Wrapping up our Colorado sojourn

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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






Amazing western Colorado – prt. 2

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I arrived at Alpen Rose RV Park in Durango (review here), and was disappointed after previously staying at three Colorado state parks that were so nice.  This place was pricey and the sites were close together.  I guess I should have been happy that the coaches next to me provided some protection from the winds that went through in the afternoons.  Most other amenities in the park were very nice, but a little space and privacy are paramount to us.  However, it was a fairly good home base from which to do some exploring. Keep on reading …