Day 12 – 10/5/14 Sunday


What a day! I spent about 7 hours in the Bisti Wilderness beginning around 540am and ended up in the San Juan Mountains, going from flat, featureless desert with 50 mile views to the mountains, where at times the views are no less spectacular. From the dry, suck every ounce of moisture from your body, to the lush hillsides of firs and aspens and the headwaters of the Rio Grande River.
After all the hiking yesterday, about 8-9 miles, I ventured out again in the dark to see more of the Bisti. As I approached the Little Wings, I saw two headlamps; it was the two guys who gave me a beer yesterday! We took pictures at that spot and at the eggs; they were using reflectors to fill the light on the rocks and later showed me another “amphitheater ” just beyond the eggs still on the right hand side, with loads of hoodoos and some petrified logs, some about 20-30 feet long. Luckily, a lot of it was still in shade and I seemed to want to take a picture every step. After awhile when I figured I was done there and beginning to head out, at the last moment I decided to take a closer look of the long petrified log. As I looked around the back side of the log, what I found on the was amazing. All different colored lichens, some golden orange or gray, formed into interesting shapes. Luckily, that side was still in shadow and I was able to get some interesting abstract shots, if they were in sunlight, I might have been forced to stay another day; not that I would mind, but my legs were definitely much more tired today after all I hiked yesterday.
Finally headed back to the car, taking a few shots along the way and after a brief rest by the tailgate, I headed off toward South Fork, CO. I stopped in Farmington, NM for a McDonald’s lunch and spoke with Orah and Brian and used their Wi-Fi to finally publish the last few posts, but I’ll have to add pictures later.
The drive from Pagosa Springs, over Wolf Creek Pass to South Fork is really beautiful. There is a viewpoint where you look over the whole valley from a perch that drops straight down close to 1000 feet down. Then there was the Rio Grande Reservoir I investigated and found it to be a nice place with almost an entire hillside above it side lit with bare aspens except for a few bright gold leftovers here and there. As I left, I was saying to myself I have yet to come across an aspen grove that is densely packed and I think I found a possible candidate taking several shots along the roadside along with a few longer exposures of the Rio Grande River.
I finally pulled into South Fork in the dark around 7pm and found it to be sparsely populated and not too many choices for a hotel. I need one to recharge every electronic gadget I brought along, especially a battery for the camera. Speaking of which, my remote trigger no longer works on the camera since the connection inside the camera itself has been pushed into the camera body, so now I’ve been using the 2-second delay to trip the shutter.
Another problem is I have to get my watch fixed; the spring loaded pin to hold the band to the watch broke and the watch simply came off and fell to the ground. Luckily it did not fall into one of Bisti ravines or it may have been lost forever. I took a real shower tonight, not the 2-3 minute version from a few days ago.
Tonight I feel exhausted after all the hiking over the last 48 hours, driving and the lack of sleep. I will try to sleep in tomorrow, even though it shouldn’t be raining. I would normally save the hotel stays for the bad weather, but I think 11days is enough.
Tomorrow, I’ll head along the Silver Thread Highway from South Fork north to Lake City with some side trips off it including North Clear Creek Falls. Probably take a few days and then either start heading toward Utah or a possible revisit to Kebler Pass since the leaves had not changed much when I first went through. Decisions, decisions.


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