Thursday, August 8, 2019

Telluride and the Bumpy 4x4 Ride to Imogene Pass

We left Utah and drove to Colorado. We arrived at the mountain town of Telluride shortly before noon and walked a bit of the charming, historic downtown area.

One thing we noticed right away is that Telluride is a very dog-friendly town, which my wife, especially liked. There were dogs all over the place, even in stores, and many off-leash.

Our scheduled activity for the afternoon was to take an off-road 4x4 tour to the summit of Imogene Pass, high in the Rocky Mountains.

The weather forecast called for a rainy afternoon, and after Kai's anxiety over the thunderstorms in Utah, I wondered if he would be constantly stressing over this all afternoon. I also knew that the ride would be bumpy, and was concerned that it would bother Kai.

When we were picked up at our hotel, the rain was coming down pretty hard. The vehicle we would be in was a revamped 4-wheel drive pickup truck with padded seating for about 10 people in the back. There was covering over the top though it was open air on the sides.

We shared the ride with a couple and a family of five that included three kids (ages 4, 6 and 9). As we got off the paved road and onto the rocky road that would take us to the top of the mountain, it was clear that this would be a really bumpy ride. Kai was not happy.

I was sitting to the rear of him and as we headed uphill, he naturally leaned into me. But while most people would make an effort to try to minimize contact, he deliberately leaned into me harder.

I asked him to try not to press against me, but he said, "I don't care" and then jabbed his elbow into me harder.

I resisted saying anything more as I knew it would just escalate things. But it was a very uncomfortable ride.

I found solace in the beautiful scenery all the way up.

At one point, the rain stopped so the driver/guide asked if we all wanted to take the top off. Everyone except Kai said yes. I told the driver it was okay to take off the covering and Kai jammed his elbow into me again.

But without the top it was much easier to see everything and feel like you were out in nature.

We saw waterfalls near and far.

At one place we went through a tunnel.

We saw the remnants of an old silver mining town that had existed from the 1800s until the 1970s.

About two thirds of the way up, the driver stopped the vehicle. He pointed out some foreboding clouds and said that it looked like a nasty storm was headed our way. He asked if we wanted to continue all the way up to the top or call it a day here. Everyone except Kai wanted to go on, and the driver agreed to keep going.

Above the treeline, we saw quite a bit of remaining snow.

But we made it to the top before the storm hit.

The view was breathtaking and even Kai agreed.

We tried to quickly take pictures before the clouds would roll in and completely obscure the view.

But as we were there, the clouds actually started to go away and the view cleared.

At the summit of Imogene Pass, the elevation is 13,114 feet.

The temperature at the top was 46 degrees, about 30 degrees cooler than down in Telluride, and about 56 degrees cooler than what we experienced the day before at Arches.

We ended up being lucky as the storm did not hit and we had a nice, rain-free drive down back to town.

Kai was much happier on the return trip. Though when we finally got back to our hotel he said, "Dad, I hope you don't have any more mountain drives planned on this trip."

And so this ride was bumpy in more than one way. Sometimes I wonder what the best approach is with Kai. He doesn't like to be pushed out of his comfort zones, but I do think there's benefit to him getting to experience things and places like this. Still, is it worth it? For him? For the rest of us?

After resting up at the hotel, we walked around town. My wife was happy to find a t-shirt that celebrated the town's dog friendliness.

We had dinner at Brown Dog Pizza, which had great Detroit-style rectangular pizza.

And so the Colorado portion of our trip has started. There will be more adventures to come, for better and/or worse.


  1. Now that was a very nice place. I love altitude and cold weather. That tour by the 4x4 sounded fantastic. I have also never been there. I love mountains, and I simply must go visit the Colorado mountains again. Telluride sounds like a place I must visit. The town sounds like a very nice place. Any place which welcomes a place for me.

    1. A mountain man such as yourself would love this place. For me, the sights we saw up at Imogene Pass are the epitome of the Colorado mountains.


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