Monday, September 24, 2012

Down Into the Gorge and Up Into the Aspens



We did end up changing sites, and are now sitting on the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge. Our endless backyard.



We hiked La Junta trail 1.2 miles down to the confluence of the Red River and the Rio Grande. To avoid the heat of the sun we didn’t go until 5 so the lighting wasn’t the greatest for pictures. From the switchbacks we could see the confluence with the trail running in between.



There is a walk-in campsite on each river, with a covered picnic shelter and table, and even an outhouse. What a great spot to spend the night, being lulled to sleep by the sound of rushing water.



At the confluence we climbed down some rocks to get to the water. Here is the photographer before he put the camera back in his pocket and proceeded to slip off the rocks. He only went in up to his knees, but as I looked over I saw his sunglasses fall off into the river. Amazingly he blindly felt around and managed to retrieve them intact without even a scratch. Good thing it was shallow right there.


And here he is a few minutes later wringing out his socks before the trudge back up.


Besides the steep switchbacks, there are several flights of stairs thrown in for fun. It was a good hike.


At our first site here in Wild Rivers, we had a view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where we could see the yellows and golds of the aspens at the higher elevations. I asked the camp hosts if there was an easy way to get there, and they told us about Cabreto Canyon Rd, or Forest Service Rd 134, which would take us to Midnight Meadow, at 10,500’, right up into the aspens. They are rebuilding the dam at Cabreto Lake, so they told us Sunday would be a good day to drive up there to avoid the construction traffic. About 10 or 12 miles of road would be dirt, but they thought a car could make it fine.

They were right, it was passable in Debbie’s Scion, but she had to be careful in places where rocks had slid down the mountain onto the road. This boulder was the worst.


Both times we’ve been to Colorado, we left the state just before the leaves really began to turn, so we were happy to be able to see the fall colors in New Mexico. It was a lovely drive.



At Midnight Meadows the road becomes a single lane and much rougher so we decided to stop for a hike before turning around. There was supposed to be a hiking trail which we were unable to locate, so we just walked up the 4WD road. It was cool and breezy and we soaked in the colors and sounds of the leaves rustling. That was in between huffing and puffing our way up higher and higher.


On the way back we stopped to check out these extreme homes we spotted along the creek.


The sign says Welcome To Casa De Cajones. Cute.


And this caboose is right next door. Would love to see what they look like inside.


Debbie has been bringing Elliot along and he’s become a really good hiker, but that fresh air sure does make a boy tired.


We’ll be here a couple more days and then plan to stop in Santa Fe. Trader Joe’s and Rooftop Pizzeria are calling us…


  1. Oh that backyard is awesome. I would never leave with a view like that.
    Looks like our type of hike. I must say the steps look a bit like a challenge.
    What unique homes. Too bad no one was might have gotten a free tour.

  2. Not all of your pictures would load - slow connection- but the ones I was able to see are great. Love the beautiful golden colors of fall. That looked like a challenging say the least! Wonder what that house looked like inside - interesting, especially the name lol.

  3. That is definitely a GRAND backyard. You do find some fine spots. I had to laugh that you took your wonderful looking hike after 5pm to avoid the heat as I sit here in a sweatshirt enjoying the fall chill in Virginia.

    Extreme homes are right. I thought the round ones looked like eyeballs. Sure would be fun to meet the folks who live there and hear their stories.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful pictures, shows an area i need to get to!!!

  5. Looks like the same site we were in 2006.

  6. Love the colors of the trees and the beautiful scenery. Glad Jim did not lose the camera in the water. Interesting homes too. We have one near our old house that is in a park that is shaped like two mushrooms.

  7. So, are the boots waterproof? Looks like a good hike and the colors are indeed gorgeous. If I was in those arms, I'd sleep like a dog too ;)