Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 9

Day 9: 
Across the Rio Grande NF, down Cebolla Creek where we ate lunch and almost to Lake City. This was an incredible, and probably often overlooked, section of Colorado. It has none of the fame of the Alpine Loop and doesn't rise as high in elevation but it stands out more in my mind in sheer remoteness and solitude. We saw less than five campers and one or two other cars on the road the entire day.
 Just up the road from the campsite.

 See the reflection in the window? Know what it is?

 Now this is what we've been looking for: no more graded and groomed gravel!

It was slow going on these trails.
Through the pinions the view opened up into an amazing Alpine meadow that we crossed on one of the most beautiful, and faint, roads of the trip.

 Can you spot the road?

The backdrop: the San Juans I think. Engineer Pass is through the center of the mountains and Cinnamon off the left. I'm not really sure but that is the direction of the photo.

So many photos because this was such a captivating section.

Heading down out of the meadow the going slowed down and the road steepened. Stephanie started to get worried here. And I got worried about how she would react to the exposure of tomorrow's planned route.

 Here we knew we would cross a half mile of private property before hitting a bigger road. Worry flitted in and out of my thoughts as we descended further and further down a rough road. From our prior experience there was just no way to know if it would be open - neither the gazetteer nor the GPS was reliable when it came to private property boundaries. Here there was a wire gate but no lock. Relief! Forward progress continues.

Cebolla Creek Road
Into a State primitive area that was really beautiful and remote.

From the Primitive area we left the high open plains and climbed once again into the trees. We gained elevation and reached the eastern edge of the San Juan NF. We stayed above ten thousand feet for the rest of the day...
...ended up driving an old stage coach route...

...and attempted a hike here in Big Meadow that turned into a six-year olds version of torture. He sat trailside and would not continue on with us and then would not go back with us. which is what he was squealing about in the first place. No pictures of said whining-fest.

We must be doing something right.
Dad, go faster we want to get our faces wet.
Hope the engineers who designed that dam upstream knew what they were doing.
No stats for the day. We must have missed the photo of the GPS. 

We camped in a free National Forest Campground along a beautiful stream. Good night camping and only our second night with "neighbors."

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