Pagosa Springs & Durango
Old memories and new ones.
U.S Highway 160 Colorado
Mount Antero 14,269 ft.
15 min. outside Pagosa Springs
Staford’s ancestors lived in Durango
Cold weather sleeping bag= actual sleep
Our spot in Durango
Highway 160 was the best route from Pine to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We went through tiny mountain towns like Fairplay, Buena Vista, and South Fork. And I loved them all. As we drove through them I could picture myself living in a little cabin in each one. Staford always laughs at me for wanting to move to every place we visit.
Coming over the ridge at Buena Vista was the great and mighty Mount Antero at 14,269 ft. It’s massive presence demanded my full attention- it’s power almost intimidating. Seeing things like this really puts into perspective how small I am, and I never get tired of it. The 160 became one of my favorite drives.
Our campsite outside of Pagosa Springs was down a rough muddy and bumpy road. I was laughing and screaming while everything was falling and crashing inside the van. Our house was a mess when we finally parked. We pulled up just in time for a blazing pink sunset lighting up the far away faces of the mountains. We ran in the rolling open fields with Finn and Meeko. I wondered how many thousands of trees I was seeing all around me.
On our drive to Durango we passed old barns and cabins. Again I was blown away by the beauty around every corner of this state. We found the most amazing spot on a gravel road outside of town. We were staying on the side of a mountain that shown red rocks on one side, snow covered mountains on the other, and Durango in the middle. Our cliffside view looked like a Bob Ross painting and the wind had that high up sound to it. I can see why Staford has such a spiritual connection to this place, and why his ancestors did, too.
The following week we were finally able to settle in and enjoy being parked in one spot. We discovered new trails, drank hot chocolate, observed the stars, and explored the town of Durango. A lot happened in one week. Our hand pump sink broke, so we had to learn how to do dishes without running water. We tried our solar shower bag after a week without a shower, but it was so cold I didn’t even get all the shampoo out of my hair. Staford decided he could wait a little longer to shower. We finally bought cold weather sleeping bags which have made all the difference for us at night. Meeko likes to climb in my bag with me to stay warm.
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Durango was one of the funnest trips I’ve ever been on. We ate brunch at a place called Hermosa Greek Grill and our waitress had traveled the U.S. in her car. We did laundry for the first time in weeks at a mat that had booths for us to sit and read. We sat by the river and soaked in the icy blue water rushing under the many train bridges surrounded by the overwhelming yellow leaves of fall. My appreciation for the beautiful outdoors grew significantly, as well as my appreciation of the simple things like running water and a washer and dryer.
On our last day in Durango I finished the journal I had been writing in. “I wonder who I will be at the end of my next journal?” is what I wrote. My Papa Fred also passed away on our last day in Durango. He used to love coming to Colorado to dig for crystals, pan for gold, and go camping. I think it’s good to look back on old memories and be excited to make new ones. Isn’t it strange how the universe brings you synchronicities like this? We were planning on going to Utah or New Mexico, but we got tired of being cold at night. Come back next time to hear about our magical journey into Arizona. Thanks for reading Into Nature.
4 Things Grandfathers Can Teach You
My Papa Fred called himself a “Jesus man”. He would tell us of his spiritual journeys and out of body experiences on psychedelics. He spoke to tree spirits and hitchhiking angels. And he never forgot to mention that he searched for God intentionally. He was so connected to the universe and down to earth. And he believed.
Papa rarely had a shirt on and kept his white beard long my whole life. He almost always had a beer in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth. He traveled, dug crystals, loved the beach, and would spend hours at the river relaxing. He wasn’t in any kind of rush and wasn’t making many plans. He knew how to take it easy.
Fred was known for talking to anyone and everyone. If you had nothing to say, he would talk anyway. He was full of memories and liked to tell stories. When I was going through a difficult time and people were speaking ill of me, he would tell me to forget them. He didn’t think they knew what they were talking about anyway.
I like to think about Papa Fred when I was younger. He was good to me and my cousins and he loved us. Towards the end he had several strokes and was not himself. He had dreams of traveling again but couldn’t get to it. This reminds me that we must take care of ourselves so that we can keep living and growing.