Sunday, June 5, 2022 @ 4:00 PM in General Travel
On Friday, Sam had the urge to get out of town for the weekend. Unfortunately, most of the National Forest in NM is currently closed due to fire danger so we had to widen our radius slightly. We were looking for somewhere that was within about a 3 hour drive from home, had water nearby and wouldn't be slammed with people. After talking with some friends, we landed on the Conejos River between Antonito and Chama. One of our friends mentioned she had some friends who were planning on camping up in this area so we figured we'd try it too. We actually did a several night backpacking trip up in this area several years ago and remembered it being really beautiful.
We packed up the car and were out the door by about 9:30am on Saturday. Rather than try to prep any food, we just went to Market Street and bought some premade meals for food. We bought a salmon salad with pasta salad for lunch #1, some fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner and some more fried chicken for lunch #2. The drive up to the campground was pretty uneventful and surprisingly lacking any real traffic aside from one area near San Antonio Mountain where the road was under construction and down to one lane.
We got to the campground a little before 12:30 and found a nice spot directly across from the river. We pulled out our coolers and camping gear and had lunch before heading out for a walk down to Spectacle Lake and the campground there. There were several people fishing for trout in the lake and we actually saw a few people catch some fish. The lake definitely looked stocked since you could see a ton of fish just swimming around.
After getting back to the campsite, we relaxed in some shade and read books for a few hours before it was time for dinner. Some motorcyclists pulled up to hang out by the creek and snap some pics. I went over to talk to them and snapped some shots for them. Turns out they weren't staying the night but just making a little detour while they were on their way back to Taos for the night. We shared some quick stories of our various trips before they took off. To reheat dinner, we just used our camp stove and a frying pan with some foil, which worked surprisingly well. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing before we finally called it an early night and went to bed in the back of the truck.
Due to some combination of white noise from the river, the temperatures being on the cooler side and having tall cliffs all around us, we actually slept in until about 7:30 which is "late" for us. We ended up with about 10 hours of sleep which felt amazing. Breakfast was some coffee, a muffin for me and some overnight oats for Sam. We packed up camp after drinking our coffee and drove up the road about 10 minutes to the South Fork trailhead.
There was a little debate about whether this was the same trailhead we started our big backpacking trip from, and it turns out it was. We hiked about four miles and enjoyed being in some greenery again. Near the trailhead were a few stream crossings. On the way out, we tried picking our steps carefully to avoid getting wet. On the way back, we just sloshed right through the water since we could put sandels on when we got to the car. When we had just crossed the river, we saw some people from Santa Fe (the friends of friends who were staying in this area which spurred our idea to camp here). We chatted with them for a bit before getting back to the truck and having lunch.
The drive back home was equally uneventful aside from the one section where the road was down to one lane.
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