We enjoyed our time in
where we finished out our month long visit at two (2) more State Parks and a . City
|Elephant Butte Lake State Park|
South Monticello Campground
|Elephant Butte Lake|
We spent the week leading up to Memorial Day here in South Monticello Campground, which didn’t even fill up over the holiday weekend. Every campsite was very spacious and had a covered picnic table. The weather was hot, dry, and windy as every other place we’d stayed so far in
Coronado Campground is run by the city of
which is just outside of Albuquerque. This was a quaint little campground, previously owned by the state, and each
picnic table was enclosed in it’s own painted adobe hut type shelter.
|Coronado Campground Picnic Shelter|
The best part was our campsite overlooked the
|Our View from Coronado Campground at Sunset|
Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande
Photo by Henry
While here, we did some stocking up on groceries and other supplies at our favorite places like Costco, Trader Joe’s, and REI. We had been researching carbon fiber trekking poles and purchased them at Costco, since much of our hiking is rocky and mountainous, and Costco had the best price by far. And we have found we like using them!
We spent part of a day checking out
. Another day we visited Old Town Albuquerque,
which we found to be kind of touristy. Petroglyph
We also rode the Rail Runner train up to
and wandered the streets there for a whole day.
|Rail Runner to Santa Fe|
|Colorful Santa Fe|
The most fascinating sight in Santa Fe is the Loretto Chapel.
|The Famous Loretto Chapel|
The story of the chapel, particularly of the spiral staircase is one of fascination and mystery. Read more about it here by clicking on this link: Loretto Chapel
|The Mysterious Loretto Chapel Spiral Staircase|
One observation we made while staying in the
area was the people here are over-the-top friendly. Everywhere we went and every person we met
was so polite and almost comically nice.
|Navajo Lake State Park, New Mexico|
The campsites here were a lot less spacious than the other New Mexico State Parks we’d stayed at. Our site had just enough room to squeeze the Rambler in amongst some Juniper and Pinon Pine trees that afforded us some decent privacy. The deep pine scent coming from these trees was oh, so heavenly, and would send our senses reeling every time we stepped outside. The campground sits high above the lake and our site overlooked the large marina below, which was quite a busy and noisy place.
|Our View at Navajo Lake State Park|
San Juan River is the water
and the stretch of river below the dam is famous for world class fly
fishing. Well, we aren’t fishing type
folks, but this same stretch of river was also a great place for us to get our
kayaks wet for the first time since we left Navajo Lake Florida!
|Paddling the San Juan River|
And THEN, we crossed over to
Like I said, we enjoyed our time in
|Snow-capped Colorado Mountains|
Almost immediately, though, it’s majestic mountains, towering evergreen trees, tumbling mountain streams, and rugged looking western towns welcome you to
Now, I’ve been to
The Historic District is really cool, with it’s old western style buildings and streets lined with shops and restaurants. This town has six (6) brew pubs and at least ten (10) coffee shops – my two favorites.
|Animas Brew Pub|
There’s the Animas River Trail, which is a paved pedestrian and bike trail that winds for seven (7) miles alongside the river and through town with numerous small parks and green space along the way. We biked the entire trail - even the hills!
|Biking the Animas River Trail|
The most famous attraction in Durango is the
and Silverton Steam Engine train that has been in continuous service since
1882. I rode this train several years
ago with my backpacking buddies. The
train dropped us off in the Weminuche Wilderness and we spent five (5) days
backpacking and then caught the train back to Durango. (Flashback)
|Durango & Silverton Steam Train|
One day Loretta and I ventured out to Mesa Verde National Park on an unusually cool and rainy day. To see these structures built several thousand years ago is mind boggling.
|Mesa Verde Ancient Structures|
|The Cliff Palace|
|Square Tower House|
We made a trip to Silverton, which sits at over 9,000 feet in elevation. We had to travel over two (2) passes where there was still a good bit of snow on the ground.
|Snow in June at Coal Bank Pass|
Elevation 10,640 feet
Near one of the passes we came upon several Bighorn Sheep licking the road!
They were very intent on getting the salt or minerals off the pavement and did not seem to mind the vehicles that had to creep past them.
|We're Busy - Go Around!|
Silverton is a very old, rustic town that mostly survives on the three (3) train loads of tourists that are deposited here for the afternoon every day by the steam engine train. There will be a future post on Silverton.
Of course, we also got in a couple of days of hiking. One day we hiked a few miles of the Colorado Trail, which starts barely a few miles outside of town. Another day we hiked a stretch of the Vallecito Creek Trail, which follows and rises high above this beautiful mountain stream.
|View along Vallecito Creek Trail|
I’ve been telling Loretta for years about
and I think she’d agree.
This place is great!