Wednesday, February 7, 2018

January Down the Dolores River

Snow showers on the Abajo Mountains, from the Colorado state line.
A winter storm was coming in. Not a strong enough one for me, because it had been way too dry in the Four Corners region. But we'd take what we could get, with appreciation.

From Dove Creek, Colorado ("Pinto Bean Capital of the World") I headed north toward the Dolores River. On the way there I pulled over to photograph the bare winter fields with a light snow squall and the Abajo Mountains in the distance, across the state line toward Monticello, Utah.

The Dolores River at Slick Rock, Colorado.
Crossing the Dolores River at Slick Rock, Colorado made me pull over for some photos. This past spring the high country had run high with runoff and the river runners had been very happy. Now it was low water, and all of us were hoping for a lot more snow late in the winter and spring, like last year.

Disappointment Valley, Colorado. Wide, high, and lonesome!
It was an overcast winter day, without the snow that it should have had, but still I found it beautiful. Without strong sunlight and deep shadows, the soft colors appealed to me. Into Disappointment Valley, then through the cut over into Big Gypsum Valley.

This is ranch country, for sure.
It was there that I had my on a gravel road heading north from the highway that looked interesting. Because it was high desert, and nobody was around. Perfect.

Down Big Gypsum Valley, toward the river landing.
I was heading toward the river landing on the Dolores River. It would be frozen, but then again this wasn't the river running season. It was the off season. Wonderfully lonely.

Cottonwood trees to the left, red rock cliffs to the right.
At the boat landing, I familiarized myself with the facilities. Quite low key. A shelter, some picnic tables near the river. Nice.

The Gypsum Valley boat landing on the Dolores River. Nothing to float right here, now. But beautiful.
I love the high desert in the winter, since I get too sweaty in the summer.

Down the Dolores...riverbanks of rust and gold.
Finally I reached a bridge crossing of the Dolores below which there was a Wilderness Study Area.

Panorama of the Dolores River where it leaves the Big Gypsum Valley and down into the Wilderness Study Area.
From Google Earth, I could see why it was a red rock river canyon wilderness area.

Photo courtesy Google Earth.
Just look at the sinuous, deeply entrenched river canyon continuing to cut through the middle of nowhere in southwest Colorado. As Edward Abbey called such canyon country: "the back of beyond".

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© Copyright 2018 Stephen J. Krieg

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