As we mentioned in our last update we rolled into Pagosa Springs Colorado on Monday (8/22) for a 1 week stay. We chose Mountain Landing RV Park as our home during our visit and it served its purpose just fine.
Mountain Landing is a relatively small campground with only 31 sites nestled in the pine trees on the west side of town. The park is all gravel and most of the sites are pretty good sized and most will take a little effort leveling but nothing too bad. I would say there are sites that are far better than ours (site 30) but that’s what happens when you don’t make reservations farther in advance. Make reservations far in advance and be stuck to a plan and probably have better sites or fly by the seat of your pants and take what you can get but have the option to be more flexible in your travels, that’s something all RVers have to deal with and there is no right or wrong, you just have to make your bed and sleep in it.
After getting set up we jumped in the Jeep and headed downtown to do the tourist thing the rest of the afternoon before heading home for the evening. Our site is one that will not allow for satellite reception and over the air TV is pretty minimal so for those of you that like TV in the evenings, even if it’s just background noise, you might want to keep that in mind if you come here. And yes we admit that we like TV in the evening and I like my internet in the mornings and evenings. For the record Wi-Fi is pretty much nonexistent at least in our site but we never plan on Wi-Fi at a park, we just rely on our own Verizon internet and say to heck with the piss poor Wi-Fi most parks advertise for free.
On our first full day in Pagosa (8/23) we decided to take a road trip to check out a few surrounding towns. I’ll admit that we are (I think mainly me) on a mission to find a spot or maybe two to hang our hats for a month during the hottest summer months (July & August) and I have had it in my head since even before hitting the road almost 4 years ago that Colorado was going to provide such a place because of the higher altitudes found throughout much of the state, so we planned on a bunch of day trips while in Colorado to cover more ground.
Our day trip took us Northeast out of town on HWY 160 over Wolf Creek Pass to South Fork, Del Norte and up HWY 149 to Creede. The drive also gave us a chance to pay attention to Wolf Creek Pass which has pretty long stretches of grades up to 7% because our travels will be taking us up and over it once we leave Pagosa Springs.
Long story short Del Norte didn’t flip our switch much, South Fork wasn’t too bad and was worth a look see but Creede, Creede floated our boat. Keep in mind that our opinion is based on just a snap shot during our driving tour.
We spent a little time walking the streets of Creede until rain rolled in and we jumped in the truck and went in search of a campground I had researched.
We won’t go into detail about Creede right now but will say we were impressed enough with the town and the campground that we are pondering back tracking after out stay in Breckenridge to spend a week in Creede. And to be honest it just might be a contender for a spot to hang our hat for a month next summer. More on Creede in a later update.
Our daytrip turned out to be a 170 mile one, a little longer than we normally like to do. I’ll say that days like this make me appreciate the truck even more.
Wednesday (8/24) our friends Dianne & Tom drove into town from their boon-docking spot by Bayfield to do a little shopping and while in town we got together at the Pagosa Brewery for lunch. The beer was so so, the food wasn’t bad but the company was great so it turned out A-Okay!!
After lunch Diane and I drove around a few neighborhoods in Pagosa and ended the day doing the tourist thing in a part of town we had not visited yet.
Thursday (8/25) we decided to find the San Juan Riverwalk. The trail is all paved and winds through a wetlands area and along the San Juan River, hmmmm I wonder where they got the name from for the trail LOL!!!
All together the trail is only about 3 miles but it’s a nice stroll and takes you by the hot springs by downtown.
After our little walk we spent some more time driving the area before the all familiar afternoon rain rolled in, and it poured!! After the rain stopped it was about 4pm and the sun came back out but we just hung around home for the evening.
Friday (8/25) we decided to take off on a couple scenic tours lined out in a pamphlet we picked up at the visitor center. The first drive was described as one of the most scenic drives in the state of Colorado.
It took us south on highway 84 until we reached the Blanco Basin turnoff (CR326). We drove CR326 to the very end and then turned back around and backtracked until we reached FS667 and drove it to the very end where it stopped at Fish Creek.
We thought it was a nice drive but wouldn’t agree with the statement (One of the most scenic drives in Colorado) but it was a nice way to get out of town for a while. We saw one coyote that was too fast for our camera woman to get a picture of, a bunch of deer and a few cows but that was it for wildlife.
After the Blanco Basin drive we figured there was plenty of daylight left so we headed towards the Pagosa Junction scenic route, but not before a stop at the Echo Canyon Reservoir.
The Reservoir was built by the Division of Wildlife in 1968 and the average depth is 50 feet throughout the year. There were a couple boats in the water and a few fisherman along the shore but we didn’t see anyone catch anything while we were there, but we were there only a short period of time.
Then we were off headed towards Pagosa Junction. The drive took us through the early-day settlements of Juanita and Trujillo and eventually to Pagosa Junction.
