Eric and I decided to camp near the Emory Orr Spring in the Pinon Hills. I dropped Eric off on the other side of the hills and he hiked in. It wasn’t too far, maybe 4-6 miles. Later he said it was an easy climb too and think I would have no trouble with it. I drove around to the other side and drove up through a rough (but not horrible) road into the hills. Earlier that morning we had drove the route and used our biodegradable spraypaint stuff to mark arrows on the ground so Id remember where to turn.
The arrows helped immensely on the way back, without them I surely would have spent hours trying to find the way back. I decided to stop and check out a weird pit we had gone past before, filled with animal bones. It was eerie. As I poked around, I saw a small skeleton which at first I thought “ohh, it’s a baby cow or deer” but as I kept looking I noticed its feet – dog paws, still with some skin and hair on them. I felt sick but couldn’t help but take a picture and continue looking around. Nearby was a broken plastic dog food dish. I rationalized that someones dog had been sick or old and instead of paying the vet they had put it down themselves. But then I came across another small skeleton and immediately looked at the feet – this one was a house cat. This was too much to be coincidence, it seemed like someone was killing pets for sport here along with all the cows and deer. I half expected to find a human skeleton. I decided not to keep poking around and kept on towards the meetup spot.
Theres a small flat area where I pulled off to park, it looks like that would make a good campsite too. The rock there was beautiful with gradients of black and red. I hiked up to the north one hill which had like terraces of rock all the way up. I was trying to make it to a lone little pinon tree on one of the ledges, but I couldn’t get to that particular ledge and instead made it to the one above it and dangled my feet down inches from the tree. I loved watching the swallows, theyd dart right in front of my face, inches from me, and dive bomb down, twirling in the air and looping back, chasing each other. I felt invisible. It was marvelous.
I scouted around and found the Emory Orr Spring. Turns out is a fenced in well basically. It seems to have a natural spring a little further up the slope at the base of a small cliff, as there were threshes of cattails there, but I couldn’t reach it on foot. The old well looked like it was mainly for livestock and was padlocked, with a odd metal 4-ft tall handle protruding from the ground a hundred feet away.
Eric showed over the mountain after a few hours. I had found a cool campsite, a firepit in the hollow of a large boulder. I was having a great time by myself before he showed up, hiking around, sitting and meditating, reading and playing didgeridoo. But as soon as he showed I started feeling a bit irritated. I let it slide tho and didn’t hang on it, just enjoyed the night. I tried taking long exposure pictures of the stars. It was difficult, because I didn’t bring my tripod or trigger so I had to sit there propping it against the rock to keep it still holding down the button for 2-5 minutes a shot. In the end they didn’t come out very well, but I did get a few that at least did come out. The lights of Manassa and further out Alamosa sat on the horizon.
Tent sites were hard to come by, even the flat spots had slopes and all areas were covered with lotsof sharp small rocks. The wind kept my tent whipping around but finally settled later into the night. I was pretty paranoid at first thinking that because I was camped so close to where our food was that some coyotes or mountain lions would come prowling. They didn’t of course and I finally settled my paranoia (for that night anyways) and got pretty good sleep.