Al has been working on the grounds. So far he's cleaned up the lower campground of any winter debris, cleaned and set up the picnic tables, got the game room ready for use, and pretty much anything else that needs to be done. Our cabins, trailers, and premium sites all come with gas grills, and yesterday he cleaned and prepped all of those. This weekend we have several sites filled, and according to the files, we are busier than this time last year...I think the nice weather is reason for that!
Monday we worked in the morning, and late in the afternoon we took a ride up CR162 to the trailhead for the Colorado Trail. The Colorado trails spans a space from Denver to Durango, and has many jumping on spots, one of which is about 5 miles from here. This traihead starts at Chalk Creek, so we walked a short distance, about a half hour, and then turned around and came back. We're still building up our high altitude breathing!
Chalk Creek is a 27.3-mile-long flowing east from the Collegiate Peaks mountain range in Chaffee County, Colorado. Mount Antero borders the southern side of the river, while Mount Princeton borders the northern side. The headwaters of the river are located at the Continental Divide. The river empties into the Arkansas River at the town of Nathrop, Colorado.
The river is named after the magnificent white kaolinite cliffs that stand at the entrance to the Chalk Creek valley, and are a result of hot spring deposits. These white cliffs are visible for miles in all directions, and stand in stark contrast to the otherwise wooded surrounding mountains. Stands of aspen trees and evergreens of various species surround the river for its entire length.
Bootleg Camp, on the bank above Chalk Creek, is a hike-in primitive campground for backpackers hiking the Colorado Trail. It was uninhabited that day, and made a pleasant stop to rest and take in the view.
Tuesday we worked the afternoon shift, so the morning was spent going into Salida for the weekly grocery shopping. I was checking out the Safeway this time, to see if there was a larger variety and/or better prices than City Market in Buena Vista. I would say they are about the same, both have shopper reward cards, except the City Market also gives fuel perks at the Shell station. So it will probably depend which way we are headed as to which store we will shop at each week.
Wednesday was our day off, but we still headed in to attend the weekly staff meeting first thing in the morning. After that we spent quite awhile talking to Joe and Sandi, workampers who are returning for their second season here. I was particularly interested in finding out where some of the milder hiking areas are, and which "four-wheel" roads were suitable for trucks, not just extreme jeeps or ATV's. They gave us a lot of information about the area, and lent us a book, Mellow Mountain Trails. After lunch, we took the book and our National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map, and went to Buena Vista to try one out. We picked out the Midland Trail, a fairly flat trail that follows the old Midland Railroad Line.
First, we drove down Bald Mountain Gulch Road to check out the Ruby Mountain Recreation Area on
the Arkansas River. Very nice primitive campground, a boat launch to the river, and several hiking, biking, and ATV trails in what is known as the Browns Canyon Wilderness Study Area BLM. The campground was as far as one could go without a four-wheel drive vehicle...and not a dually F450! :-)
Prairie dogs...really cute, but I gather they are considered quite a nuisance to landowners.
A herd of mule deer. We've been told within the next couple of weeks that they will head further up into the mountains, away from here. The elk have already left....I will have to ask where to go to see them.
The beginning of our walk. The Midland Trail is 3.6 miles round trip, we elected not to do the whole length of it yet. Even after two weeks I still find myself tiring quickly...and this walk is at 9000 feet.
The views just never end.
The pups are into it
I always laugh at how long Casey's tongue really is :-)
Interestingly colored cactus
The trail meandered through the middle of some very large boulders
Need some water and a rest for a few minutes!
On the way back to the campground, we were stopped for a cattle drive!!
Cowboys and everything. Casey didn't know what to make of it...remember, he's fascinated by cows. He's going to be upset that the cows that were across the street from us have been moved :-).
Thursday and Friday we both worked the morning shifts, and things are getting easier on the computer. We are taking quite a few reservations, and the campground is almost full for the Memorial Day weekend. Thursday night we had a workamper potluck, Cinco de Mayo themed, and we had a pleasant evening getting to know everyone better.
Today, Saturday,was a day off, and we had appointments at "Gone to the Dogs" in Salida for the pups to get baths and haircuts...boy, they look and smell so much better now! We took the opportunity of being alone for a couple of hours to actually sit down in a restaurant for lunch :-). We decided to try Amica's Pizza and Microbrewery, and each had an individual wood-fired pizza. Delicious!! We can highly recommend this restaurant, and will certainly return during our stay here.
We are working Sunday Monday and Tuesday, but will definitely try to get out for some more exploring and walking. Until then, have a great day, and Happy Cinco de Mayo!