San Juan Mountains Exploration: Lifeblood of the Rio Grande

“If you should, in your imagination, put together in one small group, perhaps twelve miles square, all the heights and depths, the rugged precipices and polished faces of rock, and all the sharp pinnacles and deeply-indented crests, and twenty times the inaccessible summits that both of us have ever seen, you would not have a picture equal to this…”

-W.H. Holmes
Letter to Ferdinand V. Hayden
From the headwaters of the Rio Grande
September 7, 1876


NMBR's San Juan Mountains Exploration is near complete. Stay tuned for the humble headwaters of the Rio Grande & return to New Mexico.


San Juan Mountains Exploration: G's SHISH KABOB Grill

Feast your eyes on these...

A 10 hour trail day + George's infamous shish kabobs + cold Corona = Heaven on Earth


San Juan Mountains Exploration: Poughkeepsie Gulch

Poughkeepsie Gulch
San Juan County, Colorado
Nearby Towns: Ouray, Telluride
Nearby Trails: California Gulch, Corkscrew Gulch, Hurricane Pass
Trail Length: 3.97 miles
Elevation: 10,143 to 12,546 feet
This trail is classified as DIFFICULT


San Juan Mountains Exploration: Prospector

“There's a saying among prospectors: 'Go out looking for one thing, and that's all you'll ever find.'”
-Robert Flaherty

San Juan Mountains Exploration: Bridal Veils Falls

Bridal Veil Falls
Location Telluride, Colorado
Coordinates 37°55′09″N 107°46′12″W
Elevation 10,279 ft.
Total height 365 ft.
Watercourse San Miguel River

The power generated inside the home located at the top of Bridal Veil Falls now provides almost a quarter of Telluride's power. The house was originally used to power the Smuggler-Union Mine. It is the second-oldest operating AC generator in the United States, the first being the nearby Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant by Ophir, Colorado. While the falls are located on private property, ice climbers are known to trespass and climb the frozen Bridal Veil Falls during the winter. The climb is referred to as a “mega classic” and “one of the most dangerous climbs in America”.


San Juan Mountains Exploration: Black Bear Pass II

Once in awhile, I have to put the camera down, and both hands on the wheel. This was one of those trails…

The infamous Black Bear Pass starts at the 11,018-foot summit of Red Mountain Pass on U.S. Highway 550. The trail follows the shortest distance route from U.S. 550 to Telluride. After cresting Black Bear Pass at 12,840 ft., the road seems to fall off the face of the earth as drivers traverse a dangerous set of switchbacks above Telluride. The one-way route also passes Bridal Veil Falls (the highest waterfall in Colorado) before the final decent into Telluride.

To make Black Bear Pass a round trip from Ouray or Silverton, use Imogene or Ophir for the return.

A rush of blood to head--staring down the face of a sheer cliff, wheels locked & feeling the truck slide towards the edge. Seems like a 5,000 lb. truck is easily hypnotized by gravity in perilious situations…

San Juan Mountains Exploration: Black Bear Pass


San Juan Mountains Exploration: Above Telluride


“No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.”

-Jack Kerouac

San Juan Mountains Exploration: Engineer Pass