"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Friday, October 10, 2008

Top of the world


I wasn't sure I could do it, but here I am standing at the top of Lobo Overlook, about a thousand feet above the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. (Note the screen grab at right from the van's GPS-enabled onboard road atlas software, elevation 11,800 ft.) In comparison to the snow and sleet on the pass during the trip over, the weather has turned beautiful so we decided another drive up the mountain was in order since we got gypped out of the nice views we had hoped for originally. This time, we were not disappointed (click pic for a much larger view):


We were lucky to reach this spot; the dirt road leading up to it from the top of Wolf Creek is impassible after the first heavy snowfall each year, and was already a bit dicey in places, having already taken a good hit from the storm we slogged through a week earlier. But I was thrilled to take in the indescribable view from the top, one I thought a few years ago I might never see again. And, as an extra bonus, we were treated by a visit from several Gray Jays, also called "camp robbers" due to their extremely bold, almost tame behavior around humans; they will take food offered to them right from your hand:


The birds have developed these habits (which are completely abnormal to most wild creatures) because they live at extreme high altitudes where food sources are scarce. Thus, they are very aggressive and will take food anywhere they can find it, including handouts from passing tourists. On one of our Colorado trips several years ago, I was stunned to first encounter a flock of camp robbers on a lunch stop on Slumgullion Pass as they swooped down out of the trees to alight on my head, shoulders, and outstretched arms and hands. I thought it was one of the most amazing things I had ever experienced, and was absolutely delighted to have it happen again. Nature can be pretty damn incredible, I must say. :-)

Back in Pagosa Springs, before heading back to Texas we had to stop by the spot that was almost our home many years ago. The in-laws owned a 40-acre parcel of land a ways out of town, and had set aside this portion of it for us to build on when the "time was right" and we could afford it:


Unfortunately however, the time never was "right"; back then, there was no possible way we could have afforded to quit our jobs in Houston and move to Pagosa, let alone shoulder the cost of constructing a home there. (There were other concerns as well, including the lack of practical access to water and utilities, which may be one reason why no one has built anything on the site to this day.) But while we never drew up anything formal, I had visions (and even rough floor plans) of our perfect "log cabin", complete with wrap-around decking and a 2nd-floor recording studio loft. The best part of all was that this would be the view from our front window:


Now that's inspiration! Alas, it's a dream that will remain unfulfilled, as the in-laws had to sell the land to pay medical bills as they got older and their health started failing. But I could still look at that spot today and see our house in my mind. It's beautiful, folks. You should come up sometime.

On a more upbeat note, Mrs. Toast's brother still lives in Pagosa and we had a fine time visiting him. Although the view from his deck doesn't quite rival the view from our fantasy home, it's still not too shabby:


Finally, in case you can't get enough Colorado scenery, here's a slide show of some other photos from our trip. That's it from the Rockies, see you back in Texas!

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