Via Ferrara

There is nothing better than going on vacation to some place that is super cool where you know a local. On our final day in Telluride, we were fortunate enough to do a little “hiking” with my friend Andy/Tyler.

Maybe I should give a little more background to Andy before I go any further.

Andy was the type of kid who had more energy than seemed humanly possible. He exhibited that awesome, yet dangerous, combination of athletic talents and a fearless attitude. He was the best player when it came to tennis baseball, was the only kid who could hold his breath longer than Abby or me and would attempt ridiculous tricks off the diving board. There was a rumor, that probably lives on today, that one time he actually swung over the top of the swing set. And even though I hadn’t seen Andy in more 15 years, I can say confidently, that attitude/persona hasn’t changed. Even though his life has taken him all over the country and even to different parts of the world, he is still that totally crazy kid I once knew.

So when Matt thought we should take Andy up on his offer to take us hiking, I immediately knew it was a bad idea.

Andy took us to a place in Telluride that few people know about, the Via Ferrara. Up until a year ago, this was a hidden gem that only locals were aware of, that is until a reporter published information about it in Telluride magazine last year.  Thankfully, because of liability/insurance reasons, tour groups have yet to set up trips there, so the only real way to do the hike is to have a local show you the ropes. Thankfully, we knew a local.

The hike up was beautiful and Andy acted as our tour guide, giving us historical information about Telluride highlight all of the mining activities, interesting facts about the Cedar trees that line the canyon walls and stories of festivals and celebrations that capture the true essence of the town. Unfortunately, the history lesson soon ended and we were instructed to put on harasses and helmets. Suddenly the “hike” got serious.

Andy assured up it was pretty basic. Clip in,  shimmy along the rock, unclip, repeat. What he failed to mention are that there are some sections without cables or handholds. It is hard to describe exactly what it felt like to cling to a rock face 300-400 feet in the air, so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite part of the climb was when I looked at Matt. He is usually the one pushing me to do crazy stuff. Not this time. His face was white as a ghost, his entire body was shaking and his comment was “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking getting us into this.” It was funny, for some reason that fueled me to press on. I know, we have a really healthy marriage.

 

 

 

 

The scariest part for me was definitely at what they call “the main event.” On this section there is a great deal of “exposure” which I learned means “really scary stuff.” Basically, the rock face curves inward slightly which results in a sheer drop below you. For about 15-20 minutes, you are clinging for dear life to iron rungs that were drilled into the wall god knows how long ago. Somehow I managed through it.

 

 

 

 

 

Honestly, I wish I had been able to take in the sights a little more, but let’s face it, I was scared to death.

 

 

 

Oh, and did I mention that Andy did the entire thing without a harness or being clipped in?

 

It is nice to see he is still the same kid who once swung over the top of the swing set.

I Like to Ride My Bicycle

The second full day we were in Telluride, Matt and I decided to go cross-country mountain biking.While I’ve been road biking for a while now, I’d never even been on a mountain bike before, let alone ride down a ski mountain. Needless to say, I was a little nervous.

After a ride up the gondola, we made our way to the first track – Jurassic. It was a single track trail (meaning it is only wide enough for one bike) that ran through a section of woods with a lot of switch backs. I was surprised to find of much the bike would skid when I would brake. However, I wasn’t quite brave enough to let myself go that fast. After a few miles of downhill, we reached the valley floor and took the river tail back into town. I survived the first run.

Unfortunately, the second trail didn’t go quite as well. After another trip up in the gondola, we made our way over the Village Trail. This one was a little longer and had a lot of switchbacks. Unfortunately, on a few of these 180 degree turns, the bike slipped out from under me and somehow ended up on top of my legs. The end result was a lot of bruises – not very attractive.

After our second ride, I needed a break. We decided to stop for lunch and some liquid courage.

Soon enough we were back up the gondola and on to our final trail, Prospect Trail. This was the longest and hardest of the three we tackled. A couple of miles into the bike, we heard a familiar noise… thunder. Unfortunately, Matt and I were finding ourselves in a situation where we were trying to outrun (well, outride) another storm.

Thankfully we made it down in one piece

Just a little muddy!

Hiking in the Face of Danger

The first full day Matt and I spent in Telluride we decided to take a little hike. I told Matt that I didn’t want to do anything too crazy so we decided to hike to Beaver Creek Falls. This is a relatively easy 2 and a half mile hike to a waterfall. I had planned to hike to the falls, then turn around and hike back. Unfortunately (yet not surprisingly) Matt had another idea.

There were a couple of other people at the falls when we got there. Matt decided to ask them if there were any other options for our return trip. They told him about a hike that climbed up to the top of a ridge (note that the didn’t use the word hill) and then over to the ski area. From there we could either take the gondola back down into town or continue hiking.

Matt looked at me (as if I had any option) before marching onward and upward. We continued to climb. And climb. And climb. Soon enough I started to feel the effects of the altitude and had to take frequent breaks to put my hands on my knees, hunch over and pant. Never before had walking taken so much out of me.

We continued on for over an hour. Thankfully the scenery was incredible so I kept my complaining to a minimum. As we got higher and higher, the ridge we were looking for seemed to just get further and further away. After many switch backs, we finally started to see the path flatten out. Unfortunately, this was right around the same time that the clouds rolled in and the thunder started.

At first, the thunder seemed to add a cool ambiance. Then it started to scare the crap out of us. Stuck on the ridge of a 12,000 foot mountain is not somewhere that you want to be during a thunder and lightning storm. Matt and I proceeded to run, yes run, the rest of the way up and across the ridge. We encountered two locals who asked us if we were training for the upcoming 17 mile run that went over one of the mountain peaks in the area. We simply told them “no, we are trying to get away from the storm.”

“Silly tourists” they must have thought.

Thankfully, after a little panicking and some yelling by me at Matt (clearly this was his fault) we made it to the gondola safe and sound. What started out at an easy 5 mile hike turned into an 8 mile dash for our lives.

That’s the thing about being married to Matt – life is always an adventure!

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