9,540 ft - High altitude living

Mountain Village, Telluride clocks in at 9540 ft (2907 m), more than 2,000 ft (609 m) above our own, diminutive, Kosciuszko. Nestled in the magnificent San Juan Mountains, Telluride is charming and breathtaking at the same time.

Main Street in the old town
Breathtaking scenery

An old mining town, with a history going back to 1880, Telluride has the distinction of being the town in which Robert Leroy Parker (aka - Butch Cassidy) robbed his first bank.  The locals say he took up robbing banks because mining was just too hard, and frankly, I don't blame him. At this altitude, everything is just too hard.

Lots of charm

Now famous for skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer (there is a pattern here - both involve going downhill fast) Telluride is a place for the young and reckless.  David is a reluctant skier (see my blog post 12 Aug 2012) but even so, beautiful as Telluride is, I couldn't imagine us ever returning here to ski. It is just too high. Having spent our entire lives living at sea level I don't think we could handle the altitude without serious risk of a coronary.

Mountain bikes designed for snow and ice - the bikers are tough here

As for cycling, yesterday we biked down from Mountain Village to the old town centre, a vertical drop of about 700 feet. For the first, and I hope the only, time on the holiday I regretted leaving our helmets at home.   Once at the old town we cycled up toward Bridal Veil Falls for a couple of miles.  It would have been an easy incline at sea level but we were forced to stop every couple of hundred metres to get our breath. At one point we were passed by two young mothers pushing prams - which was just plain embarrassing.

Bridal Veil Falls

Perhaps the most fun thing about Telluride is it's public transportation system. A free gondola links the old town on the valley floor with Mountain Village. Half way there is a stop at the top of the mountain bike trails. Even the local supermarket is accessed via a gondola.  The cabins have bike racks making the trek back up the mountain a lot easier than the trek down.

Public transport

I don't think I can finish this entry without a plug for the Hotel Madeline - it is just fantastic and like the Viceroy at Snowmass Village great value out of season.

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For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here

13 June 2013

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