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.
Started raining about 3am and it’s on and off when we got up at 7. So after a leisurely breakfast we decided to take showers and do our laundry. Great hot shower with decent pressure. And did I mention they are free? All chores done by noon. Rain is letting up sort of.
After lunch we headed out to Wetherill Mesa, a section of the park we hadn’t seen before. Bumped in to an old friend from Monarch who is now a park ranger here! Skies cleared (our friend said it would start up again at 5) and we toured the Step House and Badger house community. So interesting ! Now we have seen the whole park. Time to move on. It’s 5:00 and it’s raining. He was right.
Clear skies are gone as predicted but the colors were still beautiful along the way. Got going around 9:00 and took our time getting to Cortez. There we stocked up for two days and headed to Mesa Verde.
Checked in and paid for two night (15 per night). Great hot showers and a laundromat too. Supposed to be WiFi but we can’t get it to work.
Toured the park and museum. We’d been here before but it’s still pretty interesting. Tomorrow we plan to go to an area of the park we haven’t seen. We didn’t realize how big the park is and had to get expensive gas at the camp store to be able to drive around. Biking is out if the question here. No shoulder and long steep climbs. Also cold. Hoping for a nicer day tomorrow.