TransAmerica Trail – Day 18

Blue Mesa Reservoir CO to Ouray CO

We loved the campsite at Blue Mesa Lake but after a good breakfast it was time to hit the trail. Practically all of my off-road experience has come on this trip. The trail from where we were to Dove Creek about a hundred miles away goes through some of the most technical and scary terrain in Colorado so we made the decision that we weren’t comfortable tackling that alone so we opted to take paved roads for the next part of the trail

The mountains are much more rugged in south central Colorado and even following the paved was at times not for the feint of heart! We planned it so we hit most of the same towns and crossed the trail several times. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was something we didn’t notice ahead of time but detoured into when we saw the sign. WOW! The walls of the canyon are nearly vertical with the Gunnison river way down at the bottom. The sun wasn’t in the best spot for photos but it was very impressive and so glad we stopped.

The next stop was Ouray, the tourist theme here was off roading but waaaay too many people. The TAT ran through town so for this part we were back on it. We had a beer (excellent) at the brewery in town and got another sticker for the Jeep and took off down the Million Dollar Highway toward Durango.

Tonight we decided to try wild camping and pulled into a National Forest dispersed camping area. We’ve had less crowded stays at Walmart but it was beautiful and would have been a great spot. Around 6pm Libby couldn’t find her cell phone and thought it was lost. We called back to Ouray and tore through the Jeep to no avail. Finally gave up and went to bed because it was getting chilly. It ended up dropping into the low 30’s and there was a layer of ice on the roof in the morning. That’s what happens when camping above 10,000 feet in September.

Got up in the morning planning to go through the Jeep again looking for Libby’s phone but as I was getting ready to put the camper top down I saw a familiar rectangle shape between the canvas and the screen… yep it was her phone, she’s happy again!