World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 3
Welcome to the
Welcome to SpaniSh peakS country.
You’re about to discover one of the most
beautiful places in southern Colorado.
The area has been a getaway destination
for over a century, attracting visitors to its
unique natural beauty, outdoor recreation
and rich history.
Enjoy the small town flavor of La Veta,
Cuchara, Walsenburg and Gardner as well
as the open ranges of Huerfano County. As
you travel the Scenic Highway of Legends
you will also see Trinidad, Stonewall and
other small towns along the route.
Circling the mountains on the Scenic
Highway of Legends (Hwy 12) provides a
great way to track the history, culture and
geology of the region.
The region is a crossroads of cultures
and peoples, of explorers and adventurers,
of settlers and travelers. The rich history of
the area has been passed down both in legend
and fact. Discover our history at the
Mining Museum in Walsenburg, or Francisco
Fort Museum in La Veta.
The Spanish Peaks (also known as Wahatoya
or “Breasts of the World”) are a
prominent feature with historical significance
and rank among the most important
landmarks of the Southwest.
The Spanish Peaks had special significance
to the Ute, Apache, Comanche and
earlier tribes who lived nearby. The peaks
photo by Dane Tessler
were used as navigational markers to guide
Native Americans, Spanish and French explorers
to the settlements of New Mexico.
Recreation options abound. We are
home to the San Isabel National Forest and
Lathrop State Park— Colorado’s first. Take
a hike, watch birds and view wildlife. Bring
a camera and picnic.
Shop the quaint Main Street art galleries,
gift shops and boutiques. Great
music is abundant during the summer both
at local venues, festivals, and special
However you choose to spend your
leisure time, you’ll find something to enjoy
here in this comprehensive Summer Guide.
Local small businesses work together
to bring you this guide, and will ensure
you have a wonderful visit. Please patronize
the restaurants, shops and attractions
inside this guide.
Escape from the stress, hustle, and
bustle of daily life to a place where you can
still see the Milky Way, hear birds singing
or just the babble of a brook.
Enjoy your stay, but be aware of the
energy of the Spanish Peaks—it will pull
you back again and again.
Gretchen & Brian Orr
publishers, the World Journal
On the cover: Hiking up to Lily Lake and the back side of Mt. Blanca
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Things to do Today Page 4
Art Galleries Page 5
Photography Page 6
Lathrop State Park Page 8
Trails Page 8
Scenic Drives Page 9
Calendar of Events Page 10
Go Fishing Page 11
Trails: Hike, Bike, ATV Page 12-13
Bear Aware Page 14
Oldies Rock Tours Page 15
Wildlife Page 18
Concerts Page 22
High Altitude Sickness Page 23
Flash flood safety Page 23
Hiking Essentials Page 26
Maps of the Area Pages 26 & 30
of Legends Pages 27-29
Index to Advertisers Page 29
2019 Summer Guide
Editors.................................................... Gretchen Orr, Debi Sporleder
Design & Production....................................... ......................... Brian Orr
Contributors.............................. Ruth Orr, Eric Mullens, Tom Macedo,
Marilyn Russell, Travis Sauder
the Summer Guide is published annually by the World Journal
Second class postage paid at Walsenburg, co, 81089 and additional
mailing offices. uSpS 024-957. all contents of the Summer Guide are
copyrighted 2019. Free distribution.
508 Main St. Walsenburg, CO 81089. (719) 738-1415 Fax: (719) 738-1425
email: email@example.com www.WorldJournalnewspaper.com
Page 4 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Things to do Today
Francisco Fort Museum
Francisco Fort is the oldest known
standing structure in Huerfano County,
built with adobe by La Veta founders John
Francisco and Henry Daigre in 1862. The
Francisco Fort Museum includes eight
historic buildings and an impressive variety
Weapons, wagons, saddles and clothing
used by pioneers are on display. A saloon
from old La Veta’s Main Street
contains the bullet scarred bar owned by
Bob Ford after he shot Jesse James. All will
enjoy the one-room schoolhouse.
