When we left Cottonwood, we made an overnight stop in Gallup, New Mexico, then headed for Ridgway, Colorado. (Spell Check doesn't like it - wants to add an 'e' - but the town and the state park are both spelled Ridgway.)
I took the "easy" way up - US491 to Colorado 145 - but still encountered enough switchbacks and grades and SNOW to make it an interesting drive. Almost as soon as you enter Colorado, the scenery changes from desert to lush meadows and forests, and before long, you're into the Rockies.
We followed the Delores River for several miles, and at one stop I saw this:
It was a chain binder attached to a piece of driftwood. No idea why it was there, but it made a cool picture.
We saw large areas of "dead" Aspens, but finally realized that even though it was the 22nd of May, we were high enough and it was cool enough that they just had not leafed out yet. Several places there was snow down to the roadway.
The town of Ridgway is where they filmed True Grit, and there are True Grit Tours, and a True Grit Cafe in the center of town. It was also the home of Dennis Weaver, famous for Gunsmoke, McCloud, and Stephen Spielburg's classic TV movie Duel. There is a Dennis Weaver Memorial Park in town that is worth a visit. it features a plaque with an original poem
and an impressive statue of a bald eagle
Ridgway State Park is just north of town on the banks of the Uncompagre River. There is a dam that created Ridgway Reservoir
which offers a variety of water sports.
The temperature was 68° when I took this shot, but mom was stretched out on a blanket soaking up the sun while hubby and their toddler were playing in the water - Colorado people are TOUGH!
Fishing in the river is strictly catch-and-release, but fish from the reservoir and a couple fishing lakes can be kept. They actually encourage keeping small mouth bass as they are crowding out some of the native species. There was a fishing tournament at the reservoir on the 28th with cash prizes for the most small mouth bass caught.
More about Ridgway tomorrow.