Ashley and I took a celebratory trip back to my home this past weekend. We just passed another milestone in our aviation career and we decided we needed a bit of a detox in the fresh mountain air. I make no secret how much I love Telluride. The San Juan Mountains have a quality about them that is tough to put into words. It is similar to getting a hug from a loved one; when they embrace us, there is a sense of calm that quiets the nerves. That is the feeling I get when I go back home. This trip would be different however, because this is the first time Ashley and I would get to fly Peanut Butter (our pseudonym for the plane) up there. The plane does not have a very big engine so this trip would be different from any other mountain flying experience we had. We spent a few days planning our route around any potential hazards along the way. Our plane’s ceiling is only about 12,500ft on a standard day and drops with any non-standard atmospheric conditions (things like heat, humidity, wind, etc.). Mountain flying is much different from flatland flying and we needed an extra dose of vigilance and respect for our surroundings. We were also greeted, on our flight to Telluride, with bad weather in west Texas and forest fires in New Mexico (which can be very hazardous to small planes). Thanks to knowledge, planning, and a little experience we made it to Colorado without any issues at all. We even flew right over Mesa Verde National Park! We began the next day with a gnarly, off trail, hike to Cornet Creek & Cornet Falls on the North side of town. My good friend Eric was our guide as we traversed scary scree fields and steep gradients. This time of year, the falls are at their peak flow due to snowmelt. This gives the contrast against the red rocks a neat appearance. The neatest part of Cornet Falls is being able get behind the falls and seeing the resort across the valley. That evening, Ashley, Eric and I attended the Lord Huron concert at the Sheridan Opera House. Lord Huron has been my favorite new band since late last year. They have fantastic lyrics but more importantly, they are extraordinarily musically talented. The drummer is a classically trained percussionist. At one point in the concert, he was playing about five different percussion instruments at the same time. It was nuts. It also happened to be the Opera House’s 100th anniversary. The Sheridan Opera House is one of the most historical buildings in Telluride and is a work of architectural art. The building is gorgeous. After the concert, Ashley and I met and chatted with all five members of the band. These guys are the real deal. Check out their music here. Seeing one of our favorite bands, in a beautiful historical building, on its 100th anniversary, in my favorite town in the world, with my best friends and girlfriend was a magical experience. It is a night I will remember for the rest of my life. The next day Eric and I began the day with a quick morning mountain-bike ride down the valley. The Jurassic Track is a fun, downhill, 6-mile track from the Village to the Valley Floor. Later in the day, Ashley drove us to the beginning of the Galloping Goose track, which begins, at 11,000ft near the top of Lizard Head Pass. This is a 20-mile cross-country track, which follows the old railroad lines to one of the world’s first power stations (Ames Power Station). This gave me a completely new appreciation for the beauty of the San Juan’s as well as the steepness of the hills. By the end of the day my legs felt like jelly and my butt felt even worse (padded shorts on a ride this long are a must!). On our last day, we went out to Miramonte Reservoir to catch our dinner. We went crawfish hunting! It was a blast and a much needed relaxation day. To catch the crawdads we tied a strip of bacon and a rock to a string and threw it in the shallow water. Once the crawfish get a whiff of bacon they come running out of their dens. Once they had a firm grip of the bacon with their pinchers we could slowly pull them towards the surface where we could pick them up and put them in our bucket. These crawfish are huge; some of them bigger than my hand! Monday arrived too quickly and we had to fly back to the heat of Texas. All in all the trip was a blast. We were able to relax and enjoy the beauty and silence around us (something that is impossible in Houston, TX). I sure hope I get to go home again soon. Telluride is a special place. The first set of photos is from my DSLR camera & the second set is from my iPhone. Enjoy! iPhone
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