"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, September 23, 2016

Silverton, CO

Our fall week in Durango flew by with plenty of hiking trails to return and visit. We rode the bike path but preferred the side roads because some sections of the trail were pretty rough and not very well maintained.

X rock is a climbing area in Durango that had a geocache that we were interested in finding. Once we
got close to our location, the clouds and thunder rolled in. Fortunately, the clouds were
fast moving and the hail didn't last long as we found a place in the rocks to hunker
down. We did find the cache after the sky cleared.

The Durango-Silverton Railroad travels up and down the pass a few times a day.
We had considered taking the ride but the seats, which are benches, looked pretty
 uncomfortable for $45 per person. We also wanted to stop along the way and take a hike on the trails. Once we arrived at the top of Molas Pass, which took our breath away, rain and sleet
started down on us. It is only 45 miles to Silverton but the drive can take a while
with the twisting roads, construction and stopping to look at the views.

Probably the easiest geocache ever. Sorry about the spoiler...
The hike on Molas Pass, another section of the Colorado Trail, was breath taking. We didn't mind the sleet and wind too much.
The temperatures are in the upper 30s at night here now and would make for a chilly
night under the stars for a through hiker of the 430 miles of the Colorado Trail this time of year.

"Rock art" along Junction Creek

This gobbler came running and gobbling when he saw me taking pictures. I am not sure if he thought I had food or wanted me gone. I jumped on my bike and looked back. He looked a little sad.

The walls of Junction Creek Canyon

We steered clear of this hive.

We had another good hike on the Colorado Trail along Junction Creek past Gudy's Rest
for a  6 mile walk.

There were plenty of switchbacks to make the hike less steep and pleasant in the shade. You've got to love fall.
 This is definitely cowboy country.
It has been a fun 2 months visiting my home state of Colorado. Now we head across the state line.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Honeyville and James Ranch

The national forest campgrounds we closing for the season and we couldn't get into the county fair campground until Monday. We found the Alpen Rose Campground, which was very nice, north of Durango to stay a couple of days. The bike route near there was calling our name and had some great treats along the way. 
Pinkerton Warm Mineral Springs were not real hot but had a soda fizz to it. The springs were used by the Pinkerton Ranch's bathhouse in the 1878. The minerals in the water was thought to cure all diseases.

The scrub oak are changing.
It was such a nice ride through the ranches and farms.

One house would have these chairs arranged differently each time we passed. This time
with fishing poles, the next around a table and umbrella with beer cans in front
of each chair.

The apples smelled so good as we rode by.
Fall is definitely in the air.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' jump scene was filmed here near Baker's Bridge.


 While hiking the Vallencito Trail, a lady told us to stop at Honeyville, which was right along our ride, and try the distilled honey bourbon. I don't care for bourbon but his was pretty good. Mike likes Maker's Mark and bought a bottle.


Across the road was the James Ranch. After trying out the cheeses, we had to have the burger with a side of corn on the cob. I bet we return before leaving the area.
James Ranch is ten miles north of Durango, Colorado in the beautiful Animas River Valley. Here, we found 400 acres of high altitude, irrigated pastures, crystal clear flowing water, 100% grass fed and finished beef cattle, grazing Jersey milk cows, a spruce tree nursery, an organic vegetable and flower garden, and busy families who utilize organic growing practices in the day-to-day operation of the ranch and their enterprises.

What a great bike ride on the backroads before we head to Silverton.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Vallecito Lake

18 miles northeast of Durango in Southwestern Colorado surrounded by over 2.5 million acres of public land on all sides is Vallecito Lake. We stayed at Graham Creek Campground in the national forest and were once again alone but not lonely.  

Tour of Carvings
 A number of artistic carvings of fire damaged trees near the lake on Missionary Ridge have been created to commemorate the huge number of firefighters, EMTs, and others who fought to save lives and homes in the 2002 fire. There was a fun geo cache that involved getting clues from 7 carvings and putting together the answer to find the cache. They were quite some distance apart and we only had a couple of days at the lake since the campgrounds were closing down for the season.

We really liked Vallecito Campground along the river where many of the trails were north of the lake. We like the sound of the water as we sleep.
This was a nice moderate trail with a long drop to the river over the ledge.

At times, we walked along the stream but most of the time you couldn't see it because the canyon was too deep and steep.

A hiker we met along the trail mentioned that we hit this hike at the perfect time between tourist season and hunting. The added plus is the weather was fall like with a cool breeze.

We met a couple of cowboys hauling supplies up for the hunting pack trip that they lead.


One last morning walk before we head to Durango.