From 100 degrees at Death Valley to 0 degrees at Lake Pueblo State Park. A lot can happen in three weeks.
After leaving the Great Sand Dunes I headed east and slightly south to Trinidad Lake State Park in Colorado, 12 miles above the New Mexico border.
There are two campgrounds here. Carpios Ridge, which has 62 electric sites, and South Shore, which has 10 primitive sites.
Even the sign looks primitive. But there are nice spots there, especially number 110.
Those are not low clouds in the middle of the photo. That is snow on the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, on the other side of which is a big pile of sand.
The lake was low awaiting snow melt which will be less than normal this year.
I liked the view from site 52 at Carpios Ridge.
There are two ways to get to my next stop at Lathrop State Park. 50 miles up Interstate 25 or 75 miles on my personal scenic byway.
Yep, the Centennial State has finally recognized me with my own byway. I assume the pluralization is giving credit to my camera as well. I was feeling rather jaunty as I approached the 10,000 foot summit of Cuchara Pass.
Well, almost 10,000 feet. I will have to have that sign changed. It's my byway after all.
I headed down and arrived at Lathrop, my State Park.
Colorado keeps on giving me stuff. Cool.
Lathrop was the first State Park created in Colorado. It has everything you could want for a weekend or a weeks stay.
I set up my office and then, since it was a little windy, found a sweet little hideout with the necessities close at hand.
Lathrop has nice campsites,
Two lakes, Martin and Horseshoe,
And a boat ramp on each.
It also has the only golf course in any Colorado State Park.
Unfortunately, I had neither boat, nor fishing tackle, nor golf clubs with me so I headed north after two nights and drove 60 miles up I25 to Lake Pueblo State Park located in, ironically, Pueblo, Colorado.
The State that keeps on giving. I arrived on Monday and immediately made lunch. Tacos!
This is a big campground with about 400 sites. It's the most popular water sports area in Colorado, located 60 miles south of Colorado Springs and 150 miles south of the Denver Metro area. The lake is 11 miles long and has over 50 miles of shoreline depending on the water level. It was created by a massive dam on the Arkansas River, 10,500 feet long and 200 feet high. It was also basically empty. I wondered why.
My neighbors pulled out Monday afternoon leaving just one trailer in my section of the campground which comprised over 200 sites. I turned on my radio and heard them yapping about Winter Storm Walinda or Wonka or something. It was 75 degrees and sunny and also springtime so I figured it was just a repeat. Sequestration or something. I was wrong. The sunset looked weird.
The snow stopped advancing south about 25 miles north of me the next day but that was almost worse. The clear skies helped drop the temperature from a high of 75 to a high of 25. I spent the day in my car burning half a tank of gas to keep the heater on. The funniest part was that the condensation coming out of my car's tailpipe would hit the ground and freeze, making a nice block of ice. Tuesday night the temperature dropped to around 10 degrees with 20 mph winds. Well below zero factoring in the windchill. I would have taken photos but my camera batteries had drained in the cold.
Wednesday morning there was 1/4 inch of ice inside the trailer windows from my exhalations freezing. It warmed up to around 33 degrees by noon so I walked some of the campground. My eyes were watering and my fingers numb even with gloves on. Enough. I crawled into bed at 3pm and ate 6 crunchy granola bars because all my other food was frozen solid. Even the water bottles in my car! But at least it wasn't raining...
Thursday morning I finished up the campground photos. The temperature hit 60 by the afternoon.
As I said, this is a big park. There are two marinas. One on the South Shore and one on the North.
As I was lining up the photo for the North Shore Marina a rabbit came racing across the boat ramp towards me. I captured his cotton tail in the lower right.
Here are some pics of the almost two mile long dam.
And some of the lake.
Looks like my friend Danny already has his site reserved.
Out of the 400 campsites I photographed here, 3 were occupied. One by me, one by a family in a large trailer, and one by a fool in a tent. Which would have been me except for my friend Glenn's generosity in lending me his trailer.
The weather looks good for the coming weekend as I continue heading north. At least that is what the forecasters say. And how often are they accurate?
I came across this quote recently that I send along to my nephew Jake:
"We must stay open to the idea that there are wonderful things. Things that can amaze us and shape us. And we do not have to find them. But we do have to get up and go out there, where they can find us."
Regards, Park Ranger