Friday, September 16, 2011

Tales from Telluride...

also known as 'To Hell You Ride' in 1889.
Telluride is infamous as the mining town where Robert Parker, aka Butch Cassidy of the Wild Bunch Gang, robbed his first bank in 1889 for a little over $20,000.  It fascinated me to learn that Butch, or Bob, learned to defy the establishment as a young teen in Utah.  First, by helping his family run an underground railroad for Mormon polygamist escaping persecution in the Midwest, and then as a cattle rustler with his mentor, Mike Cassidy.  Unlike Butch, who came to Telluride for its money making opportunities, we came to hike at high altitude and parted with a good sum of money!
Although expensive, the town is charming with its brightly painted homes, historical buildings, fine cuisine and breathtaking views. 

Upon the advice of our host at the Wildwood Canyon Inn B&B, we chose the Bridal Veil Basin for our hike.  Getting to the basin was the beginning of our adventure and involved climbing 1,200 ft. up a gravel, 4-wheel drive trail to the top of the falls.  The picture above of the valley floor was taken about half way up the road.
 Perched on the top of the falls is a small hydroelectric plant built in 1907 by the Smugglers Union Mine.  Bulkley Wells, Harvard graduate and the mine manager for over 20 years, convinced the mine's owners to build the power plant to help defray fuel costs.  At the same time, he convinced them to build a 12 room 'apartment' atop the plant so he could "entertain in style while looking down on the workers below."  It is rumored the notorious womanizer entertained more lady friends than business clients.  The home was abandoned by Wells when the plant closed.  It was privately owned and restored around 2000, but is now vacant.  Although listed on the National Register of Historical homes, there are no plans to open it to the public.

Once we gained access to the area above the falls, we chose the Gray's Basin/ Mayflower Mine trail since it was touted as a 'memorable' hike.  That was an understatement!  The day started out cold with a high, misty cloud cover, but we are prepared backcountry hikers and had our rain gear.  After climbing a little over 1800 ft. into the Gray's Basin and less than a few 100 yds away from the mine, the rain turned into a bone chilling snow. 

Although my DH desperately wanted to explore the mine (just above his left shoulder), our common sense prevailed and we decided to head back.
When the skies cleared briefly, I captured the first snow of the season on the peaks around the basin.

Although we were early for the trees to turn, the remnants of the wildflowers of a month ago provided some fall color for a few photos.
The good news was that at 11,953 ft. I experienced no altitude sickness.
Therefore, I will not need one of these while hiking in Peru!




12 comments:

Robyn said...

My sister lived in Telluride for 8 years. This was a trip down memory lane, thank you.

Maureen said...

A vacation to prepare for a vacation! You're very committed to this aren't you!?!? Great exercise and also must be good for the soul. Wonderful that your husband enjoys it, too.

Stray Stitches said...

Thanks for the bit of history! I have always wanted to visit Telluride so it was nice to visit thru your photos.

Elyte said...

What beautiful sights. I am sure that the trip was worth every cent.

julieQ said...

My brother lived there when he was in his 20's and we visited frequently. It was mostly dirt roads and gravel throughout the town at that time, not the thriving tourist area it is now...isn't it lovely??

Lee Prairie Designs said...

Beautiful pictures and it's neat that you both enjoy these fun bonus years doing this together!

:) Carolyn

Lori said...

That is so amazing and beautiful!!

libbyquilter said...

it sounds like you're shaping up for the Peruvian experience nicely~!!~

:-)
libbyQ

grandmarockton said...

This is GOD'S handy work for sure

Michele said...

How interesting! I guess if you lived there you would have to watch that first step! It's a long way down!!

Merilyn said...

What a fabulous hike Cheryl, and wonderful photos too, thanks for the history lesson also, always nice to see these hidden places in faraway countrys!!! Great post!!

Lisa said...

Cheryl, loved the post, and your pictures are stunning! I envy you your energy and determination. You go, girl!