Saturday, September 12, 2015

Monkeying Around - Part I

[By Karen]

For part-timers who work full time - we had an amazing August. We were the ultimate weekend warriors and then some. 

Redondo Campground in Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos New Mexico
The first weekend in August, Greg's parents were camping in their van at Redondo campground in the Jemez National Recreation Area. We are very fortunate to have access to the Jemez Mountains, Bandelier National Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve and Pajarito Mountain all within a short 30-45 minute drive from our home in Los Alamos.

Redondo is a very nice campground with 60 sites, each with picnic table and fire ring. Three of the sites have covered shelters. There are vault toilets, no utility hookups or a dump station. The maximum length is 30 feet. We went up on Saturday and took them out to eat and for a drive.

For a delicious meal in Jemez Springs, check out
the Jemez State Stop

In the Jemez Mountains
We've had a lot of rain this summer as evidenced by the wildflowers
We took Forest Road 376 to the Gilman Tunnels

The Gilman Tunnels were part of the Santa Fe Northwestern Railway (SFNW) through the canyon which use to transport lumber from the Jemez Mountains. Forest Road 376 has some awesome boondocking, but the area near Gilman Tunnels is NOT suitable for an RV. Read our prior blog about Forest Road 376 here

Jemez Mountains
The next adventure was for our wedding anniversary weekend. Many of our early adventures together were on camping and hiking trips. We are happy to continue that tradition. We headed north to the Crestone Music Festival in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house.  I took off Thursday and Friday. Thursday night we went to Orient Land Trust to camp and hike to the bat cave. We hiked at dusk to watch the bats take flight and then hiked back to the campground in the dark. I really enjoy seeing all the bobbing flashlights as everyone makes their way down the mountain.

Always in awe of this beautiful view from our campsite

One of the natural soaking ponds at Valley View
It was a beautiful, clear night. We stayed up late soaking at Valley View Hot Springs and stargazing. Every few minutes there were shooting stars. There were so many, we started counting. Greg saw 11 and I saw 12 - mostly not the same ones. It was such a magical night. Valley View Hot Springs is on the Orient Land Trust. Orient is a non profit dedicated to preserving the hot springs, viewshed, bat habitat, open space and agricultural lands.We hike and camp at Valley View often and are members. Valley View has soaking ponds along wilderness trials, geothermally heated hot tubs, sauna with cold plunge and a natural spring fed swimming pool. Friday morning after our oatmeal and hike, we swam for several hours in the swimming pool. It was the perfect temperature.  For more information, click here. Heads up: As with many beautiful, natural developed and undeveloped hot springs - Valley View is clothing optional in the campground and pools.

After the refreshing swim, we drove the 45 minute drive on Hwy 285 to Crestone. Turn at mile marker 105 (Moffat) and head towards the mountains to reach Crestone. The music festival was being held on the Challenger Golf Course. CrestFest operates the music festival and the money they raise goes to bring music to the schools of the rural San Luis Valley. A very worthy cause and great music. This was the 17th year of the festival. We were able to camp adjacent to the venue. They provided toilets, solar showers and water. But, they did not allow pets.

Our campsite (Humphrey is on the far left) at the Crestone Music Festival 

Best pizza ever! This is a portable wood stove pizzeria.
Hand made from a shipping container and a flatbed truck.
Ingenious and delicious

Last year we attended a music festival/campout that did not include food vendors. We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of food offered in Crestone at the festival. You could even say it was a food fest.

This is a very organized festival. They set up a number of large tent structures for shade and rain shelter. The Great Sand Dune National Park is not far from Crestone. Thus, we should have expected heavy winds. We were enjoying the music, when someone yelled "this tent is collapsing, run!" Not what you want to hear. Everyone scrambled as the tent stakes were pulled up one by one from the heavy wind that was immediately followed by a brief down pour.

One of several tents set up for shade and shelter from the rain

Greg and others hold down the corners of the large tent while
one of the organizers re-secures the tent stakes and lines

We have had so much rain this summer.
The rain leads to an abundance of wildflowers and happy campers.

Still happy after all these years!

Walking the golf course back toward the music festival grounds

Wearing my blanket that was my bridal shower gift (36 years ago)
crocheted by a family member
Next installment:
Chama Train and dinner with John Denver
Stargazing and soak at Valley View
Hiking and soaking in Ouray
Back to the Jemez Mountains and Bandelier for Labor Day hikes.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like some VERY beautiful spots. Glad you managed to celebrate your anniversary month in style!


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