New Mexico / Colorado Adventure

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Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Howdy Y'all,

We wanted to share our adventure we just did a couple of weeks back from Texas through New Mexico and parts of Colorado. We had a great time, explored some amazing portions of our national forests, and put the rig to the test on some of the trails especially in Colorado. I have included screenshots from our map software (GAIA GPS). We did a lot of pre-trip planning with this software and it really paid off. It was an excellent tool to use out on the trail and helped record some of the tracks we ventured down we didn't plan to. Hope you enjoy the read. I have lots of gopro footage I am trying to edit through and get uploaded to Youtube to share at a later time.

We started out leaving Central Texas headed for our first stop just North East of Cloud Croft, NM.

Day 1:

First fuel stop in Brady,TX
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Our yellow Lab “Panga”
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Just outside Cloud Croft and ready to turn down Forest Road 5583
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Excited to be finally in the forest and bit of dirt already on the truck, we stopped to take a few photos, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery.
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We had a pre-planned camp site routed via Satellite imagery and mapping via the GAIA GPS software. I’ve included a map point for anybody who wants to check this out. It was a great spot. This area of NM has had a good amount of snow/rain so it was very green. We camped at the second marker on the map below. First one was good too.

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Campsite photos. Decently open. Would have been a little concerned if rain was in the forecast since we were at the base of a good sized hill, but forecast was clear for the area for several days:

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Next morning, packed up and ready to head north above Santa Fe. We had routed to continue down Forest Road 5583D, however we discovered private property with a locked gate so we were forced to turn around and head back to FR5583. We had some fun along the way and I cleared a fallen tree on the trail. A few folks on side by sides drove past us and thanked us for clearing the tree. Apparently it had been there for several months and nobody bothered bringing a chainsaw to cut it up.

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Couple of shots on our way north. Always love New Mexico how it can go from flats, to mountains to desert and back to mountains all within a couple of hours driving.
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Next post, 2nd campsite and some photos from it.
 

Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 2: 2nd Campsite northeast of Santa Fe in the Santa Fe National Forrest.

Below is a snip of the map on how to get here. I can’t recall the name of the campground (its different than what shows on the NFS 2016 Map) but it is off FR 306 so just look for that on your maps. I also marked on the map where we camped. The next morning on our way out I recorded our track getting out. As you’ll see I got a little off course and turned around, but it does continue out back to 306. I believe this area had a large fire years ago. Plenty of signs of burned trees so the FS is allowing with a permit for people to cut trees. There was a family cutting trees the morning we drove out. This loop was more or less a logging road but it was still fun to travel and had some good terrain. No photos of the drive out but I do have video footage I’m putting together which I will post later. This is a good site for multiple vehicles.

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We had a great view from our site. Nice and open to the east/southeast.
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Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 3: Traveled to Taos, NM (a place we hope to call home soon) and then on to Cisneros Park which is off US HWY 64 & FR 133. Below are shots of the map and our route. I’ve marked where we ended up camping. Our original place we wanted to camp was too close to a hunter’s camp which was a real bummer b/c we found this place last year, but we kept on going down the trail and found a nice place tucked away.

Start of FR133 down in the left hand corner; we traveled up the trail and off the screenshot. The route that comes to a T and travels south was how we got back to US HWY 64
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Here is the continuation of the trail from the T intersection in the above photo. We veered off to what looked like a promising trail (FR 133F) but found a very large aspen over the trail (marked on the map). I could have spent the time cutting the tree, but it would have dulled my chain in the process and taken a long time to cut with a 20” blade so we chose to turn around. I have video of this tree I will share later.
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Continuation of the trail to our campsite. We veered off to FR 133E and climbed up. To our East / Southeast was a beautiful open meadow while we were tucked up under some trees. We had an unwanted visitor at our camp this night. More on that below in the photo’s.
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Start of FR133.
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Climbing up FR133E. Took the opportunity to mount my driver’s tire on a large boulder which made for a cool photo.
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Here is a photo of the unwanted guest. Western Diamond Back less than 10' away from our fire ring. He must have moved up due to the heat of the fire as I had previously scouted the area specifically looking for snakes before it was dark. We unfortunately had a previous dog bit in the face by a rattle snake which is why I specifically look around for them before we setup camp. Our lab (Panga) jumped back like a kangaroo after nearly walking right into it; Thankfully she came trotting up to us scared from the rattle sound. I don't auto-pilot to killing a poisonous snake when we encounter them, but this one was too close for comfort. We've had multiple encounters with rattle snakes over the years which is why I run the Texas Parks and Wildlife license plate with the snake on it as a reminder of those experiences. This is another one to add to the list. I am also adding a snake catching tool to our gear for next time. This was if its safe, I'll re-locate the snake well beyond our camp.
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Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 4: Traveled up through Pagosa Springs, onward to Durango and up to FR 578 which is off of the road that leads you through Purgatory Ski Resort.

Here is the entire route we traveled and camped. It was a fantastic trail. Lots of switch backs and amazing views. We ended up camping at a lake close to the summit of the trail.
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Here is a zoomed in portion of the trail to show the switch backs.
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Photos from the trail:
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Pulling up to the Graysill Mines. It was interesting to read that these miners were not looking for gold or silver.
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Pulling up to our campsite to check things out. This was a beautiful spot.
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Onto the views. They were amazing and made this trail worth every minute of it.
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End of the trail. Time to air back up.
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Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 5: Travel through Telluride, Ouray & onward to Silverton, CO.