Allow an hour or two to tour the
buildings and to view the wide range of
artifacts. Located in La Veta. Entrance on
Main Street next to the library. Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 719-
Take a trail ride leaving Yellow Pine
Guest Ranch in Cuchara to enjoy the spectacular
mountain scenery along the Cucharas
Guided rides available. Call 742-3528.
Enjoy family fun with a round of
mini-golf at The Bear’s Den in Cuchara
village. The 18-hole course is custom-designed
with local buildings and mountain
The Walsenburg Golf course also
offers a full 18 hole miniature golf course
next to its restaurant. Get to it through Lathrop
State Park west of Walsenburg, and
follow the signs to the restaurant.
But those who visit Mission:Wolf, located
15 miles north of Gardner, will leave
with a deeper appreciation of this magnificent
Kent Weber established Mission: Wolf
in 1988 on 20 acres nestled at the base of
Greenhorn Mountain. The refuge is now
home to dozens of captive-born grey
wolves and wolf-dog crosses.
Visitors can view the animals from an
elevated walkway. The fenced areas contain
several acres for the wolves to roam.
Some may want to take the unique opportunity
to interact with wolves, under supervision.
As a nonprofit organization,
there is no admission fee, but ask visitors
to make a donation or purchase souvenirs
from the gift shop.
Open daily from 9 a.m. to sundown.
Info at www.missionwolf.com.
Directions: From Gardner, follow
Hwy. 69 north 1.5 miles. Turn right
on Gardner Road. Go north 13.5
miles and turn right at Blue Spring
after the cattle guard. Follow the
driveway 1.5 miles along the fence.
Four-wheel drive is recommended
November through May. Drive time
is approximately one hour from Walsenburg.
Museum of Friends
Located at 600 Main St. in Walsenburg,
contains an eclectic personal collection
of art, and special exhibits. This
summer will feature a Earth Group Exhibition
through June 17, followed by John
Wark Photographs and Bobby Valentine
Paintings through October.
inated the economy in Huerfano County
from the 1870’s through the 1930’s.
Houses memorabilia from such notable
charactors as Bob Ford, famous for killing
Jesse James, and labor leader Mary
“Mother” Jones. Also includes Ludlow
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Sat. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walsenburg, 112 W.
5th Street. 738-1992.
Walsenburg Wild Waters
Open daily, Walsenburg Wild Waters
offers two serpentine slides, a diving
photo by Eric Mullens
pool, a meandering river and toddlers activity
pool. Enjoy the Colorado sunshine
with a splash, and sunscreen. You’ll see
the water park on 7th St. in Walsenburg,
next to City Park.
Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?
Fables and fairytales have long portrayed
the wolf as a stalker of humans and animals
and instilled fear in all who may encounter
the wild animal.
Walsenburg Mining Museum
Located in the historic jail next to the
county courthouse in Walsenburg, the
Mining Museum displays artifacts that
tell the story of king coal which dom-
photo by Renee Rinehart
Enjoy a round of golf with views of the Spanish Peaks at the 9-hole Walsenburg
Golf Course, located inside Lathrop State Park.
Located just outside of Trinidad,
CO this premier 4,237 square foot
open floor plan includes sun
room, kitchen & pantry, dining
room and great room with stairs
to spacious loft.
All share custom native rock
and local juniper/pine wood work.
In floor heat in all rooms. Kitchen
offers full custom cherry cabinetry
with granite throughout.
Three car garage, guest
quarters, four bathrooms and
CITY water. The 35 acre property
is a must see offering a park like
feel under tall pines and offering
fantastic sunsets over the Rocky
This 4,800 finished square foot
Spanish style stucco home is
perched on a pine covered knoll
on just over 35 acres. Secluded
and private, yet only ten minutes
from downtown Trinidad, CO.
3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms,
in-floor heat throughout home including
the 3 car 30′ x 40′ garage.
RV parking with hookups. City
water & underground power.
Words simply can’t describe the
view and the sunsets that you will
see from the expansive covered
deck with built in grill over looking
Trinidad Lake (trout & WALLEYE)
and Trinidad Lake State Park!
Priced to sell at $674,900!
