After finishing yesterday's post I knew I wanted to take the longer way home. I'm glad I did. The climb up Highway 145 from Cortez to 10,000 foot Lizard Head Pass is easy and pleasant. It was autumn the first time I made the drive and all the cottonwoods were golden in the morning light. They were just their standard green this time, but it was still a nice trip, with the Dolores River at my side.
The town of Rico is along the way. It's another former mining town teetering between decay and gentrification. They hope to snag some of the tourist dollars, but I think most travelers would rather continue on to Telluride. However, the real estate market is hoping to entice those who have been priced out of the big resort town up the road.
Lizard Head Pass really appeals to me, even thought I haven't been able to spot the mountain that's supposed to look like a lizard's head. Alpine meadows, coniferous forests and striking mountains. I spent a couple of hours there in a semi-meditative state.
And just north of the summit is Trout Lake. More hanging out ensued.
I skipped Telluride. The bluegrass festival is on and it would've been a pain to get into town. Some other day.
There are side roads up into the mountains I want to explore. They're a good reason to keep coming back.