Adventure 2004 - Southwestern Colorado

                                                    Daily Log C & D Groups

 

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

C Group

The morning was spent at Navajo State Park checking our gear and preparing to head out on our 3 day two night hike.  At 2pm we drove east to the West Fork Trail head.  After a quick photo stop at the trail head,  we starting hiking at 4pm.  Our destination was about a mile down the trail to wilderness boundary where we would set up camp for the night.  During our mile hike, we saw a deer, wild flowers, and hiked along a deep raven.  We got to our campsite around 5:30 pm, starting cooking dinner and had an early 9pm bed time.
 

The Trail Begins

Along The Trail

Boys On The Bridge

Rest Break

C Group Tentsite

Beautiful View Along The Trail

At The Border Of The Weimenuche

At The Border Of The Weimenuche

Ahhh, the Hot Springs

 

 

D Group

The rent-a-vans were picked up Sunday morning at the beautiful Durango International Airport. This gave us an idea of how really spread out the geography is in Colorado! We then delivered the A Team to their start point and got a chance to look at the great Ponderosa Tree carvings done after the forest fires by Vallecito Reservoir. A great tribute. The next road trip was to deliver the C Group to their starting point.

Day 3: Monday August 2, 2004

C Group

We continued hiking down the West Fork Trail to the hot springs at mile 6.  The trail crossed two streams and was generally up hill.  We gained about a thousand feet this day.  We arrived at our camp site at 2pm and quickly got camp set up.  Mr. Woodward went out searching for the hot springs and returned within a few minutes with the good new that they were better and warmer that thought!  The rest of the day was spent soaking in the hot springs and taking photos because no one would ever believe our story otherwise!  That evening we made dinner and visited yet another hot springs.  The rain started and we retired early. 

Dan And Everett At The Tentsite

The Boys Hiking

Life Is Tough

Hot Springs

View From The Hot Springs

How To Relax

 

D Group

Our little group (2 of us) left Monday morning for a trip on the bus to Silverton from Durango. What a great little town Silverton is. Spent a few hours having lunch and looking around and then took the narrow gauge railroad back to Durango. It was raining but still had a nice opportunity to see the sights. On return to Navajo State Park, we realized that we were the only 2 people in the tent area there. Not much noise and a little spooky

Day 4: Tuesday August 3, 2004

C Group

We ate breakfast and broke camp around 9am for our hike out.  The 6 mile hike out was easy since it was mostly down hill.  The sights were great with lots of flowers and wildlife along the way!

Dan, Travis & Tom

View From The Trail

View From The Trail

View From The Trail

View From The Trail

View From The Trail

 

D Group

We hooked up with the C Group again at that little out of the way trailhead and off we went through Wolf Creek Pass to Handies Peak. Mr. Woodward assured us that we would be thrilled with that portion of the trip. WAS HE RIGHT! As I made an attempt to drive the road (if one could call it that!), Mr. Woodward advised that I could let him drive if I wanted to. You cannot believe how fast I bailed into the backseat and allowed him to attempt to maneuver a 15 passenger van up a cow path! As the road went from a cow path to a gopher path, my heart and lungs departed my body and the brain started to become a puddle of Jell-O. The Bridge of Death loomed into sight and we knew we had to turn around and try to get down this mountain. The road had won. Needless to say, Handie Peak trailhead was for not and we ended up at an incredible campground in the valley-Mill Creek Campground. Beautiful! Saw deer grazing in the campground & there had been a bear during the night. We even had a hummingbird in the van and a really FAT chipmunk trying to carry off Danny Hein.
With no further attempt to get to Handies Peak, we took off through some of the most beautiful and different land ..Lizard's Head Pass, Slumgullion Pass, Telluride (of which we took a gondola ride up a peak), the towns of Stoner and Placerville, where Tom Bennett decided to move to and become a dirt farmer. Go Tom! Have you mentioned it to Linda yet?

Views From The Skyway

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Views From The Skyway

Jim & Everett at Telluride

Day 5: Wednesday August 4, 2004

C & D Group

We arrived in Mesa Verde late on Wednesday and was amazed at the devastation of the fire since 2000. It seemed like everything was burned and only scrub stuff was growing. The Pinon Pines looked like burned gnarled fingers pointing to the sky. Very eerie and serene. We had a great time listening to Ranger Dave talk about the park animals that night - of course, the mention of bear made my night a long one. I did sleep some and snored so that the bears wouldn't bother Danny Hein. He said he liked pitching his tent near mine as my snoring was a great bear scare.

 

Day 6: Thursday August 5, 2004

 

B , C & D Groups

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.
 

 

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.