Soaks, Snow, and a Sea of Sand

The US Dept of Interior recently posted on Facebook, “Moonlight brightens snowy dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. Experience the park after dark by stargazing, listening for owls along the foothills or going for a full moon walk on the dunes. Cold temperatures are the norm in winter, so bundle up with warm clothing and sturdy footwear for an unforgettable nighttime adventure.”

I find this an odd promotion, considering the park is miles from nowhere, and they have closed the one and only campground within the park.  Continue reading

Curecanti and the Black Canyon; The Rim, The River, and The Ride

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is only a small part of the 48 mile long gorge, carved over 2-billion years by the mighty Gunnison River, a tributary of the Colorado River.   The National Park protects the steepest and deepest 14-mile stretch of the gorge.    The park is bracketed on both ends by recreational areas; Gunnison Gorge to the west, and the larger Curecanti National Recreation Area the east.  Curecanti is formed by a series of three dams; Blue Mesa Dam, Morrow Point Dam, and Crystal Dam, each creating reservoirs of the same name.  The largest of these is Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water. Continue reading

Hiking Village to Village — Crested Butte to Aspen

Crested Butte has been on my radar for two reasons.  One being more reconnaissance in a “ski town.”  Like Telluride, it was a destination discussed often, but two traits of my former husband that factored equally; being cheap and being repetitious.  So we never broke out of the Ski the Summit/Utah mode.

But the main reason I have been eager to get to Crested Butte is because I want to do reconnaissance in another ski town…Aspen!  That’s right, explore Aspen from Crested Butte.  Continue reading

Why Can’t I Be Joyful?

IMG_4230I move on to Crested Butte to ride out Labor Day Weekend. My hope is if I get there a couple of days before the start of the weekend, I can secure a good boondocking location on Washington Gulch Road before the holiday crowds arrive. But the crowds all know something I don’t know, apparently. It is going to rain, and it’s gonna rain hard. Even some lentil-sized hail thrown in. And, it’s gonna be c-c-c-cold! Continue reading

We Interrupt this Solo Sojourn…

As I continue my counter-clockwise loop around southwestern part of the state, I get word that Debbie, along with friends Chuck and Carla, two Lazy Dazers I met last summer in the Pacific Northwest, are on their way down the same path in the opposite direction.    I had originally planned to follow the Rio Grande through Creede and on up to Lake City, but I chickened out for two reasons.  Continue reading

Up to My Neck in Hot Water

I have been on a counter-clockwise loop of sorts around Southwestern Colorado to see sights that interest me.    One category that particularly interests me is hot springs.  I even purchased a guidebook “Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Southwest,” with the intent to visit as many as time allows.  But so far, my quest has been a little frustrating.    It’s been hit or miss, mostly miss. Continue reading

The Long and Winding Road to Wetherill

Mesa Verde National Park, continued….

Back on a cold winter day in 1888, the Wetherill brothers were out in a snow storm looking for lost cattle when they spotted through the snowflakes something they described as “An enchanted castle.”  They had stumbled upon what is now known as the Cliff Palace.  Therefore, like Columbus who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to “discover” America, the Wetherill Brothers were credited with being the first to “discover” the Cliff Palace.   Nevermind about the people who lived there for 100 years, or all the subsequent Puebloans, Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, etc. that followed.  The mesa is named for the Wetherills.  (You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself!) Continue reading

Mesa Verde: Legacy of Stone and Spirit

I recently read an article about a man who has a “bucket list to go everywhere.”   The article claims he is the “Worlds Most Traveled Man.”   I am not that kind of checklist traveler…I don’t need to “go everywhere.”  But I do maintain lists of things I want to see, otherwise, I might never leave the internet.  😉   When it comes to an already well-developed list such as our 59 National Parks, I figure there is a good reason to use that list as a guideline.  These places have received the pinnacle of “Park” status, not “Monument, Seashore, or Reserve.” Only 59 of them are an official “Park.” So there must be something special there worthy of a list, right?  So I confess, while in southwestern Colorado, I took a slight detour to visit Mesa Verde National Park. Continue reading