Springs & Sanity.
As we pulled into Pagosa Pines Campground we didn’t know what to expect. It was really hard trying to get information online as we searched for a reasonably priced campground near the town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Most seemed overpriced to us but then we stumbled upon a review for Pagosa Pines, while most were bad, the top read, “new owners, very friendly, lots of improvements, reasonably priced.” We decided to give it a shot and we were elated with our choice. The park is in the process of upgrading and the new owners were great! They helped us with everything from getting settled in to suggestions of things to do in town. We even had a great conversation about travel and other places to visit. We loved the campground, while small it offers a very relaxing and secluded feeling while being just a mile from downtown shops and local establishments.
Our first night there after long hot showers we headed to a restaurant called Kip’s, recommended by our wonderful campground owners. We dined on street tacos that were rather tasty and sipped margaritas on the covered patio. The atmosphere was pretty great, as was the service. We’d recommend the fish tacos if you ever have a chance to visit. We headed back to the camper after feasting knowing we had a big hike ahead of us the next day to Rainbow Hot Springs in the Rio Grande National Forest.
We had been pretty pumped about the hot springs hike for awhile, not only because we had seen pictures of this magical hot spring on the banks of the San Juan River, but because we had the opportunity to do an instagram “takeover” for our Alma mater, South Dakota State University. The takeover gave us the opportunity to broadcast our trip to a much bigger audience. We headed out early knowing that the 10 mile round trip wouldn’t be easy. We had also read some reviews stating that the trail had not been cleared from a wind storm the previous winter and many trees were down blocking the path. Those reviews were correct. We navigated our way under, over, around, and through roughly 200 downed trees. After cutting our legs up and stubbing our toes 100 times we finally found our way to the hot spring, making our difficult hike, very much worth it. It’s hard to describe the beauty and relaxation we felt soaking on the side of the river so we will just show some pictures instead. A picture is worth 1000 words! Right!?
After enjoying Pagosa Springs we headed west for Durango, having all our cleanliness needs taken care of we found a beautiful little boon-docking spot about 7 miles from downtown Durango. For those of you that aren’t familiar with what “Boon-docking” is, it’s a type of primitive camping where you can set up your camper on any public land for free. You just have to make sure you have enough water packed and have a source of electricity, we have a generator. We had two big pines for shade and a level spot on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, where we camped for free. We really enjoyed exploring Durango the following days, it’s a really outdoorsy town and the collection of people range from outdoor adventurer to retired school teacher. We did a really cool hike up Animas Mountain that gave us 360 degree views of the town below, unfortunately we picked a very warm day for the hike and there tends to be no water toward the top of mountains. Luckily we found Steamworks Brewing shortly after and we were able to quench our dying thirst.
One of our favorite parts of Durango was “Taste of Durango.” We kind of lucked into it because we had no idea that would be going on while we were there. “Taste” as the locales call it, is a kick off celebration for summer. The Main Street gets closed off and all the local business’s set up tents with beer and food for people to sample while walking the street. They also have bands playing, games for kids, and street performances. Ross was lucky enough to be part of the Unicycle street performance, he got selected out of the crowd involuntarily to hold the 10ft unicycle as the performer climbed up. There is no doubt it couldn’t have been executed better and the show would not have gone on without his part!
Our last day in Durango we took some time for ourselves, while living in a camper together has been great, there is still a need to do things independently every once in awhile to keep our sanity. Tara took in a yoga class at Yoga Durango and got sushi with Olive in the park after. Ross played 18 holes of golf at Hillcrest Golf Club with his new friends, Russ and Steve, who had recently retired from teaching. We both very much enjoyed the time doing activities we love.
We said goodbye to Durango and Colorado the following day. Packed up the R-Pod and hit the dusty red dirt road toward New Mexico. New Mexico will bring more hot springs, National Forests, and even some backpacking, and who's to say a little more golf and even some yoga won’t work their way into the plans!
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