Parque Natural Mexiquillo


Starter Hotel

In 1887 Henry Strater built his name sake hotel for $70,000. It became a popular winter retreat for the locals who closed their homes in favor the Strater where each room boasted its own wood burning stove and comfortable furniture.
The hotel evolved through several owners until in 1926 a group of business men lead by Earl A Barker purchase the aging Strater. In 1983 Earl's son began an extensive Victorian renovation. Each of the 93 rooms exhibits it own unique Victorian decor. The hotel's boasts the largest collection of American Victorian-era walnut furniture in the world.


Beautiful room at  $400 a  night

Period correct wall paper by Bradbury and Bradbury
That gold color is 24 carat gold

The closer ceiling light is an original Tiffany,
the farther one a reproduction.

An operational phone like the one my
grandparents had on the farm.

Office Spiritorium bar

The exquisite woodwork through out the Strater is created and maintained by the hotel's full time carpenter.

Current location  37.292484, -107.872075


Durango to Silverton Narrow Guage

The 45 mile railroad from Durango to Silverton is one of a few remaining remnants of narrow gauge track that once hauled livestock, freight, and most importantly ore through out Colorado in the 1800s. In 1882 William Jackson Palmer with great difficulty extended his Denver and Rio Grande railroad to Silverton. The thin air prevented smelting the ore on site, so it was hauled 3000 feet down the mountain to Durango where the silver and gold could be extracted.

Three foot wide narrow gauge is cheaper to build and can make sharper turns than 4 foot 8 inch wide standard gauge. If the road bed cut into the cliffs had been wide enough for standard gauge, it would have tripled construction costs.  

Don't look down

We chose a car that offered historical narration. Kathy, in the persona of Palmer's daughter Dorothy, presented a very knowable and entertaining account of Palmer family history and the building of railroads narrow gauge railroads in Colorado during our 3.5 hour ride up to Silverton

Commercial use of the this route ended in 1968. These cars were left behind

We did not stop at the restored depot outside Silverton. Thankfully the train continues another mile right up to the edge of town.

Current location 37.400874, -107.535779


Black Canyon, Bottom to Top

We first took the Morrow Point Boat Tour of the Black Canyon's upper region. To reach the boat berthed deep in the canyon you descend 232 steps, remembering with each step that you will have to climb back up ....

.... then you stroll three quarters of a mile along the old narrow gauge railroad bed to the boat. From 1882 to 1949 the Rio Grande Railroad carried freight and passengers through the Black Canyon.

Adolescent Bald Eagle

Curecanti Needle

Sara shared her extensive know of the canyons
geology, flora, and fauna
A few days later I saw Black Canyon from the south rim.

Looking down 2700 feet from Pulpit Rock

Devils Lookout

The ancient sea bed was subjected to extreme pressure and heat 5 miles deep in the curst. This metamorphic Schist and Gneiss later fractured and magma squeezed up from below to fill the cracks. These pink pegmatite dikes are harder than the surrounding black metamorphic rock

Painted Wall View

What a canyon!!


Curecanti Creek

We did a three mile hike down into the 900 foot deep Curecanti Creek canyon. Curecanti Creek flows into the Gunninson River which started carving the Black Canyon 3 million years ago. It was a wonderful hike through a pine forest down to a cool rushing creek.

Gunnison River

Curecanti Creek is down at the bottom

Christie and Arleen heading down

Beautiful day for a hike
The Gunnison River as well as the side canyons like  Curecanti Creek have carved down through 500 million year old rock. Back in the Precambrian period this area was covered by an ocean. The ocean dried up and its sedimentary deposits were covered by another 5 miles of material. At this depth the extreme heat and pressure changed the sedimentary rock into metamorphic gneiss and schist. Over the last 3 million years this area has been up lifted and the 5 miles of overburden eroded away to reveal the Black Canyon of today

Metamorphic gneiss and schist
Remember, what you walk down
you have to hike up.
Finally a beautiful cool stream
Current location  38.468737  -107.173161


Fun in the Sun

We had great weather for a moderate 2.3 mile hike.

We went The Adventure Company in Buena Vista, Co for a moderate class 3-4 run on the Arkansas River. We chose the all day trip through Brown's Canyon that included lunch. Lunch was scrumptious, green salad, chicken fajitas, and brownies. Everyone had a great time. 

After a day of hiking and another of rafting we retreated to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs for a muscle soothing soak in their 105 and 95 degree pools. 

Life is good.
Current location  38.694342  -106.142510