03 Sep 2012 Leave a Comment
Waking up in the tent, we had donuts and pastry crisps before starting to dress and pack up the tent.
Since the lake was down, it seemed like the gnats were really bad so we had to work fast to stuff the van so the bugs wouldn’t get inside. We drove off with some bugs, but windows open at 65 mph got rid of them. We finished up Charlotte’s Web yesterday, so today we started a Geronimo Stilton book on tape.
Our major stop for today was Picketwire canyon south of La Junta which is part of the Comanche National grassland.
When you start out it seems like you are just crossing the prairie and there is no canyon in sight, then suddenly, rock walls rise up out of nowhere.
We took the canyon overlook trail and then went down into the canyon.
We climbed up and looked at some Indian petroglyphs.
These are kind of carved into the rock, sometimes they show up black on the canyon walls, sometimes they are carved and it’s harder to see them without taking a photo.
We hiked to the spring, it was stagnant; the river was dried up so we didn’t have to worry about bugs too much (but water to cool off in would have been nice.)
Hiking in the canyon is hard, the trail is marked by cairns so the kids had fun spotting the stacked rocks.
This spot held the ruins of an old stagecoach line that ran through the canyon, which begs the questions…why would you want to run the coach through the canyon instead of across the prairie?
There was a nice breeze blowing through the bottom of the canyon and we would have continued on, but Grace drank all of the water in her pack, so we turned around. We lunched at a shady picnic table and then drove to Oxbow state wildlife area for a short hike.
Compared to the canyon, this was a very short hike.
We headed to the Arkansas river with the idea of wading around, but we couldn’t find a path down to the water. Sunflowers were growing all over the place around the trail.
Again, it was very hot and cooling off in the water would have been nice. Our next stop was Boggsville near Las Animas.
(From http://www.exploresoutheastcolorado.com/boggsville.htm) Boggsville was founded in 1862 by Thomas O. Boggs and was the last home of the famous frontier scout Kit Carson. In 1840, Thomas Boggs, son of then Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs and great-grandson of Daniel Boone, came to what would eventually become Colorado Territory to work with the Bent Brothers at Bent’s Old Fort along the Arkansas River. In 1862, he settled along the Purgatoire (Picketwire) River south of present-day Las Animas and began a settlement known as Boggsville, which was the first white non-military outpost in this wild country. Boggsville thrived during the next decade and served as a center of trade, agriculture, education and culture and soon became an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail via the Boggsville Branch. In 1870, after the creation of Bent County, Boggsville became the county seat of Bent County. At it’s pinnacle, Boggsville boasted about 20 buildings, the first schoolhouse in Bent County, a stage stop and trading house.
We saw Kit Carson’s original grave site (he is buried in NM I believe.)
Part of the old Boggs house with adobe stoves outdoors.
Inside of one of the rooms.
Proof that this is on the Santa Fe trail. Boggsville was near the river, but river’s change and with the growth of Las Animas, drought, time, weather and human intervention the river is no longer next to the property.
The historical society is restoring the houses and combing the area for artifacts from its early days. I can’t imagine traveling across the prairie in a covered wagon in the dry dusty weather, hoping that springs are flowing and rivers are full so that you don’t die of thirst. Speaking of thirst, we bought a cold coke from the fridge in the trading store and went back to the car.
On the way to the Springs we passed through all the small towns along Route 50: Swink, Rocky Ford, Manzanola, and Fowler and we saw glass insulators on the telephone poles.
I haven’t seen those in a long time (Bethany has a few in her room from the antique store.) There were clear, light and dark green ones. We looked to see if any had fallen by the tracks, but we didn’t see any. We got to the Springs and ate at Fargo’s pizza. While we ate there was a torrential rain storm outside, I wondered if the festival was going to be cancelled because of it, but when we went outside it had blown over, so we went to the park to check out the balloon fest.
The girls got to run inside of an inflated hot air balloon, that was very cool.
We walked around the fair getting samples and free things (like rain coats!)
The girls got their hair dyed and we watched the stand for the green flag to go up.
The wind had not died down at 7, so they set the next check for 7:30, and it was a go. The balloons started to inflate and then we waited for the count down to the glow.
Again and again the balloons went dark and then lit up together.
Once they were all filled and glowing we got a last look and headed to the car. It took us an hour to get home, I didn’t even bother to clean out the car. We went for a shower and bed, the mess in the car can wait until tomorrow.
It was a great trip, I think the canyons would make a better Fall hike than a late Summer one. Other than that (and the one missed museum) I give it a thumbs up for a great adventure.