Nancy and I decided we wanted to see the Wheeler Geological Area and Judy had also suggested it would be well worth the drive...10 miles on an easy dirt road and 14 miles on a Jeep/ATV road. The morning was very cloudy and dreary, so I was hoping our drive would take us above the clouds We headed out early and took Pool Table Road up towards the Wheeler Geological Area. The first 10 miles on the dirt road were through open cattle grazing land and an easy meandering dirt road. Much to our joy we did get above the clouds and were in nice warm sunshine. At the end of 10 miles we noted a sign that warned of steep, rocky, rutted road. We took heed of the sign and we continued on up the mountain ....for a few miles. It took us almost a half an hour to go 2 miles! Maximum speed was 5 mph. We reached a turn around point and decided we didn’t want to take all day to reach our destination so we stopped and turned around and headed back down. The sign was correct...steep, rutted, rocky. In addition there had been several days of rain so the road was also very muddy in spots.
Turn around point up to Wheeler Geological Area
On the way back on the dirt road we stopped at Blue Park which had fantastic views of the canyon below with clouds lingering. We stopped and took some pictures and much to our surprise Judy came driving up on her ATV with some other folks. They were on the way to Wheeler Geological Area. I’m sure they will have a much easier time on the roads with their ATVs.
From Blue Park looking towards South Fork
We headed back out the dirt road to Creede. Creede is a very old mining town where some of the richest vanes of silver were found in the lower 48 states during the 1800’s. We drove Bachelors Loop which highlights some of the old mines in the area. It appears some of the old mines are being reactivated and are working today. The day was a perfect late summer/early fall day. NO RAIN!!
One of original mines along Bachelor's Loop in Creede
Turning aspen along Bachelor's Loop
Vista from Bachelor's Loop
We also found out there is an RV dump with water just as you enter town of Creede from the south. It’s a public facility for visitors and they do ask for a donation...$3.00-$5.00. Dumps are hard to find in this area unless you go to an RV park and they can charge you anywhere from $10.00 for dumping and then a additional fee for filling the fresh water holding tank, so this is a good deal.
We returned to the campground and while I was sitting by the river relaxing and reading a book, Tom, our campground host came by to chat (actually the campground is closed so he is just hanging out for a few days until he decides where he wants to go). He used to be a WIN and reminisced about some of the places and people he had met while a WIN. He filled us in on some of the campgrounds up north which will be our next destination. I asked about Slumguillion pass as the map stated it was a 9.5% grade. He laughed and stated it was probably steeper...more like 12%. Yikes!! I’m not sure about this. Anyway, tomorrow we’ll head out on the Silver Thread Scenic Byway northward.