Adventure 2004 - Southwestern Colorado

                                                          B Group Daily Log

 

Day 1: Saturday July 31, 2004

The Troop Gathered at our point of departure, Manchester Airport in Manchester, NH for an early morning flight. We traveled safely to Denver via Chicago arriving at Denver International Airport early in the afternoon. Thanks, in no small part, to our aircrew (see picture below). We then boarded a motor coach for the trip to Navajo State Park in Arboles, Colorado. A stop was made in the Pueblo area for last minute supplies and for a box lunch dinner. We arrived at Navajo State park late in the evening, set up our tents and hit the sack. Our tent sites overlooking Navaho Lake were perfect.  The campground catered to RVís but we had an isolated section which suited us just fine.  Showers, laundry and a general store were nearby for amenities.  The town of Durango was about a 45 minute drive away. 

Departure From Manchester Airport

Our Aircrew

Navajo Lake

Tentsite At Navajo Lake

Day 2: Sunday, August 1, 2004

The morning and early afternoon was spent at Navajo State Park getting ready for the week's adventures. When the vans returned from taking the A group to their trailhead we loaded up and headed for Durango. We spent several hours sightseeing in the historic district of Downtown Durango and touring The Durango and Silverton Railway Museum. On the way back to Navajo State Park we picked up some last minute supplies at Wal-Mart.

Railroad Crossing In Durango

Wells Fargo Building

Durango And Silverton Railroad

Boys At Railroad Museum

Narrow Guage Railroad Turnstyle

Day 3: Monday August 2, 2004

Trailhead Elevation: 7,800 Feet

Distance Traveled: 8 miles

We left Navajo State Park early in the morning and headed for the Pine River Trailhead, on the opposite side of the Vallecito Reservoir from where the A group began their hike. The first 2.5 miles of the Pine River Trail winds along the border of a working ranch until you reach the Weminuche Wilderness. From there the trail follows the bed of the Los Pinos River. At approximately 6 miles after crossing over Emerald Lake Creek we headed north on the Emerald Lake Creek Trail that leads to our destination of the same name, Emerald Lake. We ran into a light drizzle for the last third of our hike. We set up camp in fairly wide flat area with low vegetation. We were able to find a spot where there were signs of previous hiker's camp with easy access to water and off of the main trail.

B Group Shot

Rest Break

Along The Trail

Tentsite

Share The Trail

Ranch Along The Way

Ben And Rich At The Weimenuche Border

Ian At The Weimenuche Border

Trail View

Los Pinos River

Day 4: Tuesday August 3, 2004

The Hike To Emerald Lake (Or There And Back Again)

Campsite along Emerald Lake Creek

Elevation at Start: 9,200 Feet.

Distance Traveled: 6.0 miles

We awoke to find a beautiful, sunny day. We could tell because we could see the sun on the tips of the peaks that surrounded us. It was not until 9:30 AM before the sun hit the valley floor and once it did a fog arose that was very eerie looking.

Sunrise

Early Morning Mist

Early Morning Mist

Tentsite

We had a late breakfast, broke down our tents and hung them out on lines to dry. We then departed on the trek to Emerald Lake, first coming to Little Emerald Lake where the boys did some wading. We had lunch on a rockslide that goes down to Little Emerald, rested for a while and then continued on a short distance to the breathtaking view of Emerald Lake.

After spending some time at Emerald Lake we hiked the 3 miles back to our campsite, took off our hiking boots and soaked our feet in Emerald Lake Creek. We divided up into our cook groups, had our supper, built a campfire (in an existing fire ring), toasted some marshmallows, swapped stories and finally turned in for the night.

Trailview

Emerald Lake

Little Emerald Lake

Taking A Swim

Along The Trail

Rock Slide

Day 5: Wednesday August 4, 2004

Once again we awoke to a beautiful morning. It was going to be a busy day for our group.

After breakfast we broke camp, packed all our gear and hit the trail back to the parking area and our van. The scenery was spectacular all the way. The sun was shining and it was a much more enjoyable hike that on the way in when it was raining much of the way. We covered the 8 miles in a little over 3 hours, loaded up and headed back to Navajo State Park.

At Navajo we caught up on our housekeeping, (showers, laundry etc.) had lunch and relaxed for a while before getting back in the van for the drive to meet up with the C group at Mesa Verde National Park. The change in scenery was spectacular. We awoke in a lush mountain valley along Emerald creek and went to set up for the night on the flat arid plateau of Mesa Verde. After attending the ranger talk we hit the sack under a clear starry sky.

Clean Up After Back Packing

Deer At Mesa Verde

Ranger Talk

Mesa Verde Tentsite

Day 6: Thursday August 5, 2004

Thursday morning we woke to rain, drizzle, rain and then sun. The B Group had hooked up with us the night before so we all took off to see the cliff dwellings. What an amazing feat. I am not just talking about the dwellings but the fact that I  went up a 32' ladder into Balcony House. Thanks again to the subtle persistence of Jim Woodward and the tenor voice of Rich Filteau urging me on. Okay- another round of heart failure for this one! But I did it and it was worth it. You could feel the spirits surrounding us as we visited.

 

With Mesa Verde behind us, the Four Corners called. Where are we ? Utah? Colorado? New Mexico? Arizona? Don't know but we hit them all.  Nothing for miles around but this monument touching the 4 states. Hot as the dickens but the best taco I have ever eaten. And great jewelry!!
With a storm brewing on the horizon, which seemed to be a daily occurrence, we pushed forth back to Navajo State Park for our last few nights before reality set in and we had to head back home.

 

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

The Balcony At Balcony House

The Ladder At Balcony House

Climbing At Balcony House

Balcony House Kiva

Passage At Balcony House

Ranger Stubbs

Balcony House Tour

Spruce Tree House

Balcony House Tour

Navajo History Speaker

Ship Rock Mesa

Dan At Four Corners

Four Corners National Monument

Jim & Everett At Four Corners

 

Day 7: Friday August 6, 2004

On Friday morning, we took the B & C Groups into Durango for their kayaking trip and then our group and Rich Filteau & Tom Bennett discovered an incredible French pastry shop that was to die for! Great coffee and wonderful pastries. I think we should have found that the first day there. Grocery shopping was done and lunch was eaten and then we made our way to Purgatory Ski Area to pick up the scruffy but not too bad smelling A Team! I must admit, they didn't look or smell too bad. We dropped them at the campground, unloaded the storage shed, unloaded the groceries and on the road again. This time to get the kayakers. Then back to the camp for a delicious cookout. Now, didn't those burgers taste great!

Day 8: Saturday August 7, 2004

Saturday morning came awfully early and the vans had to be returned and the bus came. We were headed home. A nice hotel room in Denver and a swim and back home we went.
Where did the week go? We had a lot of laughs and a lot of memories. Saw a lot of incredibly beautiful scenery and some pretty bad storms. Ate a buffalo burger in Silverton which was not like any beef I have ever had. Do it again???  In a heartbeat! Bring on the next High Adventure!

Bus Ride To Denver

The Long Ride

Dinner Break

Happy Birthday Jim

Fun In The Pool

Day 9: Sunday August 8, 2004

Our last day was a travel day. A late morning flight from Denver to Chicago, finally arriving back at Manchester in the evening.