Pagosa Springs and Chimney Rock

We moved last week further east and landed almost to Pagosa Springs. This is our campsite:

We hadn’t intended to stay here, it’s right on a dirt road and it’s really really un-level. It was raining when we got here so we didn’t have a lot of choice. The road beyond this point got worse and the rain didn’t help, so we parked intending to move in a day.

Well, that didn’t happen and we actually ended up really enjoying our stop here. There was more ATV traffic than I normally liked but we were gone most days and so it didn’t really bother us too much. Plus there is just forest for miles right behind me, we heard elk bugle a couple of times as they moved through the hills. Penne and I enjoyed a couple of nice walk back through the trees when it wasn’t raining.

While here we made a trip into Pagosa Springs and did some sightseeing, waded in the warm water of the San Juan river, did some shopping and had one of the best lunches of the trip at “Meltdown on Main”. We also stopped at the local heritage museum and spoke to a lady working there who was on Kodiak Island in 1964!

Also while in the area we made a trip to Chimney Rock National Monument, which is between Pagosa Springs and Durango. While there we walked the lower trail around the visitor area and Scott walked up the 1 mile Pueblo trail to the Great Kiva and views of Chimney Rock.

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Car Crash! (Not us)

Today we were doing some geocaching and had stopped for our 2nd cache of the morning. We were beside Colorado 160, west of Durango. Some call the area ‘Mancos Hill’. It’s a very steep area and the road winds up the hill here.

So anyway, we’re pulled over on a dirt road and so I’m maybe 200′ away from the highway looking for a geocache when I hear skidding and crashing, so I whip around in time to see the ass end of a car sailing, literally flying off the side of a cliff beside the road.

So I run to the truck and Tira zooms back down the dirt road the highway where the car went off. Two other cars were stopped and it only took a minute to locate where she left the roadway because of the damage to a fence, but we couldn’t see any more tracks or the car. One other guy and myself headed down the hill to start looking while Tira and his wife stayed up with the third couple who were calling 911.

We looked for 10 minutes or more going up and down the hill and couldn’t figure out where her car could have gone until at one point I looked up. Up in a tree about 5′ over my head was a car part. We couldn’t believe it and headed down the hill following the trail of destruction in the tree tops. It looked like the car bounced once or twice, hard, before flying further down and across the hillside. We eventually found her about 150′ or more down the hillside, and 400 to 500 feet across the hill side from where she left the roadway, which is why it took so long to find her. She was probably doing 60 when she left the road, according to one of the guys who stopped.

This is from the Durango Herald, “On July 5, at mile marker 62, a New Mexico woman was injured after she crashed 150 feet down an embankment. The rescue was described as “challenging,” and the woman was extricated from the vehicle. She was taken by helicopter to Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango.”

According to the paper, this was the 3d crash in nearly the same place in 8 days, with 2 fatalities and 6 injuries. The woman in this accident survived.

….and this was her car when they pulled it up about 4 hours later. The driver was medivacced out earlier.
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Visiting Mesa Verde National Park

One of the reasons we headed to this area outside of Mancos Colorado, is that it’s close to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and also Mesa Verde National Park.

Last week we got to visit Canyons of the Ancients, and this week we’ve made a couple of trips into Mesa Verde. Inside the park there are really two roads, but the drives are fairly long so we split the park and one day did the more westerly drive (Wetherill Mesa Rd) and the next visit we did the eastern side (Mesa Top Ruins Rd). Most of the the famous dwellings, like ‘Cliff Palace’ are along the east road. It’s also a long twisting road with size limit restrictions. Most of these pictures are from that road. On the west side though, we got to do more walking including the 1 mile round trip that actually went from the rim down into a cliff dwelling, the Step House. Most cliff dwellings are off limits but this one was not.

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Just camping

We’ve been here for a few days and are settling in to ‘just camping’ in the forest in Colorado.

The weather has been glorious, the days warm but not hot, the nights cool but not cold. Sunny everyday and starry every night.

A couple of days ago we visited the Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Center, outside of Dolores, about half an hour from here.
On the same trip we went into Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, also outside of Dolores and Cortez. We visited some ancient pueblo area in the north end of the Monument.

Then we spent a day doing laundry and shopping, and a day just driving around sightseeing and geocaching.

Here is a picture from over the hill in the area we’re camping. Penne and I went for a walk and I had to try, but it was much better looking than my picture shows.

Plus a couple of random pictures from this week.

This is the view from just up the hill from our camp area, when Penne and I went for a walk.

Doing some geocaching and some sightseeing. We were over 10K’ and looking mostly south here.

Bear scat… 🙁
About a mile from our trailer.

The inside of a real (reconstructed) Kiva!! I was so excited. 🙂
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