On Wednesday afternoon of our vacation to Durango, we drove out to Vallecito. We had reserved a camping space there several weeks before, but when Scott still wasn't feeling 100%, we decided we weren't up for the extra work and lack of sleep that are inevitable with tent camping. We still wanted to go have some peaceful relaxation under the pines, though, close to the water, so we just went and spent a few hours in our reserved spot.
The lake was sadly very low, less than 40% of its normal water levels, due to 2018 being one of the driest years on record in the San Juans (and of course the 416 fire didn't help that). We still found it to be gorgeous, though, and in my photos I took advantage of the exposed shorelines where there were many artistic-looking pieces of driftwood and interesting rocks that are normally completely submerged.
We were surprised to see there were even cattle grazing on the fields of grass that have grown in the absence of lake water! Might as well use the exposed land, I guess. It added an unexpected bucolic flair to the scenery.
We found our campsite, hung our hammock and enjoyed the silence, with only the sound of wind blowing through the pines and the occasional hummingbird.
After an hour or so of relaxing, we decided to go exploring. We found a little footpath that led from the pine forest where our campsite was to the lake. There was a dense thicket between the pines and the lake, so we had to find a way through it.
As we walked closer to the thicket, we saw a mother deer with her fawn! Here she is, framed in one of the openings in the dense bushes and brambles that form a maze. This is considerably cropped in; I was actually a long ways from her, and she ran away, disappearing into the dark, low-growing forest before I could get closer.
That evening we went to Bayfield, where we had rented a full-size, retro Airstream camper, in lieu of tent camping. I've never slept in a more unique place! Pics coming in the next post.
Thank you for reading!
Related posts on my first trip back to my hometown: