We took Hwy 50 from Salida and headed west. I was looking for the dirt road that would cut through to Ridgeway rather than follow Hwy 50 to Montrose and then south on Hwy 550. Too much traffic for my liking. I drive too slow, easily distracted, we stop a lot.
Cimarron Road, that is CR 858 is a well graded gravel and smooth wide road southward bound. I drove happily along until the dogs demanded a break. I pulled off for a picnic and let them run free, as usual. A few trucks passed us, one sedan, not much. The distant mountains drew me in and a part of me worried that the pass would be too intense but oh well, I was going that way so don’t think about it.
The Silver Jack campsite was some 24 miles from the highway, past a couple of more highly used campgrounds. We turned in to the one and only loop still open after Labor Day. Heavily treed, the sites were spread out and private. I’d hoped we’d be near the reservoir but no, that lay hundreds of feet below with no path downwards.
Harold took a walk happily exploring as I made coffee. The campsite has 60 sites when all loops are open, $14 each. Simple with vault toilets, happy hosts, and trails leading us towards a surprise view.
I turned a corner and stood motionless, coffee in hand. Incredible view of the reservoir and mountains. Speechless.
Later that morning, I packed us up and we followed the road past the 325 acre reservoir, it looked low but I’m told there is great fishing with miles of shoreline to explore. We carried on. It’s funny to me how nervous I am taking these unfamiliar roads but I don’t let it stop me, even after I got the 4Runner caught on some rocks in Cibola National Forest. This road through Owl Creek Pass was so smooth and wide, I relaxed, we stopped, the dogs ran and I made more coffee to celebrate before heading down to Ridgeway. There are tons of Dispersed Campsites along the way, most of them taken by hunters was my impression.