Part 4: Chama, NM to Steamboat Springs, CO


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The Trip

We had a pleasant night in the Chama area at a campground on Heron Lake.  We broke camp and the group headed north from Chama, through Chromo, Pagosa Spring, over Wolf Creek Pass, past South Fork and then north

The photos below are what we saw.

Traveling to the east of Pagosa Springs, we got a nice view of the distant San Juan mountains.

At the crest of Wolf Creek Pass we stopped for a photo opportunity.

Ah, summer in Colorado.  Near South Fork, we spotted this RV park next to the highway and it was totally full with visitors.  In some folk's minds, this is camping.  In my mind, it is a parking lot next to a road.

We turned north at South Fork toward Creede and saw big areas of dead trees due to the bark beetles.

This rock formation appeared to be volcanic in origin, but we did not stop to check.

On the route from Crested Butte to Paonia we could see large peaks that still had small amounts of snow in shaded areas.

The path to Paonia had great scenery.

An exposed turn gave us a great view of the peaks to the south across wide expanses of aspen forests.

A bio-stop gave a photo op.

Continuing west from Crested Butte, the road came closer to the peaks.

We did a lunch stop at Paonia Reservoir.

The yak skull on the front adds another dimension of oddness to an otherwise odd truck.  That said, Thor has performed well on this trip.

Our travel path took us over McClure Pass and provide views of the aspen forests.

McClure pass was quite steep causing us to slow to a crawl due to the steep grades.  The downside of the pass allowed us to see some of the peaks near Marble, CO.

Further on the downgrade toward Carbondale, we spotted these kilns which were used for making coke or charcoal.

The road followed the creek which had many areas of whitewater.

We finally got to Glenwood Springs and from the overpass we got a view into one of the many resort areas that use the hot springs water.  The girders are part of the highway construction currently in progress.

We turned east on I-70 and headed up Glenwood Canyon and spotted these caves in the nearby cliffs.

I-70 travels along the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon.  This was a popular area for rafting.

Further up the canyon, the river became placid but the canyon became narrow requiring stacking the highway lanes to provide sufficient space.  There were 3 tiers: eastbound, westbound and the concrete bike path below.

Near Dotsero, Kathleen spotted the Amtrack westbound on the BNSF tracks.

We turned off the interstate at Dotsero and followed the Colorado River and in a remote area we spotted this ad-hoc dwelling being used by some paddle boarders.

The colors in the canyon walls along the river were very vivid.

There were nice outcroppings of brightly colored rock.

Further up the canyon, red sandstone walls became the predominant feature.

We turned north toward Steamboat Springs and near Yampa we passed this volcanic plug the locals call "Finger Rock".

Between Yampa and Steamboat Springs there were many coal mines.  The railroad provided a mechanism for getting the coal to market.

We finally got to Steamboat Springs and the place was a madhouse.  Tons of tourists (ourselves included) clogged the roads.  As we were navigating through town to a re-supply at the local Walmart, we could see the ski area on the mountain to the east of town.  After our resupply, we headed north toward the state park at Columbine.

We logged a lot of miles through some of the most scenic portions of Colorado.  It was sad that we were "on the clock" as we did not get a chance to explore as much as we would have liked.  But, those places will still be there next time we come through the area.

Tomorrow we head into Wyoming.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2016, all rights reserved.
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