December 22-26, 2019
Ross and I left Boulder mid-morning and were excited to stop at Copper Mountain for a few hours of skiing. It always is a special place for us since Copper Mountain is where we met, and we have a few great friends who we caught up with. After leaving Copper Mountain we drove to Silt, CO and stayed at the Sopris Alpaca Farm (through our Harvest Host Membership). We had a great first experience. We pulled in after sunset and therefore could not see much of our surroundings. The next morning what a pleasant surprise to pop out our door and be surrounded by gorgeous mountains and extremely cute alpacas just a few feet away. We were the only campers there and enjoyed walking around the farm and seeing the animals. The owners Kim and Cory were extremely kind and full of enthusiasm about their farm and gift shop. We were able to spend time with both to talk about how they started their farm, learn more the alpacas and their lifestyle.
After a beautiful calm morning at the farm, we packed up and headed to Dead Horse State Park in Utah (just outside of Moab). The name of the park is not the most inviting and to be honest I had very low expectations, but Ross had read about it and wanted to see it. Well, it was an amazing! To give you a brief explanation of the name of the park, in the late 1800’s Cowboys would drive herds of wild horses across the land to this narrow spit and block them at the narrowest section called the neck. The cowboys would take the best horses and leave the rest of the horses to die on this mesa with no way out. Not the nicest of thoughts for sure and I’m glad that era is over.
Fortunately, the name of the park is not indicative of its splendor. The park has a lot of the same dramatic, awe inspiring landscape as the Grand Canyon in a smaller scale. We pulled into camp at dusk but awoke to a beautiful sunrise and a dusting of snow.
Since it was Christmas Eve day there were very few people there and even less on Christmas Day. It felt like we had the whole State Park to ourselves which was really special. The weather was a mixture of sunshine and clouds with increasing clouds and snow in the afternoon, so we headed out early for a hike along the East and West Rim Trail. The East Rim trail in particular took our breath away. The rock formations, the sheer drop offs, the snow-capped mountain back drop and the Colorado River at the bottom was worth the trip. I could have spent at least a week painting there. Fortunately, I took a lot of photos for me to paint back in the studio since the temperatures outside were a bit on the cold side. The following two days we hiked on the West Rim and then out along the Northern side of the East Rim…..all of them had glorious views and were beautiful.
Even with a horrible name and past Dead Horse State Park is well worth the drive. There are lots of mountain bike trails as well which we had hoped to try out but the weather wasn’t conducive so we might have to return.
We headed South and had plans on staying near Blanding, Utah but had trouble finding any RV parks that were open in the winter. It turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise because we drove an additional hour and half and accidentally ended up in Monument Valley, Utah. It was such a surprise to be driving on the road looking out our window at so many beautiful vistas but then in front of us was a surreal view. There was a fog enveloping massive rock formations (1000 ft high) that looked like a sci-fi movie set. It was as if we were looking at castles, fortresses etc. rising out of the clouds. We had to stop and take photos. Then as we passed by these same rock formations the sun came out and we could see them in all their colorful splendor. Low and behold there was a campground in Monument Valley so we have pulled in for the evening and are looking forward to seeing the sunrise tomorrow.
Next stop Arizona……