We left Woodland Park last Monday after stopping off at Diamond RV Park for a $10 dump. Jim didn’t want to carry much water over the passes we climbed, so we detoured a few miles to fill up at the Poncha Springs Visitor Center, apparently now the closest place to Salida to dump and get water. We’ve visited this area a couple times before and stayed on BLM land north of Poncha Springs but some friends drove their Jeep up the road this summer and said it was so rutted they wouldn’t take their Lazy Daze. Since we also had rodent issues both times we stayed there, this time we decided to try out the Salida East free camping along the Arkansas River just a few miles east of town.
There was only one “real” site open with a picnic table and fire ring that was far off the road to the boat launch, and it was fairly level so this has been our home for the past week. There is no water but a decent bathroom by the boat launch area.
Jim was ready to leave when we pulled in and saw this sign warning of plague, tularemia and other tick-borne diseases.
Our nearest neighbors are down the hill from us and the river is a short walk right below but blocked from view by the trees.
It’s been a pretty relaxed week, with temperatures getting up into the low to mid 80s, a bit warmer than we like, but tolerable since we’ve tried to do our hiking and biking earlier in the day, and spent the hottest part of the late afternoons at Soulcraft Brewing’s happy hour. It’s our new favorite place to hang out in Salida. We discovered their beer the first day here when we went for a walk around downtown and stopped at our favorite restaurant, Amica’s, for a pizza and beer. They had Soulcraft’s Coconut Milk Stout on tap and we both loved it, so we just had to go by the brewery to see what their other beers were like. We only missed one day out of the next 6 we were here, and it was all good.
Don’t know what it is about Salida but it just has a good vibe and we love that there is very little traffic. I thought this motel sign was quite clever.
And what a great t-shirt, which I did not buy.
Unusual idea for a mailbox.
One day we drove up to 11,300’ Monarch Pass for a hike along the Monarch Crest Trail on the Continental Divide. It was raining when we got there but after killing some time wandering around the gift shop the skies cleared up.
We did this hike on a beautiful clear day in September 2015 with Kim, and made it much farther than we did on this year. Dark clouds started building and we decided to turn back, which was a wise decision based on the serious thunderstorms that followed.
Another day we drove 25 miles north to Buena Vista for a hike on the Barbara Whipple trails along the Arkansas River. They’ve added some new trails closer to the river since our 2015 visit so we just stayed on those as again we had to cut our hike short for the approaching rain. Got back to the car just in time.
The Arkansas is a very scenic river.
Lots of new construction taking place in town.
We took our bikes to downtown Salida one day for a ride on some paved and gravel trails around a lake and through rural countryside. Jim was pleased that he had no trouble riding the recumbent on the gravel. We went back another day with cameras and walked some of the trails since we only had phones with us the day we biked.
Part of the trail goes through pretty Frantz Lake State Wildlife Area.
The rest of our hiking was done on the Methodist Mountain trails, a little over a mile down the road from where we camped. Jim hurt his low back a couple days ago (old people shouldn’t bend over!) and wasn’t up for long hikes, so he left me on the trails and I just walked home.
That about wraps up our time in Salida. Today we’re planning to stay near South Fork as we make our way to Durango later in the week. Looking forward to some cooler weather and fall colors soon.