the wandering chick
and its scenic surroundings
The Animas River flows through the heart of Durango. It has a 14-mile hike and bike trail and is a popular spot for river rafting and kayaking.
Durango is a great little city with lots to offer. The Animas River is definitely its main attraction, but it also has a charming historic downtown area.
It's the largest city, at a population around 16,000, in La Plata County in Colorado's southwest. It's nestled in the Animas River Valley, and the San Juan mountains surround it.
Just outside Durango's historic downtown is East 3rd Avenue on which are several homes of historical distinction. This one was built in 1883.
Home built in 1892
The avenue is lined with draping old trees and manicured lawns.
this northern flicker was hanging out on the bank of the Animas River.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Fort Lewis College has a unique history in that it was first a U.S. military fort. It then became a Native American boarding school before becoming a Colorado state public school. It sits atop a 6800-foot butte which overlooks the city of Durango and the Animas River Valley. In the background are the La Plata Mountains.
The Durango & Silverton Train depot is located in Durango's historic downtown.
The highway 550 runs through Durango, and on the north side of the city these red cliffed hills parallel the highway.
East of Durango the County Road 250 meanders along the side of the Animas River offering quiet, pleasant views such as this. There are also ranches and private homes along the route.
Don't get your britches in a bind, MIssy. I'm just taking a picture.
Also on CR240 is the East Animas Climbing Area. This particular rock is, according to their Web site, called Apple Cider. There were two climbers descending when I happened upon it.
Blue copper butterflies were seen on Vallecito Lake, east of Durango on Country Road 250.
Vallecito Lake is less than 20 miles east of Durango on County Road 250. It's a large lake with 12 miles of shoreline and sits in the heart of the San Juan National Forest. It's open year round with both summer and winter activities.
In July of 2002 a devastating fire on Missionary Ridge burned for three weeks, wiping out 70,000 acres of Ponderosa Pines and other trees on both sides of the lake. Fifteen hundred homes were evacuated, and 58 were lost. One life was lost. More than 4000 firefighters helped distinguish the fire. Evidence of the damage can still be seen today.
A comeback story:
After the fire, a local artist started a project to make carvings from the burned trees using actual photographs taken of firefighters battling the fire.
The 15 trees make up the Tour of Carvings and can be found throughout the Vallecito Lake area.
The mission of the carvings is to pay tribute to the firefights and to hopefully restore tourism to the lake area.
A Hesperis Fritillary butterfly found along the Vallecito Lake trail
Pinkerton Hot Springs was named after a ranch owner in the area named James Pinkerton. The springs are located on Highway 550 about 10 miles outside Durango. It appears the spring is not totally authentic since a pipeline underground was rerouted to place the springs at this location. Hmmmm.
A farmhouse in the countryside near the Vallecito Lake area
Old dilapidated farm buildings sit high on a foothill just off Highway 550 on the way to the Durango airport.
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