Ashley’s house was right downtown Durango. She had already gone to work by the time I woke up. I washed up and headed downtown to a little coffee shop for a croissant and coffee. I loved Durango! It’s got a really cool hippie vibe to it and is surrounded by lush green -forested mountains. I did a little shopping and took some pictures and then headed to the coffee-making facility where Ashley works to say my Thanks and Goodbyes. She gave me a little tour on how the beans are roasted and gave me a bag of coffee to take home. Ashley was really a nice host and I enjoyed hanging out with her and her friends. I got on the road and headed to Mesa Verde.
Mesa Verde is about 20 miles from the New Mexico border, 40 miles to the Arizona border and about 30 miles to the Utah border. I still haven’t set foot in those states and thinking back, I suppose I should have, just to say I’ve been there. The scenery and climate zone is completely different than the Durango area. It becomes what they call “high mountain desert” in that region. The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde were very interesting. It was a long drive up to the top of the mesa with beautiful views of the Rockies. It was getting late and I still wanted to try to see wild horses before dark, so I headed down and got on the road again after seeing a couple of the dwellings.
I got to Dove Creek around 5:00 and took a wrong road out into the middle of nowhere before finding some people and getting perfect directions into the BLM wild horse management area. It was miles and miles into the most remote wilderness! There is no cell phone signal and no other human beings around for miles. The horses live in a very harsh desert environment. It’s supposed to be travelled in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and I was in my little rental car. The people had told me if it looks like rain coming to get out of there cause the gullies would fill and I would fishtail on the mud. It was scary driving out there. I was afraid of getting stuck or having a flat tire. It would be impossible to walk to help. Help would be 40 miles away. Before heading into the wilderness area, I texted my mom and a friend to tell them where I was and if they didn’t hear from me by the next day to send a search party after me. I used common sense and I was very careful and slow. The horses were exactly where the people had told me they would be! I saw 2 bands of horses each with their own stallion and 2 foals! I only saw 11 horses and they say there is 35 – 60 in that area, but I was thrilled with that! I stayed and took pictures until the storm started to get too close and I came to a gully that was about 8 ft deep and then I turned around and got out of there just before dark. I wanted to see Telluride and stay the night there. I ended up taking roads through the National Forrest instead of taking the main road thinking it would save me time, but it only added time and took me twice as long to get there than I had planned.
I got into Telluride at 11:00 pm exhausted from a long day and went straight to a bar with live music. The bar was a lot of fun. The band was really good. A girl who was dancing came up to me and invited me to join her group of friends. We danced and closed that bar and then walked down the street to another bar, staying there until closing time. It was cold out now. I was back in the lush mountains. I found my way a couple blocks through town to the campground where I stayed for the night. When I got there I lied on the picnic table for a minute with eyes closed. When I opened my eyes, I saw stars like I have never seen in my life! I tried taking pictures but of course they didn’t come out. It was 3:00AM. I slept in my car and woke up twice to run the heater for a few minutes.