Monday, October 6, 2014

Jackson Guard Station Makes for Stunning Fall Vacation in Southern Colorado

The US Forest Service's Jackson Guard Station rental cabin at Silver Jack Reservoir in the National Forest between Gunnison and Montrose in early October 2014.  

Nearby Silver Jack Reservoir.
The cabin at Jackson Guard Station features a wood stove and propane powered refrigerator, stove and a single light. Visitors need to bring water, supplemental lighting and bedding.   
A trail behind the cabin leads into the woods at the base of nearby cliffs.
The cabin's kitchen is well equipped and  visitors will need to turn on the gas behind the stove to fire it up along with the fridge and light. Visitors are urged to bring several additional  battery powered lanterns, flashlights and head beams to help illuminate the fairly dark interior of the cabin.
The local scenery around the cabin prompts frequent hikes. 
The cabin features two bedrooms with bunk beds in the rear room and two stand alone units in the front. An inflatable camping mat laid atop the mattress improved its comfort considerably.  
The US Forest Service's nearby Silver Jack campground provides access to water and even more incredible scenery. 
The outhouse is located behind the cabin as is a well stocked wood shed and another building awaiting restoration.
Nearby Rowdy Lake offered more great scenery and the possibility of of some good fishing.
Visitors to the cabin will find plenty to do in the area including a highly recommended visit to Black Canyon  and a drive down to the river. 
Cooking while staying at the cabin was made all that much easier due to the presence of refrigerator and stove. Visitors will need to bring plenty of additional battery powered lighting to thoroughly enjoy evenings inside the fairly dark cabin.
As expected during fall in the mountains of southern Colorado snow and rain can roll in without a moment's notice.

There was plenty of firewood on the cabin's porch to keep the wood stove fed but after a few days it ran out requiring replenishment from the wood shed so there'd be plenty for the next guests. Photo by Wren Propp.   
Jackson Guard Station provided solitude, recreation and scenery and is highly recommended for those to seeking to recharge their batteries in a very comfortable setting. 
Heading home through Gunnison's requires a stop at the W Cafe on Main St. where a great breakfast  can be had including corned beef hash and eggs with crispy hash browns smothered in a great green chile sauce. The stuffed hash browns feature sautéed diced ham, green & red peppers and onions served over hash browns with cheddar cheese. This is an old school diner where they do it right and it's worth every penny spent.
Back in New Mexico where a classics like this was seen at the Mesa Diner in Ojo Caliente off US 285.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Riding the Rails on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

The Rio Grande Railroad out of the college town of Alamosa in southern Colorado offers a summer concert series that's great fun and makes for a memorable weekend retreat .  
Once up on the mountain at Fir railroad riding guests will find food like grilled bratwurst and burgers with all the fixins available under a sheltered picnic area while music awaits at the nearby sound stage.
Visiting the mountains of Colorado means preparing for rain and then not getting any while enjoying the high country scenery.

Juice Newton entertained a crowd of fans with her hits during this concert in early August 2014. Michael Martin Murphy is a regular performer here too. 

There's always some drama to be found while riding on the railroad like this rock slide jammed up against the train. Crews disconnected the rear cars. moved everyone up front and continued up the mountain. While guests enjoyed the concert, crews moved the rocks out of the way, reattached the cars and got the show back on the road. 
Engines moving the railway cars around to prepare for the trip back down to Alamosa, Co.

Katie Diven enjoys the view from the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad's Dome Car as the pass through the San Luis Valley while her husband, freelance railroad magazine writer and photographer, Bill Diven chats with another passenger.
The railroad depot in Alamosa Co. is a beautiful building built at the turn of the century. 
Enjoying the sights while road tripping through the wide expanses of southern Colorado produces great moments such as discovering this wonderfully preserved 1959 Ford Thunderbird parked at a roadside flea market in Blanca, Co.

The Rio Grande flows south through the San Luis Valley before crossing into New Mexico near the town of Costilla. This was the view of the river looking north from a bridge on St. Rd. 142 between San Luis and Manassa.
The Rio Grande as is flows south into New Mexico as seen from the bridge on St. Rd. 142 between San Luis and Manassa.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fishing New Mexico's Spring Caddis Hatch on the Rio Grande

Legendary northern New Mexico Fishing Guide and Angling Author Taylor Streit prepares to fish the Rio Grande in the Gorge above the Taos Junction Bridge where Caddis have been reported hatching  this spring. 
The Rio Grande Gorge is a rugged, remote fishery where one must be nimble and hardy to escape a fishing trip unscathed. Some have taken to fishing here bare foot to prove their prowess and have not been seen since.
Streit gets to fishing seemingly unaware of the other guide, lurking in the bushes upstream, who was hired by Steit's family to watch over him.
Time passes and even the moon comes out to see how Streit is faring. 
Streit spots trout feeding in an eddy behind a rock and casts his fly repeatedly into the foam with no luck. He has apparently failed to apply the proper fly.
A Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep watches the action from high on the cliffs and can be seen shaking its head in apparent amusement.  
Streit appears dejected after several trout reject his flies and return to feeding on Cheetos tossed into the water by upstream bait fishermen.
Streit hears a splash and climbs upon a rock for a look see. Streit casts to the noise and hooks something behind some rocks. Unbeknownst to him its the hidden guide who puts up a good fight just to give the old man a thrill. Streit breaks him off and never does see the guide slink back into the bushes. For weeks he speaks of the monster that got away.
Streit is spared further embarrassment when the hiding guide, Chris Cantrell, re-emerges from the bushes, acts innocent and leads the elderly fly-fisherman back downstream to more promising waters. Streit asks "Where do I know you from?"
Guided down to the river's edge Streit manages to hobble out into the water and despite his casting technique is able to put a fly out onto the surface. 
Caddis are everywhere now and there is hope for Streit.. 
Streit finally catches a stocked rainbow trout on a fake salmon egg dangling from his fly and declares over Twitter that the "Caddis Hatch is On!" Anglers instantly descend on the river from as far away as Dixon and begin false casting  in earnest.
Streit's best buddy and fellow author, John Nichols, is spotted hanging around the Taos Junction Bridge questioning passersby about what everybody's doing. Nichols reportedly bags a 28-inch brown trout on a Velveeta cheese ball soaked in anchovy juice and then catches the RTD back to Taos to resume writing.