After our adventures at Hermosa Creek, we packed up camp to move to a location outside of Telluride, near Lizard Head Pass. I say WE packed up, as though I had anything to do with it. In reality, my very ambitious spouse packed up camp, while I was riding, amid the protestations of a cranky kid who thought the world was ending when the tent was being put away. By the time they picked me up, the hubs looked a little like he had just survived an attack by dementors. (To be clear, I had advised against the solo pack up plan. He did it anyway. And he rocked it. And he decided against doing it again.)
We settled into our new camp with a spectacular view about an hour and half before dark and managed to tag team a basic camp setup and simple dinner in record time. (I think we’re getting good at this!)
Having done a fair amount of driving around shuttling bikes, people, and stuff so far in our trip we were ready for a low driving day. The map indicated that there was a 2.5 mile (one way) hike to an alpine lake just a few miles up the road.
These days, hiking with the Little Bear is a juggle between his desire to walk on his own, and our need to make time. He rode for a bit in the backpack, and when we got to the waterfall he hoped out to explore. He happily hiked/ran up the next mile or so under his own power, though the steep grade slowed him down a bit. We finally needed to convince him to get back in the pack. Afternoon monsoons were building and we didn’t want to be stuck at the top of the hike above treeline with lightning coming in. Toddlers, however, are not beings to be reasoned with. One does not simply EXPLAIN to the toddler that getting back in the pack is necessary for safety. So...bribery it is! He is obsessed with these dried apricots we had gotten for the trip, and I’d had the measure out his consumption to avoid...you know...what happens when you eat too many dried apricots. Promising him fistfuls of the orange/brown orbs of sugary goodness did the trick.
As we climbed closer and closer to the lake, and we edged closer and closer to nap time, I had to keep the snacks coming to avoid catastrophic melt down. When the apricots no longer cut it, we had to up the ante. I have written before about the importance of dum dums in a situation like this (you can read that article HERE) but we managed to be clean out of them at this crucial moment. Rooky mistake! I did, however, find another magical treat hidden in the our Osprey Poco. The marvelous and delicious Larabar Bites! These things are melt in your mouth chocolatey goodness! They are surprisingly not too messy either. This did the trick all the way to the lake, and part or the way back down. (Side note, Little Bear loves the mint chocolate ones, but my friend’s daughter had a very different reaction to them! She found the mint flavor to be “spicy”. There are four different flavors to choose from, so there are options.)
We ate our lunch (by “we” I mostly mean the Papa Bear and I, since our son had recently consumed half his weight in dried fruit and chocolate) atop a ridgeline overlooking the brilliant blue water of Hope Lake. We took some time to romp around the high meadow and explore before needing to head back down.
As we descended with the Little Bear on Papa Bear’s back, he conked out for about 45 minutes, his longest nap the whole trip. (Yes...no nap WAS beginning to wear thin. Thanks for asking.) We crossed paths with numerous other friendly hikers, many of whom had loud exclamations about us bringing a two year old on a 5 mile round trip hike in the mountains. No one was negative really, just surprised that we would attempt such a thing, and impressed with the hubby for carrying him in the pack. And...of course people are surprised. Parenting and wrangling a toddler is a challenge even in highly controlled situations. Hiking a steep trail to above tree line elevation (about 11,500 ft) is also a particular challenge. Putting the two together to many people sounds like as much fun as a tooth extraction without anesthesia. But to us, it is all in a day’s adventure. Adventure by definition is not easy. It includes an element of challenge, effort, and expecting the unexpected. Adventuring with a kiddo is just a new angle and different slant on that expectation.
The next day we ventured into Telluride to replenish some supplies and taste the gluten free pancakes offered at The Butcher and the Baker. It was a farm chic hipster joint with kind but slow service, a bright and pleasant atmosphere and a predictably astronomic Telluride prices. Thankfully, considering the cost, the blueberry gluten free pancakes didn’t disappoint. If you are big fan of hash browns though, this might not be the place for you. It’s an extra $3 charge to have hashbrowns with your bacon and eggs, and you get about three tablespoons of spuds.
From the town of Telluride you can see Bridal Veil Falls cascading over the cliffs. We drove up to the base of the falls for a better view. The huge old house on the cliff inspired imagination of what it might be like to live in such a place listening to crashing water all the time and surveying the valley below.
Once we had enough “city” life, we drove up to the town of Ophir easily my favorite little southern Colorado town so far. There is literally nothing there. Just a couple of streets of basic wooden houses clearly occupied by climber/mountain biker/skier dirtbags. Ahh….my idea of a perfect little place. We continued through towards the Ophir pass road and found a hidden little trail next to a creek. We had a surprising and delightful little hike along what appeared to be a locally constructed trail.
Our last and final day before packing up to head home Papa Bear and I took turns riding a section of the Galloping Goose Trail. Galloping Goose mostly follows an old mining railroad grade alignment. Tons of interesting old railroad and mining pieces along the route and a number of sweeping vistas. The section we traveled was quite easy from a technical perspective and not terribly steep in most section, so would make a very doable snd beginner friendly out and back instead of a shuttle if you have the time.
That evening we enjoyed our last dinner overlooking the stunning mountain views we had come to love. Until next year Colorado. Until next year.
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