Beautiful Colorado Wildflowers

Oh, my, I don’t even know if I have the words to express how I really feel about all the beautiful scenery we have seen, and the fun we are having here in South Fork, Colorado. The day after we arrived, our neighbors, and now new friends, Ken and Patricia, parked right next door to us, and we almost immediately struck up a friendship. They are from Alabama, but have spent time in South Fork, Colorado. So they know the area well. They love to fish, and hike, just as much as we do, and they have taken us under their wings, and shown us places to fish and hike that we would not have known about if not for them taking us to visit all these beautiful places.

Yesterday, we left our campsites at 8:00 a.m. and spent the whole day driving through the most beautiful countryside on our way to see the wildflowers in full bloom. This first picture was taken off the side of the road of a steep mountain we had to drive up in order to see the wildflowers.

Even though, we had to drive up a very narrow mountain road, where you had to pull over as far as you could if you encountered another car coming down the mountain, the beautiful wildflowers, and surrounding mountains, were well worth the adventurous trip up the mountain. I will let the next few pictures speak for themselves.

My new friend, Patricia, studies wildflowers and birds, and she could identify almost every wildflower, and almost every bird we saw.

Patricia told me this is the Colorado state flower, the columbine flower. Isn’t it pretty?

Everywhere we looked, we saw a field of beautiful wildflowers.

When we came back down the mountain, after spending ample time with the wildflowers, Ken and Patricia took us to a place where we had a delicious pizza. Then we move on to see the North Clear Creek Falls. Oh, wow! Another hidden treasure we would most likely have overlooked, had we not crossed paths with Ken and Patricia.

After a fun-filled day of seeing a small glimpse, of what Mother Nature has to offer in this area of South Fork, Colorado, we headed home. We arrive home at about 5:30 p.m. Then we sat out on Ken and Patricia’s covered patio, and had happy hour before we called it a day/night.

A BIG thank-you to Ken and Patricia for spending so much quality time with us, and showing us things in this area that we wouldn’t have known about if not for them.

Stay Tuned!

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Exploring Creede, And Last Chance Mine

We have been having so much fun here in South Fork, Colorado. Our next door neighbors, and now friends, and fishing buddies, Patricia and Ken, are from Alabama, but come here in the summer, and they know all about this area, and have taken us under their wing to show us around.

They drove us to Creede, Colorado. OMG, what a beautiful area. This is my kind of place. I will let some of the pictures speak for themselves.

Well, if the adorable shops in Creede were not enough to knock your socks off, they were also having an arts and crafts fair on the day we were there.

After we looked in all the shops, and visited the art fair, we continued on the “bachelor loop” drive,

where we visited old mining claims, and even found one for sale…

Bill took a look inside, but decided this was not anything we would be interested in buying..

I didn’t find this sign too inviting if I was going to be interested in making an offer on the place… 🙂

Moving on from the old mining claim, we continued up, way up, the mountain to visit the last chance silver and  semi-precious gemstone mine. The views from the top of the mountain were spectacular to say the least…

The next few pictures are what you will see when you first arrive at the last chance mine.

This next picture shows the summer home of the people that own and run the mine.

This is a picture of the sitting porch they built. Our new friends, Patricia and her husband, Ken, walked right on out there so I could take their picture. I wasn’t about to go out on that limb. No way, I’m afraid of heights. Ha!

This is the jewelry shop you have to go into if you want to shop for any rings, earrings, necklaces etc. made from the silver and semi-precious gems mined here. The man who owns the mine makes the jewelry and his wife runs the jewelry shop. To get into the jewelry shop, you have to walk across that long, tin walkway, that has a shaky wooden floor that you can see through, and right down the side of the mountain. I mean this thing is scary, and as you can see, it’s being held up on stilts and some cables…

I wasn’t thrilled to go into that shaky building, but my friend, Patricia, told me she wasn’t either the first time she came to this place, but once she was inside and looking at all the pretty jewelry, she forgot all about the fact that this building was hanging off the side of a mountain.

Well, Patricia talked me into going in and taking a look around, and she was right… They have some beautiful jewelry. As a reward for my bravery of going into the shaky building, I bought this silver and amethyst ring. I love it! Some say “Amethyst stones are natural stress relievers with healing properties that rid negative energy and encourage inner strength, wealth, and clarity of the mind” I guess we’ll see about that! 🙂

 

Having the time of our lives..

Stay tuned!

Cumbres And Toltec Scenic Railroad

Yesterday we took a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, something I would definitely recommend doing if you are ever in Antonito, Colorado, or Chama, New Mexico. This scenic railroad “takes you on a journey through the spectacular mountains and valleys of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico on a historic narrow gauge railroad line that was built in the late 1800s.

