Time Traveling: Taylor Park Central, Texas Lakes and Union Park

Good morning again, my friends. This is the third and final post in a series to catch up from our week without internet access. Let's just get to it, shall we? 

When I left off in my previous post, I mentioned that we'd taken a day off from riding when the weather turned windy and wet. The next morning, was bright and sunny again. I took the opportunity to photograph the hill we could see from the RV, off in the distance. Those sections you see in the image below where there appear to be groomed ski slopes are actually areas where avalanches have flattened the trees. We were at nearly 10,000 feet here, and the park would be closing down as of Sunday (today).

In the image below, I've zoomed in to show you the areas where the trees are regrowing from the avalanche assault.

Since we'd taken the day off from riding, I'd had plenty of time for slow-stitching, and I finished this section of the barn.

Moving my hoop down, I had time to stitch that section to completion as well.

Before week's end, I'd have the whole thing finished. We decided to head down to where the Taylor Park Trading Post was located. There was also a cafe there, where we had a cold breakfast. Yes, it was supposed to be hot, but you know...details. In the gift shop, I picked up my second refrigerator magnet and shot glass of the trip. The shot glass is coated with a silvery coating, which is why the lighting is so weird in this next photo.

Also, the night before, I'd baked a skillet chocolate chip cookie for two. For the first time, I was using the old iron skillet I'd pulled from some old camping equipment and reseasoned a couple of months ago. And here at nearly 10,000 feet, I needed to make some adjustments for baking.

As I mentioned, I could get internet access on my phone, and so I inquired of my friend The Google what one does to make adjustments for high altitude baking. I increased the amount of flour, decreased the amount of sugar, increased the amount of liquid by adding a whole egg instead of just the yolk. Also, I increased the baking temperature and decreased the baking time, and voila! It worked! (Polishes fingernails on shirt.)

We didn't ride until after lunch, and we kept the day short. We were still recovering from our ride to Cumblerland Pass summit a few days before. We took a relatively easy trail, identified in our guide book as "Taylor Park Central." Here's another shot of the mountain we could see from the RV park. Here, we'd ridden off some distance, and you can see the RV park below the mountain.

We saw butterflies by the thousands. This first one is commonly known as a greater fritillary. You can read more about it and find some more images right here.

This next one was an exercise in frustration to photograph. They only seem to open their wings in flight. Still, I have some Facebook friends from high school who are very knowledgeable about these kinds of things. They identified this butterfly, probably correctly, as the clouded sulphur. You can read more about it and see some better photographs right here.

In the sunshine, their wings appeared to glow like neon.

We were attempting to ride a loop, and we had to turn around a retrace our path several times before finding the correct turn. We passed by this falling down log cabin. Mike observed that it would have been "drafty."

Walking around the back, it looked like this:

The next day, we rode on the Texas Lake/Texas Creek trail. Right away, we saw a moose, which was thrilling.

On the ride out, we saw just this one.

On the ride back, we saw another at a different place. While we were watching, a smaller, younger one came into view.

We stood watching for a long time as the younger one moved into the clearing so we could get a better look.

Some passing riders told us these moose had been here for about five days.

We were on our way to Texas Lakes, and again, the scenery was astonishingly beautiful.

When we reached Texas Lakes (there were three of them), we got off our ATV's, ate our Clif bars, and had a rest before heading back the way we came.

Our trip out had us traversing Texas Creek. It was about a foot deep. We had to cross again on our way back, and Mike took this video. The scariest part was right at the beginning when I had to make a quick right turn and then head down a steep embankment before reaching the water. I was wearing waterproof shoes, but Mike had to pick up his feet. If you can't see the video, then click right here.

Riding on, this is a view of Texas Creek. It looks like a good place to be a moose, doesn't it?

While we were near the lake, we found some of Smitty's favorite kind of grass, and took some back to him for a nibble. Of course, Miss Sadie had to be in on the act.

