I spent most of the last week in Telluride, CO making it the longest stop (other than New Bern, NC) on my entire trip. When I first decided to route through Telluride, I did so to make sure that I got to spend some time with Dylan, a former Apogee leader. I had never been to that area of Colorado and didn’t have any plans or aspirations other than spending time catching up with Dylan. Unexpectedly, I decided to extend my stay and ended up having a total blast.
Arriving at dinnertime on Tuesday, I spent my first few hours in Telluride meeting Dylan’s roommates (Marc and Ashley) and a friend of theirs (Joey), having some dinner, and eventually kicking things off in style at a party connected to Telluride’s Gay Ski Week. It was a whirlwind of a night. Although I had never met any of them before, everything felt like it clicked. Conversation flowed smoothly and I felt instantly welcomed by everyone that I met. I couldn’t tell if I had just met the right people or if the energy of Telluride was just that easy going and inviting. Either way, I felt lucky to be so welcome in such a new place.
That night, a two-day storm began dumping its payload on Telluride. Our group spent Wednesday working from the house, each of us dedicating some time to their own personal projects, while also engaging the group occasionally. My NOLS application wasn’t going to complete itself, so I took advantage of the opportunity to work. Dylan and I had thought about going for a hike, but the valley was completely shrouded in low-hanging clouds and snow. It would have to wait. That night, Marc and Ashley gave me full access to their kitchen and I spent a few hours cooking up some vegan burritos with sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas and broccoli, and a walnut-lentil crumble. It is hard to describe how much I miss having access to a full kitchen, so this was a total blessing.
With the skies clearing up and plenty of snow still on the ground, we spent part of the next day working and part of it playing. Since the work is relatively self-explanatory, I’ll focus on the playing. We headed up towards Telluride’s Mountain Village. Even though the ski resort was technically closed, we hiked up into the snow and found a groomed run to play on for a while. Dylan had offered me his skis, but I hadn’t wanted to risk scratching the bottoms on rocks since the snowfall hadn’t been that heavy. Instead, I opted for a sled, which was just as epic.
For the second night in a row, I went wild in the kitchen, cooking up some chili with Brussels sprouts as a starter. The highlight of my evening, however, was watching the relatively new climbing documentary: Meru. The film that follows Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk up a historically impossible route in the Himalayas is easily the best extreme sport documentaries I have ever seen. Not only does the film feature stunning cinematography and completely nerve-racking story, but it also gives you an insight into the almost inhuman dedication these climbers have to push the limits of the human experience. Jon Krakauer makes his narration accessible to all, while constantly reiterating the sheer impossibility of this climb. It is a total win. Two thumbs all the way up.
We filled my list day in Telluride with hiking, adventuring, wandering, and hanging out with a big crew downtown. The morning after, everyone geared up for their respective adventures. Joey and I prepared to drive to Montrose, CO, where he would fly home and I would find Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Dylan, Ashley, Marc, and Dax packed for a stay at a backcountry hut that would hopefully give them access to some early-season backcountry skiing. Everyone was off on their own adventure. A round of hugs called this chapter of my time in Telluride to a close, but I am pretty sure I will return someday soon.
Thanks for a fantastic couple of days Telluride!