The Weminuche

5806_UteCreek_webOne of the best things about RVing is the opportunity to stay in a nice park with services one wants and needs while at the same being located in mountain paradise. This is certainly the case at Mountain Views at River’s Edge RV Resort in Creede where we spent most of our summer.

It was not unusual for us to hike for hours in solitude and be back before noon to grab groceries or to throw several loads of clothes into the wash.

Other days, we would leave the park early for a day trip’s worth of sight-seeing. Such was the case with our exploration of the area near the Weminuche Wilderness Area.

At nearly 500,000 acres, the Weminuche is the largest designated wilderness in Colorado. It is located in the San Juan Mountains and contains 213 peaks, four of which are 14ers (higher than 14,000 ft.) Another 25 peaks exceed 13,500 ft. in height.

We’d heard a lot about the Weminuche from several of our RV park neighbors. In fact, a brother-sister team with fifth-wheel trailers near us operates a guide company specializing in taking groups into this area.

We started our day by driving past the Road Canyon and Rio Grande reservoirs. We were most curious about Road Canyon as it is spoken of in near-reverent terms by many of our Texan RV park neighbors. According to these folks, one has not lived until they’ve fished the Road Canyon with Power Bait. (I’d never even heard of Power Bait, but Scott said it’s pretty much neon-colored “goop” that bait fishermen smear on their hooks to attract fish. This is, of course, blasphemy to fly fishermen.)

Perhaps it was due to runoff from local forest fires, but the Road Canyon was nowhere near what we’d pictured. The water was stagnant to the point of being off-color with algae bloom. No way would Scott put his float tube down in that! But the conditions didn’t seem to faze the Texans who were camped out in lawn chairs nearly all the way around the perimeter. One guy even suggested to Scott that if we were concerned about the fish tasting a little “muddy,” we could soak it in milk before frying it up. Um, no thank you, and now you know why we never bring home our fish but practice catch-and-release instead.

But, back to our drive.

Rio Grande Reservoir was much prettier. And it seemed the wildlife agreed as hundreds of Canadian geese had set up house at one end.

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Soon afterward we entered the parking lot for the Wilderness area. It was located in a beautiful, wide valley, and the trail was easily found.

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The first quarter-mile featured a nice plank path, then it was necessary to cross the west fork of Ute Creek. Since we didn’t plan to hike that day, we stopped here and Scott wet a line. Although unsuccessful in catching, the view was pleasant.

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We got back in the truck and continued up the road to the Lost Creek Campground. Scott checked the stream, as he always does, and I amused myself by taking photographs of wildflowers. The air was sweet and the sound of the water peaceful.

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On the way back into town, we stopped at Freemon’s, a legendary burger joint located within a quaint general store. Freemon’s was also on the Texans’ list of must-visits, and I’m sure that was in no small part due to one wall sporting a Texas map clearly showing what is now Colorado as Texan territory.

I failed to take photos as I was mesmerized with my cheeseburger, wrapped in a soft bun and dripping with onions and the grease from the grill. Not the healthiest of  meals, I know, but arteries be damned – this was GOOD food. We topped it off by sharing what was described as a “single scoop” of butter brickle ice cream that could have been dessert for a week. No complaints here, however, and I had to restrain myself from licking the Styrofoam cup it came in. We left full and happy.

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