Rio Grande Reservoir Area

The headwaters of the Rio Grande river, which flows along the border between Texas and Mexico, are in the Weminuche wilderness of Colorado.The popular Thirty Mile campground is next to the Rio Grande reservoir, which serves handily as a base for hiking into the Weminuche. The trailheads for two popular trails, the Squaw Creek trail and the Weminuche trail, are in the campground, and the trailhead for the Ute trail is about 4 miles up the road. The Rio Grande river flows by the campground below the dam which created the reservoir.


Afternoon thunderstorms are a frequent feature of the Colorado mountains, as air cooled by being pushed up the mountains reaches the limit of its ability to hold moisture. Hikers are well advised to be cautious about being caught on the peaks after noon. Here is one such storm as viewed from the Thirty Mile campground.



Lisa and I did some hiking on the Weminuche and Squaw Creek trails. The pictures below were taken on a hike up to the bridge over Weminuch creek, which is about 2 miles up the trail.


This is a Columbine growning along the trail.




The creek near the bridge is a jumble of boulders covered in moss, dead trees, and flowers.





One morning en route to a store to pick up some supplies I drove up a forest road above the campground. The high meadows on the plateaus offer views of distant peaks.



One evening Lisa and I drove up above the reservoir to check out the river crossing at the Ute Creek trailhead. This is a view of that area from the road.



Another day, Lisa and I hiked a few miles up the Squaw Creek trail. It follows the creek for a while, then climbs above the creek bed through some aspen groves, and opens up into a lovely meadow. The pictures below were taken on that hike. I think they illustrate the point that the best scenery is found in the backcountry and can only be reached on foot.










The colors of the flowers in the high meadows are incredible. Often flowers of shades of blue, yellow, and white are found together.


About all I can add is that the limited ability of the camera to capture scenes of great color and dynamic range means that the scenes are far more beautiful in person than they are on the screen. And the pictures donít capture at all the cool, crisp air.


I am not a church-going person Ė but the mountains are my cathedrals.



© 2006 by Linden B. Sisk. All rights reserved.


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