It was not only a beautiful, fun, ride, but it was very educational as well. I will share some of what we learned over our 6 1/2 hour trip.

“The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic railroad is America’s longest and highest narrow gauge (3 feet between the rails) railroad. It is also one of our country’s best preserved railroad museums, designated both a National and State Registered Historic Site and National Civil Engineering Landmark.”

 

This is a steam engine locomotive. Coal is used to heat water that produces the steam to run the train.

Almost every car on the train was completely full, although once we were on our way, we were free to move about from car to car, and go out to the observation car.

“The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is 64 miles of what once was the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway. It is the finest example of narrow gauge, mountain steam railroading in the country.”

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We saw trees of every kind along the trip.

We had a volunteer on the train who was well versed in the history of the railroad, and everything we were seeing along the way. He told us that trees with yellowish marks on them, like this one, were most likely hit by lighting.

I just loved being in the middle of the train, and watching the front of the train round the bends. I was hanging out of the window to capture this picture.

And everyone was hanging out of windows to try and get a picture of the train entering the first of two tunnels.

This was the view immediately when we came out of the first tunnel. I wasn’t about to hang out the window to get this picture, but I did get a pretty good shot while standing in front of an open window.

Because the train runs on steam, and you need water to produce the steam, halfway through the trip we had to stop at a water tower to fill up the water tank.

This house is where the family of the man who was responsible for maintaining the water tower lived. There were 12 children in that family living with their parents in this little house. The windows look like they have lace curtains, but those curtains are actually painted on the windows.

About halfway through our trip, we passed another train full of people that were just as interested in taking pictures of us, as we were interested in taking pictures of them. Ha!

There was no shortage of beautiful scenery to see.

 

This is a picture of the Historic 1880 Depot located in Osier, where we stopped for lunch.

Someone actually lived in this tiny depot.

Our volunteer guide told us that they couldn’t get anyone to donate a historic safe for the depot, so they hired someone to make a replica of the original safe out of wood.

We learned all about the whistle blowing of the train as well. Here is what we learned,

It’s called Whistlespeak:

One short blow = Apply brakes. Stop

One long and one short blows = Warning whistle

Two long blows = Release brakes. Proceed

Four long blows = 5 minute departure warning

Two long, one short, and one long blows = Approaching highway crossing

Two long and one short blows = Approaching station

Three short blows = When stopped, back up. When running, stop at next station

It was another beautiful, fun-filled, educational day.

Stay Tuned!

 

Another Day Of Adventures

We have been fishing at the Conejos River, that runs through the RV Park where we are staying, for the past week and a half. We hadn’t even had one little nibble. So we decided we were going to go to the Trujillo Meadows Reservoir and try fishing in some deep water. The owner of our RV Park, John, told us he had a lot of luck catching fish there. The reservoir is about an hour and a half drive from where we are staying.

When you get to the turn-off for the reservoir, you have to travel down a pretty well maintained gravel road that doesn’t really have clearly marked signs letting you know where the reservoir really is located. So, we spent about another half hour driving through a campground, trying to figure out how to get down to the reservoir.

Finally we found the road that would take us to the reservoir, where we would find the deep water, and where I just knew I was going to catch that BIG fish… But no. What we found was that the reservoir was all dried up! Are you kidding me? Why would our camp host/owner, John, send us to a reservoir that was dry?

 

Mud pies anyone?

So now, we decide we will go try our luck at the other reservoir we heard about, Platoro Reservoir. On the way out of the dried up Trujillo Reservoir area, we saw two deer romping across the road. Perhaps they were looking for some deep water too.

All was not a complete loss, because the drive to and from Trujillo Meadows Reservoir is beautiful. We passed through “Caminante” To… – Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway. The welcome sign read “Bienvenidos Caminantes! Come! Take a walk with us. We know an old song, El Caminante, which tell of taking a long walk along the ancient roads. Like the first prehistoric inhabitants, you too are a caminante, or one who walks upon this land”.

When we reached the turn-off for the Platoro Reservoir, we find out we have to travel down 25 miles, on a not well maintained, washboard-like, dirt road. The first few miles were deceiving as to what was to come further down the road… But, on we went, in search of the deep water, where I was going to catch that BIG fish! Hey, if you’re not going with a positive attitude that your going to catch a big fish, you might as well stay home. Right?

On the way down the long, and bumpy road, we passed these two beautiful horses standing peacefully in their field.

And, again, we saw lots of beautiful countryside while we were going down that long, and really bumpy road. 🙂

Finally, after an hour and a half on that very long, and really, really, bumpy road, we came to the Platoro Reservoir with deep water in it.