Bruce Bohn, Broker
Peter Chase, Agent
Fantastic layout in this classic
3 bedroom 3 bath log home surrounded
by tall pines on 35 acres.
Vaulted tongue and groove ceilings.
Towering rock fireplace in
Finished basement area for your
bar or game/theater room. 2 drivein
garages plus a stand alone oversize
two car garage. Turnkey with
all appliances and furniture.
Baseboard hot water heat. 1,920
square feet of living space upstairs
including loft and approximately
1,000 square feet of living space
with wood burning stove, bar,
kitchenette and bathroom
downstairs. Huge back deck
for entertaining! $395,000.
#9 Milligan Ranch
ONE MILE FROM NATIONAL FOREST!
This easily accessible, yet very secluded location
offers fantastic opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast.
Hiking trails, abundant wildlife, hunting
National Forest, ATV trails or you simply want to
"get away from it all" This location is not near the
big city and has ample elbow space for you and
your friends and family to build your getaway
place or retirement home. $65,000
#4 Blackhawk Ranch
Turnkey 43.5 acres with electric ran into property
where cabins are located and wired for satellite
TV. Fantastic views of valleys and mountains
near and far. 32' X 12' fully finished cabin with
porch, extra window, two lofts and small private
restroom area. $149,000
#5 Santa Fe Trail Ranch
CLOSE TO TOWN- CITY WATER!
Very affordable ponderosa pine property at
Santa Fe Trail Ranch. This heavily wooded 35
acre property offers jaw-dropper views of the
Fishers Peak! Acres of tall Ponderosa Pines and
a choice building/camping site with level access
for easy driveway from the ranch dead end spur
#3 Vigil Ranch
FANTASTIC HORSE PROPERTY
A First-time offering for this 35 acre lush lower
valley meadow, with over 1,100 feet of the middle
fork of the Purgatoire River and amazing panoramic
Sangre de Cristo snow-capped mountain
views! This is a TRUE horse property! Homesteaded
before Colorado even became a state,
the original adobe home still stands today.
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 5
Visit local art galleries:
Art Cartopia Art Car Museum
and Art Gallery
Art cars are drivable works of art,
with possible origins in the hippie-themed
VWs of the late 1960s, lowrider cars, and
advertising vehicles like the Oscar Mayer
Wienie Wagon. Trinidad is part of this
worldwide movement with 25 art cars on
display, an art gallery, and gift shop at 2702
Freedom Road, Trinidad.
La Veta Gallery on Main
A unique art gallery on La Veta’s
Main Street featuring paintings, ceramics,
photography, fiber art, jewelry, scratchboard,
mixed media, and paper crafts by
local and regional artists. Visit the gallery
to experience the creativity of our artistic
Features Batik works from
Beth and Jonathan Evans plus
work from local artisans. Beautiful
scarves and shawls. Visit the
gallery, studio and gift shop at
107 W. Ryus Ave. in La Veta.
The Painted Horse Gallery and
More than a gallery and gift shop, The
Painted Horse also offers wine and canvas
nights throughout the summer and fall,
and will host private events and parties. It
is located at 206 Main Street in La Veta.
The Timbers Gallery
In Cuchara, you can enjoy works of
art while you dine. The entrance to the restaurant
is a gallery of art on two levels.
Browse before dining, or request to be
seated in the gallery space.
Art galleries in La Veta
and Cuchara include
fine art, jewelry and
In the summer, enjoy
the Fourth Friday Art
Walk in La Veta.
Openings and special
events are held
throughout the year.
photo by Cathy Mullens
Spanish Peaks Arts
Gallery in the Park
Located at the west end of
La Veta Town Park, is the gallery
for the Spanish Peaks Arts Council
(SPACe). The non-profit
group is comprised of artists
from around the county and is
host to numerous art shows
year-round. Browse the current
art show in the gallery and shop
for unique gifts.
Youth classes are
offered in the summer
with Fridays for Fun
and Children’s Art
photo by Renee Rinehart
There’s usually something fun happening at the La Veta School of
the Arts on Fridays.
