Greetings from beautiful Cayton State Park in Colorado. As you probably recall, we left Durango earlier than scheduled after discovering this beautiful state park on our return trip along the San Juan Scenic By-Way on our way back to Durango for that horrible drive through Ouray earlier in the month.
We were pretty excited about staying in this park because it was off the beaten path, not planned and a gorgeous setting discovered as a fluke when trying to find a nice place to have a picnic lunch while exploring this part of Colorado.
We left Durango relatively early Tuesday morning, allowing for the Fourth of July weekend traffic to have done their thing and found this a sound decision as traffic was light along the route. We are so fortunate that these mountain routes allow for that third passing lane because boy, those high mountain passes definitely tax the coach as we continue to climb higher and higher. We left Durango at 6512’ elevation and ended up at the state park at 8823’ in elevation – and boy did we ever feel it!
Fortunately, we managed to get the very spot we explored when we had been by the park a few weeks earlier and got ourselves all situated – we were at the foot of the mountains and adjacent to the stream running right next to the RV. Jerry got everything all set up outside while I did the inside organization before we met each other outside to enjoy sitting at the picnic bench listening the stream right next to us. It was wonderful; no cars, no noises, nothing but nature!
The park was named after James Cayton, a ranger at Montezuma National Forest (now the San Juan National Forest) from 1920-1937 working in Rico, CO (approximately 9 miles south of Cayton State Park). The park was dedicated to Ranger Cayton in 1968 for his dedicated service. There was an interesting sign telling of the Cayton’s life when he was first hired as a forester in 1903 and then in 1906 was promoted to ranger working for $60 a month and had to supply their own horses, supplies and saddles. The life of a ranger was extremely rugged working in the mountains, putting up fences, warding off poachers. Ranger Cayton was known for his integrity and diplomacy with working with ranchers and the general public.
Our game plan had been to drive up to Telluride on Wednesday and see Bridal Veil Falls, the ski resort, see if we’d run into either Oprah, Tom Cruise or any of the other celebrities that own homes up there. But the plans were thwarted by an unpredicted rain and thunder storm. Neither one of us felt like driving up through Lizard’s Head Pass at 11,000’ in the rain and stormy weather so we just hung out around the coach. We had no WiFi or phone service, however, we did have the satellite coming through beautifully; go figure.
We left on Thu morning after cleaning the front window on the coach and got underway around 1000 heading northward to Grand Junction. It was another harrowing drive, but nothing compared to the Silverton-Ouray switches through Red Mountain Pass you have heard me whine about in earlier posts. It was still very windy mountain roads, now with rain coming down, and one long downhill descent into Ridgeway – we both were relieved when we made the left hand turn, four lane road and heading to Grand Junction via several charming little towns along the route.
More from Grand Junction, till then . . .