Monday, August 22
The crew and I wake to another cold, damp morning at Park Creek Campground, south of South Fork, Colorado. Bridget doesn’t seem to mind the cold very much. Reggie and I, however, are shivering.
“C’mon, honey. Let’s go outside and find us a sunbeam.”
I stand in the sun, holding his little body close until warm.
Although our campsite is a paradise on a sunny day, it’s not so great during this spate of rain in Colorado. Due to the many trees, it’s almost noon before sunshine hits the Best Little Trailer.
We have an hour — two at the most — in the afternoon when it’s pleasant to be at our beach, soaking up some rays. Then the rain and/or hail comes. The ground and vegetation don”t have a chance to dry out.
“You know what? This is ridiculous! The forecast is for more of the same. We need to go someplace warmer and drier! I need sunshine!”
Tuesday, August 23
Route 160, heading east/southeast toward Wolf Creek Pass!
With the Perfect Tow Vehicle’s heater set on high, Bridget, Reggie, and I leave Park Creek Campground and board Route 160. The Best Little Trailer tags along behind.
We are going to ride out of this darkness into the light! I want to lie back in my lounger and bake my bones!
Wolf Creek Pass, here we come!
Tunnel before the climb up to the Pass
I considered making a run for it toward Montrose and Delta, Colorado, which are at a lower elevation than the South Fork area. It would’ve meant driving through mountains, spending another night in mountains, and doing so without internet. I just don’t have the gumption for that right now.
I discover an easier way.
Happy with my decision, I shift into 2nd gear and we begin the climb.
The PTV performs beautifully even when we are brought to a halt halfway up the pass by a flagman at road repair. We wait and then the flagman lets us through. From a standstill on an uphill grade, the PTV roars to life and pulls us mightily all the way to the Continental Divide (10,857 ft.).
What a workhorse!
People say it’s a more difficult climb from the other direction, from the west.
I agree. It does seem much steeper and longer on the Pagosa Springs side of the pass. Of course, I can’t take many photos while driving us around curves and a few switchbacks.
I’m glad I didn’t put the PTV through the climb from the west, when we were camped at West Fork Campground. You may remember we went round-about through the gentler Cumbres Pass instead.
The fog makes the mountains look like cut-outs in a collage.
I glance at Bridget and Reggie. Both are doing fine at this altitude. It’s foggy up here. Rain starts and stops as we continue downward.
No point in stopping at “scenic overlooks” in the rain, mist, and fog.
On flat land again!
To the beat of windshield wipers, we motor through one of my favorite stretches of road. No sign today of the red fox hunting in a field that I saw on a sunny day earlier this summer.
When we come to the sign indicating left for Chama, I make the turn onto Route 84 south. We don’t bother to go into the town of Pagosa Springs.
I’m anxious to set up camp.
Return to Kinney Flats!
The sky is blue as we make our way up the familiar lane. Saying a prayer that the campsite is empty, we round the last curve and there it is!
Returning to Kinney Flats feels like coming home.
Looking at the photo above you may think, “What’s so great about that? It’s a field and some trees. Pretty ordinary. Blah.”
It’s hard to explain.
When the crew and I make our home in a place where there are few people, when we camp in solitude and peace for several days, becoming familiar with our surroundings — the plants, trees, and flowers, birds, wildlife, the stars as seen through the pine branches, the light across the field of grass at daybreak, the scent of pines, the serendipity of discovering turkeys gobbling through our front yard — an attachment is formed.
I do feel affection for this camp.
“Blue skies up above . . . Everyone’s in love!”
I guess that’s why, when we were in the damp cold and I asked myself, “Where would I rather be?” — Kinney Flats immediately came to mind.
Bridget and Reggie like this camp, too.
They recognize their former home and are happy to be here again. Later we walk the lane and cross into the pines on a slope overlooking the watering hole. A white-tailed squirrel chatters from a tree limb.
Hmm . . . I wonder if that’s the fat squirrel I photographed before.
Wednesday, August 24
I awake and peek out the window over our bed. Two nuthatches clutch the bark of the pine tree while upside down and circling the trunk for their high-protein breakfast.
I step outside and catch sight of a deer as it slips into the woods across the field from our home.
Early morning at Kinney Flats — Warmer and drier air
The crew and I follow our habit of staying at camp the first day.
Our walks reveal subtle changes.
The swaths of bright yellow flowers and flowing waves of vivid green and gold I photographed in early July have been replaced with more subdued hues.
The various grasses offer a bounty of seeds for the birds. The birds know it! When not eating seeds, the birds swoop and play in the shrinking mud puddle in our driveway or perch on high branches, enjoying the warmth of the sun.
No more purple thistle blooms. Instead brown pods are about to open.
Soon to release winged seeds to float on the breeze.
“Hey! When did YOU move into the neighborhood?”
I think they’re asking the same question of us!
“Reggie? Oh, Reggie? You have a job to do, Reg.”
NOTE: Some of this blog’s readers are in the area of Pagosa Springs or will be soon. I ask that you do not drive out to Kinney Flats for the purpose of seeing our camp. I’m happy to share our lives online. Please let that be enough. Thank you. — Sue
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“Still some summer flowers left!” — Navajo River Road, Chromo, south of Kinney Flats, Colorado