YES! I’m getting out and I’m going to catch my BIG fish. But no! You see those ripples in the water? Well those ripples were coming from wind that was blowing so hard we couldn’t even cast out our lines without having them blow right back in our faces. And, what looks like a simple shoreline that we could just walk around to the other side of the water, was actually a steep drop off. No way were we able to get around that water unless we had some fly-fishing waders, which of course, we didn’t. So, with dashed hopes, we called it a day, and started making our way back home without ever putting our hooks into any water at all…

On the way back down the mountain, like three hours later, we passed the same horses, standing in the exact same positions. I thought to myself, these horses really know how to stay in the moment and enjoy life. I guess we could all learn something from them. Stay in the moment, expect nothing, and hope for the best! 🙂

The next day, when we saw our Park Owner, John, we told him the reservoir he sent us to was all dried up. He looked surprised and said “really, I thought that would have been filled up again by now. They drained it to work on the dam, but that was only supposed to take a month”. So much for being in the know about your area. But we’re still loving it here, and we’re still having lots of fun.

Stay Tuned!

Playing On The Great Sand Dunes

Yesterday we visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We had never been there before, so we made a stop at the Visitor Center, to see what we could learn before heading out to play on the dunes. We learned that “these huge dunes-North America’s tallest-are about 11 percent of a 330-square-mile deposit of sand. Eroded from mountains, then shattered by freezing and thawing, and tumbled by streams and winds, sand grains cycle through the dunes system.” That’s amazing.

We also learned safety tips to protect yourself before going out on the dunes. We learned :

  1. The sand can be REALLY HOT.  “In summer months during mid-day, sand temperatures can reach 150 degrees F. Hike during the morning or evening to avoid heat exhaustion and/or burned feet.” We were there in the morning and the sand was not hot.
  2. “Lighting can occur anytime during the warmer months, when afternoon storms approach the dunes. Avoid fatal lightning strikes by experiencing the dunes and other open areas during morning hours. Remain in a building or vehicle until 30 minutes after the last thunder. If you are in immediate danger, crouch in a low-lying area on top of a pack to prevent ground charge.” I guess if you don’t have a pack to lay on top of, you just crouch, and kiss your ass good-bye. Ha! 🙂
  3. “High winds are possible any time of the year Especially during the spring season, storm fronts can produce high winds which cause sand to blow. Hike during these conditions at your own risk. If hiking during windy conditions, consider wearing eye protection, long sleeves and pants to avoid getting sand-blasted“.

But hey, if the sand isn’t too hot, there’s no lightning, or storm clouds in the area, and no high winds, then you’ve got this, so go have fun. Ha! 🙂

So off we went.

Let me just say, it’s a long hike from the Visitor Center, through constantly shifting sand, to reach the top of these Great Sand Dunes. When we first started out, I asked Bill/Papa if he wanted to rent a sandboard so we could slide down the dunes once we reach the top. He said “how do we get to the top”? I told him that I didn’t see a chair left anywhere, and that I read it was a calf-burning adventure.. He said ‘oh, ____ NO”! We laughed, as we were trudging our way along, and talked about how nice it would be if there were some way to have a chair lift to the top, but of course, that would be impossible on the ever shifting sand. I’m telling you that you can get your toes in the sand here and never even have to take off your shoes.

After you reach the top of what you’re going to call your summit, which doesn’t have to be the highest peak,

the easy, and fun part, would be sliding back down if you had a sandboard. Because when you fall down, sit down, or come to a stop sliding down, it’s an even bigger challenge getting back on your feet in the shifting sand. Ha!

Bill/Papa said “this is a lot of sand, but unlike Oregon, where you walk in the sand and reach water, here you walk in the sand, and reach a hill of more sand”.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is beautiful, and I’m so glad we got to visit, and experience for ourselves, how truly amazing the Great Sand Dunes really are.

After we finished playing on the dunes, we brushed ourselves off, emptied our shoes of an excessive amount of sand, and made our way towards the Great Sand Dunes Lodge and RV Park, where we were going to have lunch. On the way there we passed by these deer who didn’t seem to mind interrupting their lunch to pose for a picture.

We had a delicious lunch in this adorable diner next to the Lodge and RV Park.

I couldn’t resist getting pictures of these signs they have hanging around the ice cream and homemade pie counter. I think we could use a few of these signs in our Visitor Center back at McDowell Mountain Park. 🙂

 

 

Of course, I couldn’t leave the area without buying my token magnet. I think this one is just perfect to remind me of our day at the Great Sand Dunes.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

My Kind Of Place

That’s what this adorable Twin Rivers RV Park, here in Antonito, Colorado, is to me. I wanted to capture this lovely place in pictures for my travel memories, as well as to document our experiences here in Antonito, Colorado. I will also try to describe in as much detail as I can for our daughter, Shantel, who likes to read about our adventures.

