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)
Rough and narrow, steep and winding--the title of this week’s blog describes our road trip up and over Cumberland Pass at 12,000-plus feet. This week you’ll see a bighorn sheep that is helping out the postal service, a dedicated marmot with a mission, a Chihuahua that bites, a bird or two and, by popular demand, more old trucks.
Gunnison National Forest
Mid-morning we pulled out of Montrose and drove the 115 miles to One Mile Camp in the Gunnison National Forest northeast of Almont (east of Gunnison). Yes, you have heard it multiple times from me, but it was a gorgeous trek along this stretch of West Elk Scenic Byway--tall mountains, lush valleys, gurgling streams…ho-hum….
Postal Service Cutbacks
As you all probably know, the U.S. Postal Service is in financial trouble. Here at Almont they are taking an innovative approach. They have sold all their mail trucks and are using bighorn sheep to pack the mail along the routes. Here is one guy who got his days mixed up and came to work on a Sunday.
Guardian of the Valley
Brrr…22 degrees when I awoke. I am all into this hiking thing, but that is a tad chilly. Hence, we all loaded into the car at 6:30 a.m. for a wildlife-spotting drive. We took the back roads leading to the Spring Creek Reservoir admiring the scenery as we drove. Several miles up the road we pulled off to let the Pups stretch their legs in a valley. I heard a shrill whistle, and then spotted a marmot on guard duty across the valley. After our walk on our drive out, I spotted this same fellow perched atop a boulder. He was attentively watching our every move, sounding his warning call at regular intervals and showed no intimidation as I photographed him. In fact, by the look on his face, I think he would have attacked if I got out of the car. Here he is sounding the alarm.
That afternoon I needed to make a business call (no AT&T at the camp or nearby areas), so we drove back to Almont and then east to Crested Butte. This area is known for its beautiful wildflowers, and that is one of the reasons why we chose to stay in this area. Alas, lack of rainfall had a big negative impact on the flowers. After my call and a nice lunch, we both walked and then drove the streets of this attractive burg. Here is a shot of a home on a side street.
From here we continued north, first through nearby Mt. Crested Butte, then along a dirt road to Gothic. On our return home, we took a ranching country shortcut where I shot these cowboys and their dogs having lunch along the river, and later I captured this bird of prey in flight.
Big-Time Road Trip
At 5:30 a.m. we were out of camp, heading up to the Taylor Reservoir. I shot a bighorn on the dam, but aside for chipmunks and a few birds, that was all the critters we saw for the first hour of our journey. We spent some time at the charming town of Tin Cup, first viewing its cemetery (complete with Protestant Ridge, Catholic Ridge, Jewish Ridge, and Boot Hill), and then back to town for a hardy breakfast at Frenchy’s. In town this handsome Violet-green Swallow posed for me. Also, here is a shot of a canoe at Frenchy’s.
From town we drove up the two rugged miles to Mirror Lake. We hiked around the lake, drove down the mountain, and continued on. As we ascended, our road gradually narrowed down to about a lane-and-a-third, the rocks enlarged from golf ball-sized to baseball-sized, and the switchback became more severe until we could see the back of our car trying to pass us around corners. However, the view from the more than 12,000-foot Cumberland Pass made it all worth it. Jan took this shot at an old mining camp on our return.
At Pitkin we stopped for snacks, and I took this shot of a boy and his beloved Chihuaha (he bites).
Here we picked up the road, continued on to Gunnison, then back to Almont, and then returned to camp completing our all-day, 100-mile journey.
After a nice hike along Taylor River, we broke camp and drove the 99 miles to Chalk Creek Campground in Nathrop, Colorado.
Our Grandkids (along with their parents and our Grandpup) arrived in the early afternoon for a mini-camping holiday. The highlight of the day (along with a campfire and S’mores) was a visit to the local hot springs.
Our big event on Friday was horseback riding. Here is another pic.
We packed up and moved about 15 miles to the Snowy Peaks RV Park just north of Buena Vista. I kept my head down at the computer while Jan did her work.
I’ve gotten several positive comments on my old truck shots, so I will make a regular blog entry.
Trivia Update on the Million Dollar Highway
Last week I mentioned the Million Dollar Highway south of Ouray. My friend Gene is a successful gold prospector and responded back to me with the real story of how the Million Dollar Highway was named: After the road was built, they discovered gold in the gravel, and someone estimated there was a million-dollar’s worth! Thanks, Gene.
June 18-22: Chatfield State Park, Littleton, CO
June 24-27: Cheyenne Mt. State Park, Colorado Springs, CO
June 28-29: Colorado Campground, Pike National Forest
June 30-July 4: Mary’s Campground, Estes Park
July 5-7: St. Vrain State Park
July 8-12: Travel East
July 13-14: McHenry, IL
July 15: Homer Glen, IL
July 16-17: Travel
July 18-?: Traverse City, MI
RV Park Review
Check out www.rvparkreviews.com for my reviews and those of other travelers of recent campgrounds we have stayed at.
See you next week.