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: The Six-Miler
We started off the week as we left off--ambitious hiking. From camp we drove the dirt roads around the Vallecito Lake for 25 minutes, ending at the Pine River Trailhead. This was a pretty trail. Our journey took us through green, sweet-smelling forests, over and along boisterous streams, among flowered meadows, and gently upward into wild mountains.
I was loaded down with gear, so when we came to a tricky stream requiring crossing/fording, Jan carried the Pups over the rocks and logs one by one. (The Kids are troopers, but they don’t like to get wet!)
As we approached our third mile up, we met a young couple descending the trail. Along with a large, obviously full backpack, the woman carried a two-month old baby papoose-style. This family had camped for three nights along a lake 17 miles up the trail! I was impressed. Their dog also had a job. It carried a pack on its back full of diapers--clean on the right and dirty on the left!
Six miles for us old-timers was very good, and back at camp Jan and I were satisfied with our efforts but tired, and Jerry and Mitzy were just plain exhausted.
Monday: Memorial Day
No hikes today! Just a couple of close-by walks.
Tuesday: No Luck
We were up early at the Ute Recreation Area hoping to shoot some birds down by the lake and around the marshes. Beautiful morning, but no keepers.
Wednesday: Quiet Day
We returned to the nearby Vallecito Creek Trail for a brisk morning trek, and then I stayed close to the rig working while Jan went into Durango for supplies.
Thursday: The Hunt for Anasazi
After an exercise walk, Jan pointed the bus south and then west on to Cortez. After setting up, we drove the short distance to Anasazi Center up by Dolores. This place was the headquarters for the Canyon of the Ancients--helpful staff, excellent resources, and an extremely well-done museum. If you are into geology, history, photography, or old Indians, stop here.
Friday: Trail of the Ancients
At 5:30 a.m. we departed camp, taking a gorgeous pre-dawn, 42-mile, one-hour-and-10-minute drive across the valleys and hills of southwest Colorado ranch country and into eastern Utah. Along the way we saw lots of equipment (some new, some old). As we entered Hovenweep National Monument we saw this female coyote scooting across the brush.
Our well-thought-out plan was to take the main two-mile trail starting at the visitor center, seeing the main ruins in the cool morning before things heated up. Of course, no one else was there.
The trail was steep, rocky, and narrow, but we enjoyed seeing the ruins and the surrounding rock structures. The Pups had a marvelous time leading the way.
At a junction of two trails, I took neither, leading us into what turned out to be a remote canyon. We took this difficult “trail less traveled” (it kinda, sorta looked like a trail) until we could go no further, and reluctantly re-traced our path. However, our “accident” led us to spot a “Category III” ruin (a ranger later told us that they purposely don’t tell the public of their existence), so that was kind of cool.
From then on, though, Jan took special care to make sure we followed the correct trail.
After three invigorating hours of hiking we returned to our starting point, the visitor center, were we talked with the lone ranger. Next, we drove four miles on a four-wheel-drive road, and then hiked again for a mile or so to observe the Holly Ruins. Not a soul shared our exploration--a common occurrence in these remote areas...well, except for this colorful collared lizard.
Back at the car it was 10:30 and already quite warm. We leisurely drove our way home, stopping every now and then to check-out and shoot birds and enjoy the scenery.
Saturday: Canyon of the Ancients
We first drove northwest of Dolores to the McPhee Reservoir. At the observation point, we took the Can Do Trail along the canyon walls through the junipers spotting lots of birds along the way. After driving through the rest of McPhee, we decided to head north and, since the light was good, check out the Lone Dome Wildlife Area for photo ops. As we headed northwest on 491, it got darker and darker with lightning coming from the west. When we saw a Canyon of the Ancients monument sign pointing into the storm’s direction, we made an executive change of plan, heading west into the storm hoping to get some cool shots of the weather over the ruins. Even though it was mid-morning on a weekend, there was not a soul at the national historic landmark. We wandered at will, taking lots of photos of the skies darkening over Lowry Pueblo--our bet had paid off.
From here we drove to the Dove Creek Diner in Dove Creek for lunch (Jan had a burrito with Pinto beans), filled with gas, and spent most of the rest of the day exploring, stopping at the beautiful Dolores Canyon Overlook, and then into Lone Dome and other dusty paths inside our good friend, the San Juan National Forest.
June 8-9: Cedar Creek RV Park, Montrose, CO
June 10-12: One Mile Camp, Gunnison, CO
June 13-15: Chalk Creek Park, Nathrop CO
June 16-17: ???
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
See you next week.