Kennebec Pass

Yesterday our friends and co-workers, Mary and Dave Ward invited us to take a four wheel drive trip with them to Kennebec Pass. They had gone there the week before and wanted us to see how beautiful it is, and it’s a place we could not get to without a four wheel drive vehicle. Mary and Dave are experienced four wheel drive folks, and they just bought a new Jeep Rubicon Gladiator four wheel drive, and is it ever nice.

To our daughter, Shantel, you met Mary and Dave last year when you came out to spend the day with us at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

The information I found on Kennebec Pass, after I took the trip, says “a truly epic road to the summit. Kennebec Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 11,683 feet above sea level in La Plata County, in southwestern Colorado. Located in the San Juan National Forest, this ride is epic with a few tight turns. Starting from US-160 near the town of  Hesperus, the road is 14.1 miles long. Along the way you’ll have to deal with some dangerous drop-offs. This is definitely not a Sunday drive and not recommended to newbies. The steep drive will take some skill, some patience, and some tolerance for vertigo”. Well, I’m happy to say I didn’t find the ride to the pass nearly as bad as the information I read about it said. I’m so glad we went because what I saw is hard to put into words. But I’m going to do my best to describe what I saw so our daughter, Shantel, might get a feeling of the beauty of the trip to Kennebec Pass.

On the way up to the actual pass we saw rolling hills and high mountains dressed in the greenest green grass I’ve ever seen. The grass looked like it had just been mowed all up and down the hills and mountain sides. We stopped and spent some time to just take in all the absolute beauty we were seeing.

Tall, tall green pine trees reaching all the way through the bluest skies with puffy white clouds that looked like giant marshmallows floating across the blue sky. Just breathtakingly beautiful.

Even the trees that had fallen over created a work of art. We passed one tree that fell exposing its roots, and the inside of the tree was hollowed out with a hole big enough for a person to climb into.

There were dirt hiking trails that stood out with a reddish brown color against the green grass.

The higher we went up, the more we could see down over the mountain tops for miles and miles. I thought to myself, this must be a glimpse of what it will look like looking down from heaven upon our beautiful earth.

Wildflowers of every shape and color. Blue white and yellow,

the brightest reds, and every color in between.

We took a walk along the hiking trail and had to keep stopping to just keep taking it all in,

and to capture a group selfie as a reminder of our day together.

Then it was time to move farther up the road to the actual pass.

Now anyone that knows me well, knows I’m afraid of heights, but I also do my best to not let my fear of heights get in the way of me experiencing things I want to do, to the extent that I can manage my fear. I’m glad I didn’t read the information about Kennebec Pass before we took our trip there, because it would have heightened my fear unnecessarily. I did have to pull my big girl panties up real high, but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. I just sat on the side of the jeep that would allow me to be close to the mountain side of the road rather than the cliff side..

The only time I got scared, and had to dig deep to not let my fear get the better of me, was when Dave had to turn that Jeep Rubicon around at the top of the pass. But Mary got out and did a great job helping Dave maneuver that tight turnaround.

But again, the views from the top of the pass were spectacular! We could see for miles and miles down into a valley over 11,000 feet below.

 

If one wanted to, and we, or at least I didn’t, you could continue down the other side of the pass. but the day we were there someone had their four wheel drive vehicle parked right in the middle of the narrow road blocking the pass… So we headed back down the road the same way we came up.

We stopped to have our lunch in a field of wildflowers and green grass, and again we enjoyed spectacular views of mountains rising up to touch the deep blue sky, and puffy white clouds that were floating by.

After lunch, as we continued back down the mountain road, we saw a deer with her baby standing in the woods. The baby was very young and was nursing from its mother. The baby still had white spots on it and the mother and baby standing there together were looking at us as if to say hope you enjoyed your visit.

Indeed we did enjoy our visit. Thank you Mary and Dave for inviting Bill and I to go with you to Kennebec Pass. It was a trip of a lifetime for me, and definitely one for the memory book!

Stay tuned!

