Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This picture could have been taken on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday... the daily afternoon drenching. Finally today, our last day in Westcliffe, it looks as though we will have a dry evening and a nice sunset.

As we had heard, Westcliffe is a beautiful spot, with sweeping vistas in all directions. For me, the week was somewhat of a disappointment (other than Bishop's Castle). The soaring Sangre de Cristo mountains are impossible to penetrate by car; the single road in this area that crosses that high range is a 4 wheel drive road.

There are many trails into the high country, but the wild weather precluded any ambitious hikes. As the woman at the visitor's center said, plan to be out of the mountains by 2 pm if you don't want to get caught in rain or worse.

The afternoon thunderstorms are intense. Lightening all around, and HAIL. On Sunday afternoon, while I talked with my friend Becky on the phone, the hail got so big and noisy I finally had to hang up because I couldn't hear her any longer. It was like being inside a popcorn popper! That was the storm that shredded our slide topper awning.

Hikes were confined to morning hours. We visited two different trailheads for the Rainbow Trail, a 100 miles trail partway up the eastern flank of the Sangres. The hikes were lovely... but I had hoped we would be able to peek into some of the high-country valleys or lunch beside an alpine lake. Not to be, at least not this week.

After our hike this morning (this photo), we came home and ran through the "pre-departure routine". Odel dumped the tanks and checked the tire pressures; I vacuumed and dusted. Tomorrow we plan to get an early start, heading back to Buena Vista for four days. There are still hikes in that area that we'd like to explore, and it will keep us off the road over Labor Day weekend.

Now, I'm heading out to enjoy a good book in this rare afternoon sunshine.

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