Today is the first official day of the FJ Summit Event so we needed to be up early and get to the staging area over by the Natural Spring
swimming pool. We are sponsoring a trail ride each day and today’s trail is Black Bear. Unfortunately the trail is still snowed in at the summit.
The FJ’s started rolling in early to see which trail we were going to run because of the closure. Our group of five was having a great
time handing out swag bags and talking to all the nice people as they arrived. It was fun looking at all the different accessories that
everyone put on their FJ’s.
At each of the four take off times arrived the trail guide who would give a brief talk about what was expected of the drivers to make sure
everyone would be safe. They also went over some rules and asked if anyone had any medical issues since we would be at about 12,000
feet in elevation.
There was also a group of volunteers that were going out with a Forest Service Ranger to do trail maintenance that staged near us.
They had a good size group heading out. It's always good to see 4 wheelers helping maintain the trails that we all have the privilege
of using. Good job by those that helped.
Our group was the last of the day to take off. The plan was to take the highway over to Telluride and catch the back side of Black Bear.
We were going to go up the trail as far as we could and turn back. Then we would take Ophir, stop for lunch on the trail, and head back to
the highway. From there we will go over to the start of Black Bear and run it up to the summit where it is closed and back to town.
The plan sounded good when we were all together but plans have a way of changing sometimes. We made it to Telluride but missed the
trailhead to Black Bear. We ended up going up a trail called Imogene Pass. We were only on it for a couple of miles when Robert our trail
guide realized we were going the wrong way after passing another group of FJ’s. So now for the tricky part. Turning around a group of
vehicles on a very narrow trail.
On the positive side we did get an awesome view of the waterfalls towards the end of town along with a great view of the ski lift.
In the photo below you can see the 3-point turn switchbacks off in the distance if you look close between the two waterfalls. That
is Black Bear.
We headed over to the trail head but road closed signs were posted. At least we got a bit closer to the falls. How awesome would
it be to stay in this house for a while? I would imagine the sound of the water is deafening. Also notice the swinging bridge across
the canyon (to the left) that you have to walk over to get to the house.
We take off to Ophir Pass which was originally established in the late 1800’s as a wagon road for the mines in the area. You can see the
trail off in the distance.
We stopped for lunch just before heading up the famous shelf road which is cut into the side of the mountain.