Cowboy Take Me Away

“I wanna be the only one for miles and miles”

The Chicks

Today was a totally perfect Road Trip Day. I’m going to be a little disappointed if it doesn’t end up as a 5 mountain day. It also seemed to me like our first completely normal, typical, ordinary road trip day. Perhaps that’s what made it so good for me.

We woke up at HIE Cortez and grabbed a breakfast of cinnamon rolls, fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, juice and coffee to eat in Fred as we headed for our destination of the day; Mancos State Park. It’s always felt a little funny to me that for all the time we’ve spent here, and all the hiking we’ve done, we’ve never set foot in the San Juan’s. A big part of the reason for that is timing. Much of the time that we have been here the roads and/or trails have been covered in snow. With this year’s devastatingly low snowpack it looks like we’ll be able to spend some time up there. While today’s hike didn’t quite get us in the mountains proper, it did get us really really close.

We had to make one pit stop on the way at the Mancos Grocery to pick up some peanut butter. I entered and said “good morning” to the woman working at the counter – the only other person in the store. She ignored me and I supposed that it was going to be an uneventful transaction. However, when I returned to the counter 2 minutes later I was greeted with a hardy “Peanut Butter: Protein In A Jar!”. We then had a very pleasant conversation about the merits of peanut butter.

Eventually we made it to Mancos State Park where we paid our $9 parking fee, then proceeded to ignore the signs marking the trailhead and drove down a clearly marked private road instead. While we realized our mistake fairly quickly it was a nice opportunity to realize how nice, comparatively, our private road is. The actual hike was 9.5 miles with 830 feet of gain at 8,000 feet. It was vaguely mountainy, but not quite a mountain. There were two highlights for me:

  1. We were the only people on the trail today. The only car in the lot and the only people on the trail the entire time. It was also A+ trail.
  2. At the 4.75 mile mark we came across cows. Forest cows. I’ve seen cows before. I’ve even seen cows on hikes before. But never cows on a hike in the forest on the side of a faux mountain. They had a lot of baby cows with them and they didn’t look happy to see us. They mooed at us, we mooed at them. Then we decided it was time to turn around.
These cows wouldn’t moooooove for us.

After the hike we headed back to Cortez for some road trip chores. Now we’re back at COHO for a dinner of guacamole, hummus, crackers, cheese, veggies, and cherries as selected by Molly and Zoe.

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