Page 6 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Wildlife and scenic photography:
Colorado memories to cherish
lower shutter speed. Most modern digital
cameras have pre-set shutter speeds
to accommodate both portrait and
sports photos and nearly everything in
• Some photographers love to take
everything they may need into the
field, others prefer a more compact kit.
If you want, you might trade your tripod
for a mono-pod; a single shaft stabilizer.
Some shooters like the filled
rice bag as something they cradle their
cameras on, especially on car window
frames. If your digital camera lens has
a stabilizer or anti-vibration button, set
it to ‘on’ as often in Colorado county
high winds can effect your grip on your
camera especially when using longer or
Both native and migratory species
make good photo subjects in Colorado.
flower or even bug that you want to get
a really close up shot of!
When I go afield, I carry a 70mm-
300mm zoom and a standard 52mm
macro. I rarely carry a tripod or monopod
because I am very used to the
weight of my camera and will compensate
with my lens settings and shooting
speed to adjust for any minor movement
that may affect the finished
While hiking trails and wilderness
areas are, of course, perfect places for
A macro lens or macro attachment will bring you right down into some of
the smallest worlds for spectacular photographs.
Wildlife Officers are great assets to the
budding or experienced wildlife photographer.
They know what species are
in a given area, the times they are most
active and where you can find them.
• Another often overlooked asset
to the photographer is local historians,
historical societies and museums.
These folks love to share their knowledge
of their areas and may provide
tips (and even directions) to highly
photogenic sites like specific vistas,
ghost towns and other locales. Old
mining sites are favorites with some
photographers but remember many are
located on private property and all old
mining areas may be very dangerous!
It may be best to contact a landowner
and see if you can arrange a private
guide into an area that interests you.
• While Colorado is a very beautiful
state, remember, much of it is private
property. If you don’t have
specific permission to be on private
property, then use that long or zoom
lens to photograph that herd of deer or
antelope from the side of the roadway.
Don’t trespass and a good rule to keep
in mind is, ‘take only photos and leave
only footprints’, don’t litter and be a
good neighbor of wildlife and private
Remember, don’t limit your scenic and nature photography to just one
season of the year here in Colorado. Summer, winter, spring, and especially
fall provides colorful scenic photo opportunities throughout the
Spanish Peaks region. All photos by Eric Mullens.
• The choice of lens is up to the
photographer and may be matched to
a certain subject one is seeking, or a variety
may be taken to the field so you
are ready for anything. I suggest zoom
lenses, which provide versatility; a
good 70mm to 300mm zoom will allow
for both medium close up and the
300mm has a pretty good reach. A
larger zoom extending into the 500mm
to 700mm range (and longer) will bring
those far-a-way subjects close in, but remember,
if you’re hiking all day, some
models can get fairly heavy (always
check the condition of your camera
strap too!). When using very long zoom
or telephoto (fixed) lenses, a tripod or
monopod is necessary, as any slight
movement may ruin your overall
While most cameras, digital and
film come with standard 50mm lenses,
you might want to invest in a 50mm to
70mm macro zoom, or standard 50mm
macro. That macro will come in handy
when you spy a beautiful butterfly,
wildlife photography, they may be
crowded at times and wildlife may shy
away from campground noise. Of
course the human activity sometimes
draws in some opportunistic critters,
such as squirrels, chipmunks, and
even deer looking for a handout, don’t
fall victim to them. Wildlife officials
ask human visitors to NOT feed the
While we’ve presented a quick
overview of wildlife photo, don’t forget
Colorado’s scenic vistas and remember,
if you have bird feeders where you live
or were you are staying they are the
perfect location to photograph songbirds
and hummingbirds and of course,
But do feed you sense of adventure
and creativity and don’t venture out
without your camera, even you pocket
camera or phone camera will help you
bring back great memories of Colorado.
Keep your eyes open for the unusual, like this rustic find in a backyard in
by eric mullens
One of the very best ways to keep
your Colorado adventure alive for
years is to venture afield and capture
some of the state’s abundant wildlife
on film or in the memory of your digital
You don’t have to be a big game
stalker to photograph some of Colorado’s
wildlife, but quiet movement,
the knowledge of what your camera
and lens’ can and cannot do and some
general rules are important to keep in
• Do your homework. Know what
area you’re heading into; do some preplanning.
