Chapter 21-2: End of the Road - Black Bear Revisited

We got out to stroll among the grassy meadows choked with rosy-pink paintbrush, pale yellow sulfurous paintbrush, mountain bluebells, bright yellow alpine sunflowers, and yellow orange sneezeweed. It was beautiful, with the greenish blue waters of Ingram Lake below us. We had the basin all to ourselves, not a car in sight. As the rain picked up again, we retreated to our car and continued on past the track to the Black Bear mine. A short distance on the clouds lifted and a chasm opened up in front of us and straight ahead I recognized the rugged section of road that had defeated me nineteen years earlier.

Approaching the Rough Spot

It appeared much wider, but it still looked nasty. It’s one hell of a psychological effect with a chasm in front of you and a nasty drop to the rocky creek bed on your left. I eased up slowly and chose my line, so far so good, and then the heavens opened, and a deluge poured forth as six dirt bikers came roaring up behind me. I let the bikers pass and continued through the difficult section on to the tight switchbacks. I liked switchbacks.

I eased into the tightest switchback and realized I had cut too soon. I backed up but instead the car lurched forward and began to slide slowly around. It was most unnerving given that there was a thousand foot drop off on three sides. Even though I was sliding in the right direction and aligning with the road forward, it was too unnerving, and I braked to stop the slide. At this point I asked Bob to get out and spot for me. Looking forward all I saw was gray sullen clouds and the San Miguel Valley. I felt as if I was six inches from the precipice. Bob assured me later that my front tires were four feet from the precipice. There was no room for error. I put the car into reverse, eased off the brake and the car moved back up the road and I was then able to turn the steering wheel to the right and bring the car around the bend and then continued down without any further incidence.  The rain was now torrential as we drove into Telluride for a well-earned lunch.

We got out to stroll among the grassy meadows choked with rosy-pink paintbrush, pale yellow sulfurous paintbrush, mountain bluebells, bright yellow alpine sunflowers, and yellow orange sneezeweed. It was beautiful, with the greenish blue waters of Ingram Lake below us. We had the basin all to ourselves, not a car in sight. As the rain picked up again, we retreated to our car and continued on past the track to the Black Bear mine. A short distance on the clouds lifted and a chasm opened up in front of us and straight ahead I recognized the rugged section of road that had defeated me nineteen years earlier.

It appeared much wider, but it still looked nasty. It’s one hell of a psychological effect with a chasm in front of you and a nasty drop to the rocky creek bed on your left. I eased up slowly and chose my line, so far so good, and then the heavens opened, and a deluge poured forth as six dirt bikers came roaring up behind me. I let the bikers pass and continued through the difficult section on to the tight switchbacks. I liked switchbacks.

I eased into the tightest switchback and realized I had cut too soon. I backed up but instead the car lurched forward and began to slide slowly around. It was most unnerving given that there was a thousand foot drop off on three sides. Even though I was sliding in the right direction and aligning with the road forward, it was too unnerving, and I braked to stop the slide. At this point I asked Bob to get out and spot for me. Looking forward all I saw was gray sullen clouds and the San Miguel Valley. I felt as if I was six inches from the precipice. Bob assured me later that my front tires were four feet from the precipice. There was no room for error. I put the car into reverse, eased off the brake and the car moved back up the road and I was then able to turn the steering wheel to the right and bring the car around the bend and then continued down without any further incidence.  The rain was now torrential as we drove into Telluride for a well-earned lunch.