Monday, September 8, 2014

Camping in the southern San Juan Wilderness

A couple weeks ago, my partner Brian and I went camping in Treasure Canyon,  in the southern San Juan wilderness, about 8 miles northwest of Platoro CO.  We went for five days, and ended up stayng for ten.  Since we had neither cell signal nor wifi, that caused some people to worry, and we learned our lesson on that one.  But it was so beautiful, so peaceful that we couldn't imagine not extending our stay.

Our view as we drank our morning coffee.

Brain is an experienced camper, and this was car camping, not backpacking.  We had a luxury campsite, as you can see in the pictures below.  We had to deal with some interesting weather.  We barely got the tent pitched before it started to rain, so the first evening we had a quick dinner.  There was a storm that night that was a teaser for what came the following night.  Just a little rain and a little lightning.  The next night we had an electrical storm that was truly exceptional.  As Brian said, he saw more light from the lightning that night with his eyes closed than he'd ever seen before with them open.  The light was not only extremely bright; it also stayed light for several seconds.  The third night we had little rain, but 50 - 60 mile an hour winds.  Our tent made it safely through all of it!  After that, nothing could really bother us, except the one night when it got cold enough to leave a heavy frost in the morning.  But we were well prepared.

We had three dogs with us, and they tried to crawl in the tent with us when the storms came.  They found shelter under the fly and made it through okay.  One of the dogs, Homer, had seriously cut his paw right before we left for the trip, and he had to be tied up most of the time.  He made himself a little nest in the midst of some pine trees.

We passed our time hiking, enjoying the beauty of the surroundings, doing a little prospecting, getting to know the fish in the little pool just downstream so well we couldn't go fishing.  It didn't seem right to eat acquaintances.  When it rained we read, talked, played scrabble.  All in all, we enjoyed it so much that we decided to do an extended camping trip in Texas in October and early November.  So stay tuned for more adventures.  I also owe friends and family a blog about Vallecitos, the beautiful falling down village in northern New Mexico where I am now living.  Soon.

Iron mountain, on the road to Treasure Canyon.

Sunrises were spectacular.

The waterfall on Treasue Creek, also the headwaters of the Alamosa River, that fed the pool with the fish we got to know.

The big picture of our campsite.

Homer had to be kept on a leash due to his injury, but that didn't stop him from leaping about 7 feet to the top of this rock.

Desdemona, Brian's white German shepherd alpha female, on the Crater Lake trail up to the Continental Divide.  She kept guard over us constantly.

Jessie Mae, on the other hand, was most interested in getting her beauty sleep, when she wasn't  chasing rodents.

Brian made some delicious meals using his makeshift kitchen.

The skies provided constant entertainment. 

On the Crater Lake Trail.

Brian on the trail, with Jessie looking around to see what's going on.

Beautiful wildflowers everywhere.

Enjoying the sunrise.

Even taking care of biological needs was done in luxury.  And what a view!

But we ran out of dog food, even after buying the last cans they had in Platoro.  So it was time to head home.

So we loaded up and followed the winding road home.

As we drove home, we looked over at the mountains where we had just been camping and saw them encased in black clouds.  We stopped off at a hot springs on the way home, to warm up and clean up.


  1. Very beautiful - you almost make me want to go camping! :D

  2. You are living the good life, Harlene, with wonderful travel, sunrises, dogs, beautiful surroundings, reflection, and interesting companions. It's a joy to read your blog and see your pictures. I hope your shoulder is healing. It certainly isn't slowing you down!