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Durango, Colorado, September 5-7, 2005

We spent Monday through Wednesday in Durango, white water rafting, jeeping and visiting Mesa Verde. Durango is a much larger town than Ouray or Silverton. As such, there is a larger array of places to stay, eat or shop. Our first destination was Mild to Wild for a rafting and jeep tour starting at 08:30. The Jeep tour of La Plata canyon was actually a bone-jarring ride in an Austrian troop transport vehicle, the Pinzgauer. This vehicle is quite impressive in its ability to negotiate tough road conditions. The "bone-jarring" part was due to our guide, Chris, trying to impress us with his maniacal driving.

The Pinzgauer

We travelled the length of the canyon, viewing a pretty waterfall and some old homestead remnants along the way. The 4WD road climbed up the far end of the canyon, to an abrupt stop at the rim. When we returned to Mild to Wild's headquarters, they served us a lunch in the park, and we took a short break before our rafting trip.

Quite a view from the canyon rim

The view across the canyon

Roy was our guide for the rafting trip. He looked like Harrison Ford, and with his adventurous spirit, fit right into the Indiana Jones mold. Fall is not the best time to raft Colorado's rivers. The flow is down from what one would find after the Spring snow melt. We had a lot of fun nonetheless.

Rafting the Animas

We had reservations Monday and Tuesday nights at the Rochester Hotel, an old hotel that has been converted into a bed and breakfast done in an old western movie theme. Across the street we found the Cyprus Cafe, where we would enjoy dinners and the evening air. They had live entertainment (jazz), and we sat and enjoyed the music to more wine after dinner.

Rochester Hotel, Durango, CO

Day six: Mesa Verde National Park