Blog 98: Durango
ContentsRearview Mirror - Summary of the past week
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading
Note: click on any photo for a larger image/slideshow)
Sunday: Mother’s Day Adventure
After a brisk walk in the 34-degree daylight and breakfast, everyone loaded into the car to celebrate Mother’s Day with a hike and a road trip.
Golden Eagle Encounter
Within 300 yards of leaving San Luis State Park, a mature (meaning really big) Golden Eagle swooped up from the desert directly to our right then cut across our path no more than six feet off the ground and within six feet of our car windshield. We could see every feather detail of this mottled brown giant as we barely missed a collision. I’d had my camera on my lap, but had no photo op during this three seconds of raw action. In my mind I hoped our new friend would circle back, but he kept on flying. Added to the consumption of a pot of strong coffee, I was buzzed for the day.
Zapata Falls Hike
Just five miles south of the Dunes is the Zapata Falls Recreation Area run by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). We took the three-mile path up the bumpy, curvy gravel road, ascending a couple thousand feet in the effort. At the trailhead we trekked up the old stream bed, stopping off to enjoy Zapata Falls. From here we continued up the mountain, climbing another mile before retracing our steps. Along the way we had panoramic views of the Dunes and the entire San Juan Valley. Wonderful hike.
Jan decided she’d like to see some yet-explored sights for Mother’s Day, so instead of turning south at Mosca we turned north.
Colorado Gator Farm
After careful but short deliberation, we passed on visiting the Colorado Gator Farm, continuing on past Hooper.
However, just a mile or so past Hooper we were “forced” to turn into the UFO Watchtower just as though a cosmic energy took possession of our Honda Element. What a place!
Ute Theater and Cultural Center
We continued going north on 17 with mountains on all sides to look at and not much else. We took a left at the junction of 285, deciding to explore the town of Saguache. As we turned down the main drag of this old town of 500 residents, I decided I wanted a cup of coffee to go. Pulling into a parking spot, I walked across the street to the local cafe. When I returned, Jan had found/created a new lifelong friend named Denise, the proprietor of the Ute Theater and Cultural Center. She had been drinking Mimosas outside of her establishment and had invited Jan inside to view the snack bar, wine bar, and old-time theatre…
Back in the car we returned home to the Park via Center, Hooper, and Mosca.
Monday: Breaking Camp
After four days, we had seen most all the sites in this area we had wanted to see. So by 7:45 a.m. we were on the road out in the brisk morning sun. We took the back roads all the way to Highway 160 West. As an example of the remoteness of our travels, even going 35 miles an hour for a big stretch, we drove over 30 miles with no one coming up behind us. Talk about stress-free driving.
We started the day with a downtown walk and stops at the Colorado Wildlife and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) offices to get ideas for hikes and locations for spotting wildlife. Later in the afternoon we took a road trip checking out both the town of Mancos and the Mancos State Park. Adjoining our campground is a ranch where horses run.
Wednesday: Junction Creek
By 6:45 a.m. we were at the Junction Creek trailhead of the Colorado Trail at the base of the San Juan Forest. We took a two-hour hike up Colorado’s most famous trail, then drove to the top of the world to Animas Overlook where we took in a vista of tall mountains, forests, and valleys.
Late afternoon we scouted out our hike for the next day.
Thursday: Hermosa Trail
This morning we took the high-altitude Hermosa Trail in the San Juan Forest.
Friday: Scenic Skyway Trip
Took an hour walk along the Animas River.
Early afternoon we took a 50-mile drive up Highway 550, part of the San Juan Scenic Skyway all the way to Silverton. Oh, yes, scenic it is! Made several stops along the way scouting out future hikes and future campgrounds.
Saturday: Navajo Country
Late morning we took a road trip south into the Ute Reservation, checking out Ignacious, Arboles, and driving through Navajo State Park, considering it for a stay in the future.
May 24-30: Blue Spruce Campground, Vallacito, CO
May 31-June 2: Sundance RV Park, Cortez, CO
June 3-7: Ridgway State Park, Ridgway, CO
June 8-9: Cedar Creek RV Park, Montrose, CO
June 10-13: One Mile Camp, Gunnison, CO
June 14-17: ???
June 18-22: Chatfield State Park, Littleton, CO
June 24-27: Cheyenne Mt. State Park, Colorado Springs, CO
June 28 on: ???
See you next week.