Pagosa Junction was a railroad town. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, San Juan Branch ran through here. This was the connecting point to the Pagosa Springs branch of the RR. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad built its narrow-gauge line into the San Juan Basin, it passed through Pagosa Junction and a station house was built there in 1881.
Pagosa Junction became the official name with the coming of the new railroad to Pagosa Springs and a post office opened in 1899. The 1899 postal application listed a population of 200. Down through the years, census reports list a population of 288 in 1910, 274 in 1920, and 447 in 1930.
When the railroad connection to Pagosa Springs was stopped during the mid-1930s, Pagosa Junction began to decline. The post office closed Nov. 30, 1954. In September of 1962 the school closed. The earliest record we have of a school there is 1900. In September of 1962, the school had 17 students. In August of 1963, the school building was auctioned off. In June of 1968, voting Precinct 4 including Pagosa Junction as a polling place closed. A June 1979 newspaper article reported three or four residents lived in Pagosa Junction. The town contains a fallen down water tower, a siding, a narrow gauge hopper car, a tress bridge, a pump house, and a few other buildings. Today the town sits quietly on Indian land and if you sit still long enough you can hear sounds that might make you think it could be souls from the past reaching out, but in reality it was probably just the breeze moving the loose panel’s pf metal roofing LOL!!! None the less we love abandoned towns like this.
After we finished letting our imagination’s run away with themselves a while we headed home with a short stop at Walmart. Between the 2 different drives we probably covered 150 miles I’m guessing. Once we got home I watched a little football and Diane made a Peach Cobbler for us to take to a little gathering of friends we had planned for the next day (Saturday). Another good day.
Saturday (8/27) after our morning routine we jumped in the truck and drove about 30 miles west towards Bayfield to Dianne & Toms boon-docking spot to meet up with them and Roger & Lynn for a last visit before we all leave this area in a couple days.
My Diane made a peach cobbler and Tom’s Dianne made a cheesecake so we all sat around outside enjoying the nice remote campsite Tom & Dianne had and the company of great friends while we enjoyed the treats the ladies made.
After visiting for a while we all decided to drive into Bayfield and have lunch at a little café Dianne & Tom knew of. For a small place we were very impressed with the menu and service. In fact the menu was better than most large restaurants in larger cities we felt. So if you are ever in the area we would recommend Brenda’s Old West Café if you are hungry. Oh, they have a dream of being on the Diner, Drive-in’s & Dives show so if you have any pull with anyone, let them know LOL!!
After lunch we all said our “see ya down the roads” and went our separate ways. We will all be together again in October or November and we will be looking forward to it.
Diane & I made a stop at the Chimney Rock National Monument on the way back home but the last guided hike had already gone out for the day so we just milled around a bit and then drove over to Lake Capote to have a look before heading home. Only one more full day in Pagosa before moving on.
Sunday (8/28) started out as another beautiful day with blue skies and plenty of sun (like most of the mornings while we were in the area) so we figured we had to do something on our last day in town so the first thing on our list was drive to Treasure Falls and take a little hike.
Treasure Falls is just a few miles east outside of town on HWY 160. It turned out the hike wasn’t all that far so by the time we did it and got back to the truck we were looking at each other saying, what now!!?? LOL!!
We didn’t have any great ideas so I just jumped on HWY 160 and headed to the top of Wolf Creek Pass just for the heck of it. I mean, what more reason do you need to look at pretty country.
Once at the top we hopped out of the truck and took a short hike out through a nice open grassland area before heading back down the hill.
On the way back down we saw a 18 wheeler that had driven up a escape ramp!! We can honestly say we have never seen a truck up a ramp like that before. I bet the driver took a little time cleaning his seat after that experience I would guess.
When we reached town we went downtown, parked and walked the streets a bit before my belly started growling letting me know it was time to strap on the feedbag.
We had heard good things about a little place in town called Kips Grill and Cantina from our friends Dianne & Tom so we decided to give it a try. By the time we got their mid- afternoon the place was packed so we bellied up to the bar and ordered a Bloody Mary while we waited for a table outside.
Once we were seated we both ordered Tacos of different flavors and enjoyed a nice mellow meal. It was a great recommendation (Thanks Tom & Dianne!!)
By then we were both a little tuckered so we headed home, watched a little football & chilled.
We enjoyed our stay in Pagosa Springs and it’s the type of place we both agree we could see ourselves hanging out for longer periods of time but not in the winter, its gets too darn cold and too darn much snow.
On Monday (8/29) we will lift our jacks, wave so-long to Pagosa Springs and head north on a 165 mile travel day. Another long travel day to our standards but it will seem even longer because we have to travel over Wolf Creek Pass almost as soon as we get on the road, but it’s a pretty drive.