Day 7—Friday June 1, 2018
We left our site at 9:50 am; our destination was Cottonwood Cave RV Park located on the Rio Grande River about six miles south of Creede, Colorado. The alternate route to avoid going through downtown Taos worked as planned—very light traffic and no stop lights.
Our route from Taos after the bypass was west on US 64 to US 285, then north to US 169 at Alamosa.
We stopped at City Market in Alamosa, Colorado. Maryann shopped for groceries while Brian fueled the truck. We went west from Alamosa on US 160 to South Fork, Colorado and turned north on Colorado 149 up the Rio Grande Valley; we arrived at Cottonwood Cove RV Park at 1:45 pm.
Cottonwood Cove is located on the Rio Grande River at the head of Wagon Wheel Gap; a narrow canyon section between more open valleys. The office and restaurant are located along the highway—we’d eaten here during our 2012 summer trip; we’d also taken the narrow gauge train ride South Fork up the Rio Grande River which just north of Cottonwood Cove.
Soon after we finished setting up wildlife began to appear near our trailer. Brian spotted a marmot (referred to locally as a whistle pig) eating grass near our trailer. There were also some ground squirrels and magpies.
That evening, Maryann spotted horses running through the south pasture to the north pasture where chunks of hay had been spread around near the iris (these horses are used for trail rides and guided pack trips into the mountains); the process was repeated each evening of our stay.
That evening light smoke appeared from the west; it was from the “416” forest fire near Durango that closed US 550 and stopped the Durango Silverton train runs.
Day 8—Saturday June 2, 2018
Next morning Brian spotted Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep grazing near some willows in the south pasture. As we watched an old ewe came out of the willows into the horse pasture and wandered along the fence near our trailer. While we were watching her, two other ewes with three lambs left the willows and started up the face of the hill in back. Eventually the old ewe near our trailer started up the hill and one of the lambs joined her.