Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prairie Dog City

We are parked on a dirt track just off a dirt road in a small patch of BLM land just north of Colorado 92 (map). This swath of BLM is completely unmarked, and we would not have known about it at all had it not been for the fact that it is marked on the Grand Mesa National Forest map, and I was looking at that map yesterday to figure out how close we could park to our friend Alfred, who lives just south of the forest boundary.

After we left Wal-Mart yesterday we backtracked a short ways and spent another few hours in Delta. Louise did the laundry at the Sudsy Duds, and I hoofed it downtown to the liquor store where I did find one of our cherished box wines. A far cry from Wal-Mart pricing, but at least we're covered for another couple weeks.

It was only a dozen miles from Delta to this spot, but it's a world away. The agricultural flatlands ended a couple miles ago, and we are now in rolling hills covered with scrub, cholla, and patchy wild grasses. As with a lot of BLM land, there is evidence of cattle grazing all around us, including hoof prints, the inevitable cow pies, and even a skeleton of a small one (possibly a calf) that didn't make it, just a hundred feet from us.

We are also surrounded by prairie dog holes, and one popped up yesterday afternoon for a look around while we watched from our windows.

This dirt road follows the old D&RGW tracks (now UP) as they divert from highway 92 briefly. The tracks are only about 25 yards from us, which is fine, because we actually enjoy the sounds of passing trains. The only trains we've seen, though, have been unit coal trains -- empties heading east, and loaded headed west. Maybe a half dozen trains since we arrived yesterday afternoon, but each has been over a mile long.

This afternoon we will continue toward Hotchkiss, turning north about three miles from town onto a gravel county road that will take us all the way to the Grand Mesa forest boundary. The gate there is still closed for the season -- it opens May 31st. But there is a large clearing just outside the gate, but still on USDA land, where we can park for a couple days for our visit. I called the forest office yesterday to confirm that dispersed camping is permitted in this clearing, which is typically used by snowmobile folks heading into the forest in the winter. I'm a little sorry the gate's not open yet -- there look to be some choice dispersed spots a little further in.


  1. The wine is essential! Love the video, particularly the kitty watching the world pass by....

  2. "...we actually enjoy the sounds of passing trains." You two are strange! I heard enough trains to last me a lifetime in Sumner and Puyallup, WA, but still appreciate you letting me tag along via the blog. Now when I need to hear a train, I can play your video. BWG

  3. I love train whistles, too. They rarely bother me even when asleep.

    Thanks for the boondocking location...saved it for "someday".

  4. I thought I was the only one who enjoyed the sounds of the trains! When I was young my grandmother lived close to a railroad track and I used to love lying in bed listening to the train pass. The clickety clack...

    On a completely unrelated note - I tagged either of you at my blog today. *sheepish grin*


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!