Stopped in Gunnison for lunch and caught up on the news etc. Read that a weather system was moving in ( we could feel it in Gunnison). So very reluctantly we headed for home not wanting to be wet and cold for another night. It was a quiet ride occasionally reminiscing about the fun trip we just finished. Already planning our next one!
We unpacked and got back into our at home routine. Showers sure felt good! Dogs seem okay to be here but not real enthusiastic. They liked the freedom and fun on the road too.
We love our T@G and how well we sleep in it. Sometimes 11 hours! Guess we were pretty relaxed too.
Cold morning! 38 degrees when we ventured out of our T@G. The sun didn’t make it into the canyon until 10:00 and we were very happy when it did! Finally on the road at 11:00.
We took the 15 mile Blue Mesa cutoff road (CR 25) to Highway 50. What a treat! High road across a bluff with amazing views. Some residences along the way. Most likely summer homes. Road is dirt and wash boarded but okay for travel. Some big ranches with cattle. Also a Ute Indian reservation. A worthwhile one hour trip. Next time we will take the Lake City cutoff road just because.
This campground is about twenty miles or so from Lake City. Not much going on in town so we decided to find our spot for the night.
We are 7-8 miles off Highway 149 and are at the end of the road. There were several disbursed sites along the road but we thought we’d find the campground. Most of the sites (5) are for tents and maybe two that would work for us.
We are so close to the river! We have to shout to each other to be heard. Simon bathed more than once and he and Henry have been busy all afternoon with chipmunks and squirrels. We gathered wood and built a fire -first one on this trip.
A railroad went through here until 1933 connecting Lake City with Sapinero near Blue Mesa. Tomorrow we will take the cutoff road to highway 50, another first for us.
Stopped in South Fork Ranger station and were told about a couple of places to camp tonight. First we went over Slumgullion Pass. The trees are all dead from beetle kill and although an effort was made to plant new ones, there were few that survived. The drive there was quite stunning. Again we were treated to some beautiful fall colors. And before we left the top of the Pass, it started snowing! First of the season for us.
We made it to our home for the night around 5 pm. Clearly it had been raining. Our site is in a meadow next to the creek. After dinner we took our usual walk and discovered another site even closer to the creek but decided to stay put. Maybe next time.
It started raining on and off sometimes really hard (even hailed) around 3 am. It woke us up at 7:30 but we were still able to make coffee and have a light breakfast. We were on the road again at 8:30 and arrived in South Fork at 9:30. Heading towards Lake City.
We stopped at the Forest Service office in Durango and they told us about this place. We set up and took a short hike to Lemon reservoir where Simon and Henry took a swim and played fetch with sticks.
Back at camp we realized it was just 2:00 and we really wanted to be a little further down the road.
So we packed up in 10 minutes and headed towards Pagosa Springs where the rangers told us about some disbursed camping on the East Fork Road. We resupplied at Walmart in Durango and we are all set for two more days.
If you plan to go to Mesa Verde and camp, suggest going either in spring or fall. It must be brutally hot in the summer and crowded too.
The sites are so-so. However there are flush toilets, free hot showers and a laundromat that doesn’t rip you off. There’s gas if you need it but probably plan to fill up in Cortez or Mancos.
Lack of crowds made our stay pleasant even though there were campers all around us. Different kind of campers than in the summer I imagine.
It’s a fascinating park with lots if history. Highly recommend spending a night or two.