Wrapping up our Colorado sojourn

Our two-month stay in southwest Colorado came to an end, but only after we had a grand time exploring this part of the state, including the cities of Fruita, Montrose, Ridgway, Dolores and finally Durango.  Here are my recent posts covering what we did as we lingered in this beautiful part of the state waiting for the Fall colors to appear.

The list of “to do’s” during our final stop in Durango was marred by – you guessed it – weather!  The promised snow, rain and wind made their appearance, and this short post details our adventures during the few nice days we were able to enjoy.

Strange-looking Pinkerton Hot Spring sits right beside highway 550

So, what did we do while cooped up for several days?  Steve got busy in the kitchen, baking his favorite buffalo wing recipe and wrapping lumpia for upcoming gatherings with friends.  Between downpours we went out for walks to stretch our legs, and I was able to watch my feathered friends through the windows.

Even the Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds tried to hide from the rain
Dreary and gloomy days in Durango

We ate out more than usual, just to get out of the house and breath some crisp mountain air:

We did our part to help keep the breweries in business:

After the first snow of the season had dropped in the area and throughout the San Juans, we ventured out to finally complete the San Juan Skyway Loop.  We had already driven the northern end while in Ridgway, then another section on our way to Dolores and Durango.  This time we completed the section between Durango and Silverton via two verdant passes, Coal Bank and Molas Pass.

San Juan Scenic Skyway Loop

Here are some images of what we enjoyed on this scenic drive the morning after the snow came:

This thick-coated fox spotted us and took off

Approaching the town of Silverton
The colorful town of Silverton
A tourist poses on Main St.

A new tourist trap along Highway 550 – we could smell the “product” as we drove by
Burn scars from last Spring’s San Juan National forest fire

The day before we left Durango, the clouds, fog and rain finally gave way to bright sun.  We passed on a couple of hiking opportunities, knowing the trails would be mud pits.  Instead we took a drive east on US 160 to the small town of Pagosa Springs.  We had hoped to stop by Chimney Rock National Monument on the way, but it had already closed for the winter 😦

One of the twin spires at Chimney Rock National Monument from a distance

Pagosa is derived from the southern Ute name “Pagosah”, meaning healing or boiling waters.  From here, Mother Spring sources all of Pagosa Spring’s hot springs, and heats several downtown buildings.  But their real claim to fame is that Guinness recognized these springs as the worlds deepest aquifer, at over 1,000′ deep.

The arrow points to Mother Spring, in the middle of a large resort in town

Taking a stroll along the San Juan River, we noticed several geothermal soaking pools at The Springs Resort and Spa.  I would have loved to soak in the mineral hot waters, but because this was an impromptu drive we weren’t prepared and had to settle for walking along the river and stopping briefly to touch the warm water.

San Juan River passes through Pagosa Springs

Little springs were everywhere in this area

The river walk continued past a trio of eye-catching structures at the Geothermal Greenhouse Project and Community Garden:

Geothermal Greenhouse
Steve “reflects” on geothermal energy

The snow-covered peaks of the San Juans were a hint that it was time to wrap up our adventures in southwest Colorado:

Goodbye Durango…
…and goodbye Colorado – until next time!




  1. Despite some rough weather it looks like you had a fabulous time by hitting this area in the fall. That first photo from your drive on the Scenic Byway after the snow is gorgeous!

  2. So sorry to hear the weather got in your way. Yummm. I’d think you’d have been glad for the rain with Steve cooking. An amazing tree full of birds. Your pictures of rock, yellow aspens and snow are gorgeous. You were definitely there at the right time for that. What a shame to miss the soaking pools. I’d have been in good shape as I always keep a swimming suit and beach towel in the back seat of my car no matter where I am. Love Steve “reflects” on the geothermal.

    • We think the bad weather was just a signal to get our butts out of CO or else we will be stuck. But we did enjoy the snow, I mean watchin the snow covering the peaks. It made for great photos.

  3. What a glorious two months you had in Colorado! Even with the less than ideal weather in Durango, it sounds like you had fun with your yummy culinary explorations and beautiful drives. You captured some gorgeous shots of the aspens in the snow.
    I’m sorry you didn’t get to experience soaking in Pagosa Springs. We’ve been there several times over the years and love spending a day going from one hot pool to the next. Put it on your list for next time, because with your love of Colorado, there’s sure to be a next time!

    • I did check your archives for I remembered you stopped at Pagosa Springs, Laurel. We only had a short day there, and yes who knows we might pass that way again.

  4. We tend to eat our way through nasty weather too! The silver lining, for us, is that we got to enjoy some of your famous lumpia because of the weather, thanks! And, I’m sorry, but you do seem to have taken our rain “jinx” along with you on this leg of your travels to Florida. I love the reflected picture of Steve and colorful Silverton. Stay safe.

  5. The weather certainly wasn’t nice. Hopefully, we will redo this area again next fall but a month earlier and have better luck. Your photos are so pretty with all the snow and fall colors. But it sure does look cold…brrrr! Your smile brightens the photos:) Love the Pinkerton Hot Spring photo!

    • Yes agree Pam, early weeks of September would be a good time to be in southwest CO, but then again you will never know what the weather be like then a year from now. But you guys really know when to quit and hit the road when the forecasted weather is going to be yucky!

  6. Sorry, it didn’t work out to be there when you were. Have loved your posts on CO, lots of new ideas for the next time we get to try a summer there. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures.

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