Second Day....Wow What Scenery Via The Spanish Peaks

Good Morning All,

Had a crappy sleep until it cooled off inside the car. Yes we slept in the car. 4:30 A.M. woke up and watched a man put his boat together for a day of fishing, strange. Well back to bed. Woke up at 7:30 A.M., very cool outside. Ah the smell of the pine trees, sweet! I love that smell, makes you think of something very fresh and clean.

Trinidad - Finding a place to eat. The hotel manager recommended the Country Kitchen across the way, we went there and Dave had an immediate reaction to the musty air so we just got up and left. We went on into Trinidad and got gas for $2.41a gal. While we were filling up I looked off to my right and saw a ranger truck with a bear trap, so I had to have a picture with Bob the Ranger.
Ranger Bob said there were a lot of bears in town this year so he was staying busy catching bears. We then asked where a good place would be to have breakfast. He hemmed and hawed and said he lived there and couldn't recommend much but he did say there was a place where all the construction guys would go to eat. Bob & Earls up on route 12. It was good, good? It was Great! If you’re not careful you will drive by it. It is a small off white building that looks like its been added on to. The corn beef hash breakfast was awesome. Good home cooking. Worth every penny! Back in the car and headed up the Scenic Highway of Legends. Attached is a link so you can read about the Highway of Legends. http://www.trinidadco.com/Main/HighwayofLegends.asp It's an awesome drive and one of the most beautiful in Colorado. At the bottom of the Cuchara Pass is the entrance to the Blue Lake and Bear Lake (4 mile drive up the mountain) campground areas. It’s $13.00 a night to camp, $6.50 if you’re a Senior Citizen. Being 62+ has its perks. It brought back memories of 20 or so years ago when the girls were little. We took some pictures, they should be great.
The wild flowers up in the high country were spectacular. Colorado
had received lots of rain this past Spring.
While driving up to Blue Lake the scenery was beautiful. Around each turn in the road was a different picture worth taking. Dave got this shot of Orange Sneezeweed. I did not bother getting out of the car to check whether I was going to sneeze or not. I think Aspens are one of my favorite trees. The area was loaded with them. Dave and I get put out with people defacing the trees. We managed to find this one next to the road that had yet to be defaced.
It saddens me that people are not more protective of their environment.
This particular shot is an Aspen Grove dotted with Giant Red Paintbrush. Just to the right of this picture is a small canyon with a rushing brook. It would be quite a fall if you were to miss step. We arrived at Blue Lake. There were lots of people fishing. We then went to the campground to see if we could find the spot where we camped all those years ago. We had a little couple, The Longs, in our neighborhood that would camp at the blue lake campground and they were the ones that told us about the Spanish Peaks. They had a map on their wall that would let you feel the mountains and valleys of Colorado, so of course I had to get one.

From the Blue Lake campground it is another mile up to Bear Lake and an half mile to the Bear Lake Campgrounds. 20 years ago there was not much of a campground there but I was very impress with what I saw there and Bear Lake looks like it is a bit bigger that Blue lake. This picture is a shot of the 4 to 5 mile trek up this scenic road to Blue Lake and Bear Lake and their respective campgrounds. There is so much to see. You forget how beautiful it is up here and how sweet the air smells and what surprises await you around each turn. People who don't camp don't know what they are missing. I sometimes think that people seclude themselves too much. They need to broaden their horizons a bit and see what is out there. The farther you go up this road the more foliage there is, and when I say tall pines I mean TALL pines. Hey who are these two people? Ah such scenery. This is the view coming down from the Spanish Peaks.
The sun up in the mountains was hot but the temp was in the high 60's with low humidity. We came down off the mountain to the little town of La Vita, 88 degrees. Stopped at a road side stand at La Vita and got some honey from Pueblo, CO and Bing cherries. Yum! Just before you get to La Vita there is a natural arch in a rock formation. If you were to remove one stone the whole structure would come down. What is interesting it that this whole area of rock is only about 8 ' wide. Amazing that is has stayed in one place for all this time.
It's 2:17 P.M. 76 degrees. Heading towards Fort Garland. Have seen several deer by the roadside. Not many food choices in Fort Garland so have decided to push on to Alamosa. Dave has an itch for a good hamburger and fries. Lots of desolate country between Fort Garland and Alamosa. I don't understand why anyone would want to eek out a living in such harsh conditions. But I understand that the farming is great in this area. Lots of potatoes and carrots and other crops. Alamosa at last, went in search of gas. Got a City Market card to get it at $2.62. Asked a store clerk where a good place would be to get a good hamburger and fries. He recommended Wise Apples at State street & Main. So we turned around and went back into town. As it turned out it was a bar but the hamburger and fries were absolutely AWESOME. I highly recommend it. The best $6.00 burger I ever ate (Sorry Goldie's). After that we went across the street to a book store to look around and then walked down to the visitors center to pick up maps & such. We found the local Wal-Mart on the way out of town and picked up a few things. The people in front of us at the checkout stand were from that "Other" school in OK. They were on their way to Lake City, CO, "Alfred Packer" country, here is some history on good ole Alfred for your late night reading definitely flashlight and blanket stuff. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/history/alfred_packer/index.html Dang, forgot the ice so Dave went back in and got some, put what we needed into the coolers and gave the rest to another family who were heading up to Lake City. Got another history lesson on Mr. Packard from an old-timer, such fun. I can remember when the girls were little and we stayed at a campground in Lake City, the girls were terrified that Alfred Packard's ghost was outside scratching on the tent trailer sides. What imaginations!
We got on the road again and headed to Monte Vista, went by a twin screen drive-in, the Star Drive-In on W. Hwy. 160 in Monte Vista, CO it had a two story motel built facing the screens, the motel is wired for sound and they will put you in a room of which movie you would like to see. Then we passed through Del Norte, who has a guy who does steel art.

Mr. Webb has some rather interesting stuff and he's very talented, all the main street light poles display his art work.

Ah, finally South Fork, headed South for about 11 miles on Hwy 160, Passed a place called Fun Valley, full of RV's packed in like sardines, sorry but I like my space. We turned onto forest service road 410 and two miles to go. Ugh, washboard city. Ah, what a site for sore eyes, we're there! Big Meadow Campground. Got a campsite in the first loop, #4. As it turns out we're surrounded by retired firefighters from Oklahoma City. All of them, very nice people. We called it the Okie Loop. We
found out there's no water here so we had to drive back into South Fork for some supplies. Got back to camp and fixed Southwest Veggie soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner it was good. Had a delightful surprise, a young buck came bounding through the vegetation and came within 30 feet of our campsite. Dave got some awesome pictures of Marshmallow (We later learned that was his name given by the campers in the area). Decided to set up the tent and pull the sleeping mattress out of the car. I swear that silly deer was posing for us. He stood there for the longest time waiting for Dave to go get his camera. Our neighbors across the way came over and introduced themselves to us. That is the thing I like about camping. People are so friendly and if they see something out of the ordinary they get concerned. There seems to be a real brotherhood amongst campers.

Dave and I debated on whether to set the tent up or sleep in the car. As you can see we set the tent up.
It gets quite nippy up here. I hope I brought enough warm clothes.

I decided to take a break and do a little reading after getting camp set up and finishing up dinner. Dave was playing with his camera when he looked up and snapped this picture. It sort of says it all at the end of a beautiful day. What more could you want?
It's dark now, so time for bed. I'm tired and I know Dave is. I had my pedometer on and walked 3440 steps today. Need to do more of it. Trying to get use to this altitude at 9540 feet. Had a few raindrops fall from the sky, looking for good sleeping weather. It was a good day today.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

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