From Durango, CO, we took the opportunity to visit to Mesa Verde National Park on our road trip, before continuing on the way to our eventual campsite in Moab, UT.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire is the phrase that comes to mind. Litereally. On our way back west out of Durango, we came across the Mancos fire once again, which is hard to miss, as it dominated the sky from Durango, Mancos, and the entire Mesa Verde plateau.
It occurs to me that we’ve really visited three distinct areas on this trip – Estes Park, Colorado Springs, and Durango – and all three are experiencing wildfires. As I write this, we’ve actually moved on to central Utah, and the news is decrying the fires here as well. We’re under a “red flag warning” in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado today, so I don’t anticipate having a campfire (or even a charcoal fire) tonight. We’ve been gone two and a half weeks, and haven’t had a single campfire yet – and it looks like there will be no relief until we get to Montana.
I don’t think I’ve ever been on vacation and wishing it would rain. But I’m now there.
We had a great time in Durango on the D&SNGRR, riding the rails up to Silverton and back on Wednesday afternoon. The train is coal-fired, so of course it showers the tracks with coal cinders as it travels. We found out on the trip back that over the past few weeks, the train starts 10-20 forest fires EACH DAY – but that the firemen who follow the train are adept at putting out all of the fires before they get away.
On our return trip, we were treated to a 45-minute show as our train came across a fire which had gotten away from the firemen; all of the staff on our train (even our conductor) got our and helped fight the fire.
All this to repeat the obvious: it’s hot, and it’s dry. We’ve hit 100 degrees every day for the past week, with humidity during the day dropping into the single digits.
So, naturally, we decided to leave Durango and spend some time dry camping (that is, no water connections) in Utah at Dead Horse Point State Park – which was by far the hottest we had been yet.
But there were no fires there – so maybe I’ll make that a separate post. As a teaser – here’s the view from the campground: