East Fork National Forest
We were really hoping to get a nice boondocking spot along the San Juan River so we could have some easy access for fishing, but the road was narrow, bumpy, rutted and didn't have any place to turn around. It was a difficult turn around once we found one, but we didn't want to chance it by going any further. So we went with our second choice and were lucky enough to get one of the only spots big enough for us at the East Fork campground in the National Forest. $18 a night, no utilities.
It was a tight a tight squeeze, but we fit.
Pagosa Springs sits at 7,126 feet of elevation surrounded by the San Juan mountains. It is known for its world-famous hot springs, "Pagosah" is the Southwestern Ute word for "healing waters". They have a great river walk for biking, walking and great photography opportunities as it weaves through some wetlands. There were some folks fishing, but the river was still running very fast. Lots of kayakers though.
While were familiar with the different trout in this area, this is the first I've heard of these Chub, Pikeminnow and this type of sucker.
The area is surrounded by hot spring soaking hotels and establishments along the river.
This guy knew what he was doing. He would paddle up to the wave and purposely roll it.
Lots of very pricey homes here with spectacular snow capped mountain views.
The three breweries here, Wolfe, Riff Raff and Pagosa Brewing had some great microbrews, according to Steve. I don't drink beer, hate it. I try it each time and each time I can't help but make a face. Yuck! It always taste so bitter to me. At Pagosa Brewing they had the largest brew sampler, 16! (They were out of 2 so that's why you see the upside down glasses). We ordered some of the Smothered Fries to go along with it. You get some hand cut fries with bacon, beer gravy layered with beer-bq pulled pork and topped with house-made green chili. We asked for 1/2 red chili and 1/2 green chili. Both were delicious!
The day we chose to go back into town in the late afternoon to try out one of the hot springs establishments it was getting very stormy. We picked the Overlook Hotsprings because it had a rooftop terrace with a soaking pool overlooking the town and mountains. The threat of thunderstorms had passed so we tried it out. It was $12 per person.
They had several indoor pools as well. All at different temperatures promising a tranquil soak in naturally hot, therapeutic mineral water. Eh, it was ok. I don't like cold water but I can't do really hot, Jacuzzi temps either. Guess I'm just picky that way. You have to shower off and wash your swim suits really well or they'll smell like sulphur. Yes, there are clothing optional places as well as some right in the river itself. Something for everyone!
Someone has some very nice property! We drive past this to get to and from the campground. You always see elk in the pastures.
Here are the elk.
We enjoy taking drives on any dirt road we come across. Here was one that followed the East Fork of the San Juan River. It was a nice day. We tried a couple of fishing spots but the water was still running too fast. Beautiful rock formations along the road.
At one spot where we got out to admire the river and the pretty view, we found this memorial marker alongside the bank, just out of view from the road. It must've been a special place for this person.
There were several small waterfalls that flowed over the road along the way.
It doesn't show too well, but there were pretty colors in the different rock layers.
Aspen just leafing out at this elevation in May.
Lunch at Riff Raff Brewery. Beer sampler for Steve, some Foo Foo drink for me.
Some of the random hot springs throughout town.
Mostly weeds now, but I'm sure in a few more weeks it'll be all planted. I love community gardens.
Hurley wondering where is Gramma going without me and how come I'm stuck with Grampa!
Che faccia! ("what a face" in Italian)
I heard that a lot growing up. Followed by, "Be careful or your face will get stuck that way!"
While we were geocaching in town one day I thought I'd play with the water a bit.
I love the details you see when you get really close and blow up a picture.