Wild Wild West

Colorado packed quite a punch. It’s easily my favorite state, second to Massachusetts. I love its extreme weather, craft beers, the grace of the Rockies and plenty of wildlife and wilderness. We nearly died a few times on this leg of the journey (I’ll repeat: do not cross the Continental Divide at night if it begins to snow) but each adventure made me happier and excited for more.

 The wind gusts here were up to 50 mph as a storm whipped onto the plains. Moments after this shot, a gust threw sand and rock into the air & he had to take shelter behind the car. His hair was actually filled with pebbles.

The wind gusts here were up to 50 mph as a storm whipped onto the plains. Moments after this shot, a gust threw sand and rock into the air & he had to take shelter behind the car. His hair was actually filled with pebbles.

 The storm as we were driving into it. Lightning struck about every 30 seconds & tornado clouds were gathering all over.

The storm as we were driving into it. Lightning struck about every 30 seconds & tornado clouds were gathering all over.

 As we drove out of the storm, the Rockies appeared!

As we drove out of the storm, the Rockies appeared!

 Attempting to be photogenic, examining all the brew pub samples. Boyfriend’s favorite was brewed with hot peppers.

Attempting to be photogenic, examining all the brew pub samples. Boyfriend’s favorite was brewed with hot peppers.

 For the pool shark John, who asked for me to photograph him playing but didn’t have an email address.

For the pool shark John, who asked for me to photograph him playing but didn’t have an email address.

 Gunnison CO antler and mount store.

Gunnison CO antler and mount store.

 So many dead animals!

So many dead animals!

 Myself and the West Elk Breccia

Myself and the West Elk Breccia

 Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. He had “a feeling” about it and that feeling turned out to be awe.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. He had “a feeling” about it and that feeling turned out to be awe.

 Try not to shit yourself.

Try not to shit yourself.

 Elk lady party as we were entering Telluride.

Elk lady party as we were entering Telluride.

 Our aspen-laden campsite in the town campground.

Our aspen-laden campsite in the town campground.

 Practicing for that abandoned mine level in Donkey Kong.

Practicing for that abandoned mine level in Donkey Kong.

 Downtown Telluride with a free stuff wall, lattes at the Steaming Bean, PO boxes only, the occasional wild black bear, a gondola from the street to the mountain and hitching posts for your dog.

Downtown Telluride with a free stuff wall, lattes at the Steaming Bean, PO boxes only, the occasional wild black bear, a gondola from the street to the mountain and hitching posts for your dog.

 Hiking in high altitude blows. I went from a marathoner fitness nut to an asthmatic on a boat for the first time.

Hiking in high altitude blows. I went from a marathoner fitness nut to an asthmatic on a boat for the first time.

 Worth it for the views.

Worth it for the views.

 Cool abandoned mine complete with ruined rail tracks, flooded creepy mine shaft, rusting gondola carts and shattered wood structures.

Cool abandoned mine complete with ruined rail tracks, flooded creepy mine shaft, rusting gondola carts and shattered wood structures.

 You shall not pass.

You shall not pass.

 Rails go off the cliff! Note the DC power plant in the background, running off the water power.

Rails go off the cliff! Note the DC power plant in the background, running off the water power.

 At the top. As you can see, it’s starting to snow and wet my camera lens. Moments after this shot, snow thunder boomed.

At the top. As you can see, it’s starting to snow and wet my camera lens. Moments after this shot, snow thunder boomed.

 It didn’t take long before it was nearly whiteout and we were in trouble with our autumn-weather hiking clothes.

It didn’t take long before it was nearly whiteout and we were in trouble with our autumn-weather hiking clothes.

 Ben, Elvis and Chrissie, the kind souls who saved us with a generous ride down the snowy mountain. Bless y’all!

Ben, Elvis and Chrissie, the kind souls who saved us with a generous ride down the snowy mountain. Bless y’all!