Everette and some girls had driven Danaka a few hours drive to catch her ride to Kansas. But we had to drive all the way to Denver (about 8 hours drive) the following weekend to pick her up so we decided to make it a camping trip. That, in and of itself, is a funny thing if you think of it. Our large family has been living on the road in rooftop tents for almost 8 months, and now that we are settled at the Smith’s place we think getting back into the rooftop tents and sleeping who-knows-where each night is camping. As if we aren’t camping at the Smiths!!
Anyways, we headed out for out camping trip on Thursday to give us a more leisurely drive to Denver. We didn’t have to be there until 5pm on Saturday so that gave us 3 days of driving. Off to a slow start we stopped in Durango for groceries & a slow lunch at the community park to enjoy the sunshine and people watch. We watched mom’s with youngsters on the back of cargo bikes. Lots of other picnickers. People running the trails. Girls seeking sun on their white skin. (I think we’re losing our Baja tans)
We meandered north thru timbered mountains, altitude rising/falling in increments….we just reached the bottom of a valley and we were climbing yet again for the next pass. Ten and eleven thousand foot passes lined up one after the other as we drove the million dollar highway with few guardrails to keep you from the cliff edges just a foot away (pay attention……like you always should).
***********rejd rock mtns
Uncompahge Nt’l Forest 3
These mountains and valleys used to be thriving with mining of various sorts, but now I think its mostly tourism that keeps these quaint towns alive.
bridge to nowhere sign
The store fronts are well maintained & there are annual events like the Kickass BBQ Competition we stumbled upon at lunchtime in Fairplay that draw people by the thousands to the hick towns.
At Molas Pass we got out to observe the landscape at 10,910 feet and to breathe the fresh air. It is said that this is some of the cleanest, freshest air in the whole United States. You can see up to 170 miles! Not far from here researchers monitor the air quality, even the minutest changes. Probably won’t be a minute change today but a large one. See in the next picture the white billowing cloud? Its from a new raging forest fire we viewed from this pass.
We could see billows of smoke rising above several mountain tops, not a good sign for a tinderbox-dry state in drought. Fire bans have been state-wide probably for weeks now. Reservoirs are dangerously low. We need rain (without the lightening), and a lot of it. But for some forests its already too late.
First night we camped at Snowblind Park, deep amongst trees and underbrush, along side a creek that blocked out other campers’ noise and that of their multiple dogs.
There is little for straight roads thru Colorado…..a lot like British Columbia constantly skirting mountains and following alongside snaking rivers. The scenery is beautiful but…..maybe we are spoiled from being raised and camping throughout BC. We appreciate the scenery here in Colorado, enjoy it, but it isn’t quite awe-inspiring. Not too much new to our eyes, unlike my absolute amazement at the uniqueness of Arches National Park. Oh my, I was stunned by that.
Don’t take me wrong…..we like it here in Colorado. We’ve actually said we wouldn’t mind owning property in this state sometime and we haven’t said that seriously about any other state we’ve been to. I supposed that’s because its somewhat ‘comfortable’ to us BCers and so far we prefer the weather down here. And its a lot closer to Mexico!!
We dispersed camped south of the small town of Jefferson where its high and thus cold at night. The kids had fun in the forest as usual, making up imaginative games to keep their minds and bodies active.
We found ourselves unknowingly too close to forest fires (near Foxton & Buffalo Creek) and our chosen routes became detoured with road closures. Fields became temporary helipads where they put into motion plans to aggressively attack the fires. We met sheriff and parks vehicles everywhere, like ants climbing every hill and pathway. At night the skies were an eery orange, much like we saw when the eye of the storm/hurricane went over us in Cape Breton.