This last week, the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma (GS-WEST) High Adventure Team (HAT) took an amazing trip to Colorado, and had several adventures on the way there and back.
We headed out bright and early from OKC on Saturday. We drove steadily to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area in NM and made camp. One cool thing, we drove through Philmont Scout Ranch on the way. Wild Rivers was pretty cool, I had no idea it existed. Two canyons, one for Rio Bravo, and the other for Rio Grande, both hundreds of feet deep, meet into one river, the Grande. An amazing area.
Sunday we left the Wild Rivers area and drove all the way to Mesa Verde, touring the cliff dwellings there. We camped at Morefield, and were near enough to the store there to get WiFi. We saw a bear and cub on the road. The campsite was a little bit of a pain, you had to sleep on gravel filled areas that were pretty small, and with a two-tent limit.
Monday we drove to Durango and rafted the Animas River. The girls (and staff!) had a blast. Afterward we visited the Durango Community Center for the pool, climbing wall, gym, and SHOWERS! Camp for the evening was at Junction Creek campground (same place I camped with our Troop 15 guys a couple weeks ago). We were in the group camp, and it was a great campsite. For dinner, we went to the Bar D Ranch for their chuckwagon dinner and cowboy/western music show.
Tuesday we drove up to Silverton to tour the Old One Hundred gold mine, then back to Silverton to wander the town. Camp for the next two nights was Molas Lake, a private campground near Molas Pass.
Comments about Molas Lake camp. It was a very pretty area; both the lake and the mountains around the lake. They needed more toilets (there was one two-hole for pretty much the entire north side). The nearest water was all the way back to the main building, quite a walk. We had a cart, which helped. Most of our people were forced to sleep on gravel again, while two of the sites were dirt. Another two-tent per site limit.
Wednesday we took a hike. Our group walked around the lake, found the Colorado Trail, and headed up and over and above Molas Pass to Little Molas Lake, a NFS campground. The lake and surrounding area was beautiful. We had lunch on an unused campsite. There aren’t any picnic tables on the sites, nor is there any water unless you filter it from the lake. The usual vault toilets.
After lunch, most of our group headed back down to camp, for a 7.5 mile hike and roughly 600 ft of altitude gain. A smaller group kept going on the trail, and got up to 11,500 ft on a ridge for a stunning view of the mountains on both sides of us. One thing really special to me was seeing the Elk Creek drainage to the east, where I backpacked with our boys a couple weeks ago. Eventually, we headed back, for an 11.2 mile day with 1,100 ft of altitude gain.
Thursday we packed up and headed back into Durango, for ziplining, a new experience for most of us. Afterward, I texted Raegan “Slightly terrifying”. It was enjoyable, and I think I would do it again. After another run to the Community Center, we got to Junction Creek (the group camp again), and had our last camp night.
Friday was a travel day, to a motel in Clayton, NM, and Saturday we came back into OKC.
It was a very enjoyable trip, with many exciting activities. No one got hurt, the girls and adults got along well with no fussies, and no one was bored. The food was very good and varied. Our schedule was full, and there were a number of things I think we all would have liked to do, but annual leave is a limiting factor.
We also had a number of great ideas for things to do next time!