Telluride

Bill and I took a lovely drive to Telluride Colorado this week. For those who don’t know, Telluride is a former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. “It is set in a box canyon amid forested peaks at the base of a popular ski-and-golf resort. The town’s historic district houses landmarks like the Sheridan Opera House, a performing-arts venue originally built in 1913, and the Telluride Historical Museum, which showcases local history in a converted hospital built in 1896”.

 

The town and the surrounding area of Telluride is amazing.

If you drive all the way through the town of Telluride, you will see Bridal Veil Falls. “Bridal Veil Falls is a 365-foot waterfall at the end of the box canyon overlooking Telluride Colorado. Hiking and off-road trails pass by the falls and it has a hydroelectric power plant at the top. In the winter the frozen shape of the falls forms an imposing challenge to intrepid ice climbers”. Yeah, no thanks, not this girl!

As we were driving through town I couldn’t help but notice these adorable, colorful, little houses. How cute are these? I could definitely live in one of them.

After driving from one end of town to the other, we found a lovely park, just across this stream,

with lots of shade and perfect views,

where we could sit, relax, and enjoy our picnic lunch I packed. Bill had a grilled salmon sandwich with homemade tartar sauce. I turned my grilled salmon into salmon salad with some of the tartar sauce used in the dressing. YUM!

After lunch we decided to take a walk through town to see if the Gondola was running, and if so, how long the lines would be.

Much to our surprise and delight, the Gondola was running, and they were using safe practices by using a machine that disinfects each cabin each time it is emptied out. Plus, you only ride with the peeps in your group, there were not very many people in line, and it’s all free…

So we hopped on board,

and off we went.

The views were amazing. This is a picture of the Telluride airport strip.

The ride took us all the way to Mountain Village. Mountain Village Colorado is “situated 9,545 feet in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, and connected by a gondola to picturesque Telluride. Mountain Village is comparably a world apart from other towns: beautifully orchestrated, planned and overflowing with charm, and sophistication”. It was charming, and very high-end. We didn’t spend much time there, but we had to get off the gondola there and get back in line to get on the gondola again to take us back to Telluride.

On the way back down the mountain we continued to see spectacular views like snow drifts still clinging to some of the mountains.

And this view of Telluride as we continued to make our way down, down, down the mountain…

As we entered the exit point, I had to capture this picture hanging on the wall of these adorable dogs. The happy expression on their faces says how I felt riding the gondola with Bill.

It was a lovely day in a beautiful area of Colorado. If you’ve never been there you should go. You won’t be disappointed.

Stay safe, and stay tuned!

 

Streets Of Durango

Streets of Durango, doesn’t that sound like the title of a great western movie?

Bill and I are only an hour drive away from the Historic Downtown area of Durango Colorado. I love old western towns, so of course, we had to make the trip, and explore all there is to see and do in Durango.

The first thing that caught my eye when we rolled into town, was this magnificent old hotel building. This is the Strater Hotel. “Built in 1887, the historic Strater Hotel is one of the West’s iconic hotels and a prominent downtown Durango, Colorado landmark located two blocks north of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, one hour from Mesa Verde National Park, several hours from the Four Corners Monument, and deep in the heart of the rugged San Juan Mountains and the San Juan Scenic Skyway. The Strater Hotel is adorned with beautiful handcrafted woodwork, period wallpaper, and the largest collection of American Victorian walnut antiques which are used to decorate the hotel and guest rooms. Operated for three generations by the Baker family, the Strater Hotel invites you to experience the best of the Old West and an iconic Durango, Colorado hotel”.

The sidewalks of old town Durango are lined with pots overflowing with beautiful flowers.

There were several little shops that are closed due to Covid 19. Rose Duds, an adorable upscale consignment store, was not open when we were there, but upon checking their website I see it is open now. I thought the downstairs entry was cute, and was worth a look-see, so I guess we will just have to make a trip back to see what we missed!

I had to chuckle when I saw the sign “main mall” on the outside of this corner building.

