I got up @ 315am local time because of the expected two hour drive to the Bisti Badlands and arrived pretty much just when I wanted; it was still dark and ready to get on with trying to find the Egg Factory, which was my first goal here. Luckily, I had already inserted the GPS coordinates for several locations at home so all I had to do was look it up and punch Go To and I was on my way. Unfortunately, I had lost a lot of valuable time with a slight call of nature so when I got all the gear together, it was already getting a bit light out. I followed the GPS and the notes I had researched and managed to get some interesting shots just as the sun began to kiss some of the unusual formations I had run across having not reached the eggs yet; I was luckily there were some interesting formations nearby when it happened. I also went to the left of a small black hill with small bright red stones that was really interesting, but I ventured on. When I seemed to be getting close, I did see a lot of small hoodoos over a pretty large area, but felt it wasn’t’ the eggs, so I looked around another small rise toward the south and there they were!!! I found them on the first try, when I’ve read that many people can’t seem the find them on several attempts. But I lucked out, although the sun had already hit them, so the shots were not what I had wanted, there were no clouds for any color in the sky, but nonetheless, interesting. I stayed longer than I should have and headed back knowing I had a long drive to Aspen, but on the way back, I found a small spot that was super; it was what I called the Little Wings and I think if I get back there like I hope later in the trip, it will be great just as the sun hits them and then I can get on over to the eggs again before the sun hits them. I also stopped at the little black hill with red stones, and most of it was in sunlight now, but took a few shots anyway. Finally got back to the car, sweating but happy….4 miles of hiking round trip.
While at the car packing up my gear, I also set up the car for sleeping, putting things in some kind of order and trying to create a space for the sleeping bag with all this stuff!!! So, I spent quite a while doing that before I finally headed out for Aspen going through Durango and over the Million Dollar Highway and then on through McClure Pass. While I was in Farmington, my wife called and said she could follow exactly where I was with my phone, telling me I was coming up to a Sonic, and sure enough, there it was!! That simply amazed me.
Route 550 between Durango and Ouray is simply awesome. The aspens were at peak, whereas the last time I was through the area, most of the leaves were gone except the lower elevations and the sun was shining with a few puffy clouds that created moving shadows on the mountains…just spectacular. I really wanted to stop so many times to do some photography, but I managed to limit it to one spot, telling myself that there will be plenty of time once I get to Aspen and I’ll take my time each day thereafter. As it was, I would be lucky to get to the campground before nightfall and did just get in a view of the famous Maroon Bells and lake in the fading light.
It was a very varied day, hiking in a flat desolate wilderness of rock, to mountains and valleys filled with sunlit golden aspens. The only way it might have been better was if there were snow on the peaks. But usually the way you get that is if it is raining in the valleys, which is what happened most of my last trip, very little sunshine.
I did pretty good on the number of photos, probably only about 60 shots, but I did take quite a few with the iPhone which I hope to post tomorrow if I find some service in town.