Early morning in Durango

These were the views outside my bedroom windows early this morning.

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And off the back deck of the house.

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And after I drove a few miles north to a spot overlooking Durango itself.

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I hope to eat dinner in town starting tomorrow night so will post pictures of what I find there.

Various sides of Chimney Rock

Yesterday I posted two photos of Chimney Rock National Monument rock formations as seen from Route 160.  Those were taken in the early evening, after a storm had passed.  I went back to Chimney Rock this morning and took pictures from various locations with the sun hitting the formations at different angles.

These were from roughly the same vantage point as those I posted yesterday.

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Next I went to the turnoff from Route 160 onto a paved road which takes you to the gravel access road.  This gives the best illustration of a chimney on a rooftop.

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These were from the paved road (Route 700, I believe).

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And I noticed a third formation, not visible from Route 160.

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Then I reached the gravel access road.  These were from the entrance.

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And finally from near the Visitor Center itself.

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I then drove east on Route 160 towards Pagosa Springs and South Fork.  Later in the day I decided to return to Durango rather than continue the loop north and got this shaded silhouette shot from some distance away.  I tried getting the same shot the day before but it had just rained and it was too blurry to post.

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Hummingbirds near Chimney Rock

As I was getting ready to leave Chimney Rock I heard a buzzing sound.  While taking pictures around the Visitor Center I hadn’t even noticed the hummingbird feeders.

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I actually took these first few photos will my smartphone camera (it really takes some awesome pictures!).

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They seemed a little afraid of the man in the silly Safety Sam vest so I got the digital camera out and waited further away.

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Prairie Dogs near Chimney Rock

As I was driving out of the Visitor Center and back towards the paved road I noticed a bunch of prairie dogs running around.  I had seen prairie dogs in the Badlands when I was up in South Dakota at the beginning of my trip but I didn’t have my digital camera then so the pictures weren’t all that great.

I waited until one popped his head out to see if the coast was clear.

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Then I parked my car and waited for more to appear.  It didn’t take long.

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Wild Turkeys near Chimney Rock

As I was leaving Chimney Rock a flock of turkeys trotted across the road well out in front of me.

Tom/Hen/Chick/Flock.  But it’s not quite that simple, bucko.  An adult male may also be called a Gobbler.  A newborn may also be called a Poult.  Male offspring are called Jakes and females are called Jennys.  And a group is called a Flock if wild, but if domesticated they are called a Rafter.

Oh, the things you learn on johnboystravelblog…..

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Wolf Creek Pass Overlook

When I met Earl Valdez while getting gas in Fort Garland yesterday (you’ve met his dog, Nia) he told me that when I drove through Wolf Creek Pass there would be a scenic pullout with a fantastic view overlooking the valley to the west.  It was raining when I got there yesterday and visibility was not good, so I went back today as part of my big loop east of Durango.

Boy, was he right….

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado

I drove through the little town of Pagosa Springs on my way to Durango on Thursday evening.  It is about an hour east of Durango.  I drove through it twice today, once (going east) as I embarked on my counter-clockwise scenic drive, then going west after I abandoned my grand loop plan due to time constraints (I didn’t want to get home after dark).

I cruised through town heading east but stopped for lunch near the San Juan River before leaving town.

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Near the river were some neat little establishments, including the restaurant where I wanted to eat.

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It was just after noon and there was a long line so I opted to just eat the veggies I had purchased earlier in the day and continue driving.

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After turning around when I got to South Fork and heading back towards Durango I thought I’d have another bite at the apple (actually burger).  Well, there was STILL a long, slow moving line, and I wanted lunch, not dinner, so I left again.  #ImpatientJohnBoy.  #VeryHungryCaterpillar

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This time when I got to town I stopped to take some pictures.  The first place I saw was a really neat gift shop.

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They had some very colorful baskets on their front steps.

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And in the window was a huge, very colorful shallow bowl (like you’d use for a centerpiece).  I put the camera right up against the glass to eliminate the reflection so you can’t see the whole thing.

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I went in to grab a business card and to tell the person working there that I’d be posting some pictures on my blog.  I ended up buying a much smaller bowl for myself (they are made of plastic-covered telephone wire, wound very tightly).  Everything was fairly pricey but they were all very nice.  You get what you pay for, and talent should be rewarded.

Contact me if you want the name of the shop (upper right corner of blog welcome screen).

There were other photogenic places in town, though too numerous to show them all.

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This was the neon sign I noticed as I drove through town the night before (with darkened skies due to rain).  My car just happens to be parked right out front!  Funny how that works….

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Pagosa Hot Springs

And you may have guessed that the town is called Pagosa Springs because of the Pagosa Hot Springs, the deepest geo-thermal hot spring in the world.  I never knew there were so many hot springs in this country.  It seems like I’m finding them everywhere.

This is from street level, looking down on the San Juan River after parking my car.

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Then just turn your head to the right and, voila, there is the hot springs resort.

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Up at street level was this little volcano-like cone which was oozing spring water out the top.  There were no warning signs (like you’ll hear about below) so I presume it wasn’t terribly hot.  The rotten egg-like smell of sulfur in the air was evident.

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The clear water cascaded down over these rocks to the river below.

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I went down a sloped walkway to river level and and headed right.

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I crossed a pedestrian bridge to get to the Hot Springs Hotel.

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I looked ahead one month to a Wednesday in late September (after Labor Day).  The cheapest room for two people was $219/night.  Or you can splurge for the John Wayne Suite (or one of several others) for $619/night.  Enjoy!!

Behind the hotel was one of the hot springs.  There was a fairly tall wall around it and warning signs not to touch the water, as it is extremely hot.  I could feel the heat rising off the pool of water, some of which was bubbling.

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Out in front of the hotel was a huge chess board.

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I noticed these tiny flowers as I got ready to cross the pedestrian bridge back towards town.

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A very nice place, if you can tolerate the smell.