Time to head east. The normal route east across Colorado is Highway 70 - but it's had some major mudslides and is closed. Highway 50, going east out of Montrose also had some mudslides and is closed during weekdays. They have it open on weekends, so we decided to stay at Heath and Alyssa's one more night and leave on Saturday. Don and Kim recommended a side road over the Cottonwood Pass. We follow their advice whenever possible, so here we go.
A drive over a stunning 12,000 foot mountain pass, camping in a beautiful national forest campground with a nice walk along a creek and a real wood campfire. Then finish it off with a soak in a natural mountain hot springs. That was our last 24 hours
|Jim was very happy with the ease at which our Roadtrek climed this pass|
|This is the Collegiate Peaks national forest campground. We snagged one of the last spots.|
|It was cool enough to have a fire. Where are the marshmallows?|
Collegiate Peaks and Chris' history
This is an area in the Colorado Rocky mountains where there are several mountains, including Mt. Harvard and Mt. Yale, that are over 14,000 feet. Too bad none of them can call themselves the highest point in the continental US because that honor goes to Mt. Whitney in California at 14,495. A looooong time ago, when I (Chris) was a hippie hiker/backpacker I climbed the mountaineer route to the top of Mt. Whitney with my boyfriend, Bob. One summer we also took a trip thru Colorado and did some backpacking in the Collegiate peaks area. I can't remember exactly where, but I found this photo of me on the balcony of a cabin in these mountains. It had a sign in the window to the effect that backpackers were welcome to use the cabin rather than pitch a tent. Cool.
We found a hot springs! Just down the road from our campground. Cottonwood Hot Springs They had several pools, ranging in temperature from 98 to 106 - that's hot! They also promoted the fact that these hot springs were not sulphur, that means they don't stink! They are mineral - mostly Lithium.