There is a little something for everyone on the streets of Durango. Like a reversible colored cow peeking out of the entry way of a little shop,

because, why not?

Or a full-sized skeleton decked out in blue top hat and tails…

How about a giant green and white striped dinosaur drinking a beer? This one is practicing physical distancing, and wearing the required face mask…

Of course everyone knows there is no better way to scare off would be crooks, than to place a giant mountain lion right outside your store front. Makes you wonder what might be lurking inside right?

After we explored the streets of Durango, we decided to try the Lone Spur Cafe for some lunch. They were definitely practicing physical distancing with the tables placed six feet apart, and only putting folks in every other booth.

This is my kind of place with all the western artwork on the walls,

This painting reminded me of one of my Bev Doolittle western paintings I had in my house.

I loved all the antique things hanging all over the walls. Like this 1938 Colorado license plate.

And check out this sign above the pistol. “you can have my gun when I run out of bullets”. Can’t you just hear some cowboy, or cowgirl, saying that?

Who can’t appreciate boots and saddles hanging on the walls. Wow, I could live in this place. I love it!

And why not make a chandelier out of you deer or elk antlers…?

The food was great too. I had smoked pulled pork and onion rings. YUM!

On our way back to our car, we stopped in an adorable little shop called Animas Trading  Company. The sign said “for the free spirit in you”, so how could I resit? I bought some prayer flags. The information sheet said “traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space”. I need all that, so I bought them… I think I have enough to wrap my whole motor home! Ha!! 🙂

If your like me, a cowgirl at heart, or if you just appreciate the history of the Old West, Historic Downtown Durango will not disappoint.

Stay Tuned!

Flower Power

Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. I remember well the “flower children” era. I’m all about peaceful existence and non-violence, but I also really LOVE flowers. I have never been good at keeping flowers alive, but I so enjoy being around flowers. And here, at The Views Rv Park and Campground, in Dolores Colorado,  I have the opportunity to be around lots of beautiful wild flowers every time I take my daily walk. The park is so beautiful and clean. And the views are amazing. But if you love flowers, and pay attention to the little details throughout the park, you will have a “flower power” experience. Walk with me and you will see.

I don’t know the names of most of the flowers, perhaps you will, but all that matters to me is how pretty they are, and the peaceful feeling I get seeing them. These little white flowers are all over the park.

Some of them are pink and white.

There are lots of these pretty yellow flowers,

as well as these.

I love these delicate while flowers with yellow centers. Pretty little gems they are.

And these yellow little flowers dance gracefully in the wind.

We have lovely red roses.

I just had to get a closer look at this red rose in full bloom.

We even have what the owners told me is a apricot tree in the park. I can’t hardly wait for that fruit to ripen. The owners said we could pick what we want from this tree.

We have both purple and white lilac’s throughout the park. These were white, but even now that they are turning brown, they are still beautiful, and still smell great.

Look at the pretty color of the berries on this tree. I was told the owner’s daughter had that same color in her wedding party, and so bunches of these were on the tables at the wedding dinner that was held here in the park.

I’m pretty sure these are Orange Globe Mallow. We have these in Arizona, and whenever I’m traveling during the summer and see these, it always reminds me of my home state, Arizona.

Not sure what these are, but they are a bright, beautiful yellow when they first bloom, then like most flowers, they start turning brown as their season starts to end.

These beauties are snow white when they bloom, they too are starting to show some brown as the season moves on, but still so beautiful.

At the end of this day’s walk, I caught this little surprise out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was another flower because all I could see was purple. But when I bent down and picked it up, the first thing that popped in my mind was a line from a childhood song “flying purple people eater…” but this little gem has two eyes. I couldn’t leave her behind so I put her in the cup holder of the work golf cart to brighten the day of any host on duty that day.

Thanks for joining me on one of my daily walks throughout this beautiful park. I hope seeing all these beautiful wild flowers brought a smile to your face like they do mine. If you get a chance, I hope you will come visit this lovely place. If you stay here, you won’t be disappointed.

