Kelly had been hanging out in Bayfield (just east of Durango) for a couple of months with a friend, but was itching to get back on the road. I headed down to Bayfield to hang with her a bit before we headed west.
For 2 weeks we stayed in the San Juan National Forest in an area called Sauls Creek. There is a network of Forest Service roads here, with many camping spots available. Kelly had chosen a spot prior to my arrival and dropped me a Google Maps pin to guide me in.
Sauls Creek has a large number of both natural gas and oil pump stations. You have to be careful to not be too close to one unless you like to hear the constant hum and groan of the rigs.
There are trails throughout the area that allowed for great mountain biking and trekking around. Overall, Sauls Creek isn’t that remarkable of a place, but if one wants to be close to Durango, this is one of the better options.
Chimney Rock National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument was home to Ancestral Puebloans and covers over 7 square miles with 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings. Most of these structures are buried, with just a few both accessible and visible.
In order to get anywhere close to the actual chimney rocks, one has to take a guided tour. Normally I’d rather have my teeth pulled then to stand around in a large group listening to the “brilliant” questions that normally come up, but I had no choice if I wanted the prime views.
Kelly’s friend Michael is a true Coloradoan which means he is one with nature. And he rock climbs. So off we went to experience my first rock climbing experience.
Rock climbing was a lot of fun, despite my fear of heights (which I seem to be having less of the older I get). Not sure it’s something I’ll be taking up on a continual basis, but I’m sure glad I experienced it.