At the bottom of Black Bear Pass is the Alpine community of Telluride and just a 13 minute gondola ride to Mountain Village is the Peaks Resort and Spa where my travelling companion was treated to a couple of days of hedonistic debauchery and pampering…

That’s a snowball in my paw which soon found its way to my wary photographer.

Now, lest anyone begin pitying my travelling companion as the target of an occasional snowball or practical joke, I would like to say, in my own defense, that being the said “straight gal” of our roving comedy team is not without some benefit…

In my never to be humble opinion, Poughkeepsie Gulch is the toughest 4-wheel drive road you will happen upon in this section of the Rocky Mountains.  In addition to a lot of very long and steep uphills on narrow shelf roads over loose shale, the road suddenly comes to an abrupt end after several miles in a box canyon at the base of a large rock formation which must be negotiated if you wish to continue to the end of this road and the beginning of the next…

This sightseeing train makes 2 round-trip runs per day between Durango and Silverton for prices starting at $100 per person and rising quite rapidly if you choose not to sit on either the cow catcher or the roof of the caboose.

We decided to forego both of the aforementioned accommodations and, instead, set out in search of one of those roads which we love to hate…

But, alas, all good things must come to an end and even the misery I inflict upon my poor brother-in-law with these Updates cannot be interminably sustained.  And so, we’ll bid y’all a fond farewell for the time being and revisit those few brave souls who remain on our Update List a bit further down the road.  Rocky Mountain Hugs!!!!  Chuck and Zook

You will occasionally “catch some air” on climbs like this and experience some extreme sideways and backward tipping which only adds to the adrenaline rush and, upon a successful conclusion, the urgent need to rush to your local tavern and celebrate another near-introduction to the Grim Reaper.  Okay, I do tend to exaggerate a wee bit.  The truth is…this is FUN!!   (No rebuttals here, Zook!)

One of the major benefits to traversing these roads is the opportunity to spot wildlife that you simply don’t find while driving through a town…

Otherwise you must return from whence you came with tail tucked between your legs and that bitter admission of defeat staining your lips.  HAH!!!  Never!!!!  This section of trail has proved itself nearly impassable on so many prior occasions to other 4-wheelers that the local Jeep club took it upon themselves to install several winch points on the rock escarpments to assist Jeepers in getting to the top.  Some of us, however, look at winch points as simply a less pronounced admission that you can’t get to the top without cheating and a further admission that you are a “girly-man”…

But the real enjoyment in running all of these Rocky Mountain back roads at this time of year comes from witnessing the passage of time over a two-week period during which the aspens are brightly cloaked in hues of gold, orange and red to the very first snowfall at the 12,000 to 13,000 foot elevation…

As we began our third week of Rocky Mountain exploration, we found ourselves comfortably nestled in the Silver Summit RV Park next door to the Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad station…

And absolutely nothing compares to the thrill of leaving those warm 70 degree temperatures of the flatland (think 9000+ feet) and an hour later being the first to drive though new fallen snow over one of the high country passes…

  Rocky Mountain Tableau                                              October 1, 2012