June 3, 2022 Dolores, CO Day 3

We woke up with an alarm at 7:30 because Bob had a Co-op meeting to attend at 8:30 our time, via phone. I got up and took Auggie for his morning walk. We walked the path along the river which was warm with the sun.

The path takes you along the river behind the campsites to where the Priest Gulch Creek enters the Dolores River.

The campground built a type of gazebo or covered bridge over the creek with swings to sit and enjoy the relaxing sound of the water beneath you.

At the end of the river path, there are some benches where you can also sit and enjoy the scenery. Auggie and I got back to the campsite after 8:30 and Bob was attending the meeting, so I dropped Auggie off, grabbed my camera, and went back out to walk the path again and explore a little bit more of the campground. The campground was still quiet, so I sat on the bench at the junction of the creek and the river for awhile.

It was warm in the sun as I sat there enjoying the scenery and the sound of the river as it rushed past me.

While I sat there, I saw this beautiful bird near the water. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I guessed it was some kind of blue jay by the way it looked. After looking it up on the Internet, I discovered it was a Stellar’s Jay, or mountain jay. Isn’t he gorgeous?

After awhile, I walked on down the path to check out the swings under the gazebo and discovered a little dam there in the Priest Creek.

From there, the path continued on past a few log cabins for rent along the river. What a pretty setting! This campground is one of the nicest campgrounds we’ve been in. They take extremely good care of everything and work hard at every site to keep the grass green. The sites are large and well-spaced so you have privacy. The campsites are all defined by rock borders and each site has a nice picnic table and fire ring. The setting along the river is exceptional in itself, but these owners do a great job of keeping everything looking beautiful. I can’t say enough good things about it and it’s only $48 a night!

I got back to the campsite and the meeting was still going on, so Bob took his phone outside and sat in the Jeep, so I could have my breakfast in peace. The meeting ended at 9:45, so we could continue on with our day. Bob told me about this gravesite that he noticed when we got here a few days ago. I went to check it out. Someone buried their dog, Honey Bun Dunn, in this spot. How touching!

We just hung out for the rest of the morning and took it easy. We kept tabs on the tropical storm, Alex, that was heading for southern Florida. It was making me a little nervous, but the weather report that we picked up from our local Tampa news station sounder better this morning. It looked like it was going to go south of us and not give us much in the way of rain or wind. Thank goodness!

We had a little lunch and decided we would go for a ride to check out 3 of the 4WD trails nearby in the San Juan National Forest. The closest one to the campground was HIllside Drive Rd.

We drove across a bridge over the Dolores River.

The dirt road seemed pretty mild as we climbed a mile or two up into the mountains.

We came upon this group of butterflies doing something in this puddle. A couple more joined the group as we tried to figure out what was going on there. I googled it and found out it is called a Puddle Group. The behavior is called “puddling”. Puddling provides another way for butterflies to obtain nutrients and replenish fluids. Very interesting phenomenon!

After a couple more miles, we looked ahead and could see where the road cut through the edge of the cliff to make some very nasty-looking shelf roads. We decided we had seen enough and turned around to go check out the next road a couple of miles from here. It was the Roaring Fork Rd.

Again, we crossed a bridge over the river to get to the beginning on the road.

A sign told us that in winter, it becomes a snowmobile trail and in summer, the trail is shared by horses, bikers, and hikers.

This road also followed a creek up into the hills, but quickly it became narrow and turned into a shelf road.

It also paralleled the river, but was a little harder to find a place to turn around there. We did and went back down.

There were more clouds today and it looked like rain over the mountains.

Our last try was Scotch Creek Road.

The sign there describes the road as one that was used to transport goods through the mountains in 1870-1880’s. It became a toll road at one point.

The road was rocky and again we traveled along the creek. A sign warned us that it was narrow and steep, so we went a short way, parked, and walked up a bit to see what it looked like.

The hillside was covered by rocks like from a landslide and there were a couple more hillsides similar to this.

Bob walked ahead to scout it out while I lingered by the river enjoyed its soothing sound.

While I waited for him, I walked along the river looking for interesting river rocks. I found this one that looks like a heart.

Somewhere up higher, water was coming down the hillside and trickling onto the road.

Bob was gone about 45 minutes and had walked about a mile up and back. When he returned, he let me know that he thought the road was passable, but that we’d do it tomorrow when we have more time. It was already late in the afternoon, so we just took a short ride into the town of Rico to explore a little more closely.

We noticed a few more businesses like Rico Coffee. There was a sign for it at our campground.

There was the Rico Museum, a bar and grill, and an old theater converted into something else.

Our goal was to find out more about that piece of mining equipment we saw yesterday. What stands there is an apparatus that sent a cable car into the mine shaft.

In 1879, silver was discovered here. By 1891, Rico had a population of 5000 with 23 saloons, 2 churches, 2 newspapers, 2 banks, a theater, boarding house, mercantile, county courthouse, and a thriving 3-block red light district. This mine produced lead and zinc during WWII, but also produced copper and silver. It was a very interesting display.

We drove a couple of back streets in Rico to see a mixture of old and new buildings.

There was a historical water tank standing there from when the railroad passed by here.

We left Rico and a little farther down the road towards our campground, Bob wanted to check out this chair-pulling apparatus that was used to get people across the river from one side to the other. He had seen it yesterday on our drive to Telluride.

You would sit in the chair and turn the small wheel above you to move the chair across the river to the other side. There was a bridge there, used by the forest service at one time. The planking was old and worn and probably not too sturdy anymore. We walked across it to see the chair base on the other side.

We got back to the campground around 3:00 and the 3 of us took a walk along the river.

Cool rock in the river.

We returned to the campsite and relaxed after our walk. The skies had cleared up and the temp had risen to 72. We had a pleasant afternoon. Auggie and I took our evening walk after we had steak and shrimp on the grill. Then we watched some TV and chilled out. Tomorrow’s another day for exploring!

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