Monday, September 4, 2017

Salida, CO Revisited

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.


  1. You certainly find some beautiful places for camping. Interesting to see the SUP riding the standing wave.

  2. Very nice. Thanks for the report and pictures.

  3. You just described Life-well-Lived.
    Be careful...a few of those Colorado mountain towns have magnets in them :). Just don't sell the Lazy Daze; you'll need it come winter.
    Looking forward to our get-together at the Avalanche Brewery in Silverton :) Phenomenal IPA and Pizza!!!
    Oh, I just checked and our bed is Gluten Free also. Whew!
    Box Canyon Mark

    1. Jim's hoping for rain so we can skip a hike and go straight to beer and pizza!

  4. That was a good hike at Monarch. Hard to believe it was over 2 years ago.

    1. I know, it sure doesn't seem like it was that long ago. That was one of our favorite hikes in the area which is why we wanted to do it again. I was disappointed that the weather didn't cooperate this time.

  5. What great trails! Love those views. We are really missing hiking, but Bend is just too smokey and way too hot. We thought we'd be heading out to hike early in the day but the smoke is the worst in the morning. I'm anxious to get out of the smoke and get back on the trails. Hope Jim's back is all right. Getting old is not fun:) Glad he enjoyed his new bike.

    1. Sorry the smoke hasn't let up there. We've got haze from all the fires but nothing like what the rest of the west is experiencing.
      Jim's back is much better, thanks.

  6. That really is a neat area. We spent two weeks in Buena Vista a few years ago and just made a day trip to Salida. That milk stout sounds delicious!

    1. The great thing about that Coconut Milk Stout is that the ABV is only 4.6%. We figured it would taste watered down but it was so flavorful!

  7. Looks like an amazing trip! Hope you enjoyed the weekend!

  8. Really like the mailbox...good eye!! The one of the duck with the baded reflections is awesome!! What camera did you decide on? Did you blog about it. Thanks!! MFH

    1. We ended up buying a friend's Canon SX40. Gives us the zoom we want even longer than the Panasonic and we are happier with the color reproduction. However, it is hard to keep it steady with the zoom out most of the way.


    2. Thanks Jim. Yours and Gayle's photos have always been exceptional, but good equipment makes it more fun, don't you think?

  9. I'm playing catch-up, really far behind and doing one blog at a time. Looks like you had a lovely summer in Colorado. So nice to look at these pictures today as it is -3 outside here in Wisconsin!