July 5, 2020
It was a beautiful morning, 66 degrees with a nice breeze. I enjoyed sitting in the shade, posting, reading emails and studying what is down the road. I saw our campground hosts, a nice young couple who are teachers in Minnesota, and asked if I could move across the street. They said it would be fine, and they would take care of the change online 😊.
I straightened up and moved to the more shaded spot. I was baking in the very hot Colorado sun yesterday. This should be better. I had run my batteries down, running the air conditioner yesterday. Surely the solar system would recover today.
The forecast was for 96 degrees. The only thing to do in weather like this is to get in the river. The Colorado River runs at the base of this mesa. A mesa is an isolated, flat-topped elevation, ridge or hill, which is bounded from all sides by steep escarpments and stands distinctly above a surrounding plain. (From Wikipedia)
By noon, it was 92 degrees. There is no humidity, and the skies are clear blue, so the sun is brutal. At the foot of the mesa, I found Snook’s Bottom, with a full parking lot. Beaches surround a small lake where everyone was trying to cool off. I found a quiet spot and went in. It was pretty chilly, and I wondered if the Colorado River was colder than this. By the time I walked back up the hill, I was sweating again.
I wanted to see more of the Colorado, so I followed a gravel road that ran close to the river. I ran into a wildlife conservation area. At the top of a hill, I pulled over to investigate the river. It looked beautiful, with a sandbar dividing the river. I followed a trail down to it, but when I got there, the river ran hard against the near bank. It was deep and fast. it looked so serene from the top of the hill, so I would have to look for another spot.
As I walked up the hill, before me stood a semblance of King Tut’s tomb. The road is called Kingsview Rd, so this could be it. It is a rather imposing pyramid. A smaller one was perched on the hill behind.
I came to another access to the river, but again, the water was deep and fast. It’s hardly a challenge for a drift boat or raft, but no place for a lone swimmer. Two girls were tubing on the other side in more shallow water.
In the conservation area, I decided to walk the gravel road, since it was blocked to vehicles. I needed the exercise anyway and was sure I could get in this river somewhere. It’s interesting. Many states have these “conservation areas” to enhance food sources for ducks, geese, turkeys and deer. I soon realized it is an impoundment. They have planted fields with some type of grain, built a dike around it. In the fall they will flood it. Ducks and geese will go crazy to get into a place like this. It’s a smorgasbord of food. Then they lease blinds all around it for people to hunt. Yet if we throw out a bag of corn, we will be sited for shooting over grain! This impoundment must be 1500 acres.
The Colorado is an amazing river. “The Colorado River is famed for carving the steep vermillion walls of the Grand Canyon and the dramatic desertscapes along the 1,450 miles of river are a favorite setting among nature photographers. Spanning seven states and 11 national parks, the Colorado River flows from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and empties into Mexico’s Gulf of California.” (from https://www.thediscoverer.com/blog/8-us-river-trips-you-should-know-about/XvHyVpKgiwAG5as5?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1121570110)
I70 is right on the other side of the river. Just around the bend, it takes a hard westerly turn and cuts right through a big mesa in a park called McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. I wanted to go there, but it meant a long drive around the mountain. On my way back out, I tried one more spot to get in the river. Bingo. A trail led down to a shallow area, and I walked right in. The bottom was muddy with rocks underneath, and the water color was brownish-green. The water temperature, at least in this shallow part, was more like smallmouth bass temperature than trout temperature. I didn’t find it inviting, so I walked back out.
I was happy to return to a shady campsite, and quickly took a cold shower. Then I searched for a cooler place to go tomorrow. My plan was to continue west on Rt.50 and go to Capital Reef National Park. The campground was full, unserviced and highly-rated. Maybe it’s cooler there. Maybe it’s not, but I wanted air conditioning. I found Sand Creek RV resort 7 miles west of the park and booked a full service spot for 3 nights.