Airstream Central - Info for Airstream Owners -
Just a few miles from home
D Bishop
Retired, Robotics Engineeer, Real Estate Broker, Rancher, Lumber Dealer, Master Electrician, Pilot, and a few other odd and sundry ventures.  
By D Bishop
Published on 11/1/2011
Often the finest places for a quick get away are close to home. Viewing them with an adventurers eye is key to a wonderful mini-holiday.

This is a follow up to my article 5 Miles from Home.  This is another of our favorite places to go for a quick get away.  It is just 35 miles from home but into a whole different world.  The place is on the banks of the Huerfano River, Huerfano is Spanish for orphan.  The river originates on the upper reaches of the Mt. Blanca group which consists of 4 of Colorado’s 14,000 ft. peaks, Mt. Blanca being the tallest of the 4.

  This picture of Blanca was taken on August 19th and the snow pack is still present.  This area had been covered in Glacial Ice for many years but in recent years the Glacier had all but disappeared but it is coming back, I am very pleased to see our climate is beginning to turn around and take a step toward cooling again.  There is a wonderful lake on the north shoulder of Mt. Blanca, called Lily Lake and is just above timberline at about 12,600 ft.
The Trail Head to Lily is about 5 miles above our Airstream camp site on the river. A couple of years ago I took a friend there for a 3 day back pack trip and the fishing was wonderful. I am 72 and my back packing days may be coming to an end but I have had many years of pursuing this great sport in conjunction with our Airstream trips.

Here I am at the Lily Lake trail heading off for a fishing trip and 3 days backpacking with my friend from Georgia.
  This is a nice shot of Lily Lake, our destination for this backpack trip.   It sets on the north shoulder of Mt. Blanca at about 12,600 ft.
On the drive to the Trailhead you will come upon some Old Miner or Ranchers Dream Home.  
   It was Wednesday afternoon and we hooked up the Caravel and headed south.  We follow Hwy 69 from our home in Silver Cliff, CO to the small town of Gardner then take the road west to Red Wing and continue about 10 miles to where the Mosca Pass road turns right off the Red Wing Road. Here you see the sign indicating a right turn to go up the Mosca Pass road or continue about 1 1/2 miles and watch for a hard left turn into the campground. 
If you choose to take the Mosca Pass road you can drive to the top of the Sangre de Cristo Range and if you are in the mood to Hike you can do so for about 4 miles and arrive at Great Sand Dunes National Park. We like to back up to the bank of the Huerfano River where the foot bridge leads to the Lonnie Brown hiking trail.  From that point you can walk for miles in pristine forest and meadows in Public Land.  I don’t recommend taking an Airstream up Mosca Pass.

On the way to our camp we pass an interesting piece of Architecture, when I first moved to this area a friend told me it was an old Stagecoach Stop for Mosca Pass and for years that is what I thought it was, however when I started this article I decided I would research it further and fortunately I did.  When checking the Huerfano County History web I was informed it was a 70’s Hippy Commune.  So much for my romantic view of this set of buildings, I had thought them to be from the 1870’s not the 1970’s, oh well it was fun to dream of the history there for a few years.

It is quite a complex of buildings, unfortunately they don’t show up well in the (above) picture.  The locals nicknamed it Archuleta Ville for the neighboring ranch that allowed them to occupy the spot and they gathered building materials from the area and constructed this complex.
Here we are parked on the bank of the river.  It is a nice quiet place with just the sound of the breeze and the river softly babbling in the background.  
  One of the things we did to stay entertained while camped was feed the Chipmunks.  Here you will see that I am being attacked and then they come up with reinforcements.
On the trip from our home to the camp we pass a rather large herd of Bison on Wolf Springs Ranch. Since no wild herds exist any more it is good to see there are ranchers preserving this ancient breed.  You may see herds of Elk, Deer and Antelope along the road as well.   
Come to South Central Colorado and see excellent examples of wild life, history and spectacular scenery. Bring your Airstream or your Backpack and fly rod.  You won’t be disappointed.  Again; don’t pass up the trips close to home.