Stay Tuned

It’s Not All About Catching Fish

It’s about the entire experience.

Sometimes when Bill and I go fishing, we end up not doing anything more than feeding the fish our bait. But when that happens, we focus on just being out in nature, and enjoy seeing all the other things that are going on all around us…

Like seeing these beautiful Elk running through the fields on our way home from one of our fishing trips.

Or watching people who have boats sit for long periods of time and wondering if they are actually catching fish, and if not, why don’t they move on to another spot seeing how they have the ability to go anywhere on the lake…??

These folks spent most of the morning sitting in the spot I moved from just before they came, because I didn’t get even one nibble there even after trying that spot for over an hour. But don’t you know as soon as one of them put their hook in the water, they caught a fish…Go figure. 🙂

Yesterday, Bill went fishing by himself, because I can’t be out in the full sun for long periods of time everyday, and we had just fished together the day before. Bill said while driving to the reservoir he got caught up in a cattle drive. Little did he know, the cowboys were driving the cows right to the same reservoir where Bill went to fish.

Bill said about an hour after he drove past the cattle drive, the whole herd showed up to join him at his fishing spot.

Today Bill and I went back to that same reservoir, and watched two unsuspecting young women friends enjoy floating on inner tubes in the exact spot where the whole herd of cows were drinking, and doing their business… And these stand up paddle boarders had no idea what they were about to fall into either.. Oh well, like “they” say… “what you don’t know won’t hurt you… ” right? Just don’t swallow that water…

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We really can’t complain about not catching any fish today, because our freezer is pretty full of fish right now. We have ten rainbow trout in our freezer,  but after the grilled fish and armadillo eggs BBQ we’re hosting this month, we will have lots more room in the freezer for…, more fish! :):)

Stay tuned!

 

 

Getting Closer

This week Bill and I continued our quest of catching enough fish for the fish BBQ we want to host for our co-hosts, and the owners of the park where we are work camping this summer. We tried a new reservoir we heard about called Joe Moore. We were a little surprised when we arrived to find we were the only people there.

After all, if this was to be a good fishing hole, why wasn’t there any other people out there fishing…?

After about two and a half hours of not even getting one bite, we packed up our gear and headed down country back roads to another place we heard about where we might catch some fish…

This is Summit Lake. Only problem here was that it was Memorial Day Weekend, and it appeared that all the people were at Summit Lake fishing. So we called it a day and went home . We decided to wait until after the holiday weekend to set out again to our favorite fishing spot.

Tuesday morning we hit the back roads again on our way to

Groundhog Reservoir, where we caught our first two fish a couple weeks ago.

The water was cold and choppy, and the wind blowing over the water was VERY, VERY, cold as well.

But within a half hour of casting my line into that cold water, I caught a 13 inch rainbow trout!

Then I baited my hook again, took a seat on my fishing bucket stool, and tried my best to not think about how cold I was with the cold wind blowing hard across the water, straight at me. And just about the time I was thinking to myself “this is crazy to sit out here and freeze like this”, I felt a strong hit on my line, and I pulled out a 15 inch rainbow trout!!! Well that made all the cold worth while…

So now Bill and I have one 9 inch, one 13 inch, one 14 inch, and one 15 inch rainbow trouts in our freezer. We just need four more to have enough to have our fish BBQ, served up with a side of Armadillo Eggs…

Stay safe and stay tuned!

Workdays At The Views

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Bill and I are spending the summer hosting in Dolores Colorado. We have a fabulous work schedule where we work 3 days and have 6 days off. I’ve already made a couple posts about what we do on our off days such as exploring the area, and of course, our favorite pastime, fishing… So I thought I would do a post about what some of our workdays are like.

We start our workday off by loading our work cart with the cleaning supplies, and tools, we need to complete each job.

 

Once we have everything we need to get started, we head out to check and clean the bathrooms. The bathrooms in this park are pristine, because of the attention to every detail all the hosts on duty give them three times a day.

Once the bathrooms are cleaned it’s time to start on campground chores,

such as checking, and if needed, watering the newly planted trees throughout the park.


