Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cottonwood and Taylor Valley

The reason I'm drowning at work is because last week was exam week, plus homework due week, plus daily activities due week, plus we went camping this weekend.  Adding on to this stress was a last-minute harvest of the rest of our tomatoes and basil after a frost advisory was issued last Wednesday night.  Anyway, we left Friday around 4:00 (just in time to get stuck in traffic in Golden) and got back Sunday evening.  It was my first meeting-less Friday, so we decided to take advantage.  We drove to Buena Vista, CO and decided on the Cottonwood Hot Springs for night one.  For $70 we got a tent site, bathroom and shower access, and most importantly, access to the hot springs!   

The aspens were turning colors and it was such a beautiful drive as we continued Saturday morning up Cottonwood Pass after some bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Once I find my camera in this mess I like to call home, I will share with you some sunset pics I took, but until then, here's the pics off of Dave's camera (but I took most of them).
Our tent spot for Friday night at Cottonwood Hot Springs.  The gazebo-type setup was very odd, but it worked.  We were able to have a campfire inside this enclosure and our tent fit in there as well.  It was right next to a coy (sp?) pond and the river, which was so loud, we had trouble hearing each other, much less our neighbors. 

We stayed here Friday night.  Left of the building is a series of five outdoor hot spring pools, a sauna, and a shower.  It was fun!  We tried out the different pools from warm to hot in between dinner and smores Friday night around 10pm.

Dave is pretending to be excited about his gluten free pepperoni spaghetti made from stewed tomatoes from our garden.  Nice face.

On Saturday, Dave fished the Arkansas between Buena Vista and Leadville.  I graded and got some sun.
We decided on camping another night, rather than backpack the sand dunes since the trees were so beautiful.  We went to the grocery store and got some chow for dinner since all we had left was backpacking food, grabbed lunch from my favorite Buena Vista old fashioned burger joint/ice cream shop, then were on our way.  I hate that I'm an ice cream shop lover.  It's not good for my figure! 

Top of Cottonwood Pass, the Atlantic Side.

Top of Cottonwood Pass the Pacific Side.

Standard travel pic... Dave with camera in hand, sunglasses, camping hats.

The other side of the pass was nasty.  The road was dirt and had little wash outs, bumps, pot holes, all while descending from 12,126 feet in a top heavy SUV.  I just about lost my breakfast.

We arrived at "Lakeview Campground" to find this sweet spot still empty.  The camp hosts were from WI and gave us dibs on their fishing spot at the reservoir.
Taylor Valley, Taylor Reservoir in the background and some sweet mountain range.  Dave is getting camp set up.  I'm always in charge of laying out sleeping pads, bags, and pillows while Dave runs the stove/fire.
Oops!  I forgot my fishing pole at home.  Dave had his fly fishing pole, but it was not ideal for the reservoir.  No fish for us.
Taylor Valley view at sunset.
 Shortly after fishing, we made kielbasa for dinner with corn on the cob and hot coco.  I had luckily brought along my ski jacket.  I wore that, my winter hat, gloves, a hoodie, pajama pants plus jeans, and socks to bed.  I was so bulky I could barely zip up my mummy bag that I had pre-warmed with boiling water in a water bottle.  I was cold! 

My hot springs-soaked towel had been left out to dry and we woke up to frost over it and other surfaces.  No wonder I had been so cold!

Turns out, just below the dam to the reservoir were hundreds of HUGE fish!  They would jump five feet out of the air and they were visibly everywhere in the river.  Dave and the rest of the world tried to catch them, but no one got a bite!  I swear if we had a net we could have just netted five at once.  It was bizarre.  I got some reading and paper grading done while Dave fished.
Later, downstream, Dave yelled up to me that he finally caught one.  I was grading, again.  What a prize winner!  Nice job, hun!  ;)

There was no way I was going back over Cottonwood Pass to get home, so we took the long way through Gunnison, then over Monarch Pass and up 285.  Here's a vew from the top.

Aspens lining the way home. 
The trip was lovely, but Monday was brutal, I had a schmoozing dinner Monday night, and I'm just now able to catch my breath.  Time to go clean up a bit!  I might take the night off of grading just so I don't loose my mind.  My four Exam 2's will be all multiple choice! And no more homework, ever!  ;)

No comments: