Camping Lite

8 09 2008

For the past week or so I have been eagerly anticipating a camping trip.  Webb acquiesced to my nagging insistence and we planned to go camping with another couple that we met through Webb’s job.  All plans we set for last Thursday, all gear purchased and packed using meticulous lists created by yours truly.  At the last minute an unplanned Dr’s appointment interfered and our friends were unable to come along…uh oh, just Webb and I all by ourselves.  So i planned and packed an elaborate feast of hamburgers and ravioli for dinner and eggs and bacon for breakfast and off we went.  We had a large lunch at Chili’s and a quick stop for ice and a few perishables for the cooler and off we went.

We stayed at a campground called Five Points which is part of the Upper Arkansas Valley Recreation Area.

We had planned on buying some firewood at a place on the way that has piles and piles of firewood for sale, but it turned out that they were closed.  At the campground there is no attendant, so you just fill out your info and put a copy along with your money into a slot. We walked down to the river (creek) and then went back to our site to set up camp.

There are railroad-tie steps between the two giant rocks.

This is the campsite, fire-pit, tent pad, and picnic table

The area is in a place called Bighorn Canyon, but we didn’t see any Bighorn Sheep.  There are also bears in the area, but no sightings.

The most popular event of the evening was playing with fire…

We had big plans to cook food and maybe go hiking but in the end we didn’t eat anything or hike anywhere we essentially put up the tent, burned firewood, went to bed, got up packed up, went home…you might think this was a bad thing, but what you can’t see in the pictures is that US Highway 50 follows the river and goes right through this canyon, so all night long we got to hear the sound of passing trucks, headlights, and the strange belchy sound of exhaust brakes…  Next time I think we may try to find a campsite a little further away from the highway.

In the end though, we had the best time.

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Tunnel Drive: Trip includes REAL Tunnels

8 08 2008
Tunnel Drive has cacti

Tunnel Drive has cacti, this one stuck out over the trail, it is probably the most common type of cactus in this area.

unnel Drive is actually not a “drive” but a hiking trail. It overlooks the Arkansas River and railroad tracks from the entrance of the Gorge at the west edge of Cañon City to about the 1.1 mile marker into the Royal Gorge. It is a narrow trail, originally constructed as an irrigation ditch that winds its way among the foothills and through three tunnels of solid granite west of the city.

Yesterday I decided to go check it out during the afternoon and take some pictures. Later I took Webb up there to check out some of the scenery. Below is the sign placed at the entrance to the trail head.

I’m intrigued by the rule which states “alcoholic beverages allowed by special permit only.” A little further up the trail you come across this lovely welcome.

There are lots of warnings for this trail

There are lots of warnings for this trail, this one at the entrance was a little disconcerting. "Trail Subject to the Following Hazards, Cave-ins or Land Slides" WHAT?!?!?!

The trail offered scenic views of the river and railroad tracks

The trail offered scenic views, this one is right past the entrance to the trail.

The river and railway

The river and railway, considering the surrounding area, the river area is so green

Grape Creek meets the Arkansas River

Grape Creek meets the Arkansas River

These are the first two MUCH smaller tunnels

These are the first two MUCH smaller tunnels

Tunnel Drive has real tunnels!!!

Tunnel Drive has real tunnels!!! There are no lights in there, it gets pretty dark and windy inside.

Do not throw or roll rocks over the side of trail

Do not throw or roll rocks over the side of trail, entrance to the longest of the three tunnels

Once you get inside the tunnel you walk maybe 150 feet to the exit. Very dark, the following is a photo from about 20 feet inside the tunnel entrance.

Inside the largest tunnel

Inside the largest tunnel

This is a view up the side of the trail.  Dont let the picture fool you its really really far to the top!

This is a view up the side of the trail. Don't let the picture fool you it's really really far to the top!





Heart of the Rockies

24 07 2008

So, more on our trip to Salida. After our 2.5 hour car drive along route 50 (it’s only an hour away but we pulled over several times for pictures) we finally arrived in Salida. A little factoid, Route 50 goes from Maryland to California. Salida is a little town at 7,700 feet above sea level which is about 2000 feet above Canon City. It sits in the Arkansas River Valley and is surrounded by some serious mountains. Now I can understand why people kept telling me that Canon was in “the hills.” To give you a few ideas by linking to other’s pictures…

View of Salida by Flickr user teepoole

View of Salida by Flickr user teepoole

Salidas Main Street by Victoriaash Flickr

Salida's Main Street by Victoriaash Flickr

Mountains just outside of Salida by Ken Lund on Flikr
Mountains just outside of Salida by Ken Lund on Flickr

Webb and I walked up and down Main Street full of little artsy shops, outdoor gear shops, and antique stores etc etc. We went in most of them and then decided to eat lunch at the Boathouse which is at the end of Main Street with a view of the river which runs right alongside the building.

View up river from the boathouse.  Just downriver is the F Street bridge.

View up river from the boathouse. Just downriver is the F Street bridge.

This is an area where lots of kayakers come to practice and people stand on the F Street Bridge to oggle and enjoy the scenery. The F Street bridge, a two span concrete arch bridge, built, 1907-08 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Looks VERY familiar doesn’t it?!?!??! I thought it looked just like the Harrods Creek Bridge from a distance…they were actually constructed at almost the same time which I found very interesting.

F Street Bridge from birdgepix.com F Street Bridge from birdgepix.com

We had tacos at the Boathouse which were really tasty. Webb really enjoyed his…

Webb enjoys yummy tacos at the Boathouse

Webb enjoys yummy tacos at the Boathouse