After picking up camp, we set off to explore the area some. We wandered around on some of the forestry roads before finding our way towards Bonanza and Exchequer, CO. Bonanza is one of the smallest incorporated cities in Colorado with 16 residents (there’s only one town smaller, Lakeside—8 residents). Bonanza hit its peak population in the 1930′s of 445 residents.
Finding areas in Colorado to see the fall color can be challenging. Most of the easy access areas are usually over run by large numbers of people. In the more popular areas sometimes thousands of people on the weekend. Which is exactly the type of area we wanted to avoid. We headed down to an area south of Poncha Springs and northwest of Villa Grove. The area is also south of Marshall Pass (which we didn’t visit this time).
We took an early morning hike up to the Pomeroy Lakes. It was a beautiful morning and you couldn’t ask for better weather for hiking. Cool, but not cold. There’s only drawback to camping in high mountain valleys, it takes long time before the sun gets to the valley floor. Even though the sun rose a while ago we still started out hike in the shadow of Grizzly Mountain. The sun started to peek over the ridge next to Upper Pomeroy Lake just about the time we got to it. The lake seems to be fed by underground run off. There was water still running into and out of the lake even without any snow pack left around it. On our hike we heard a lot of marmots chattering at us, but we saw only one atop a rock.
We decided to head out for a quick camping trip and wound up going over to the St. Elmo area. As it turned out St. Elmo was over run with tourists on with ATVs. So having lunch in town was not a good idea. We headed up the road towards Tin Cup Pass a ways until we found a nice spot for lunch. After lunch, we headed upto Pomeroy Lake hoping to find a campsite. As it turned out the one campsite that I wanted to camp at had people at it. We headed further up the road looking for campsites. We spotted one not too far from the top as we headed to the lower lake. There were a lot of vehicles up at the trailhead for the lake, and we decided not to spend much time there and headed back to the campsite we spotted. Fortunately, summer rains don’t last long in Colorado, because it started raining on the way to the campsite. We waited in the truck for rain to stop. Our campsite was located an easy walking distance to the lower Pomeroy Lake and at almost 12,000 feet.
Sunday morning I spent some time with my DSLR taking photos of our camping area. I could easily have spent all day in the area. It would be a great location for a macro photography seminar. Spending quality time with a camera in my hands is something that I need to do more of. Lately, I’ve mainly been doing “documentary” photography for the USFS and it doesn’t require much beyond being able to recognize what the picture is supposed to show.
Anyway, after picking up camp we went exploring in the area. Our first stop was to go to La Salle Pass. Which, as it happens there is a geocache on the pass. This last week Karen received her new Garmin Montana 600 GPS and wanted to try it out. Off we went in search of La Salle Tool Pax. After a few minutes of looking around Karen found the tool box. She is really liking the new GPS and is starting to get comfortable using it.