Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Heading north

Sunday, May 21st
Left Durango after dumping the tanks at the Giant and hitting WalMart. We spent the night at a city park in Del Norte. You can camp there free for one night.

Drove  to the O'Haver Lake FS campground just south of Poncha Springs. 9,200'. Had a hail storm then a drizzle. The weather forecast going forward is great.
Drove one of the many Jeep roads noting future disbursed sites. There are lots of them. I make note of the coordinates then forward the info. to our friend Ted, so he can add them to his Ultimate US Public Campground app.  That way, if I'm searching for one years from now, I just look in his app. that I have on my iWhatever. Works well for both of us.
The campground is very, very nice. A clear mountain lake. Fishing, swimming, kayaking, etc. Gopher  took a nice swim. The water was too cold even for the kids. The camp host said the place is typically  booked solid through the prime summer months. There are several walk-in sites.  We lucked out by getting there early in the week and have a lake view, pull-through site.
Memorial Day plus schools out, is upon us.

Through the woods. 

A stream behind our campsite

The view of O'Haver Lake
Tuesday the 23rd.

Woke up to 2" of snow this morning. At 9,200' I suppose its not that uncommon this late in May.

 Later on new drove the Poncha Creek Road and found some great disbursed camping for the future.
Along Poncha Creek
 Put up the hummingbird feeder.  Between the red camper, the red Jeep and the feeder, we really attract the birds. So far we've attracted the Black-chinned and Broad-tailed; both very common to this area.

We identified a pair of Chirping Sparrows, as well.

We went into Poncha Springs, a 20 minute drive, for lunch at the Hunger Wagon based on Yelp reviews. We split the pulled pork plate and a basket of onion rings, jalapeƱo corn fritters, green chilies, and a super dipping sauce. Excellent.

Spoke to our neighbor who is a serious fisherman; been coming here for over 15 years. The lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout. In the deep water, he regularly catches trout in the 14"-16" range. He also said, that for the really prime sites, reservations well in advance are required.
I walked around and made notes for the future.
The best RV sites are 10, 22, and 32.
The best tent sites are 10,18-20(tent only sites), 23,30,31,32.

Drove most of the Marshall Pass Road today except to the very top where  the snow was still too deep. Found one great disbursed camping spot with a strong VZ signal. The access road is bumpy but not terrible and not very long.

O'Haver Lake from Marshall Pass Road.

Saw a dozen, or so,  mountain goats.

Tomorrow we're going to check out some disbursed camping in the area then decide whether to stay here for Memorial Day, or move on.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Friday, May 12

We left home about 9:30am. Fairly light traffic through Denver.
For lunch we stopped at Obie's Fillin' Station Bar-b- que joint just off I-25 in Colorado City. We had a great lunch. One of the best ever bar-b-que lunches.
Tonight we're camped at the Smith Lake SWA in Blanca. 7,721'. Right on the lake with a view to the north of three 14ers, and to the east of the Spanish Peaks.

37.38948 -105.54086


We stayed at the FS Junction Creek campground about 15 minutes from downtown Durango. To our surprise, the 42 site campground was almost full when we arrived and schools  not even out. Wonder if this is a harbinger of what's to come with this  summers camping?
On Mother's Day we got up super early and went to breakfast at Oscar's. We've been there before.

The weather forecast for Silverton, our next planned stop north, is dismal starting on Wednesday. Very cold with snow. This morning I was able to get the only nonreservable site in the section with electric hookups. We'll stay here until the storm passes.
We took a nice drive looking for future disbursed camping ideas then had lunch at Oscars.

Took a drive up to Lemon Lake looking for future camping sites. We found some nice areas but there is no cell phone service and you are a long way from anywhere. The sites we found yesterday off of US 160 west of Durango were much nicer.
Had a few snow flurries tonight.

Drove along La Plata Canyon Road looking at all the FS disbursed camping areas. There were some very nice ones. We noted the coordinates for future trips. It snowed a little near the top.
The weather is still dreary with the late, and hopefully last, Spring storm.
We decided to extend out stay here until at least Saturday. It's snowing in Silverton.

Woke up to snow. We're extending our stay here until it warms up in the Silverton area.

We drove to Silverton to see what Mineral Creek Rd was all about. Snow and mud. Along the entire road there was one camper that we saw. Our favorite site had about 6" of snow on top of mud. The Jeep did just fine but the camper would not. It will be several days, or longer, before the camping spot we like is dry. Had lunch at the Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake restaurant. We shared the Mexican funnel cake which is essentially a Navajo Taco then a Black Forest funnel cake. Both were just super.

We discussed where to head next and ruled out Silverton because of the mud.

Beautiful Silverton

Along Mineral Creek Rd. near our favorite spot.

We're going to head towards Buena Vista instead. Warmer and no snow.
The late spring storm messed up our plans. Oh well, so it goes.

Nothing special at all.
Heading out in the morning.