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January 2012 Trail's End

First Four Wheeler Cover
Ken Brubaker
| Senior Editor, Four Wheeler
Posted January 1, 2012

Four Wheeling, Then And Now

When Four Wheeler debuted in February of 1962, our very first cover photo was of a group of Jeeps descending the notorious Black Bear Road above Telluride, Colorado. Near as we can determine, the photo was taken by Aileen Maxwell, of Cortez, Colorado, who later went on to provide us with other photos and even a travel story.

In a nod to next month’s 50th anniversary issue we shot a replica of our original cover while on a recent trip to Black Bear Road. Even after 50 years Jeep is still the vehicle of choice for many who wish to travel over Black Bear and our group of TJs and JKs arrived in the middle of an afternoon storm, just like the Jeeps on our first cover. Initially we were enveloped in thick clouds, but fortunately for us they parted just long enough so we could quickly find landmarks and snap a few photos.

When comparing the two images it’s instantly clear that the passage of time has changed the town of Telluride, which has grown to claim more of the valley in which it sits. Black Bear Road has changed as well, but it’s still an awe-inspiring, breathtaking trail that can make your knuckles as white as the snow on Black Bear Pass.