Pagosa Springs

Our first stop in Pagosa Springs was at the Visitor's Center.  We were given some excellent information and once we got Mellie all set up we decided to head for Treasure Falls, the number one item on the list and just 15 miles northeast on Highway 160.  You can see part of the waterfall from the parking area.  The hike is just a quarter mile, but quite steep.  We took advantage of the benches along the way, read the interpretive signs on the trail and walked slowly while photographing flowers.

From the parking lot.

We are in training mode on waterfalls!  Not too many around AZ to get some good experience under your photo belt.  Here the waterfalls are more common and at this time of year, with snow melt, they are thundering down canyons.  Treasure Falls is located between two narrow ridges and the light is not bright.  Tom and I discussed later that our efforts to get a 'fast' shot failed.  That is too bad since this fall is best captured, we believe, as a forceful and fast waterfall.  The image above is not slow enough nor fast enough!  I decided to post it anyway because it may give you a sense of the place.

This image of Treasure Falls was taken with a 10 step ND filter and a shutter speed of 13 seconds.  The filter can, and did in this image, leave a nasty color cast.  After working with it in post for longer than I can normally stand, I decided it would make a perfect black and white image.

I thought of Kati as I got down on my belly to photograph the bottoms of these flowers.

We still had time to drive up to Wolf Creek Pass and see how road would be for Mellie as we continued on to South Fork.  It would be fine!  No sharp switchbacks (well, maybe one).  The lanes were wide and there were pullouts to allow faster drivers to pass us.  On the way we spotted one pullout that looked interesting.  We thought the site had good sunrise potential so we returned the next morning just as the sun was coming up over the eastern edge of the valley.

This outlook gives one a sense of the valley below.  There are some major rock outcroppings that allow you to 'peer through'.

That is Treasure Falls from the pullout.

A morning shot.  It might have been as good as we anticipated had it not been so hazy.

A typical scene on the way to Treasure Falls.  This is the land of green, wide open spaces with log fences and snow caps on distant mountains.  It first it felt like we needed to de-saturate the greens!!  They were just too bright!  Oh, to be a desert dweller in a green land!!!

We thought we had enough time left to explore one more spot.  We underestimated the time we would need!!  Surprised?  Surely you are not.  It takes a lot longer when you keep stopping to capture wonderful shots.  Besides, it was a dirt road and you know how I drive Ms. Prissy Prius on such roads.  The road we chose was CR 326 at the Blanco Basin Turnoff.  We did not complete the full 40 mile round trip drive.  I will go back through the whole road in the future.

Hmmmm . . . "Tom, did you desaturate the green in this image?!  "I may have."

This road was in excellent condition for about half of the distance we drove.  Along the way were numerous ranches, all nicely fenced and cared for.

Finally, a bit o'gold color showing up.

I had been driving while Tom shot from the car or hopped out to get a shot.  These curvy county roads require concentration and stopping along the side of the road is not always possible as there are no pullouts.  Fortunately, there is little traffic so if you can be seen by an approaching car they are good about going around you.  But, this possible image capture pulled me to the side to shoot.  They were on my side of the car and I gladly took my turn.

The next day we decided to try the drive to Williams Creek. This drive starts on Piedra Road (CR 600) which after about 22 miles becomes FS 631.  There is another turn on FS 640 to reach the Williams Creek Reservoir.  On the return we went back to FS 631 and turned right towards the Weminuche Wilderness.

This is the Williams Creek Reservoir.  It was very cold and very windy.  Rain threatened!  Me?  I stayed in the car and sent Tom out to get the best he could.  Hats off to him as he worked the possibilities for about 45 minutes, sometimes in the rain!!!

They gave up as it started to rain.  Tom did not!  He got more than his lens wet!

Rain and cows in the distance.

Just the smallest amount of light gives one the idea of what some good light would offer this scene.

There must be a song for these drives.  Something like 'Down a County Road . . . "

The weather was a factor on this day.  For most of the day we had threatening rain, heavy clouds with bits of sunshine here and there.  As soon as Tom got a shot set up the brief, momentary bit of light would be gone.

When we reached the end of FS 631 we came upon a huge semi with a flat bed trailer. There were guys just standing around and with a bit of inquiry we found out that they had delivered a HUGE piece of equipment to the farm down below in the valley.  We could hear the shovel working away.  As we finished up our shooting (about an hour) and headed back down the road we saw that they had loaded the shovel onto the truck.  My first thought was to get in front of them or I would be stuck on a narrow county road going even slower than my usual 15 mph.  Oh, so not correct!!  I had barely driven 5 miles and I could hear this truck barreling down the road behind me.  This truck was speeding!!!!  I quickly picked up my pace and saw a bit more distance between us but still had to keep up my speed.  Only later did I realize that I should have found a wide spot in the road and let him pass me.  Oh, wide spot?  Not easy to find.  And, we would have been chewing his dust for days.  Finally, we managed to pull off a side road and slightly up a hill.  Tom jumped out to try and get a 'safe' head-on shot of what I now thought was a BEAST!  We then followed him at a safe and relatively dust free distance until we got into town.

Look at that dust trail!!  He was hauling *ss!!

I end this post with two personal images.  First is Tom in his usual stance as he looks at a possible shot.  I just so love this guy!  I stay with the car as he steps out.  I monitor oncoming traffic and make sure we are both safe.  Second, a photo of our home, Mellie.  The most common question we get is, "Where are you?"  On this day we were parked next to the Blanca River about 9 miles south of Pagosa Springs.

Thanks for sharing our adventures.