GD24-ATUW and GD24-AULA visited, GD24-ATWO not reached Saturday, June 14th
- ATUW is at 9300 feet in Pike National Forest in South Park, Colorado,
near Tarryall reservoir
Early on a sunny morning, I headed into the mountains along US 285.
After crossing Kenosha Pass and descending into South Park, I turned
east onto County road 77, which followed the winding South Platte
River past rocky outcrops and picturesquely decaying abandoned wooden
houses. I turned off onto a forest access road, which was little more
than a double-track, but passable. I parked next to the road (photo),
and walked up a rise to the dashpoint. From there I had a panoramic
view of the mountains to the west of South Park (photo). With the
warm sun on my shoulders and the fragrance of sage in my nostrils I
was inclined to tarry, but with hundreds of miles still to drive that
day, I returned to my car. Once a hummingbird had finished inspecting
it, I left.
I continued along the back roads of Colorado, passing 2 buffalo
grazing next to a tipi, the Taryall reservoir emptied for repair,
over a small range of hills, more abandoned houses, Eleven Mile
Reservoir lined with people fishing, over another range of hills, and
through the quaint town of Guffey (photos at http:
//stevegarufi.com/guffey.htm). Finally I reached another highway,
Route 9, then turned west along US 50, as it followed the Arkansas
upriver. I took a break to watch whitewater rafters enjoying the
ATWO is in the McCoy Gulch state trust / wildlife management area
near Cotopaxi, Colo.
I turned off US 50 onto Fremont county road 37, another dirt road,
which headed towards a pyramid shaped peak in the Sangre de Cristo
range. My GPS then directed me onto what looked like a dry, sandy
riverbed. After about 1/2 a mile, the riverbed turned into something
more like a road. A locked gate stopped me .8 miles short of my
destination. On the left gatepost was a hand painted sign that said,
"Notice. No trespassing. Deeded land," and below that another sign
posted by the Animal Damage Control section of the US department of
Agriculture. This had the ominous heading: "Danger, Traps!" (Photo).
A herd of black, white, and brown goats on a nearby hill seemed
oblivious to the danger. However, I was afraid that I was not made of
the same stuff as Aaron Ralston, and would not be able to hack my leg
off with a blunt penknife if it got caught in a trap, so I turned my
car around and went back to road 37. I continued south on the very
rocky, narrow road to highway 69. Not for the first time, I thought
that what I really needed for this game was a 4WD high clearance
AULA is at 8500 feet in the Wet Mountains southwest of Westcliffe,
Highway 69 runs along the lush Wet mountain valley between the Wet
Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. When I reached
Westcliffe, I stopped at a park to eat lunch and look at the
mountains. However, closer sights distracted my attention. A toddler
came up with a grin, put her juice box on the table, and climbed up
to join me for lunch before her big sister came and took her away. A
married couple was just coming out of a church nearby, and a jazz
band was playing under a pavilion on the opposite side of the park.
And I saw a woolen-capped Rastafarian.
After lunch I drive south out of town on 69, then turned off and
drove east up into the Wet Mountains along dirt roads that have
apparently been laid out for a future housing development. My maps
weren't up to date here, so I drove around following the pointer on
my GPS until I closed in on the road that contained the dashpoint,
Ute Path. A small sign that read "Filing 4 Block 6 Lot 3" marked the
plot that contained the dashpoint. There was a large rock outcrop,
and a dead tree near the dashpoint (photo). There was a great view of
the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the west. Looks like a pleasant
place for a home, (in summer anyway).
To make a long story less long, I returned home by driving east over
the Wet mountains to Pueblo, then north. The trip was about 500 miles
long. Perhaps a long way to drive to reach only 2 dashpoints, but it
was one of my most enjoyable dash hunts for the diverse and
attractive scenery I saw along the way.