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Colorado Tales 2012, CO
mini location map2012-07-26
70 by photographer avatarRandal_Schulhauser
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Colorado Tales 2012, CO 
Colorado Tales 2012, CO
Backpack avatar Jul 26 2012
Backpack25.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Backpack25.00 Miles5 Days         
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Colorado Tales 2012

5 days
1296 miles
65 gallons of gasoline
379 digital images
1 relatively trouble-free drive
Clean, crisp mountain air
Vintage railways
Ghost towns
Choice eats and beverages (Colorado microbreweries!)
No work distractions

The Plan => Thursday 7/26 rendezvous at the Danzl residence in Sedona AZ, truck pool, and hit the road to the Danzl Colorado Cottage along the Dolores River between Dolores CO and Stoner CO in the San Juan Mountains.

My 2012 quarterly wilderness adventures have been limited to "Anza Borrego California Tales 2012" (check out => ) and "Oregon Tales 2012" (check out => ), so with X consecutive days of 100degF Valley weather, a trek to the high country seemed in order. The Colorado Rockies would certainly satisfy that requirement, so my Coyotes' season ticket co-holder, Ralph Danzl suggested his Colorado Cottage as a base camp to escape the heat. With no definitive plans, other than our base camp, we hit the road and ended up at the following destinations;

A. Ahwatukee AZ - ground zero, home
B. Sedona AZ - rendezvous at Danzl's Bell Rock Blvd. residence
C. Kayenta AZ - stop at the local Burger King
D. Monument Valley AZ/UT - first visit for the Danzl's (check out => and ... e-map.html )
E. Bluff UT - stop for gas
F. Hovenweep Ruins UT - also "Canyon of the Ancients" including Painted Hand and Lowry Pueblo (check out => )
G. Dolores CO - base camp at Danzl Colorado Cottage off Hwy 145 on Road 37 (CR36 on map)
H. Ophir Pass CO - off-roading with side treks to Crystal Lake and Lookout Peak (check out => )
I. Silverton CO - Silverton Brewery for eats (check out => )
J. Animas Forks CO - off-roading to ghost town (check out => ... as%20Forks and )
K. Durango CO - a drive on the "Million Dollar Highway" (check out => )
L. Dolores CO - Dolores River Brewery for eats (check out => ) and base camp at Danzl Colorado Cottage
M. Dunton CO - along FR535 and West Dolores River valley trekking to Lizard Head Wilderness (check out => ... wilderness )
N. Telluride CO - Smuggler Joe's MicroBrew for eats (check out => ... mmary.aspx and )
O. Rico CO - ghost town (check out => )
P. Taylor Mesa CO - wildlife spotting along FR545
Q. Dolores CO - supplies and Galloping Goose Museum (check out => ) plus base camp at Danzl Colorado Cottage
R. Mesa Verde CO - for future reference (check out => )
S. Tuba City AZ - pit stop on the road home
T. Sedona AZ - collect my wheels at the Danzl residence
U. Ahwatukee AZ - home again...

DAY 1 - Thursday 7/26
Ahwatukee AZ to Sedona AZ
129 miles
2 hrs 19 min 1-way per Google Maps

Rendezvous at the Danzl residence off Bell Rock Blvd and hit the road early morning for the Colorado mountains....

DAY 2 - Friday 7/27
Sedona AZ to Dolores CO via Monument Valley and Hovenweep Ruins
341 miles
7 hrs 17 min per Google Maps

On the road to Danzl's Colorado Cottage along the Dolores River between Dolores CO and Stoner CO with stops at Monument Valley and Hovenweep Ruins. Exited Monument Valley just as a deluge hit. With a side trip into uncharted territory (that would be Hovenweep UT, check out => ), we discover "Canyon of the Ancients" and signage for some vaguely familiar ruins (Cutthroat Castle, Painted Hand Pueblo, Lowry Pueblo, etc). I'm filing this for a future trek (check out => ... rMap-2.pdf and ). Our plans to pick up supplies in Dolores CO are thwarted by the time zone change as we arrive into town at 8pm local time only to discover all the grocery stores closed! Good thing we have some ground beef in the cooler and we're able to pick-up some buns at the local gas station. We arrive at the Danzl Cottage in a light rain. Ralph gets the water turned on while Brian and I get the old-school BBQ fired up with briquettes and mesquite chips. Burgs and beverages to put a bookend on the day...

DAY 3 - Saturday 7/28
Dolores CO to Ophir Pass to Animas Forks and Durango CO return
188 miles
5 hrs 21 min per Google Maps

Into the really high country with side treks to Crystal Lake and Lookout Peak near the crest of Ophir Pass. On to Silverton where we caught the narrow gauge railroad (check out => ) waiting to take on passengers. 4WD trekking up to Animas Forks checking out all the mining relics and ghost towns along the way. I regret not climbing up to higher vantage to snap an image of the entire Animas Forks ghost town complex - next time! Refreshments at the Silverton Brewery and off along the Million Dollar Highway to Durango CO. In Durango, we pick up steaks, fresh picked corn-on-the-cob, mushrooms, onions, etc. for an evening feast back at Danzl Cottage. Interesting light show back at the cottage as a summer monsoon rumbles through the Dolores Valley...

DAY 4 - Sunday 7/29
Dolores CO to Lizard Head Wilderness to Telluride CO to Taylor Mesa return
153 miles
4 hrs 53 min per Google Maps

More high country trekking checking out beaver dams along FR535 and the West Dolores River plus a leg stretcher into the Lizard Head Wilderness. Refreshments at Telluride Brewing Company and Smuggler Joes' Brew Pub in Telluride. Up to the Bridal Falls overlook and on the road towards Rico ghost town and primo wildlife spotting on Taylor Mesa. Plenty of elk and deer spotted. No bears - disappointment since Ralph indicated he's seen bear here every time he's visited. Back at Danzl Cottage for another summer monsoon light show and time to fire up the BBQ for some choice tube steaks...

DAY 5 - Monday 7/30
Dolores CO to Mesa Verde CO to Tuba City AZ to Sedona AZ to Ahwatukee AZ
461 miles
8 hrs, 21 min per Google Maps

A chance to check out the Galloping Goose and Dolores River Brewing Company before hitting road for home. Conversation along the road included setting a time for a return visit with fall colours being the choice excuse. Maybe a last week in September, first week in October future trek (check out => ) may be in the cards...

And that's my Colorado Tale 2012!
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