Thursday, October 26, 2017

Autumn in Colorado and Utah - Pagosa Springs

Sunset with high winds blowing the snow that fell that morning and early afternoon.
We have returned from the West but I took so many photos and were so busy every day that I just didn't get any blogs written.  So, here is the next one about our driving trip to Pagosa Springs to visit  my brother Terry and sister-in-law Johnny.  But before we left Estes Park, I spent a chilly evening and early morning getting some images of the Continental Divide.  The views were just outside our lodge and were spectacular.  I used 1 stop exposure brackets to capture three images each and then combined them with some High Dynamic Range software, another reason why I needed to get home to my main computer.
Aspen on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass
Click here to view more photos of the aspen.

After that treat, we continued on to a real treat:  spending time with Terry and Johnny and their little dog child, Quito.  One of the nicest things about visiting my children and my brothers is that we all seem to get up early and thus have wonderful conversations over coffee before the household becomes active.  That was the case with Terry and it was especially nice since this was the first time I had visited him in Colorado.  I apparently also bonded with Quito which is apparently quite unusual.

Creede, Co
After Johnny and Marilyn got up and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, we headed out to explore and enjoy this area of Colorado.  We started by going back over Wolf Creek Pass and headed to Creede, Colorado.  Creede is an old mining town high in the San Juan Mountains below San Luis Peak near the head waters of the Rio Grande.  Crowded into a narrow gap where the West Willow Creek exits the mountains, it never became a ghost town since mining operations continued into the 1980's and periodically recommences in response to changing mineral prices.  Originally founded because of a silver strike, it has produced gold, lead, zinc, and copper.  The current population is somewhat less than 300.  However in one two year period from 1889 to 1891, the population increased from 600 to more than 10,000.

After a brief stop in town, we were treated to one of the avid past times in southwest Colorado, jeeping on old mining roads although in this case we were a Toyota.  Now we were able to see some of the old mines and rise above the almost 9,000 feet of Creede up to the base of San Luis Peak.

Terry and Johnny outside Tommyknocker Tavern.
When we returned to Creede, we enjoyed lunch at the Tommyknocker Tavern.  What exactly is a "tommyknocker" you may ask?  Leaving Stephen King's story aside, you can learn more about these little guys on a website named Legends of America.   It is a fascinating story of the legends brought to the United States by the Cornish miners who were brought here to do the dangerous work of underground mining.  Check it out on the link above.

After lunch we headed back west and at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass, we took a road to Lobo Overlook which sits astride the Continental Divide at 11,200 and provides an expansive view of the spine of our continent.  Since it had snowed the week before, we were able to enjoy a bit of those snow capped peaks.  It was also bright, sunny and windy as you can see in the photo of Marilyn, Terry, and Johnny.  Also those smiles indicate that we were having a great time enjoying the scenery and the time with these two people who love their home area.

Speaking of their home--which is beautiful and very comfortable--we returned to Pagosa Springs to see the hot springs--I didn't know there were hot springs but believe me these are big deals.  Terry and Johnny have annual memberships and go down once a week for early morning soaks followed by breakfast in a nearby cafe.  Apparently these are very relaxing.  The different pools are managed to different temperatures ranging from 83-114 F.  The hearty can also dip into the San Juan River and experience 40 F.  The calming influence may be due to the fact that the water contains 2.9 (mg/L) of lithium!

You can view more photos of our Pagosa Springs adventures by clicking here to go to the Google Photos album.

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