|I love fields of flowers in the shadow of beautiful mountains|
Because of working full-time, we have to grab time to escape to the mountains whenever we can. I took off last Friday through Sunday and we headed off to Colorado from our home in New Mexico for a little adventure.
We keep our camper van loaded with all the things we need to head out quickly. It usually takes us less than an hour to load up the food, clothes, get ice and gas and be on the road. We left early on Friday morning last week.
|PJ's Gourmet Market, Durango Colorado|
|Million Dollar Highway loopty loop|
It is so relaxing to sit in the main pool late at night and watch the stars. Usually the pool is crowded in the daytime and early evening, but once the day soakers leave at ten, the pools clear out and it is very quiet and peaceful. No electronics (cell phones, cameras, tablets or e-readers) are allowed in the pool area. Friday was the perfect night for soaking due to the cooler temps and misty rain.
|Sunset at Orvis Hot Springs|
|We went for a walk before soaking, but cut it short when we were |
attacked by swarms of mosquitoes biting our uncovered legs
|Jeep with roof tent next to our NV camper|
|James Baroud Offroad Tent|
After soaking, stargazing and a great night's sleep, we were up early to head to our boondocking spot next to a ghost town. But first, we drove the short distance to Ridgway to gas up and have breakfast. We looked up Ridgway's favorite breakfast spot, Kate's Place, and we were not disappointed.
|Huevos Rancheros and Veggie Omelet, Kate's Place, Ridgway Colorado|
|Forest Road 623 on our way back down to Highway 145|
At a narrow part of the road while we were going up hill, we encountered a large truck coming down hill. Greg stopped. The driver of the truck stopped too and then went into reverse. He seemed rather flustered as he flew back up the road way too quickly and much further than necessary for us to pass him. He barely missed hitting a mountain bike racer. Got our hearts racing.
|A wider section of the road to Alta Lakes|
We found an awesome boondocking spot below the ghost town [37.885059, -107.855556]. We got all set up and watched a number of mountain bikes flying down the road. We decided to walk up to the lakes. There was a second pit stop right at the townsite. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes with the woman and her son manning the stop. They told us that this was approx. mile 65 of the 100 mile race. The walk to the lake was very pleasant. We were surprised how many people were camped around the main lake. It was stunningly beautiful. Many people were either fishing or enjoying the lake on their SUPs.
|The largest of the three Alta Lakes|
|We weren't sure if the hammock or the fishing looked more relaxing.|
|The smaller Alta lake with the stunning mountains in the background|
This new spot is inside of a gate that was open. We are not sure if the gate is always open and unlocked, but for the bike race it was this weekend.
After we moved, a man and woman drove up and parked nearby. The woman took off on the trail toward the lakes with her two dogs and the man came by to talk. He asked if we minded if he sat in our camp while he waited for his wife to come back. So, we offered him a chair and the three of us sat in our campsite and talked about boondocking and camping spots. They were staying in a tent trailer up on Lizard Head Pass and live in Taos. They were surprised how packed it was at Lizard Head Pass and agreed with us that we found a perfect spot.
|Mountain view from our campsite. Lizard Head Peak is to the left|
|The perfect, private camping spot.|
We really are enjoying cooking on our Camp Chef gas campfire. We also found the Camco 58033 Little Red Campfire Cook Top works really well to raise up the level of our pan just far enough off the lava rocks but close enough to the heat of the fire. We cook on it and then use it as a quick and easy campfire at night and to warm up on those cold mountain mornings. For boondocking, we also have a small folding table with a cooking extension on it. The perfect dispersed camping kitchen!
|The flowers were in full bloom on our hikes to and from Alta Lakes|
|Can't get enough of fields of wildflowers|
|The ghost mining town of Alta from our camp spot.|
|Reminders of the mining life of Alta|
The Alta ghost town has an interesting history. According to a sign on the large boarding house we were camped near, Alta was a hub of mining activity in the Alta-Gold-King area from 1877 to 1948. Most interesting to us was that Nunn, Tesla and Westinghouse worked at this site with the first industrial use of alternating current electricity. A long distance electric transmission line was completed from the Ames power plant on the San Miguel River below Alta on June 21, 1891. A mill was operated at the Alta site from 1917 to 1948.
The weather on Friday had been overcast and misty. When we woke up Sunday it was to rain. But, Saturday was beautiful and sunny and just perfect for our numerous walks to and around the lake, exploring the ghost mining town of Alta and through the fields of wildflowers. It really was a perfect three-day getaway.
|To give some perspective to the height of the flowers along our hike to Alta Lakes from our campsite, Greg is 6'1"|
|Can't have an adventure without a monkey or two.|
Another good and very large boondocking site is just south of Rico at: 37.639283, -108.058992. It's right on the very pretty Dolores River.