The next day was our last day of riding before leaving Taylor Park Reservoir. We decided to head in a southerly direction to Union Park. Along the way, we passed this cabin, which was a part of a working cattle ranch. There were horses and horse trailers present, but we didn't see any people.

We passed through a series of gates that needed to be opened and then closed again as we passed through. We were riding up to some beaver ponds. In the image below, you can see another beaver dam. There were beaver dams everywhere we found water, but we didn't see any beavers.

Higher up, there were several large beaver ponds.

In the image below is just one of the very large beaver dams we saw here.

Off in the distance, we could see where they'd chewed down a number of trees to build their dams.

Beavers have an important job in the ecosystem, but it's been difficult for humans to find a way to peacefully coexist with them. There are researchers hard at work to restore beaver habitat, and surprisingly, to reduce flooding with their help. If you're interested in learning more about beavers, I can highly recommend this book I read recently.

On our way back, we passed by the same cabin and met up with these old-timer cowboys. We thoroughly enjoyed the brief conversation we had with them. They told us the cabin was built in 1863 (think Civil War period). It has been updated with vinyl windows, but the outhouse can still be seen in the back. They are getting ready to herd the cattle to a lower elevation. They told us about the area, and also reminisced about the "cowboy life." They made it sound idyllic.

The one on the right said that when he removed the saddle from his horse at the end of the day to bed down for the night, he knew he was doing it exactly the same way as the cowboy from 200 years ago. The one on the left asked us to "wait a minute" while he went inside. When he came back, he handed me a peach grown in his own peach grove.

So what could I do, but bake some Individual Peach Cobblers for two. They were delicious. I used this recipe, just cutting it down to size for one very large and beautiful peach.

It was a nice way to end our time at Taylor Park Reservoir.

And that brings you up to date. In my previous post, I mentioned we are now in Alamosa, Colorado, just outside Great Sand Dunes National Park. This morning, we'll get an early start and spend the day in the park. I'll have more to tell you tomorrow morning.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

QuiltShopGal said...

What beautiful scenery and so cool to see the Moose and the Beaver dams. Looks like a super fun adventure!

Sandra W said...

Great stuff Barbara. There is a wonderful book of cowboy photos by Canadian Ted Grant. It's a book I think you would enjoy.
Also, the link shows a class in Ottawa where they make sewing machine covers that could be adapted to camper vans. There is a pattern available.

gpc said...

What a thrill to see the moose. I have only ever seen one, when I was maybe 14, on Isle Royale up in Lake Superior. Breathtaking. I have been in moose county a number of times, but only that one sighting (as opposed to bear, which I have seen countless times over the years.) And how very cool to have met a couple of the remaining cowboys. You honored their peach nicely.

piecefulwendy said...

What fun to ride along with you on your trek. That peach dessert looks tasty. Seeing moose on the loose is pretty cool. I'm always amazed at how big they are. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

Doreen said...

Wow! That many moose in one place for that many days is amazing. Gorgeous scenery! Always great to have that "time away" in such expansive country settings. Your recipe results look wonderful, too. Enjoy!

Janis P said...

Thank you so much for taking me along on your trip. I have 2 indoor cats, and feel like we're all along for the ride! I'm disabled as far as much walking, but I can still quilt small things. You make me feel as if I'm still getting around with your wonderful pictures and narratives. Thanks again!

Natureluvr57 said...

Beautiful as usual. Now I want a Peach Cobbler but this time "for two" won't work. Actually I think my peach cobbler is more of peach pie as I use pie crust on top and bottom. It's so delicious warm but the next day the liquid has become gooey-in a good way. Love the nature photos as well. Love the reflection of trees in that pond-makes me think of the artists on PBS. I seen a documentary on Moose and it was so sad about how the tick infestation is killing a lot of them. I hope these do well. Have a great week.

kc said...

How thrilling to be so up close and personal to do many moose! Good job on fording, I especially loved your reaction at the end!! Yummy looking cobbler. Peaches are in season, and I'm sure that was quite the gift!