Up early again. On the road by 6:30. We stopped at the bakery for a loaf of fresh bread and a warm cinnamon bun, then to the Montrose Fairgrounds to use the dump station and to top off with water. Today's destination is the Silver Jack Reservoir/Owl Creek Pass area. We accessed this FS area from the north off US 50 using the Big Cimarron Road which, eventually, becomes FR 858 in the Uncompahgre NF. The road is well maintained dirt and gravel. Perhaps 20 miles or so, from US 50 to where we are now. Drove through the two campgrounds (Beaver Lake and Silver Jack) just to look. Both are nice but nothing special. We were looking for disbursed camping. Drove some different FS roads until we stumbled onto 858.3G per the MVUM of the area. We're here: 38.20560. -107.52191. We're at 9,000' About 100' from the Uncompahgre River in a small meadow of grass and dandelions surrounded by pine and aspen. Good sun for the solar panels. We drove all of the roads that were along the river. There are a dozen, or more, great riverfront disbursed sites and they are all taken by big trailers. I guess we're lucky to have snagged this one.
We're staying here until the weekend crowd clears out on Sunday. According to a guy I was talking too, this is pretty much a Montrose locals place. Some bring their ATV's some their dirt bikes. It's only about an hour from town.
Cooked salmon and sweet potatoes on the grill then had a campfire from wood I found along the river.
Saturday, June 20
This place gets crowded on Saturday. Between the convenience to Montrose, the 100* temps, the river and assorted ATV and jeep trails, it's really busy. Should we come back again, and we certainly would, we would make it a Monday-Thursday trip. But, even on Saturday, by about five, everyone was back at their campsite and the day users were gone. The evenings were peaceful and quiet.
Spoke to two locals about the road south towards Ridgeway. While neither had driven it this year, they both recommended against it. In the past there have been wash-outs, huge potholes (one guy said the potholes would stop a tank!), etc. plus we needed to dump our tanks, top off with water, go grocery shopping, etc., so we decided to head back the way we came and spend the day in Montrose.
Sunday, June 21, the Summer Solstice.
In the morning, we drove the six miles up to the Owl Creek Pass. Got a picture of Chimney Rock but couldn't find the grassy meadow (Deb's Meadow it's called) where Rooster Cogburn made his famous charge against the four bad guys. "Rooster Cogburn sits astride his horse, rifle in hand, reins between his teeth and draws his pistol." Anyone who has seen the movie remembers the rest. In 1969 John Wayne won his only Academy Award for Best Actor for his Rooster Cogburn role. I remember Rooster shooting that six gun probably fifty times without reloading. 😉
Then off to Montrose to take care of business.
Right now we're in the Amphitheater Campground in Ouray. Still too warm for us. In the morning we head higher.
Had a nice conversation with a guy very familiar with this part of CO. Got some good travel ideas.