May 30 – Mesa Verde National Park to Denver – I woke up early this morning and so got an early start. I went by the gas station in the park to top off my tank and sure enough as I had been told about the card reader, “sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t”. This was one of those times it didn’t although I tried 2 different cards from 2 different banks. So I just headed out down the switchbacks and out of the park, then headed East to Durango. In Durango I topped off my tank and then went to the MacDonalds to have my breakfast of a Sausage, egg, Mcmuffin and a Sr Coffee. I checked out a few things on the internet and found a couple of motels in Pagosa Springs using Tripadvisor that I might have stayed at when I got there.
After checking out things on the Internet I continued on towards Pagosa Springs.
About 17 miles West of Pagosa Springs I checked out a nice National Forest Service campground called Ute campground for future reference. It looked like it would be a good place to stay. It cost $18 a night.
When I got to Pagosa Springs I went to the visitors center and gathered up a few brochures. They have Wifi there but I had already checked out what I wanted in Durango so did not avail myself of it. One of the ladies who worked there asked me if I wanted any help and then proceeded to tell me a very lengthy story about a woman who homesteaded in the mountains and getting pregnant while there had to ride a mule down the mountain because there was no doctor in order to have her baby etc, etc.
I finally managed to politely thank her and slip out the door.
Once I escaped I took a look around town and noticed that while the visitor center parking lot was very small and had a ½ hour limit on parking, just across the street there was a large parking lot with picnic tables by the river and a tall spigot for filling my water bottles. My cell signal was dead but I noticed a dirt road going up the hill to a parking lot which was a trailhead for hiking paths. In this parking lot I got all 5
bars. So I called home and checked in.
While all this had been going on the wind had been picking up and it started blowing a cold wind so I decided that I wasn’t going to go sit in the hot springs with such a cold and heavy wind and I asked someone how far it was to Denver from Pagosa Springs. She told me it was about a 5 hour drive. I have noticed since I came to Colorado that people give distance in time it takes to drive instead of miles. It could take 3 ½ hours to drive 100 miles for example.
So I said what the heck, I wasn’t going to get in the hot springs in this wind so I headed north on Hwy 160 towards Wolf Creek Pass. A few miles out of town I came across a beautiful falls called Treasure Falls so I stopped and admired it for a bit. Then I continued on up the pass stopping to admire the view several times. And there were several excellent views. This pass was one of the most beautiful passes I had gone over. I got to the top at 10,856
ft., and crossed over the Continental Divide again and continued on through South Fork and then East. I passed several National Forest Campgrounds on this route.
When I got a bit east of Alamosa I ran into a sandstorm because this is just a bit south of Great Sand Dunes National Park, but I just kept on going till I got out of it and finally got to Walsenburg and I-25.
From there it was a simple matter of heading north on I-25 to Denver. I -25 runs along the Front Range of the Rockies so it was quite a nice view of the mountains once you got north of Pueblo a bit.
Once I got to Denver I stopped at the WalMart to get a few groceries and then headed on to my Nephew’s house which is my home base in Colorado. It had been a very long and tiring day and I just unloaded what I needed for the night, fixed and ate a sandwich with milk and then went to bed.
It had been a very good trip : )
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