June 5th & 6th 2019 (Westcliffe, Colorado to Salida, Colorado):
Last night I got as far as Westcliffe Colorado on the Trans America Trail, and then headed up to Cotopaxi to stay at the KOA campground. Sleeping next to the river was like having a noise maker turned on at night with soothing water sounds. It made for a pretty nice view from the tent window as well.
I backtracked to Westcliffe, and continued the Trans America Trail from where I left off. It was another day of scattered rain storms, but the scenery was always beautiful.
I found this camp site just off to the side of the trail, and stopped to eat lunch and let Marley run.
I finally made it to Marshall Pass. This was one of the passes I was looking forward to. You can look down on O’Haver Lake Campground from the pass.
I was probably about half way across it when I started running in to snow.
I finally came to a section where the whole road was covered with snow. If you look at the road in about the middle of the photo, you can tell that the snow was drifted deeper there. It was definitely over a foot, and it looked like it was deeper the further you went down the trail. I was still climbing in elevation, so it’s very likely that the snow would have gotten deeper as I went. Especially in the areas where the trees were blocking the sun. Without a winch to drag myself across, I was forced to turn around on the tight trail. The trail drops off on the left, so their wasn’t a lot of room to maneuver.
To make the situation worse, it started to rain. By the time I got back to the start of the trail, it was raining hard.
This was a setback that I sort of anticipated, but hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with. At least not on this pass. I had already crossed Cordova Pass at the same elevations, but luck wasn’t with me this time.
I ended up spending the night at the Salida / Mt. Shavano KOA on US50. Not what I had in mind, but it was a place to sleep, it had cell phone reception, and a warm shower for the morning.
At 3:00 AM, I woke up to Marley growling, and I could hear something moving outside. I used the remote, and started the truck hoping the noise would scare it away. I have no idea what it was, but this is bear country. It was a little difficult falling back to sleep knowing that there could be a bear outside of my tent. For a while it seemed like my senses were heightened, and I could hear every little noise outside. At some point I did manage to go back to sleep though.
Today I drove 84 miles off pavement.
June 6th & 6th 2019 (Salida, Colorado to Ouray, Colorado):
Today Marley and I headed west on US 50 to Monarch Pass and the Continental Divide.
Still plenty of snow here at 11,312 feet.
I saw this awesome snowblower parked here that was having some axle repair done.
We continued a little further west on US 50 to Sargents. This is where the Trans America Trail comes out of Marshall Pass and crosses US 50. Once again we were on the TAT, although these girls were having a cow over it.
This route took us through the Gunnison and San Juan National Forests. I was a little concerned that I would run in to more snow closing the road, but the day were rather well.
As I started to get closer to Lake City, I started to see a lot of snow. Fortunately the road was open though.
I already new that Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass were closed, and that I would have to head north on SR 149 to go around the Mountain to get to Ouray. I caught a break though when I discovered Blue Mesa Road CR 25. It cut up to US 50, and reduced the amount of time and distance I was going to have to take SR 149 all the way to US 50, and then west. I was a beautiful scenic dirt road, so it definitely met the criteria for the Trans America Trail. I stopped in Montrose for gas, surprised that it was 40+ degrees warmer than where I had been earlier, and then headed south on US 550 to Ouray.
I stopped and made camp at the KOA campground just north of Ouray. I had camped here 2-years ago, so I knew it was someplace I’d camp on my way through this time.
Total miles driven off of pavement today: 104 miles
Special Thanks To:
Click the photos to enlarge.