and an occasional pika...

Colorado Rocky Mountain high ... that pretty much describes our last 4 weeks; running the trails and mountain passes out of South Fork, Lake City, Creed, Silverton and Telluride, Colorado.  This area is about as different from Utah as one can possibly imagine.  Our Jeeping day in Moab would usually begin with loading as much water as we could carry and immersing ourselves in several gallons of sunscreen before we even dared to venture outside in the 110 degree heat.  In the Rockies, you can get by with only a reasonable amount of water, a shared dollop of sunscreen and every warm and waterproof article of clothing you own.  And even in a well-equipped 4-wheel drive Jeep, some roads are just not meant to be traveled ...

   Colorado Rocky Mountain High                               September 2, 2006

One of the fun things about 4-wheeling is acting as guide dog to folks who are new to this form of insanity (Kevin and Paula in this case) and leading them through mud bogs, snow banks and streams or across the occasional wilderness bridge ...

These folks turned out to be real troopers and Kevin even volunteered to run Black Bear Pass with me ... Paula volunteered to stay home and eat ice cream with my bride.  Having survived pretty much everything the Rocky Mountains could throw at us, we are now back in Red Bay, Alabama, having some new goodies added to our home and dealing with what is turning into our semi-annual refrigerator problem.  Our $3,000 FRENCH-made Dometic refrigerator requires $1,000 in repairs every other year just to keep my traveling companion’s ice cream frozen...

These little guys may look like rats but are actually members of the rabbit family.  They are seldom seen and are usually pretty difficult to photograph because they are always moving, usually under and between rocks.  This dilemma was quickly resolved by my ever-resourceful budding nature photographer as she slithered into a rocky crevasse and stuck out a handful of clover in order to entice these two in close enough to get mug shots.  I personally believe that Walt Disney ran into one of these critters years ago and immediately incorporated the face and big round ears into Mickey Mouse. 
There are acres of wildflowers ...                 in every color ...

My knees still tremble whenever I look at this picture.  In addition to the natural beauty of this area, the wildlife viewing is also pretty fantastic with
herds of chipmunk...                                  and marmot...

This gypsy lifestyle would be a lot more affordable if I could only convince her to switch to coffee. Until next time … Hugs, Chunky Crab and Zookie 

The day we drove this road we were caught in a thunderstorm that quickly turned to hail as we began our descent through the switchbacks!!  We are talking some major excitement here!!  Black Bear is also one of the most beautiful and unusual trails in the area and offers a close up view of the most precariously situated house I have ever seen...

shape ...                                                   and type ...

THESE are the roads we look for!!  This particular road led up to Black Bear Pass, which is regarded as one of the most difficult trails in the Rocky Mountains.  The trail contains 9 hairpin switchbacks so tight they require vehicles to back up on loose shale ledges with 3,000 foot drop offs in order to get through ...