We also check the mature trees and take care of any trimming that might be needed as well as watering the grass throughout the park, and cleaning campsites.

There is a large work shed full of any kind of tools we may need for each chore.

One chore that is a for sure job security chore is digging up the never ending supply of Russian Thistle Bushes throughout the park. These plants are an invasive plant, and if left unattended, they can grow waist high, and have thorny spikes running along the edges of their leaves. When we are finished with all our chores, and any projects Matt, the owner, might ask us to do, we know we never have to look far to find Russian Thistle that needs to be dug up and removed from the property.

And to make getting rid of anything from large tree limbs, to Russian Thistle Bushes easier, we have the ATV, with sideboards cart, at our disposal. We just load it up and run it down to the lower back end of the park where the burn pile sits waiting for the controlled burn day to arrive.

Yesterday was the last of our three day workweek and I spent part of my time in the office with the owner, Matt, as he showed me how to make reservations and sell merchandise on the system they use here, which is a little different than the system I’m used to using when we work the Visitor Center back home. Matt sent us the link to the system they use here, and while he walked me through the various screens, I took notes, and will share what I learned with Bill at home. We can do some practice reservations and point of sale of merchandise, so when the time comes that Matt needs us to help with office duties, we will be ready to go!

Now we’re off for six days, and we are already getting excited to get our fishing poles in the water again. The fishing areas around here are so beautiful, we have a hard time deciding where we want to go. Although the ones that actually have an open restroom almost always take top priority…

Living and loving our retirement life dream.

Stay Tuned!

Gotcha, Fish and Bear

Yesterday Bill and I went back to Groundhog Reservoir, 35 miles outside Dolores Colorado, to try our luck once again at catching some fish. We really love the area, and there are restrooms close by which we now find more of a necessity than a “nice to have.”

The past few times we’ve been out fishing we didn’t catch anything. I was beginning to get frustrated, and a little embarrassed, seeing how I told our fellow co-hosts at the campground that we will have a fish BBQ as soon as we catch a big batch of fish.

Well tenacity, determination, and all those other great virtues that are hard for me to put into practice at times paid off… Within 10 minutes of casting my hook into the cool, clear, water, I had my fish!! Nine inches to be exact. Well that got both Bill and I all pumped up to see who would catch the next one…

Like I said in a previous post, Bill likes to set his fishing pole on a rock or the tackle box and watch it to see if it moves, then he grabs it and starts pulling it up to set the hook and starts reeling it in to see what he got.

We sat there side by side for about another hour and a half, getting hits on our bait every now and then, but nothing was taking the hook. Then, WHAM, GOTCHA…, Bill got a big hit on his bait,

and he reeled in a nice 14 inch trout! Great job Bill!

Catching fish is fun, but it’s also a dirty job that requires all sorts of special skills to actually get the fish off the hook, cleaned, and ready for the freezer until we have enough for our fish BBQ with our fellow co-hosts… Two down, six or eight more to go depending on the size of the catch. We didn’t catch anymore fish yesterday but not to worry, we will be back… Ha!

While we were out having fun catching fish, back at our campground, our co-host, Mary, saw a bear walking through the campground. She got several pictures that I will share here. This is the same area where I do my morning walks. Now, I have to be very vigilant, and keep my eyes peeled for bear when I’m out walking or working in the campground… Last year it was Bison in South Dakota, this year it’s Bears in Colorado…

It all makes for great stories, and fun times together, which is a big part of why we love living our retirement life dream!

Stay Tuned!!

Still Fishing

Bill and I are still “fishing”… We haven’t caught anything yet, but we are still out there every chance we get trying new places where we just know we’re going to catch our limit of fish for the day.

Yesterday we drove to Groundhog Reservoir, about 30 miles outside of Dolores Colorado, to try our luck there. Groundhog Reservoir is the Montezuma Irrigation Company’s water supply. It is a beautiful high country reservoir, and is just a 10 minute drive from the San Juan National Forest.