Walk the trail or the shoreline
of the lake and take note of the time of
day your photographic subjects are
most active. If you’re seeking that early
morning or late evening sunrise or sunset,
pick your spot(s) in advance and be
there when the ducks land, or the fox
kits are active and plan your shots in
• Be aware of the area(s) you will
be in; take precautions in bear and lion
county and make sure you have what
you might need in an emergency if you
are taking an extended trip into the
back country. As with all Colorado out-
door adventures, tell someone where
you are going, take along water, food,
a charged cell photo (with GPS if possible),
appropriate clothing (the
weather can change very quickly during
any season) and always use your
• If you are venturing into state or
federal forests, mountains, camping
areas, or wildlife preserves, contact a
ranger and ask advise concerning the
types and locations of wildlife you
might be able to find and photograph.
USFS Rangers and Colorado Parks and
and public property owners.
• Photographing wildlife is full of
surprises, unexpected shots are sometimes
the best, so know what the settings
on your camera will and will not
do. If you seek a crisp, clear photo,
make sure your camera ( or lens) is set
at a higher f-stop ( f 16 or above will ensure
your main subject and the background
are both in focus and a faster
shutter speed will freeze the action). If
you seek the blur of wing movement,
and a soft, almost abstract background
use a lower f-stop (1.2, 2.4, 5.6) and a
You will often find the opportunity to photograph more than ‘birds of a
feather’ together as many waterfowl share the same lakes, ponds and protected
water sources in Colorado.
Page 8 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Lathrop State Park
Lions and tigers and bears
Lathrop State Park boasts two lakes for outdoor recreation, camping,
picnicking, a variety of interesting critters and lots of birds
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! No,
we’re not in Oz but Lathrop State Park, Colorado’s
oldest state park, and there are
mountain lions, black bears and tiger
Located three miles west of Walsenburg
on Hwy 160, this park also has two
lakes—Martin, where speedboats circle the
lake or jet skis skim the water and Horseshoe,
a wakeless lake where kayaks glide silently
by. Both lakes offer a beautiful view
of the Spanish Peaks, some 20 miles away
and Martin has a sandy, roped off swimming
This nearly 1,600-acre park has over
100 campsites along with hiking trails and
a nine-hole golf course. Overnight or
weekly visitors can choose to “rough it” in
a tent or pull their RV up to a site with electricity
and relax in style.
Spending the day hiking, swimming,
fishing or picnicking are popular for family
Fishing is good and both lakes are
stocked with several varieties including
rainbow trout and tiger muskie.
For bird watchers the shoreline will
often shelter a Great Blue Heron, a Snowy
Egret or White-faced Ibis. Other waterfowl
are seen on the lakes and nearby ponds. Mallards,
Cinnamon and Blue Winged Teals and
Shovelers are common sights. Osprey can be
seen hovering above the water watching for
New handicap-accessible path
around Martin Lake at Lathrop Park
photo by David Rinehart
Outdoor recreation is abundant at Lathrop State Park including a sandy beach, water sports, hiking, photography
and bird watching—and close to Walsenburg and La Veta for a day trip.
fish or perched in a near-by tree with the
“catch of the day” in its talons.
Other animals seen in the park, a daily
list is kept in the Visitors Center, include
mule deer, pronghorn, bobcats, coyotes,
wild turkeys, raccoons and rattlesnakes.
Bald Eagles also visit the lakes, usually between
December and March.
Birders have reported seeing Double
Crested Cormorants, Swans, White Pelicans
and Loons on the water and Flickers, Piñon
Jays, Road Runners and Ladder Backed
Woodpeckers in the forested areas.
As in all areas of the Rocky Mountain
West, campers must remember to keep their
site “bear proof”. This includes keeping food
out of your campsite or vehicle. Bears have
been known to “break into” motor homes,
tents or cars seeking that salty or sweet treat.
There are weekend educational and informational
programs offered in the
summer at the outdoor Piñon amphitheater.
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 9
Explore the alpine flora
and panoramic views of
the Sangre de Cristo
mountain range from
many working ranches and cattle may be in
the road. Turn left and go east on Highway
160 for about 100 yards and turn right on
CR 410. Take CR 410 until you reach Highway
12 again just north of La Veta.
Detours: Take Highway 69 from Gardner
to Walsenburg. Or, follow South Oak
Creek Canyon. When on CR 550, before
reaching Gardner, turn south on CR 560 to
CR 540 to CR 531 to CR 530 which will lead
you to Yellowstone Road.
Operated by Colo. Fuel & Iron (CF&I),
the company town was built in 1907 and included
25 homes, a store, and post office
which named the camp Farr. Coal production
ended in 1945.
You can see ruins and tailings as you
drive along the road. You’ll also see a stairway
left from the former YMCA camp at
Farr, built by Rockefeller.
Take CR 340 (Bear Creek) from the west
end of Walsenburg, go south one mile. From
La Veta take Moore St./CR 358 east nine
miles to CR 343, turn left on CR 340.
Farley memorial Wildflower
One of the finest displays of alpine
wildflowers is yours to view this summer at
the top of Cuchara Pass. The John B. Farley
Wildflower Overlook in the San Isabel National
Forest puts on an amazing show of
color, covering a whole mountain meadow.
More than a dozen kinds of wildflowers
create a beautiful setting so don’t be surprised
to see a wedding going on, especially
To get to the Farley Memorial Wildflower
Overlook, take U.S. Highway 12
(Highway of Legends) from La Veta south
for 17 miles to the top of Cuchara Pass. Turn
left onto the dirt road marked Cordova Pass
Road (CR 364). Go about one-half mile and
look for the Farley Overlook sign. Park your
car before the fenced area enclosing the
uptop Ghost town
Located at the summit of
Old La Veta Pass, the Uptop
Ghost Town has the original
1877 depot museum, dance hall
and chapel-by-the-wayside. Located
15 minutes west of La
Veta. Take Hwy. 160 to CR 443,
the dirt road climbs to 9,000’.
Once you reach the summit you
can continue and rejoin Hwy.
160 on the west side of La Veta
Pass, or go back the way you
A beautiful loop drive on
maintained county roads. Be aware, the
only restroom on this route will be in Gardner,
if the store is open.
Go west on Highway 160 over La Veta
Pass. About a mile west of the pass, turn
right on CR 572 (a.k.a. Pass Creek Road).
You will drive by the subdivision of Paradise
Acres. CR 572 will merge with and become
CR 570. The road winds along aspen
groves and Pass Creek flows next to the road
at times. Sheep Mountain and Little Sheep
Mountain dominate your views to the
east.Continue until the intersection with CR
550 at Malachite. Turn right (east) and follow
550 until Highway 69. Follow Highway
69 east to Gardner. Drive east on Highway
69 for 8 miles until County Road 520 (aka
Yellowstone Road) branches off to the south,
with Badito on the north of Highway 69.
A quarter mile on CR 520 is a Historical
Marker for the Taos Trail. Drive the length
of CR 520 until Highway 160. You will see
photos by Renee Rinehart
Uptop Ghost Town contains several buildings including the Chapel-By-
The-Wayside. Experience early Colorado history and railroad history of
Old La Veta Pass from 1877 to 1962,
ART CAR MUSEUM
2702 Freedom Road
Trinidad, CO 81082
25 ART CARS ON DISPLAY
COOL GIFT SHOP
Page 10 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Calendar of Events
FUN RUN: SPANISH PEAKS STRIDERS: CLI-
MAX CANYON 5K
June 1 @ 8:00 am - 10:00 am
CONCERT: JAQUIE GIPSON
June 1 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
at Deerprint Wine in La Veta
CONCERT: THE CODY SISTERS,
June 1 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
At La Veta Mercantile in La Veta
Trinidad Triggers Baseball opening day,
Central Park in Trinidad
CONCERT: THE MITGUARDS
June 7 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm At Deerprint
Wine in La Veta
CONCERT: SUSAN GIBSON
June 28 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
CMA award winning singer/ songwriter
returns to La Veta! Susan is a respected
performer and writer with one of the
top-selling country songs of all time
under her belt. At Deerprint Wine in
CULTURAL FESTIVAL Santa Fe Trail Days
Concerts and fun events.
