On Monday, I experienced Colorado from a different view—deep into the "back country" in the mountains. With no roads in sight, we went on a 2.5-hour snowmobiling trip just above Telluride about 11,500 feet in elevation. Most of our tour was through national forest, and the views were oh-my-gosh incredible. There were dozens of times I wish that I had a camera on my helmet so I could grab a photo of the amazing forest and mountainside we were powering through. But of course, I was holding on to the handlebars with all my might, trying to stay inline with the narrow paths and winding curves, many of which were on the verge of falling off the mountainside. (I said before I was nervous about the roads…well, our snowmobile path was sometimes just barely as wide as the snowmobile. One false move, one big rock, one split second of taking my eyes off the path, and it would have been all over for me!)
Out of a group of about 14 of us at first, we lucked out and got a tour guide all to ourselves. The four of us were split from the rest (the others must have all been one big group). Our tour guide, Jack, was really good. We stopped several times, and he told us a lot of the history of the town of Alta, an old mining town that is just a few shattered buildings now. It was pretty interesting.
Out of all of us, including the other group, I was the only one who obviously had never been before. I didn't have the gear. I don't really have a reason to own snow gear—snow pants, gator (neck cover), boots, snow-proof coat, helmet, goggles—and I have never skiied before, either, so I was a bit unprepared. I had to borrow everything from the tour company. Boy, did I look like a goober! The smallest suit they had, they warned me would be huge. That was an understatement! It was ENORMOUS! And it was a size small! I tell ya, I felt like an astronaut in all of that gear, and it made for some pretty dorky pictures!
I did have my little point-and-shoot camera with me. I couldn't bring my good camera that I love because it would have been bouncing around like crazy and would have been quite a pain to carry around. My point-and-shoot fit into my pocket of my giant snowsuit, and it did the job OK. Still, there were many, many times I wish I had had my good camera. The scenery is amazing. Makes me want to rig some way to get it out there next time we do this. I would have had some AWESOME pictures!
Anyway, we got a couple of good family shots, too. With the mountains in the background, it's pretty hard to take a bad picture here.
Man, with my helmet-head hair and giant snowsuit, I kind of want to cringe when I see myself! But the rest of the family looks good!
The one above was just about at treeline, 11,500 feet. It was our highest point of the tour.
The funny thing is (and it doesn't really show here) that it was 65 degrees in Telluride, just below where we were snowmobiling yesterday. It was a gorgeous day. There was plenty of snow (something we were a little worried about when we had had a few 50-plus-degree days leading up to our snowmobile adventure. But the guides said they had had a major snowstorm in December and the snow was pretty packed, so it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. There were some really deep areas…one of which I feel back into! I stepped off the groomed snowmobile path by no more than foot (trying to back up to get a better picture) and fell into three feet of snow…which happened to be on top of a lake. So I was lucky to not have fallen into the water!
So snowmobiling was a great time! Chad, you would have loved it. Wish you were here. G and E, when you get a little older, we'll make sure we take you guys out, too. I miss you all. Love you!
After snowmobiling, we headed into Mountain Village (also above Telluride), to the Peaks and See Forever, where my stepmom is concierge and manager. We toured a couple of the $6-million units (gasp!), and the views, again, were spectacular. (You'd have to be a millionaire to live in Telluride or Mountain Village…literally. Even small, small houses—smaller than ours at home—sell for a million bucks in Telluride.)
Those black/gray areas are rolling shades/blinds. The views…geez. This unit was owned by the in-laws of Dancing with Stars star Brooke Burke.
That wrapped up our day yesterday. Today, we're going to explore Ouray, a small town near where my dad lives. More tomorrow!