Sunday, May 27, 2012

Creede, Colorado

The historic mining town of Creede is nestled in a beautiful canyon 8,852 feet up in the San Juan Mountains.  The town is roughly four blocks wide and 12 blocks long and has a year-round population of around 500. 
In 1889 an extensive vein of silver was hit and the area’s population skyrocketed to 15,000.  Bob Ford, the killer of Jesse James, owned a saloon in Creede and Calamity Jane and Bat Masterson lived in Creede. In 1893 the price of silver was cut in half and within a few weeks only two mines were still operational and the population dropped significantly.
Even though the town is small, there is a lot to do.  We went to the Taste of Creede Festival this Memorial Day weekend.     
There were spinners and quilters:
Lots of beautiful flowers:

We didn’t take the time to go through the museums this trip.  We’ll save those for another visit.
Cell from the first jail.
We had a lot of fun at the olive oil store and picked up a few items.

We brought this cutie home:
There’s a lot to do in this area and we’ll be coming back for more fun.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seeing Double

We see our Owl family every day (mom, dad, baby).  There is at least one of them in the large cottonwood trees right by our RV.

A couple of days ago I was looking at baby owl and thought, for some reason, he/she sure did seem smaller!
Today, the mystery was solved:


Thursday, May 24, 2012

We passed!

We took our ATV certification class today.
It was an all day class with six of us.  The course was set up in a very dry area.  There was a lot of dust.
Imagine six people going around in big circles, little circles, serpentines, and figure 8’s.  Did I mention there was a lot of dust?

We each got do drive several brands of ATV’s and different types of ATV’s.  Did I mention the dust?

After the dust bowl, we drove over to the gravel pit.
We practiced going up a hill.
We practiced going down a hill.
We practiced backing down a hill.
We also practiced driving through a ditch, across a hill, etc.
At the end of the day there was a short written test. 
Now that we have our ATV certifications for our resume, we’re hoping this will make us even more desirable as volunteers. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Putting the cart before the horse.

Next Thursday we are scheduled to take the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) and ROV (Recreational Offroad Vehicle) tests and certifications.  We’ve never been on ATV’s before and I’ve never even been close to one.  We have driven ROV’s (although I thought they were ATV’s also!).
The staff needed someone to drive a trailer to the BACA Refuge and check the three ATV’s to make sure they were running and to bring them back to the Monte Vista Refuge.
So, who do you think made the trip? Yep - we did!
It took most of the day to drive out to the refuge, air up tires, charge batteries, take a few practice runs around the refuge, and load the ATV’s up and get back. 

At least now I know I can drive an ATV and will get my certification on Thursday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Lewis's Woodpecker
The Lewis's Woodpecker feeds mostly by catching insects in flight, like a flycatcher.  
Wide rounded wings give it a more buoyant flight than most woodpeckers.

The Lewis's Woodpecker was discovered on the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806 and was named for the expedition's co-leader.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pinos Creek

We went on a beautiful drive up into the mountains to Pinos Creek.  Some of the trails in this area won’t open until July 1st. 
In 1870 the Pinos Creek route was used by miners to access the Summitville mining district where gold had been discovered.
This is the fourth outing we’ve gone on and I was beginning to think this would be the first one where it didn’t snow. 
We ended up at 12,200 feet and, you guessed it, it started snowing.  In fact, it was snowing sideways!
It also started getting pretty darn cold!
On the way up to the top we stopped at about 8,000 feet and hiked around.  The birds are singing and the wildflowers are starting to bloom.
Gray Jay
Mountain Bluebird
Plumbeous Vireo
Narrow-leaved Puccoon
Penstemon Sp.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Whooooo's This??

Our RV site is inside the yard of an old homestead here in Monte Vista, and the yard is full of large Cottonwood trees.  A pair of Great Horned Owls live in these trees, and we see them every morning and evening.

This afternoon as we pulled back into "our" yard, we noticed a slightly different looking owl sitting in one of the trees.  It looks like our couple are the proud parents of at least one chick!!

We look forward to seeing this little guy grow up...


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cumbres Pass

Yesterday morning we drove to the Cumbres Pass Area.  The guide book says:

"Imagine going from Arizona to Alaska in sixty minutes. You will accomplish this remarkable feat by simply going up in elevation about 2,600 feet.”

It’s a very pretty drive up into the mountains.  We started getting into areas that still had snow. 
 Our first stop was La Manga Creek Trail at a little over 10,000 feet.  It’s a beautiful area with lots of water.
Very large beaver dam with lodge.

It was a nice, cool, sunny day - for about 20 minutes! 
 Then, it started snowing/sleeting/raining.
We headed back to the truck.  Since it wasn’t snowing too much, we decided to head on up to our next destination, the Trujillo Meadows Reservoir State Wildlife area.  This area hasn’t opened yet for the summer but we were able to park at the gate and walk in.  We walked around for a while and saw some pretty nice birds.
Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Chickadee
White-crowned Sparrow
Three-toed Woodpecker
Three-toed Woodpecker

By the time we got back to the truck it was starting to snow harder and looked like there was still more to come.  Our next destination was going to be the Chama Basin in New Mexico.   We decided to save that for another day.  We got back to the RV and watched it snow for the rest of the day.