Our whole family met near Durango, Colorado, and spent about a week exploring and having fun. I took roughly 8 million photos, and while I’ve thinned them out considerably, if you want to peruse this blog, you may want to put on your speed reading spectacles.
Headquarters was a rented home in Bayfield. We regularly saw deer outside, and the deer inside played very well together!
Dayna and I share a birthday, and Cherryl is only a day behind, so we have group birthday parties!
Two lakes are fairly close to the house… Vallecito and Lemon Reservoirs. We chose Lemon, since it seemed less crowded and quieter. Our goal was to play on the water until time for our picnic lunch. The water level is down so far, the lake is a quarter mile from the normal shoreline! We took all our gear out there anyway, and had some fun, till the lightning arrived and forced us out.
You can see how far down the water has fallen!
We thought perhaps we could still have a picnic before the storm hit, but then wisely decided not to push our luck. Lunch was better inside a dry house…
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is the site of many Ancestral Pueblo people, who lived on the mesas and in the cliff areas for about 700 years.
A bit of walking is required to see the more interesting ruins.
The mesa top suffered wildfire damage, and unlike most forests I’ve seen with similar damage, there seem to be no new trees growing.
Views from the walkways were awesome.
It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to live in this harsh terrain, with difficult access and not terribly comfortable homes!
Dayna filled out a little book, supplied by the park service, about what she was seeing and experiencing at Mesa Verde. She then got up the nerve to have her work reviewed by a ranger, and after a short interview, she was awarded a Junior Ranger badge! So cool! Good work, Dayna!
Floating the Animas River
Our first water outing ended pretty quickly, and so we had high hopes our next one would be a bit longer. We decided to float the animas river, basically right through Durango. We made up quite a flotilla, with our kayak, Seery’s stand-up paddle boards, and some inflatables from the rental house.
Becky has this float thing figured out!
Towards the end of our float, Kevin’s tube was noticeably leaking air. We were wondering if we’d have to rescue him by letting him join us on the kayak, but he made it without needing any assistance.
The last couple hundred yards got a little too adventurous for inner tube travel, but we all survived. With only a few minutes of rain, we really had a great day.
Doing Downtown Durango
Durango is a quaint old town, with interesting architecture and lots of flowers!
While strolling through town, we noticed several Lego sculptures on buildings’ walls. I didn’t try to photograph them, till I saw a guy taking pictures of one of them. From his proud demeanor, I guessed it was the Lego art’s creator. Sure enough, he was the Mad Lego Bomber of Durango! What began as something like harmless and whimsical graffiti has become a “thing.” He has been given grants from the city to continue his art, and is often given Lego blocks from the town’s children. I talked with him for just a minute, and soon he was gone… in a car with a few attached Lego adornments .
Durango is perhaps most famous today for its narrow gauge railroad. The Durango & Silverton train runs between those two towns, along the Animas River, and through some amazingly beautiful scenery. Its a bit long for little grandkids, so we saved that adventure for a later date. But if you’re looking for a great view from an 1880’s perspective, it can’t be beat!
The Durango station has a museum worth seeing. We were there when the train from Silverton arrived… I always am amazed at the complexity and sheer size of these old steam locomotives!
This is a working railroad, so of course they have plenty of work to do to keep it working! The museum is adjacent to interesting maintenance operations.
The museum is stuffed with railroad memorabilia, including some locomotives and well restored cars.
Imagine crossing the continent, 150 years ago, in a coach like this!
Raptors Wild is an exhibit in downtown Durango. The proprietor proudly tells lots of information about these beautiful creatures. Just being able to see them close up is amazing. The grandkids were very interested, and watching them be so fascinated by the birds was great fun. The boys would tilt their heads sideways, and a bird would mimic it. Fun.
All these birds are flown to hunt, and they are totally free flying. They return to the fowler voluntarily. It’s all very cool.
This last Owl is named “Spooky.” He is very large, and has huge feet. He is a fearless predator… even wanting to attack dogs.
Any trip to Durango would be a waste if you didn’t make it to Honeyville! This little shop a bit north of town had the best honey available anywhere! Love this place!
The younger grandkids are not quite ready for river rafting, so we went rafting the Lower Animas River the day after they had to head home. We had a nice run, with guide Nancy picking a nice line down the river and providing local color as well. I think my favorite part was watching Bryan smile!!
“Jeeping” to Yankee Boy
Yankee Boy Basin was a favorite jeeping destination when our kids were younger. So we wanted to see if it was still as beautiful… join us as we check it out!
On our way – Silverton is in the background.
We even saw a mom and baby Moose alongside the road!
Impossible to portray the depth of this waterfall in a still picture.
Headed up the trail to Yankee Boy Basin. Karen and Loren wanted to take their new VW Atlas up to the basin to see how it does at Jeeping. The road is pretty flat until the very top, where it gets a bit more challenging. Both the car and driver did very well!
I’m told these falls are what Coors uses for their logo.
When our daughters were little, they climbed all over these falls. It was very cool to see our grandkids doing exactly the same thing. Awesome!
I could put up lots more pictures, but you get the idea. It was really pretty.
After our “Jeeping” adventure in their VW, the kids had to head to their home, and we to our “home” still in Bayfield. We did stop to check out Silverton on the way back. This is an interesting town… since the mining died out, the train is what has kept this town alive. And it doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job at it! The train spends a couple of hours here at noon every day, and I think then the town bustles with activity… a few hundred passengers walk around, buy souvenirs, and look for lunch. But after they leave, and late in the afternoon like when we were there, it is really dead. Most all the restaurants were closed, almost all the shops closed…
Some old train cars just sitting on the tracks, while a couple others have been repurposed into a home.
We finally found a place open for dinner – an old building with tired food too…
Silverton has a lot of interesting architecture, a colorful history, and beautiful views. Next time maybe we’ll arrive by train and see if lunchtime is a little more lively!