I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog to share about Mom’s birthday celebration in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Mom and Dad left me and Mowgli at home this time so they could do more difficult hiking and some human activities. This was the longest they left Mowgli home, so I was the big brother and kept him company. Anyway, I didn’t get to blog last week because my typist…aka Mom…wasn’t here. Good help is so hard to find!
We want to thank Maureen Miller from Paws On Pet Sitting for taking excellent care of us. She has been watching over me for eight years now. We’re pals! If you ever need a superb human to look after your fur babies, give her a shout. Tell her Kuma and Mowgli sent you.
Mom and Dad drove out and decided to take I-40 this time. Just shy of Durango, Colorado, they connected to highway 160 and headed east. You have a couple of options, but they all take roughly 8 to 9 hours no matter how you slice or dice it. I’ve done that drive once, and it is just long. However, it is SO worth it once you arrive!
They stayed at the Pagosa Lodge once again; however, it has really become run down. To quote Mom, “It’s a dump.” Supposedly, it has been purchased by Holiday Inn and will be repaired and updated. They have a lot of work to do: the bed sagged to the floor, no towels, a heater that sounded like a broken jet airplane, zero service, and a breakfast that wasn’t. The list goes on, but you get the drift. It isn’t cheap, so we don’t recommend it…at least for a year or so. Thankfully, Mom and Dad used United Airline reward miles to cover the room, so they weren’t out any money.
The first day, they took on quite the hike. In my youth, I would have been all over it. Right now, I wouldn’t have made it. I was happy and comfortable at home. As it is, Mom and Dad were quite tuckered out hiking 6.2 miles at 10,000 to 11,000 feet! They saw incredible fall color and made it to Fourmile Falls. The hike is marked moderate, but when you take into consideration the elevation, it can be challenging. A ton of trees were down, and it made following the trail difficult. They got off track once and were scrambling. Mom said her dogs were barking, but I don’t understand. I wasn’t there nor was I barking! Silly Mom.
They met a very nice couple from Texas at the trailhead. He forgot his hiking boots. Uh oh! He proceeded ahead in flip flops…and made it! Mom and Dad packed lunch and ate every bit of it by the falls. The temperature started off cool but warmed up to the 60s…just perfect for hiking. Remember, when hiking in the mountains, layers are essential.
Between the drive and hike, it was an all-day adventure. As they drove back to the hotel, they encountered real cowboys herding cows. The cattle had the right of way, and while they waited, one cowboy wondered if Mom or Dad had a beer. Ha! He was tired, too. Sorry, no booze on board.
The next day, Mom and Dad hit the Pagosa Springs Hot Springs spa. Mom saved up for months as it isn’t cheap to enter. If you stay at the hotel, you get access. The normal day pass is $65, but you are limited to what pools you can use. So, they got the Terrace Package and were able to do whatever they wanted. Included are robes, towels, and lockers. The normal package doesn’t include that, and they will nickel and dime you to death. The Terrace Package is the best deal.
Pagosa sits on a natural hot spring, and you can smell it. You know that rotten egg smell? The day was cloudy and threatening to rain, but they enjoyed the morning soaking their aches and pains from their hike. One of the coolest is 96 degrees, and one of the hottest is 109. Mom loves heat but said that was TOO hot. The spa sits right on the river, so you can do the hot/cold therapy if you want: soak in the heated pool then float in the cold river.
They have two restaurants on site and a bar for drinks. They had a nice salad overlooking the property. Early afternoon, a storm broke. Thunder and lightning and massive rain. If you have the Terrace Package, you can leave and come back. With the daily entrance fee, sucks to be you. No weather refund, and you can’t go back in.
Mom wanted to walk around downtown anyway, so they visited some shops. I have it on good authority that she is now done with her Christmas shopping other than me and Mowgli. My Mom is always working ahead!
From clothing to trinkets, a variety of stores line main street. The Made in Colorado store is on the way back to the hotel on 160 west, but it is worth a stop. Mom popped in to say hi to the pet store folks who turned her onto the Hip & Joint supplement I take. They are always so friendly and helpful.
The rain didn’t let up all night, and in the morning, the surrounding mountains were covered in snow. Oh, I would have loved to play in it. Mom and Dad were super excited to drive over the Continental Divide to Creede when a weird sound came out of the truck. It was serious enough that they took it to the mechanic. Sure enough, it needed a part, or the truck would overhead. They didn’t have it, but the local O’Reilly’s did. I think God was looking after them since I couldn’t.
Dad is so handy, and within a couple of hours, he had the truck humming again. While he repaired the truck, Mom walked over to Wal-Mart. She scored BIG time and found tall jeans cheap. She normally has to order them from different countries as no stores seem to stock long here in the states. She was quite excited. Everything worked out as it should.
They were back on the road and went over Wolf Creek Pass. A few snowflakes fell, and they saw breathtaking scenery. Creede is an old mining town in the middle of nowhere. Yet, they have cute shops and restaurants. They enjoyed lunch and planned on taking a tour of the copper mine, but they missed it by 10 minutes. I would have shown my best begging face and gotten them in, but they were out of luck.
The drive is about 1 ½ hours back to Pagosa Springs, and they stopped at the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) to stretch their legs and take in the views. Because they were running behind schedule, they didn’t get to do a full hike. Next trip! I’m sure we will be back. Pagosa Springs is an amazing area. Everyone is friendly, and it doesn’t have crowds like other popular destinations. We highly recommend you give it a try!
Mom and Dad got up early the next day to drive home, and since they had the time, they popped into the Petrified Forest National Park. They have their pass, so they got right in. If you don’t have one, you would pay their daily fee. Guess what? This national park allows dogs on the trails. Go figure…I wasn’t there.
For being so remote, the park has a lot to offer: restaurant, shops, and two visitor centers. You can enter it from I-40 north or the southern entrance. If you have only a couple hours, the drive through is recommended. This is what Mom and Dad did, but they would like to go back and hike some of the trails.
Highlights were the painted desert and getting up close and personal with the petrified trees. NOTE: All the trees are petrified and lying on the ground, so there is zero shade. We are entering in the perfect time of year to visit when the temperatures are milder.
The park is laid out well with plenty of overlooks and viewing areas. If you are like us, you have driven by this countless times and thought “We should visit sometime.” Well, you should! It is definitely worth the stop. I hope I get to see it and stroll around. It is about 2 to 2 ½ hours from North Phoenix, so it is a doable day trip.
Well folks, that’s Mom’s birthday trip. I’m glad they had a wonderful time. It’s been a stressful year for my humans, and the week before the trip peaked with multiple things going on. They needed a break. We were certainly glad when they came home. Mowgli especially missed Mom and has been keeping close. He’s a good boy.
I’ll be back to my regular blog next week. I still have adventures to share from my own birthday, so stay tuned and stay well.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!