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The 2006 Ouray Jeep Jamboree



After two days of traveling, my Dad and I reached Ouray, Colorado. On Thursday, before the Jamboree even began, we took a drive through the mountain roads from Ouray to Telluride via Ophir Pass. Funny how in such wilderness, you can so easily find yourself - reconnect with your soul. Through the mountain trails, one thing ran through my mind that will separate this Jamboree from others. This is not an event of technical difficulty, obstacles or of the size/modifications to your Jeep. This is one of beauty, reflection, serenity.

Driving along, there is of course the incredible scenery. Mountains that are timeless rise up on both sides of the road. When you stop, you are surrounded by senses in the middle of nowhere. The aroma of Lodgepole pines permeates through the air. Wind dances on the leaves in the aspen groves; mountain streams babble over rocks that seem perfectly placed. The sun glistens through the trees and in the shadows there is beautiful fauna. Mushrooms and moss grow in the shade while fields of wildflowers blanket the valleys. Even though it is August, there is briskness to the air that brings a flush to your cheeks. Clouds form overhead promising a summer rain. Here, we are the visitors; nature is in control and we play only a small part.

There are 72 Jeeps registered for the Ouray Jeep Jamboree representing 23 different states. I was able to speak with many of the participants at registration Thursday night. When I first walked in, I found the guys to be most accommodating. Chris Timmes, Merlin and others assisted with getting the Jeep Tales banner in place and put me at a table along the row where participants gathered their give-a-ways. There are a wide arrange of Jeepers here. Some are old pros; for others, it is their first Jamboree. All events were held at the Ouray Community Center and catered by the Lamplight Restaurant from Monticello, Utah. The food was excellent and we even had a full catered meal on Sunday morning.

We joined up with the Blue Group which was guided by Chris Timmes who was the event coordinator. As he led us up mountainous switchbacks, he gave us a comprehensive lesson on the history of the area. Ouray was settled by prospectors; numerous abandoned mines are scattered throughout the mountains. Ghost towns are along the trails and remind us of a time long gone. What strikes me most on this trail is the color variations in the mountains from the different minerals and ores. There are some mountains that are red, some that have yellow aspects and of course, just sheer rock. The contours and variations blend well and blue spruce trees decorate the sides up to almost 12,000 feet where the tree line ends.

Chris and Than Larsen, our tail-gunner, led us up through Corkscrew Gulch, over Hurricane Pass, through the ghost town of Animas Forks and down into Silverton on Friday. For Saturday, we went over Imogene Pass. I have been to Jeep events where it has rained, now I can add sleet and hail to the list. The guides did a great job assisting everyone over the slick rocks that led to sheer drop-offs. We wound down the mountain through the ghost town of Tomboy where we did a little gold prospecting and then descended via very narrow roads into Telluride. We left on Last Dollar Road winding through aspen groves, past the set of True Grit and back to Ouray.

Like I mentioned, this is an event where the specifications of your vehicle are not as important as your driving skill and your ability to be comfortable with heights. There were many stock Jeeps, some with street tires, which ran these trails just fine. If you have a Jeep with very wide tires, this may not be the best place because with the extremely narrow roads, your tires would be hanging over the edge of a very long way down. The trails are county roads which are open from July to September and available to anyone with a good map.

I would like to thank Jeep Jamboree for having us out. We had a really great time. I would also like to thank Scott Laws & family of Lamplight Restaurant for the terrific meals. All of the trail guides deserve kudos for doing such a wonderful job. An extra thanks to Chris and Than for the history lessons and guidance for the Blue Group. I think I can speak for all of us when I express appreciation for guiding us through the passes in the rain and blowing sleet. Thanks also Chris for the use of your CB radio. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.


Rachel Bruner


If you have pictures or video to share from this event, email info@JeepTales.com and we will send you a link to upload your images.

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