The Colorado 14er Project: Day 2

Watch our Day 2 Adventure!

Day 2 of 14

On Day #2 of the project we decided to give our legs (and lungs) a rest and not hike any 14ers, but we still had a full day ahead. After morning coffee we hit the road and began the day with a drive from Silverton to the small mountain town of Ophir via Ophir Pass Road (Scenic Drive #2).

From Silverton, the drive to Ophir Pass is pretty mellow. We drove this road a few weeks prior while scouting for our Wildflowers & Waterfalls photography workshop and were greeted with towering snowdrifts on the summit. Today, the snow was barely even there. Amazing what a few weeks of sunshine can do!

As you descend into Ophir things start to get a little rougher and a lot more narrow. This side of the pass offers amazing views and gave Mandy the perfect chance to break out the drone and try something new—flying it from a moving truck! The resulting footage was pretty awesome to say the least, but you’ll have to check out the video to see it…

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We continued on to the fairytale town of Telluride; nestled in one of the most picturesque locations you can imagine. Our next stop was Cornet Falls (Water Feature #2). Access to this impressive waterfall is tucked away at the end of a residential area. So, you might have to poke your head around a bit to find the trailhead, but once you do the short, uphill hike it totally worth it!

On our way back we spotted some pretty flowers, but had no idea what they were. Luckily, Mandy found a few great iPhone apps to help with identifying Colorado wildflowers. After a little research, Mandy figured out we were looking at the Richardson’s Geranium (Wildflower #2).

With waterfalls on our mind, we made our way through the heart of Telluride to the iconic 365-foot Bridal Veil Falls (Water Feature #3), which can be seen from just about anywhere in town. There’s an old power station situated at the top of the falls with access to some amazing hiking trails. You can drive all the way up to the station on a somewhat rough road. At minimum, we’d suggest heading up the road (by car or foot) to the base of the waterfall for an interesting perspective on its magnitude.

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The road to Bridal Veil Falls also provides access to one of our favorite hikes in Colorado—the Telluride Via Ferrata. This is Italian for “Iron Path.” While this trail wasn’t really part of our 14er Project it’s hard to be this close and not enjoy it. So, we decided to put on our harnesses and enjoy the hike!

Summer crowds and traffic in Telluride can make navigating the town a frustrating experience. So, we headed to the FREE Carhenge Public Parking area and chose to walk around town. We worked up a pretty good appetite, which made Baked in Telluride (Coffeeshop #2) the next logical stop. “BIT” has been around since 1977 and even survived one of the areas worst structural fires back in 2010. The delicious sweet and savory pastries and no-frills drip coffee from “BIT” are well worth a visit. Make sure to go after 2pm when they’re Buy One, Get One Free!

With full stomachs it was time to go in search of whiskey! The Telluride Distilling Company (Distillery #3) has a nice tasting room in the resort area of Mountain Village, which is a 7+ mile drive around the mountains. Luckily, Telluride has a rather unique mode of free public transportation, the Gondola! The gondola has transported locals and tourists back-and-forth between Telluride and Mountain Village since 1996 and now serves about 2.8 million people per year. Whether using the gondola to sightsee or commute over the mountain to work; it’s always a scenic ride!

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Once in Mountain Village the Telluride Distilling Company wasn’t too far away. Pretty sure Mandy just stuck her nose in the air and could smell the whiskey! The tasting room is a cozy space that had me wishing there was three feet of snow on the ground. It’s the perfect place for a nice après ski drink or two. Their whiskey and peppermint schnapps could warm the soul on even the coldest of winter days. They aren’t too shabby in the summer either…

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We hopped back on the gondola to enjoy the spectacular views and make our way back to Telluride. Our last stop before heading back home to Little Bear was the Telluride Brewing Company (Brewery #2); another fixture in Telluride that’s been around since 2012. Kendrick has been enjoying their beers just about as long as they’ve been around, but had never visited the brewery. Well, that all changed…

Of course, the beer is amazing. It’s hard to be around for seven years with bad beer. We enjoyed the location out of the hustle-and-bustle of Telluride, which seems to help keep the place feeling pretty low-key. Throw in a few delicious places to grab food nearby and some nice locals and you get the perfect little place to spend a Sunday Funday (or Any-Day-of-the-Week Funday!).

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To get home we decided to head back up-and-over Ophir Pass, which is the most direct route home by 50 miles! There’s just a short stretch of a few miles getting to the pass from Ophir where the going is slow, but the rest of the drive isn’t too bad. Plus, being dark already we figured we wouldn’t encounter any oncoming traffic.

Eventually, we made it back to our comfy bed in Little Bear where we fell asleep in no time. We needed all the rest we could get because our alarms were set for 3:30am the next morning…

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Info & Links for Day 2 Travels:
(click for more info)

Fourteener 1/14: Day off! Woo! But check out the Telluride via Ferrata that we hiked instead!

Water Feature 2/14: Cornet Falls

Water Feature 3/14: Bridal Veil Falls

Wildflower 2/14: Richardson’s Geranium

Scenic Drive 2/14: Ophir Pass

Distillery 3/14: Telluride Distilling Company

Coffee Shop 2/14: Baked in Telluride

Brewery 2/14: Telluride Brewing Company

Images from Day 2:
(click to enlarge)


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