Monday, July 6, 2009

The horsey set

We are at the Bradfield Recreation Site campground, on the Dolores River (map), east of Cahone, Colorado. At an elevation of 6,500', it is remarkably cool here in the riparian zone, a marked contrast from the arid desert at 4,900' that we left mid-day yesterday.

There are a couple dozen sites here with picnic tables and fire rings. There are also a handful of vault toilets, and water is available from hand-pumps scattered around. The fee is only $8, and it looks to be only very lightly used. We made our check out to the BLM, who manages recreation along this stretch of the Dolores, but apparently the Forest Service once claimed this campground, and has a better write-up (we are at the edge of the San Juan National Forest). The Bradfields were ranchers who lived on this land at the turn of last century -- remains of their homestead can be seen across the river, and the remains of a horse-powered hay hoist are a short walk from our site.

We chose the single site furthest from the rest of the campground, with direct river access. The upside was that it was a short walk to the river yesterday afternoon for a refreshing swim, where by "refreshing" I mean colder than the Colorado. Still I was able to get in all the way in a section that was perhaps 4' deep, just upstream of the riffle across from our site where it is possible to walk across the river in just ankle-deep water.

We were also able to put our chairs in the water there and enjoy a pleasant glass of wine with our feet in the river. The only sound we heard last night was the water running over the rocks, and there are no lights here.

The downside to this spot is that the river access here is also for day use, and both yesterday and today a number of pickups have come by to collect tubers from the river, who likely put in upstream at the Bradfield bridge. Also, there are equestrian trails across the river, and the horse outfitters park across from us, unload the animals, and cross the river at the aforementioned riffle. Great to watch, but one annoying bunch rolled in this morning and took over our picnic table, even parking a car in our site. The outfitters said nothing to their charges -- I had to go out and ask the offender to move his car.

Yes, that's our picnic table.

Now that we've had a full day at this elevation to cool down, we feel ready to move on south, where we know it will only get hotter. We'll roll through Cortez on our way to the Ute Mountain reservation, where there is a casino with RV hookups -- we need to dump and fill, and I expect the power will come in handy to run the A/C's. They also have a laundry, of which we have need.


  1. An intended stop at the Ute Casino was passed up when they wanted $35 (plus tax) a night. Not sure if you got anything else (like gambling chits) for that, but I headed down the road to Durango to stay at Lisa and Steve's yard. Dumped in Durango at the Santa Rita Park and then over to Lisa and Steve where I filled the water to dry camp while here.

  2. @Wandrin: We are at Ute Mountain now. Electric and water sites are $23; full hookup (with sewer) is a few dollars more, but they also have a dump station.

    I consider $23 to be a bargain for 50-amp power in the summer. It's 95° right now, and I've got three air conditioners running. I figure it would require at least five hours of genny run time in this weather to be boondocking someplace; with diesel at $2.50 a gallon or so, that's $13 already. So I look at it really as a $10 camp site with access to the pool.

  3. And don't forget access to the laundromat, which is small but very clean and reasonably priced.

  4. After I posted my comment, I remembered that there are two "Ute Casinos" -- one at Ignacio and the other one on 491 south of Cortez. Obviously, you are at the one at Cortez since that one is priced in the range you quoted. That RV park has trees; the one at Ignacio is concrete with not a shade tree in sight.

  5. Seems there's no worries about running out of boneheads, no matter where you may wander. I see them EVERYWHERE. At least this bunch was all gathered together and you could find the one who owned the car. Now how boring would it be without stupid inconsiderate people? Mind you, I'd be willing to take a stab at finding out.


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