Wrapping up our Colorado sojourn

Comments 20 Standard

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!

 

Next up:  The wilderness of New Mexico



 

 

 

 

 

Whispers of the Ancients – Dolores, CO

Comments 15 Standard

After a week in Ridgway we packed up and headed south.  Betsy chugged along Highway 145 over another section of San Juan Scenic Skyway.  And once again, driving here at this time of the year was well-timed for enjoying more of Colorado’s gold.  Steve had to focus on the road as we climbed Lizard Head Pass, but I was free to snap away at the vibrant autumn hues on the hillsides and mountain peaks. Continue reading

Shimmering September Splendor – Southwestern Colorado

Comments 23 Standard

I know, I know, the title is a bit cheesy but what can I say, it was a wonderful experience being in southwestern Colorado during the last week of September.  With Betsy parked at Ridgway State Park (yes, Ridgway is spelled without the “e”) for a week, we covered a lot of ground during our stay, visiting the mountain towns of Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton, and driving the San Juan Skyway.  We also hiked to three alpine lakes and ate some great food, and all this while in the midst of jaw-dropping vistas, one after another.  My camera was busy the whole time, so be prepared for a rather long post! Continue reading

Early leaf peeping – Kebler Pass, CO

Comments 24 Standard

We’d been hanging out in southwestern Colorado for several weeks, just so I could be awed by Colorado’s gold – the golden Aspen trees, that is.  This was Steve’s promise to me since I had missed this portion of our travels in 2015 due to a family emergency.  And I was excited that my first leaf peeping would be at Kebler Pass, a high mountain pass near Crested Butte at an elevation of about 10,000′.  It’s a seasonal mountain highway that connects Crested Butte with Paonia, and since I had heard good things about Crested Butte it only added to my anticipation. Continue reading

Exploring the world’s largest flat mountain – Grand Mesa, CO

Comments 24 Standard

Picture a very wide and long table, embed a mountain into it and enlarge it a zillion times, and the result is Colorado’s Grand Mesa.  It was Spanish explorers in the 1700’s who called the mountain “Mesa Grande”, meaning “large table”.  Before more modern settlers came, the Ute Indian tribes living in the area called Grand Mesa “Thunder Mountain”, because of how the mesa towers over the valley 6,000′ below.  Continue reading

To the top and bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison – Montrose, CO

Comments 35 Standard

For us, this has been a year of experiencing and hiking several mind-blowing canyons.  Take for example our train trip to colorful Verde Canyon in Arizona, to the canyon of all canyons – the Grand Canyon in Arizona – and our drive to Hells Canyon on the Oregon/Idaho border, to name a few.  These gorges or canyons slowly carved by rivers for millions of years gave us breathtaking views and inspired us to ponder their majestic beauty. Continue reading

It’s just peachy in Palisade, CO

Comments 33 Standard

Our refreshed new look has received a lot of positive nods, thank you 🙂  I had fun going through several WordPress themes and testing each before finally settling on this one, Vagabond.

In my previous post, it appeared that we stayed at James Robb State Park for more than 14 days.  The reality was we moved to Junction West RV Park in Grand Junction for a week after reaching the 14-day limit, then we returned to James Robb for our final 14 days.  Staying at Junction West was nice, for it was closer to the town of Palisade where we made several visits. Keep on reading …

Our new look, and the dog days of summer – Fruita, CO

Comments 41 Standard

Our 5-week stay in Fruita, Colorado is winding down.  The extended stop had a two-fold purpose; to get a better feel for the area as a possible place to settle down one day (it’s on our short list), and to wait for the Fall colors to change so we can enjoy them as we continue our travels south and then east.

You see, in 2015 Steve experienced the turning of the Aspens into gold by himself while I was in the Philippines. He raved about it and promised that we would enjoy it together someday. And we’re excited that we’re starting to see the signs now! Keep on reading …