The plan was to go through Black Bear Pass or Imogene Pass, but while checking trail conditions when re-fueling we found that Black Bear Pass was closed as well as Imogene Pass. We confirmed this with a few locals at the gas station as well so we Re-routed to Silverton, CO. A little bummed as we’d done our research and prepared the rig to traverse these trails, we enjoyed the day. We took the opportunity in Telluride to stock up on ice, have lunch and pick up some local brews. We then traveled through Ouray and really enjoyed driving the mountain roads leading to and out of the town.

Once we got out of Ouray headed towards Silverton, we detoured down off of Hwy 550 to County Road 585 to check out a potential campsite up at Crystal Lake. As we descended into the valley we noticed smoke which was clearly from a fire somewhere. We just hoped it was a control burn (which is was). Unfortunately due to the heavy smoke even up at Crystal Lake, the air wasn’t good to breathe and at the time not knowing if this was an active forest fire or not; we decided to continue on to Silverton and stay somewhere near the town. It was still an amazing trek up to the lake with lots of switch backs and steep terrain. Getting through all that terrain was awesome to be rewarded with such a beautiful view. We certainly understood why it was called Crystal Lake. I just wished we had brought our paddle boards to truly enjoy the beauty of that place and of course no smoke in the air. It’s certainly on our top priority to revisit next summer.

Onto the pictures:

As you can see from this hazy photo’s, there was a lot of smoke in the air. We wanted to spend much more time up there (even camp), but it was not a good idea, but this place was so beautiful.
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Aired back up back down on County Road 585. Ready to finish our drive to Silverton. The smoke was getting pretty bad here as well which you can kind of see in the photo’s.
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I have more photos from Silverton on my gopro’s I will add in later...
 

Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 6: Travel up Stoney pass onward to Kite Lake.

This was an amazing day on the trails. We left Silverton and headed out on the trail. We budgeted the entire day to travel this trail with intentions of camping up at the lake. We always check our weather forecasts, speak with locals when we can and prepare for conditions before we head out. Unfortunately the weather forecast was predicting thunderstorms throughout the day so we prepared to trek back down if we didn’t feel it was safe to stay up at the lake which was roughly at 12,000+ in elevation. Below are shots from our recorded track. Purple indicates our trek as we left Silverton onward through the pass. Red was our way back down. We also had an alternative campsite which I indicated on the map, but the weather was just too unstable so we ended back in Silverton at the same cabin.

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Pictures from the trail:
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Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 7: Silverton, CO to Pagosa Springs, CO.

It was time to start heading back South so we got up early, loaded up and began driving. We stopped for lunch at a local brewery in Pagosa Springs and were able to get our growler filled before heading west to a campsite off FR 648. It was right next to the San Juan River so the scenery was beautiful and the sound of the river flowing was very relaxing. Our dogs enjoyed getting into the water even though it was pretty cold. We also enjoyed time down by the water sipping on the craft brew we picked up earlier in the day.

This site did have some signs of bears. We found some black hair around the trees that they had been clawing up to get to the sap. We kept the dogs on leashes just to be safe and built a larger than normal fire once it began to get dark. We also called it an early night. We think a bear came close to the camp in the middle of the night. The dogs got spooked inside the RTT which woke me up. While I heard something walking, I couldn't verify it was dear or a bear. Either way, all was safe and when we got out of the tent the next morning we didn't see any clear indications. We always ensure all food or things that might attract a hungry bear are secured inside the cab of the truck. All in all this was a nice site and would certainly revisit it.

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View from up the Forrest Road of the river.
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BEER BRATS simmering in what else? Yep, beer. They were GOOOOOOD.
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Took a photo of my new @CaliRaisedLed Light Bar. It has been a fantastic upgrade to the rig. I decided to install it differently than most and mounted it at the top of the Prinsu wind deflector. No noticeable wind noise in case anybody was wondering.
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Next morning.
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Fire drowned out and ready to leave.
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Webberlander

Rank 0

Traveler I

Day 8: Last day before heading home. Carson National Forest - FR 442 (South of Taos, NM)

We traveled south back into New Mexico and through Taos. We stopped for fuel and headed out of town to a forest road we have traveled before. Its in a nice clearing pretty deep into the forest. Below is the map with our recorded track.
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Couple of photos from the site:
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Our other dog, Primus was after a rodent he saw/smelled. He is a digger.
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Pups were definitely low on energy at this point in the trip and slept pretty hard on the way home. Panga loves to use the cargo net to help prop up her head while she sleeps. Primus always uses a pillow to rest on.

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JButtress

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Great trip report and photos! I'd be very interested in the files if you dont mind. I'm looking at doing a trip to NM & CO potentially next September and am in the early planning stages

@Graham1298 @Sasquatch SC
 
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Webberlander

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Traveler I

Great trip report and photos! I'd be very interested in the files if you dont mind. I'm looking at doing a trip to NM & CO potentially next September and am in the early planning stages

@Graham1298 @Sasquatch SC
Be more than happy to send them to you! Let me know how you'd like me to send them. Probably email will be best? Let me know your email (PM) and i'll get them to you ASAP.
 
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