Thursday, June 4, 2020

Buena Vista, Colorado

Colorado's Rocky Mountains

Not everything that has happened the past few months has been bad. Sure we changed our plans and ended up staying in Colorado in one place longer than usual. That is not a bad thing. We were forced to live differently and slow down. If you call hiking more than ever slowing down. This is giving us a chance to explore the area and take it all in.

Once we decided to return to Colorado, we had to find a place to stay. I called around, leaving messages. Valley RV Park was one of the few campgrounds that returned my call. The price was amazing. She had room for us. And there was enough to keep us busy for the summer. We moved in once Chaffee County lifted the RV restrictions.

Our bank account is definitely seeing the positive affects of not eating out and the less expensive monthly rates rather than the more expensive weekly or nightly rates. This leads to less driving days and more days to get our exercise.

We are in the warm and windy Upper Arkansas River Valley with views of the 14,000 feet Collegiate Peaks from our front door. This area has enough to keep an outdoorsman busy for quite some time. 
Kayakers enjoying the Arkansas River.

Cycling the County Roads

Riding our bikes on the county roads for 20 miles at 8500 feet elevation made my legs feel like they had no energy after the first 10 miles. 

Paddleboarder riding the river waves in Salida.

Cottonwood Lake

Taking a breather above Cottonwood Lake, I looked down to see a tick climbing my leg and wouldn't let go. Finally, I was able to flick him off. Aghhh!

We were surprised by the amount of dispersed camping in the BLM surrounding the small town of Buena Vista.
. I am seeing how much more respectful people are being towards each other and less rushed, no place to be but home. But the trails are getting busier.
Cottonwood Lake was like glass on a peaceful early morning before the winds started blowing. 
We may rent an ATV or Jeep to explore the backcountry.
Our neighbor was excited about the number of fish we saw in the lake. He was up early the next morning catching and releasing 16 trout. He was a happy man.
Midland Railroad's tunnels.

Four Mile Recreation Area
The Four Mile Recreation Area has miles and miles of hiking at 8000 feet that are mostly rolling between rock formations. Making shorter less steep hikes a great way to recover from harder hikes and only a couple of miles from us. The 100,000 acres of wilderness is an amazing place to get away from it all with views of the Collegiate Peaks.
No private property signs here!
The cactus will be in full bloom in a few days.
The rocks were the result of lava flow from an explosive volcanic eruption.

The Ute Indians once hunted buffalo in this area.
Colorado loves its dogs.

Brown's Canyon Falls Trail

We took county road 270 halfway between Poncho Springs and Buena Vista 2 miles to CR 272 and 2 miles to the trailhead.

Swallowtail Butterfly and wildflowers starting to bloom. 

In Colorado, you have to pay attention to the sky. Every afternoon the clouds build and can bring lightening and rain. And the rains started as we were heading down. Fortunately. we only heard thunder once and didn't see any lightening. Checkout the fancy raingear that fits in my daypack. Styling on the trail.

After the waterfall hike and several days of hiking I was ready for a rest and slept most of the next day with a smile on my face. We are fortunate to be able to live this life.

Sure, when we are free to move about the world a little more freely, we will be ready for new places and adventures, learning more new things and meeting more people. For now we are glad to have a place to stay with places to explore right here in the Colorado Rockies for a few months. Maybe we will even see some bighorn sheep on the trails.


  1. Yes, we still don't have any summer plans as may just be meandering around for a good while...

    1. Things seem much looser now. I like those plans.

  2. We've stayed in Buena Vista twice and hope to go back again this fall. You are seeing some great scenery on your hikes especially the waterfall in the next to last shot.

    1. The waterfall was much more than I expected. But we are in the peak of snow melt right now.

  3. What a great place to "have" to stay for a bit. Central IL is sorely lacking in good hiking, at least we're at a place we can at least get our steps in easily here. What awesome scenery you're enjoying.

    1. I don't see us repeating many of our hikes but they do whip my butt at this altitude.

  4. A great place to spend some time during the lock down. Glad to see you are making the best of it and sharing your adventures with us. The SoCal trails are opening up, but CA State Parks do not allow dogs on their trails, nice to see CO is more accepting.

  5. Everyone has a dog. But most are well trained.

  6. You guys are staying busy with so much great hiking and biking. That's definitely high altitude for all of your exercise! Everything we do is at sea level. I wonder how long it would take me to adjust after so many months on the east coast. 😳

    1. I doubt if we will ever be back to our old selves again. Our old selves just keep plugging along and enjoying everyday.

  7. We, too, have noticed our bank account has been a lot better off - it's the one silver lining to this whole pandemic debacle, but we'll take it. Colorado is such a beautiful state - so much diversity of views too. Mountains, forests, red rocks, cute towns, etc. A terrific place to hang out for a bit. Gorgeous photos of Cottonwood Lake!

    1. It has been fun visiting places close to where I grew up for a while. We are already making our wish list for next summer.

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