This morning after breakfast, Bill/Papa and I took a walk around the grounds. The first place we investigated was the cute little shower house. One side says Cowboys, and the other side says Ladies.

 

The ladies shower room was spotless and decorated all in a pretty shade of blue and white.

Next we checked out the pavilion. This is a place for sure decorated just to my liking, with wooden floors, checkered tablecloths, rocking chairs, and lots of antiques spread throughout. Campground guests are allowed to use this anytime they want, to play board games that are provided, read books that are also provided, or to entertain their guests that stop by to visit them.

I fell in love with these blue jeans made into little curtains. How cute is that?

They have a coin operated washer and dryer for guests to use. Bill/Papa was for sure checking that out.

Our little slice of this heaven is really shaded, especially towards the back of our motorhome, so that is where we set up our table, chairs, and outside cooking equipment. Just the perfect spot for coffee in the morning, and happy hour in the afternoon.

Just beyond the back of our sitting space, is a huge spot filled with nice, big, cottonwood trees that provide shade throughout the park.

They also have little cabins for rent here.

The outside of the office is all fixed-up with flowers

that are so pretty and welcoming. Some of the flowers are planted in tin bathtub type of containers painted in pretty colors,

and there are flowers in hanging pots all around the park.

A large covered wagon greets you as you enter the park. That was my first indication that I was going to love staying here.

 

One of two rivers runs right through the park, and we can fish there anytime we want. We do love to fish.

All along the river bank there are cute benches. I love this one that has wagon wheels attached to each end and is painted blue. And, there are bridges so you can cross the river.

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In addition to the benches, there are chairs throughout the park, placed beside the river, that almost seem to beg you to come, sit, and stay awhile.

And if all that were not enough, if you have horses, you can bring them, and keep them in the corral that has a nice size pasture right beside it.

They also have a nice little playground for the little children.

The only negative thing I can say, if I had to say anything, would be that I would like more space between neighbors. But, that just makes me appreciate, even more, the generous amount of space we have at McDowell Mountain Regional Park when we are there for the winter months.

Love, love, LOVING this area!

Stay Tuned

 

 

 

 

 

Always Have A Plan B

Over the Memorial Day weekend the whole Taos, and Questa, New Mexico area was overrun with motorcycle riders to the tune of 20,000 bikers descending upon this area. Good for the economy, but that did add to the already busy holiday weekend traffic for the area. So of course, the last thing we wanted to do was get out and add to the traffic congestion. We decided to stay put, and just hang out at the RV Park. But, whatever was I going to do to keep myself busy and entertained? Well, I did what I love to do best… I cooked.

On Friday I made a batch of paleo friendly sweet potato salad,

and a batch of sautéed cabbage and beet greens (a new favorite of ours),

and fried up a batch of crisp bacon to sprinkle on top of those dishes just before serving.

On Saturday evening Bill/papa grilled pork chops, and I served them with mashed cauliflower, with homemade mushroom gravy, and the sautéed cabbage and beet greens. YUM!

On Sunday, we tried to make paleo catfish nuggets, and served them on paleo tortilla’s with carrot slaw. I had to make carrot slaw because I used all the cabbage in the cabbage and beet greens dish.  Carrot slaw was my plan (B) that would have saved the day,

except that paleo catfish was the nastiest thing we ever made, and I could not even begin to gag it down. Bill, on the other hand, didn’t like it either, but managed to eat most of his. That boy has to have a stomach that will tolerate anything, even if he doesn’t like it.

Not me, I not only dumped the catfish out of my tortilla, and replaced it with some bacon I already had fried up, I dumped the rest of the package of frozen catfish as I wasn’t about to try making anything “paleo friendly” with it again anytime soon. Again, it’s good to have a plan (B).

As much as I LOVE to cook, I’m really not a big fan of cooking to this paleo food plan. I find it very difficult to make things taste good when you can’t use the “normal ingredients” that make things stick together…

On Monday, Bill/papa grilled brats, and I served it with grilled onions and red peppers, and the sweet potato salad I already had made. Winner, winner, fabulous dinner.

In the end, over the weekend we made three meals. Two of those meals were delicious, and one that I considered a complete disaster. Some might say two good out of three is not bad.  I say one bad out of three, is still BAD!

Tomorrow we will go grocery shopping in Taos. Thursday we will spend the day packing up, and Friday we will move on down the road to Antonito, Colorado.

Stay tuned!

 

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