The majestic mountains that were once home to more than 30 mining companies are a huge draw for jeeping enthusiasts. Dan and his family explored many of the roads when they relocated to Colorado from Kansas in the 1970s. "Four-wheeling" as they called it, was a new activity for me, but I soon came to appreciate the skill required to maneuver vehicles over rugged terrain and the satisfaction in seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in our state.
On Saturday, we rented a jeep for the day. July is prime time for wildflowers and we saw plenty during our drive to Yankee Boy Basin and on the road up to Imogene Pass.
The Colorado state flower is the blue columbine.
It's beautiful on its own and even lovelier when mingled with Indian paintbrush and bluebells.
There were fields covered with bluebells and delphinium.
Pictures just don't do justice to the beauty of the area. If I had to choose a favorite flower it would be the Indian paintbrush. There were several different hues, including red, orange and rose.
This broad-leafed green plant has different names, but the book I have identifies it as corn lily. It looks really pretty growing in meadows, especially since delphinium and bluebells seem to share the same neighborhoods.
It's hard to tell from this picture, but the bumblebee was huge!
At about 11,000 feet lies a delicate ecosystem where the wind is fierce and the temperatures icy cold. Yet, there are still hundreds of species of plants that grow on the tundra, including lichens and moss and flowering plants. They stand strong against natural elements, however walking or driving off road can easily destroy their environment.
We were surprised to learn that the road to Imogene had only opened a couple of weeks, but when we saw all the snow up top, we could see why.
The summit. . . 13,114 feet above sea level.
What goes up, eventually comes down;) Down the other side of the pass, lies the town of Telluride. We made it to the bottom and enjoyed a nice lunch, before driving back to Ouray using the 21st century route -- Highway 62.