June 27, 2021 – Cuervo, New Mexico

Sad day, day 45 of my trip and we said good bye to James and Elizabeth. Deb and I started east as they waited for a flight to Raleigh and to pick up their truck at my house before visiting family in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Indiana before they head back west – follow them at Flight of the Crows Wing – https://flightofthecrowswing.com/

As Deb and I headed east on I-40 I saw this ghost town, so we did a U-Turn to explore Cuervo, New Mexico. It’s got an interesting history, and at least one TV news story of a sinister side.

Just driving around

A bunch of empty houses

and cars

We ate lunch and walked around

I’ll hold it….

A 1915 Catholic Church was just finishing Sunday services, so we got to look inside.

June 24, 2021

The new campsite

A drive through the Gilman Tunnels

which lead to this great swimming hole and lunch spot.

Then Beth found an awesome “short cut” back to camp that passed Sandia Man Cave, so we had to explore it. The cave has an interesting history and what was found in it and by whom, as I tell my students, Google is your friend.

June 17, 2021

Another exploring day, we started hiking to the Beaver and Belfast Mine ruins

Then explored the ghost town of Ironton

wallpaper on cloth over the wood

1930’s Ford pickup, some rust, no low ball offers, I know what I have.

Colorado Boy mine head frame

from the morning hike we saw this bridge, it’s not listed on the map, but is called Corkscrew Gulch bridge, we choose not to cross it.

June 15, 2021

After yesterday’s long hike, we wanted an easy day, so we made the long drive to the ghost town of Pagosa Junction, sadly despite all the info on the web, every building and post has no trespassing signs. We decided not to ignore the 100 red signs and didn’t leave the road, too bad the area looked amazing.

June 10, 2021

I wanted an epic ride today, so I headed north of Durango to Pass Trail. The ride starts at Coal Bank Pass at 11,000 feet and climbs to over 13,000 towards the base of Engineer Mountain. The ride is supposed to get above the tree line and have amazing views…

But before this there is still snow, so much that it was more “hike a bike” so I gave up. I asked a hiker who also was a biker and she suggested Jones Creek Trail, ” a fun 4 mile climb to a beautiful mountain before descending back down.” She lied, the climb sucked, took me 1:20 to climb, the meadow was amazing, but the descent was scary fast and only 21 minutes!

Kali is so pretty!

Durango-Silverton Railroad – Durango, Colorado

An even better picture of the train since Pongo is in it ; )

June 8, 2021

After yesterday’s disappointment, we decided to find more ruins and less people. Sand Canyon Trail in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was picked.

It is listed as a mountain bike trail too, but wouldn’t be a fun ride we we hiked the 8 miles round trip.

There are 7 different ruin sites on the hike.

None as big as Mesa Verde, but they are very cool! Like most days, I captured way more video than stills, one day I will have time to edit.

Everyday I photograph cactus flowers, I don’t know why, but at least I got a bee in flight.

Surely you didn’t think I would not get another picture of Pongo….

June 7, 2021

Warning tourist rant to follow!

Today we visited Mesa Verde National Park and I was very disappointed. After 24 days of freedom and not being around large groups of people, it was frustrating to be kept away from the ruins, the tours were expensive and sold out for the month, it seemed like half the park was closed (hikes, museum, learning center, etc)

Even the drive up to the ruin area wasn’t special compared to our wanderings….

The ruins look amazing, if you could get close, plan your trip months in advance, etc

To make myself feel better, I made more pictures of Pongo

Our campsite was on top the part called The Ramparts… I walked out for the sunset

June 2, 2021

The sun rises on Delicate Arch (in back) as seen through Frame Arch (Twisted Doughnut Arch)

We had planned to be there for the sunrise, but breaking down camp at 5am, the drive to Arches National Park and the hike took a little longer than expected (we will fix that tomorrow) but the light was still amazing!

Ute Rock Art on the trail to Delicate Arch

Arches National Park is one of the most popular and crowded parks, however it also has 4×4 roads that few people use and they lead to many other arches.

Tower Arch in middle and Parallel Arch on right

Beth looks through Tower Arch

Parallel Arch

It was a long day of off-roading but with views like this out your window, I was in heaven!

Therapod Track (a dinosaur)

This is what the trail looked like.

Eye of the Whale Arch – by the time we got here, we were tired, so all 3 of us took a nap in the shadows.

Pongo was at home!