Sunday, July 12, 2015

Driving Up the Canyon

One place we almost always have to visit when we are in Colorado is a small government campground above Gunnison on the Taylor Canyon Road.  Mother's and David's first trip to Colorado was spent in that campground, sharing the large pop-up camper that George was living in that summer as he played campground host.  It's a primitive campground with no hookups, so I was never tempted to camp there myself (I have to have bathroom and shower facilities available).  But you couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting to spend a few days.

Cold Spring Campground is named for a natural spring that bubbles out of the rocks at the entrance.  It is well named; you can barely count to 10 while holding your hand in the ice-cold water before your fingers turn numb.  I felt I had to do it; I always wear Mother's favorite ring, which I believe she bought on her first or second trip to Colorado, and I felt like plunging my hand into the cold water was a way of making her a part of this trip.

The sign to Cold Spring Campground on Taylor Canyon Road 
The natural spring at the entrance.
It was all I could do to keep my hand in the water
long enough to snap this picture.  Brrrrr.
David and Karen at the spring. 
David poses by the campground sign.
The campground is positioned against a sharp rise, but across the Taylor Canyon Road you can make a gentle hike down to the Taylor River.  David has long lain claim to a  particular rock in the tumbling river that he likes to sit on and which normally can be reached with a stretch of the leg across the edge of the river.  But the recent rains had his rock under water, so he wasn't able to sit on it this time.

David standing where he normally would have been able to step across to
his rock.  The abundant rains this year have put the rock under the rushing water.
The Taylor River rushing toward Almont a few miles below, where it will
join with the Gunnison and East Rivers.
For most of the way from Almont, where we were camped, to a point just past the Cold Spring Campground, cattle are roaming free range on the government lands under grazing leases to private owners.  You will run into cattle ambling down the road, sometimes a small herd blocking both directions of traffic as they take their time deciding on which side of the road they want to be.  This mama cow and her calf were chugging their way down the side of the road.  We passed them on the way up the canyon and they passed us while we were visiting the campground.  I wonder every time we see the cattle roaming around how it is that they manage to survive with all the vehicles that are traveling up and down the road from Almont to Taylor Park and back.  But the speed limit is low and the sharp curves in the road keep the vehicles from going so fast that there is no time to react.

We spent an hour or so paying homage to memories tied up in the little campground and then moved on toward Taylor Park and another favorite scenic drive that has become a tradition.

Next up - Cumberland Pass.


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