Thursday, August 18
“Ya’ know? This Tucker Ponds sounds interesting,” I remark to the crew as I close the atlas. “Let’s take a little drive up there and see it.”
Bridget, Reggie, and I ride out of Park Creek Campground, south of South Fork, and take Route 160 southwest. We go through a tunnel.
Soon we come to the left turn for Forest Road #390.
The gravel/dirt road is narrow, only one lane most of the way. Holding my breath, I ignore the severe drop-off on the right side as the PTV carries us upward.
As soon as we arrive at a flat, wide-open meadow, I park the PTV.
“Let’s see what’s at the end of this spur.”
Reggie runs ahead. Bridget takes care of business and hurries to catch up.
“You found a boondock, Reg!”
There’s the fire ring. Hmm. . . a private spot but this site isn’t very level. I hear water. I bet it drops down to a river. I can’t see me backing the BLT up to that edge. . . . . too scary!
“Reggie, come back here! You’re too close!”
The next two photos are misleading.
In reality the gorge is much deeper than it looks in these pictures. I think the eye is fooled by the usual expectation of the height of trees. These trees are very tall, possibly more than a hundred feet!
In my long struggle to learn tree identification, I find an excellent website of the Colorado State Forest Service. Tree characteristics are described in a concise, clear manner and there are very helpful, accompanying photos.
Click this link, “Colorado’s Major Tree Species,” and see if you can figure out what kind of trees are in these photos. Maybe you already know!
I estimate our elevation at this boondock is somewhere around 9,500 feet. That’s Pass Creek down there, flowing through the gorge.
The crew and I board the PTV and continue on our way upward.
I spy another campsite. This one is also at the edge of the gorge, off a spur road. Someone is enjoying a secluded, private camp!
See the open, horizontal strip across the forest in the background? That’s Route 160 on its way to Wolf Creek Pass (elevation: 10,857 ft.), my nemesis of a few weeks ago.
At last we arrive at Tucker Ponds!
The ponds are on the left side of the road. I turn right to enter the campground which clings to a slope, giving several of the sites a view of the ponds.
No one is camped here.
The campground holds a collection of downed trees, tree stumps, brush, and those little cylinders that protect recently planted seedlings. The beetles have taken their toll and it will be a while before the campground regains its former beauty.
My photos don’t show what I just described. It’s difficult for me to photograph nature before she has a chance to beautify herself. I show you the best campsites here.
The pay station says $17 as the camping fee. The senior discount rate is left blank. I assume it’s half-off — $8.50 — because Tucker Ponds Campground is in Rio Grande National Forest. No reservations. The campground will close after Labor Day.
“Oh . . . deer!” I whisper to myself.
I stop the PTV and hold the camera out the side window as a doe and her fawn make their way up the slope, out of the campground, and into the woods.
Look at that cute hiney!
This blog could be referred to as “The Cute-Hiney Blog.”
I’m forever taking photos of cute bottoms!
“Well, crew, that field looks like fall is coming.”
I drive us out of the campground and across the road to the parking lot for the ponds. One other vehicle is here.
“Bridgie, I’m so glad you want to come with us.”
A path! The crew cannot resist a path!
Away they go with me following, taking a photo of . . . their cute behinds, of course!
We pass a couple fishing from a small dock.
Ducks greet us, curious about the guy in the green outfit, I guess.
The couple have a dachshund with them. Neither the doxie nor Reggie seems interested in each other, which is unusual, while Bridget hardly takes notice of the doxie, which isn’t unusual at all for her.
We walk about halfway around the pond.
The path leaves the pond and disappears into the woods.
Seems that Bridget is in charge today.
She stops, looks at the path, turns around, and, with nary a glance over her shoulder, heads back down the path toward the PTV. Oh, well. I guess we’re going . . . .
Reggie and I hurry to catch up.
Hey, another, excellent opportunity to grab a cute-hiney pic!
As we near the parking lot, I rush ahead of the crew, turn around, and shoot the next photo. I don’t know why Bridget and Reggie freeze at this point.
They look like statues!
No, not statues, something else . . .
You know those ceramic creamers that are cows with a hole in their back for pouring the milk (or cream) into? You pick the cow up by its tail, tilt it, and milk comes out of its mouth right into your coffee cup?
Now most people know that milk doesn’t come out of a cow’s mouth. Nevertheless, cow creamers were popular items at one time. Weird.
Anyway. . . .
Look at the photo again.
Doesn’t Reggie look like a dog creamer? Pick him up by the tail and pour!
Hmm . . . I bet I could sell Reggie Cow Creamers and make a killing.
And look at Bridget. How about Bridget replicas for door stops? Or maybe one on each side of one’s driveway!
Well, maybe not.
Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah.
Tucker Ponds, plural.
I toss the crew into the PTV, roll the windows down a bit, and, upon leaving, say, “You’ve had two walks this morning. Wait here while I go over to take a look at the other pond.”
Looks like the other pond, all right. Water, grass, trees, path, ducks, nice. Also a few people fishing from shore. Done! Back to the crew!
We rumble our way down the mountain to Route 160 and turn for home.
That was fun. Gosh, I never gave altitude a thought. Tucker Ponds is almost 10,000 feet (9,860 ft. actually).
I guess we’re not flatlanders any more!
NOTE TO READERS: Some of you read this post looking for a pic of my cute hiney. Sorry to disappoint. — Sue
THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!
Two more cute hineys seen on the return to camp!