colorado again!
A final video from my UTV ride: