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The (Colorado Camping/Hiking) Hostess with the Mostest

It was time to get reacquainted with Ouray CO and Mark and Bobbie at Box Canyon Blog. I left the 9000-foot-high lava plateau (Springerville, AZ) this morning when it was still dawnlike and dew-soaked. It just didn't seem right to have been sleeping at night with a skull cap on -- in the middle of summer! I just left it on when I took off driving. 

What a surprise it was to see clear sunny on the way to Ouray. I'd forgotten how dessicated the Four Corners is. The lowest and hottest spot on a trip in the West is the river crossing, the San Juan River in this case. I crossed at the town of Shiprock, named after the famous volcanic throat, nearby:

To my eye, Shiprock is better looking than the over-photographed Monument Valley. From my "geology,rocks" Picasa album.

The San Juan River doesn't even earn a 5 handle there (a mere 4900 feet).  I got out for lunch break and was reminded of what Dry Heat can be. How quickly a camper can get out of shape if he camps high in May and June, when he would otherwise develop a resistance to it. 

Driving across a bridge over the San Juan River, I looked down upon a small collection of cottonwoods, widely dispersed on an unpaved, dusty floodplain. At no other time, and from no other angle, would this have made such a big impression on me. Each cottonwood had a lunch-hour-automobile sucking shade out of it -- sucking it dry, just as cottonwoods do to the San Juan River, and the river does to southwestern Colorado. The cottonwood/car pairs seemed so important and earnest. They adumbrated the afternoon buildup of puffy cumulus clouds, just starting to happen. Each cluster, sky-born or earth-bound, was fine and noble.

The dogs were panting again. They too were out of shape. I instantly became cautious about how I parked the van. The glory of suffering in Dry Heat was all coming back to me, except that it wasn't so dry by Southwestern standards. It all seemed so natural and healthy. I was starting to feel morally redeemed after "flunking" early summer by camping at 9000 feet.

In a couple hours I was in Ouray CO. Mark had done a wonderful job finding camping spaces in town for his several visitors. He even found a place for ol' Boonie to boondock within walking distance of downtown. You must realize that this town isn't made for free camping, so he is really using his imagination.

We went up a gravel road with 6-wheel-drive turned on -- my 2 and his 4! One of his visitors, John, gave us a hand backing my trailer into its private site. Remarkably the trailer did not get damaged. This was the most impossible campsite that I've ever bagged. And what a location! You will have to go to Box Canyon Blog to see Ouray photographs; why should I try to compete against Mark's photography.


There was a point when I thought gravity was going to defeat us... that was a daredevil boondock, with a chasm lying in wait. There is such a fine line between success and failure... life and death. :))
We won... this time. Enjoy your 4 bars of Verizon and perfect views, and, "your welcome."
Box Canyon Mark
Mark, if only the ol' Kodger could have seen this display of Teamwork. He would have been envious.