We so enjoyed our 12 days at Ridgway State Park near Montrose, Colorado. We can see ourselves volunteering here in the future – after we finish our map.
The only negative is that campsites have only 30 amp power. For those who don’t know what that means, it means on the cool Colorado mornings, I can’t warm up my cocoa in the microwave and run the electric fire place at the same time. High amp appliances like those, and the toaster and blow dryer have to be managed – I can’t use more than one at a time on top of the other random low amp draws. It’s do-able, just not as convenient as having 50 amp power. Randy could explain to you that 50 amp really means 100 amps but what I know is that when we have 50 amps, I don’t have to manage anything. It all just works, whenever I want, without tripping circuit breakers.
We aren’t the only ones who love this part of Colorado. Actor Dennis Weaver, (environmentalist, all around great guy) and his family lived in Ridgway for many years. He and his wife built a solar home made of recycled materials (tires, cans etc.) and called it Sunridge Earthship. With walls three feet thick, it is well insulated against cold winters and warm summers. We saw and commented on the home without realizing what it was and who it had belong too.
Dennis Weaver and family donated large acreage along the Umcompaghre River as a wildlife preserve and recreation area. (Uncompaghre is a Ute word roughly translated to dirty water, or red water spring – likely from area hot springs.) There are miles of hiking trails.
Dennis Weaver died in 2006 and his family dedicated the Dennis Weaver Memorial Park in 2007.
This eagle, by sculptor Vic Payne, has a wingspan of 21 feet.
There is an invitation to assemble your own prayer stones.
Enjoy a musical interlude along with relaxation and reflection inspired by the park.
Dennis Weaver isn’t the only actor who spent time in these parts. An impressive number of movies were filmed in the area and one is mentioned repeatedly – True Grit. During non-Covid times there are True Grit tours and movie locations to experience.
We found one True Grit site, Katie’s Meadow on Owl Creek Pass, where Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) had a shootout with Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall). Search for the “Bold Talk for a One Eyed Fat Man” movie clip if you want to relive it. A few free range cows were enjoying the meadow when we were there.
Owl Creek Pass is one of the famous scenic drives in the area. Drivable by two wheel drive vehicles, it rises to 10,114 feet in the Uncompaghre National Forest.
We saw Chimney Rock, clouded in smoke…
…and other beautiful towering rocks lifted up.
Miles and miles of aspen (and the random evergreens) made us want to come back and drive Owl Creek Pass in the fall.
Although we saw signs for bear and big horn sheep everywhere, we didn’t see much wildlife beyond the free range cows. An exception was this marmot high on a rock behaving as sentry along the road.
And this squirrel, high up in a dead tree, enjoying the Colorado beauty – just like we did!