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Another Adventure Town

Salida, CO

Yesterday I posted what was at the bottom of Monarch Pass promised to be another junkie dose of outdoors.

A quick visit to the visitors center and the public lands office confirmed all of that and more

In fact, not only an adventure town but also a favorite top choice for living and retiring as well as all the outdoor fun. How come I hadn’t heard of all this? It was in all the news….

“It has been the favorite of several magazines and newspapers, from the New York Times (“The Outdoors Life With No Attitude,” December 2008) to the U.S. News and World Report Magazine (“one of the top ten affordable retirement communities in the US”). In late 2008, Diversion Magazine called Salida “one of the 10 best places you’ve never heard of,” an “off-the-radar” destination with lots to offer but without the Colorado resort prices. A few years earlier, in 2004, Outside Magazine called it a “sweetly unpretentious town” and one of 20 “Dream Towns + Adventure Hideouts (& Sweet Land Deals).” Additionally, this town of about 5500 residents was included in the guidebook America’s 100 Best Small Art Towns.”

Wow – this town had had some nice press

Well, for starters, I am here to say that it is a town in a beautiful setting. The town sits in the Arkansas River Valley and the mountains rise up around you everywhere you look – can even see some of this from downtown.


The Sawatch Range of the Rockies – sometimes referred to as “the backbone of the Continent” – towers above the Arkansas Valley . Found out the name “sawatch” comes from an Indian word meaning “blue earth.” Going to have to find out where that comes from…Have a lot to do over the coming days – some hiking, and exploring some old ghost towns…and maybe a 14er…

But for sure some fishing – the Arkansas River is Gold Medal Water in stretches – yup – that same kind of water I had hoped to fish over near Ridgway – the Gunnison.

Turns out that in 1982, the 28-mile stretch of the Arkansas — from the Stockyard Bridge just east of Salida to an area called Fernleaf Gulch — was designated as “gold medal” water by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, a tag meaning the site has the highest quality habitat for trout that exists in Colorado and also offers the greatest potential for trophy trout fishing. Sweet.

First stop was ArkAnglers Fly Shop to pick up some local info…

Then on to the historic downtown district for the Saturday Famers Market. Scored some really fresh local veggies and some bread – enjoyed a locally raised cabrito (goat to most) breakfast sandwich on a fresh biscuit – after all, this is a “journey de cuisine” 🙂


Really enjoyed the walk around the historic downtown –

F street and some of the cross streets had some neat old architecture/homes;

its beautifully restored brick buildings were colorful subjects to photograph;

there were art galleries that range from funky to what some might call more refined (just had to go into the art gallery where the earth tone pottery really reminded me of my favorite work of my daughter K – the art major)

there was no shortage of evidence of this being an adventure town…

and, it looked they start ‘em young 🙂

and, everywhere , you could see the mountains…

time to get back to the Bunkhouse and look at those maps and the calendar

so much to do – so little time – what to do first? Kayak? Fish? Hike? Off-road? Climb? Dinner at “Laughing Ladies”? A 14er?

Well, guess I’ll post this…

grab an adult beverage…

watch the thunderstorms roll over Mt Shavano ( at 14,229 ft. the 17th highest of the 14er’s and named for Chief Shavano of the Tabeguache band of Ute Indians)

and try to make some decisions …WWJWD? 🙂

take care…see you down the road….

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