Wednesday, June 3
We left Heaton Bay about 9am. Add this campsite as a good one in Heaton Bay. Site 76.
Picked up a few WalMart items then went to the Buttercup Bakery on the way out of town. Headed west on I-70 and got off at the west Vail exit #171. Stopped at the USFS office and got the Motor Vehicle Use Map for the area. This will be a good source of camping info. going forward. Took US 6 west which follows the Eagle River. The water is very high and fast. We stopped at the BLM Wolcott Recreation site to watch the rafters taking off. I was talking to the guides and they said they were booked solid for most of the prime time. Good money for the guides. The guides are commonly called River Rats. In 2000 we went white water rafting in Alaska.
Rafters on the Eagle River
In Dotsero we headed north on CR 301, the Colorado River Road. The road is probably 1/3 paved with the rest being very good, well compacted dirt. The Union Pacific RR runs right alongside the river. This was very common when the railroads were being built because the river naturally took the low ground thus avoiding tunneling or climbing mountains. Around here, the river runs from northeast to southwest. The CO River starts as a creek draining the high country in the RMNP. The river is lined with spruce, fir, ponderosa pine and cottonwoods. We stopped at Lyon's Gulch Rec. Site thinking about spending the night but it wasn't much so we continued north. We wound up at the Catamount Bridge BLM site. This is a free BLM camping area and boat ramp site. We have the place to ourselves tonight. The U.P. tracks are right across the river. So far, there have been four long coal trains rumbling by. The elevation is 6,600'. The refrigerator is working just fine confirming that the problems we were having at Frisco was the 9,000'+ elevation. We cooked salmon and sweet potatoes on the grill and it worked just fine then had a small campfire from downed wood.
No cell phone service along the road.
The Colorado River with rafters.
A good part of the road runs through a red rock canyon.
Thursday, June 4
We continued north on the CO River Road then north on CO 131 to CO 134. Drove the Lynx Pass(CR 16) to the top and then took FR 206 toward the Rock Creek SWA. There is a two story log building from about 1880 that was a residence, stage stop, hotel, and post office.A few miles down the road, Rock Creek had complete breached the roadway. Times like this is when the little 24' rig is nice. The short wheelbase can turn around on a one lane road. The initial plan was to camp off FR 206 but that didn't work out.
We headed north towards Steamboat Springs. The campgrounds around Rabbit Ears Pass don't open until June 15 so we found a place to park in the woods. The detailed maps of the NF's have already come in handy. At 9,265'.