Day Four – Telluride [2nd Day of Riding]

We decided to try a different place for breakfast and went to our old spot from 1999; the Silver Nugget.  Our plan for the day was to ride the Ophir Pass over to Telluride and then down Imogene.  We missed the Ophir Pass last time in favor of Black Bear Pass.  One the owners at the Timber Ridge campground had told us Black Bear was closed so we put this plan in to place.  We rode US 550 south almost to Silverton where Ophir intersects the highway.  Ophir was very easy except one spot where I might rate it slightly more difficult than that, but it did posses some of the best scenery we had come across.  It was early in the morning and the sun was shining so maybe that has something to do with it but it was an enjoyable ride.  Ophir Pass dead ends into C145 where we headed north to Telluride.  We made a detour to the Alta Lakes area east of C145.  We passed the old Alta Mine boarding house and the adjacent office on our way up to the lake.  There is no difficulty here either, all of the roads are fairly wide jeep roads.  Once up at the lake there is some pretty nice views with the mountains that surround the lake giving a very real sense of seclusion.  Back down the way we came we headed into Telluride and stopped at Smuggler's Inn for lunch.  During lunch the daily rain started, a little earlier than normal.  By the time we finished it had mostly stopped and was just spitting.  We caught Imogene on the north side of town and began our trek up and over.  The climb from Telluride up to Imogene isn't nearly as difficult as the opposite side.  We stopped at the old Tomboy mine on the way up and saw our newly made friends from our campground in their Jeep.  The rain was picking up a little bit as neared the summit.  After a brief stop we started back down the other side and embarked on what was probably one of the more difficult and challenging parts of the trip.  One can always make it down a hill but often times the risk and falling and getting hurt are higher as is the case of descending Imogene in the rain.  Fortunately, it was uneventful but the adrenaline was pumping.  Once we hit Camp Bird we knew we were getting close to C361 and back into Ouray.  The rain was picking up and would downpour before the day's end.