2017 Aug 29 – Pagosa Springs, CO (Wolf Creek Pass)

Today was a stitch day.

Rain was predicted but we decided to head out over the Wolf Pass anyway.  It turned out to be a good decision because all the thunder and rain happened in Pagosa Springs and we didn’t get any in the higher elevations.

I learned today that if we ever take our round-South America cruise I will be fine going to Machu Picchu in Peru.  The elevation of the archaeological site is 7,972′ feet above sea level and the city you fly into, Cusco, is at 11,150′.  The summit of Wolf Creek Pass is 10,857′ and the Lobo Overlook is 3 miles up a gravel road just past the pass summit at an elevation of 11,760′.  I could breathe and move around with no problem; along the way to the pass I even hiked 1/2 mile uphill to a waterfall.  Of course, I’m sure it helps that we have been staying in Pagosa Springs for five days now and I have climatized to the 7,100’+ elevation.

On our way up to the pass we took a side road down to the San Juan River Village and found a geocache beside this pretty little lake.  It was lovely scenery on the drive to the village. First stitch.

We also stopped at Treasure Falls which you can see from the roadside but we walked up the trail as far as the base of the waterfall.

We had a visitor come down the trail on the other side of the creek.  John spoke a bit too loud telling me the bear was there so he went back up the hill without getting his drink of water.  I had my camera on the wrong setting so these two are John’s photos.  

 

My camera started working again in time to get him just before the disappeared up the trail.

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the Wolf Creek Pass Overlook was very nice.  They had a very high, very thick fence around the edge, but my camera lens fit through the slats okay.  Second stitch.

There were two little chipmunks running around. They came quite close to people so I am sure they have been fed before.John got this nice shot of the chipmunk running away from a girl.

With the lovely expansive view of the mountains and valley I think many people miss the big formations off to the side of the overlook. They have big Blue Jays in Colorado.

The road we have travelled.The mountainsides all around are covered with dead spruce tress.  I think the Spruce Bud Worm had done a serious amount of damage around here.The summit of Wolf Creek Pass and the Continental Divide. There was a cache hidden on the other side of this meadow at the summit, and down the length of it at the back.  We hiked about a kilometer getting to the cache and back to the truck. Third stitch. These pretty flowers were blooming along the path to the cache location.  There were quite a few wildflowers blooming.  We even saw Indian Paintbrush which at home is long finished.  But summer comes late and doesn’t last long up here.  I read somewhere that they can get 30 feet of snow on the pass. A little drive past the summit and three miles up a gravel road you get to Lobo Overlook.  The microwave and radio towers are located up here.  Also two geocaches, one of which was appropriately called “Sitting on top of the world.” Fourth and fifth stitches. John had to clamber down the bank on the other side of the railing to find the cache hidden in the rocks. Obviously there would be a ski hill up here – Wolf Creek Ski Resort. Sixth stitch. Seventh stitch. Eighth stitch. We turned around after we found the cache at the ski resort and headed back down the mountain.  The road is so steep that the speed limit for big trucks is 25 mph and there are plenty of run-off lanes in case they get into trouble.  Before the nice highway was completed, back in the early days of travel by car, it used to take two days to traverse the pass.  Now you can go from Pagosa Springs to South Fork in an hour.

We loved this ranch gate.

When we were coming up we passed two geocache sites that we picked up on the way down.  One was at a former restaurant site and the other was at Riverview RV Park.  We were greeted with a big Smiley face not too far from where the cache was hidden. The little lake at the park was very pretty.   Ninth stitch.

We arrived back at the condo at quarter to five and spent the time before dinner sorting photos and booking tickets for the Durango to Silverton narrow-gauge railway trip we plan to take on Saturday.

After dinner and dishes it was off to the lakeside to watch the sunset. Tenth stitch Eleventh and final stitch.

And now you know why I called it a stitch day.  So much of what we saw were such expansive, grand views I needed to stitch three or four photos together to try to show how beautiful it all was.

‘Twas a grand and glorious day to be sure.

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