It’s surrounded by high snow capped mountains. Something to see and do for everyone… But again, Bill and I had fishing on our minds.

It was another bright sunny day so we baited up our hooks,

and set out to catch some fish… The wind was blowing off and on from every direction, and coming off the cold, cold, water, you gotta know this desert rat girl was FREEZING, but very determined to catch my fish. Now I know we’ve all heard all the tall fishing stories about “the one that got away”…, but after several nibbles, and two hours into my fishing day,  I swear, I had a big fish hit my bait, so I quickly pulled my fishing pole up to set the hook, when suddenly that big fish jumped right out of the water, still on my fishing line, and looked at me as if to say “not today lady”, then that sucker jumped right back off my hook and got away. Frustrated, but not discouraged,

we packed up our fishing gear and headed over to McPhee Reservoir to try our luck there. This time we went around the back side of the reservoir where we were told the scenery is much prettier, which it is. McPhee is a very large reservoir with enough water to allow lots of boats to run up and down the 150 mile shoreline. With that much water, one would naturally think there are going to be plenty of fish just waiting to jump on any fishing hook right?

Well, what one might think and what actually happens are two very different things. We sat,

and sat, for another two hours without even so much as a nibble…

After watching Bill study his fishing pole for the slightest movement (I always hold my fishing pole so I’m immediately ready when I feel the slightest nibble) I said “no, Bill, your fishing pole is not moving at all because these fish are not interested in what we are peddling to them today. Let’s call it a day and go home and we will try again over the next few days.”

 

Even when we don’t catch fish, we still love the sport of fishing. And when we finally do catch, and land that elusive fish, the thrill of it all far out weighs the frustrations of all “the ones that got away…”

Stay Tuned!

Trout Lake

Last week Bill and I took a beautiful drive through Dolores Colorado on our way to Trout Lake which is near Telluride Colorado.

The scenery was stunning as we drove along the Dolores River.

Just before we arrived at Trout Lake, we could see the beautiful snow capped mountains that surround the lake. I knew right then that it was going to be cold when we arrived at the lake, but I had fishing on my mind and I was willing to do whatever it took to catch my fish…

Trout lake is one of the most pristine high altitude (10,000 feet), lakes in Colorado, and it’s just a short 15 minutes from Telluride. To our daughter, Shantel, for whom I write this blog, I would give you my own eyes if it would make it possible for you to be able to see the beauty of Trout Lake. The lake itself is not real big, but it is surrounded by beautiful mountains that were capped with snow the day we were there and the image of the mountains was being reflected onto the clear, still, water of the lake just like the water was a mirror. Snow was also all along the shoreline of the lake.

I couldn’t wait to get my fishing line into the water and start catching lots of fish. After all, we promised a big BBQ fish dinner to  our co-hosts at The Views Campground where we are staying.

I sat patiently, which as you know Shantel, is not one of my greatest virtues…

The sun was shinning, but the wind was blowing, and coming off of the lake water, it felt even colder than it really was. Papa was sitting near me and even he said he was cold, which as you know Shantel doesn’t happen often.

We sat and sat getting little nibbles from the fish tasting our bait, but not one of them was going to offer themself up and get on our fishing hook. So we took a little break and had a picnic lunch of sandwiches, veggies, and chips,  which we ate on our laps, while we continued to take in the absolute beauty of the lake and surrounding area.

When I was researching Trout Lake, I found out that “there are cabins and houses peppering the shores. Some folks live there year round. Its a quiet way of life, and one filled with living in harmony with Mother Nature.” The information on Trout Lake I read also said “Trout Lake is a trout fisherman’s paradise. Stocked by the Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery, you’re sure to reel in some quality rainbows and brown trout.” Well, that may well be, but Papa and I didn’t catch anything the day we were there. But we will return and try again another day.

There are so many places to fish around the area where we are staying and we are determined, and holding positive thoughts, and offering up our prayers every time we cast out, that we will catch our fish…

We love and miss you Shantel.

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It: Tales From a Nomadic Life

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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