June 30, 2016
This morning Roger fixed Chili for us to eat this evening, as it is still cold at night were we are. Then we took a hike up the rocky road. Roger showed me a trail he had found yesterday when he was looking for wood for a fire. It leads down to a pretty creek. He had hoped we could have a picnic there today. But the weather has not cooperated. It has been threatening rain all day. We took a few pictures then found so really good wood for a fire and started back to the RV.
Unfortunately, the weather got worse, raining off and on all day. Roger became concerned about the dirt road getting muddy, so we moved back up to the paved highway. Just a few miles away we found a rest area where we could spend the might. I guess someone else will benefit from our wood collection, after the weather improves and the wood dries out.
One thing new to me that I discovered at the rest stop is wild blue bells. They are so pretty! I have heard of them but never seen them before. The color is so true and they are so easy to identify because they do look just like bells hanging down from their stems. I guess they must only grow at high altitudes, which would explain my not having seen them before now. We ate currently at the 2nd highest peal in the San Juan Mountains at Coal Bank Pass, 10,640 feet.
One of the informational signs at this rest stop explained the fact that woodpeckers build new nests each time them need them, never returning to the old nests. However, there is a particular owl that only uses the left over woodpecker nests. So it is a very efficient system of interrelated species.
July 1. 2016
We headed down the mountain, enjoying the beautiful tall fir trees that seem to reach to the heavens. There was a deer off to the side of the road, looking cautiously at the highway, as if he was deliberating trying to cross. We do so enjoy seeing all the wildlife. I’m kind of a nut about wild flowers, as well as birds. There are some wild daisies lining the highway as if saying “hello” to all those who pass by. Colorado also has a yellow daisy-like flower that is unusual in that its blossom is sideways on the stem instead of at the top. So it faces you. I guess that’s how the tall sunflower blossoms grow.
Many of the houses and commercial buildings have converted to the metal roofs. We suspect that the snow is less likely to stick to the metal. There seem to be a wide variety of colored metals: brown, green, slate blue, and red.
This part of Colorado is horse country. We’ve seen several small ranches with horses grazing in the fields. One corral had a man and too preteen children brushing down a horse. It seemed as though the man was teaching them how to dare for the animal. What a great sight, an adult and children together enjoying being together.
We arrived in Durango at 10:45. It is a very pretty, clean city, spread out in a small valley between the mountains. Animas River flows through on the west side of the town. There are strong metal walking bridges for pedestrians to cross over the river at several locations. I wonder if the citizens realize how lucky they are to have such a treasure as part of their landscape.
We are going to be backtracking several miles west to pick up two more National Parks. The first one we reached was Mesa Verde National Park. We found a vacant parking lot near the top of the mountain. So Roger transmitted from there for awhile. While we were there three deer came out of the forest and grazed about 50 yards from where we were parked.
Then we drove through the campground. There were only 15 RV sites and they were all reserved except one. When we checked the reservations on the internet, we found out that the park is run by a private company and the campsites are $42. Needless to say, we decided to look elsewhere.
The second stop is called Yucca House. But it is surrounded by private property and was difficult to tell where we were allowed to park. We has seen some no trespassing signs and did not want to cause the neighbors problems, so Roger transmitted on the side of the road. (There was no visitor’s center or informational signs at the site.)
As we were driving to our third location, we observed three hawks/falcons sitting on the roof of a house. They were really magnificent creatures, so regal in their stature that you would think they believed they were royalty. But for the life of me and Roger, we could not figure out which birds they were. Roger got a great picture that we will send to our friend, Joe. He is so gracious to help us with bird identification.
We arrived at Hovenweep National Monument just before the visitor’s center was closing. But we were able to get a brochure on the pueblo ruins and a trail map for tomorrow. Then we drove a short distance to the campground, which only cost us $5 per night, saving us over $30. The RV sites were much nicer and more level than those run by the private company in Mesa Verde.