Call 719-846-7217 for more info.
STAND UP COMEDY: 7pm-10pm
Allan Goodwin is one of the funniest
and respected comics on the circuit
today, At the Fox Theatre Walsenburg
LIFE IS A CABARET: CUCHARA MOUNTAIN
PARK FUNDRAISER @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Life is a Cabaret: Cuchara Mountain
Park Fundraiser. The show will feature
a Beatles Medley (with Audience Singalong),
light jazz, Broadway, operetta,
comedy, and more!
BASEBALL Pecos League Mountain Division
All-Star Game, Trinidad at Central
CONCERT: Jed Zimmerman & Jimmy Davis
@ 6:00 pm
Deerprint Wine Bar,
STAND UP COMEDY: Nancy Norton
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Nancy is passionate about spreading
the word that HUMOR is a actually a
July 20 and 21
CULTURAL FESTIVAL: FRANCISCO FORT DAYS
July 20 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Celebrate La Veta’s origins on the
grounds of Francisco Fort Plaza.
July 20 and 21
FIRST ANNUAL HIGHWAY OF LEGENDS
July 21 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
La Veta Village is organizing our First
Annual Highway of Legends Yard Sale!
303-419-0694 for more info.
Las Animas County Fair
The Marathon of the Legends Team
Relay starts at Sixth and Main Street in
CONCERT: BYRD & STREET
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Audiences are in for a treat with Austin
duo Byrd & Street noted for their “impeccable
male/female harmony,” Deerprint
CULTURAL FESTIVAL Mountain Mining Days,
Walsenburg Local parade with a street
full of vendors. Good family fun.
CULTURAL FESTIVA LArtocade Parade - an astounding
display of car art - a must see.
Visit the Art Cartopis Art Car Museum at
2702 Freedom Road, Trinidad.
September 19 - September 22
CONCERTS: SPANISH PEAKS
INTERNATIONAL CELTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL
Attend the Spanish Peaks International
Celtic Music Festival and become enchanted
by world-renowned Celtic artists
and scholars guaranteed to keep
you singing, dancing, and enjoying
music day and night in various locations
throughout Spanish Peaks Country!
CULTURAL FESTIVAL: June 8-9, Huajatolla heritage
festival, in Town Park in La Veta -
Is a special three-day event in Spanish
Peaks County that honors the area’s Hispano
and Native American cultures.
5TH ANNUAL LA VETA TRAILS YARD SALE
8am to 2pm
FUN RUN: 5K SPANISH PEAKS STRIDERS:
HUAJATOLLA HERITAGE 5K
@ 8:30 am - 10:00 am Spend an hour
Saturday morning on a 5K run through
La Veta, located in the Cuchara Valley at
the base of the Spanish Peaks!
CONCERT: Shelley Morningsong @ 7:00 pm
- 9:00 pm La Veta Mercantile,
300 S Main St
La Veta Mercantile on Facebook
CONCERT: Eryn Bent @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Daily Perks on 5th Coffee Bar, 110 East
5th St. Walsenburg, CO
CONCERT: Singer-songwriter BOB LIVING-
STON has never been a traditional Texas
country musician at La Veta Mercantile
in La Veta
CONCERTS:Sonic Bloom at Hummingbird
Ranch North of Walsenburg
CONCERT: Anita Cochran is an American
Country Music and Country Music
Awards nominated country music
singer, songwriter, guitarist at La Veta
Mercantile in La Veta
ROCKY MOUNTAIN STAR STARE June 26 -
June 30 Rocky Mountain Star Stare
(RMSS) is an annual star party sponsored
by the Colorado Springs Astronomical
CONCERT: CARVIN JONES BAND @ 7:00 pm -
9:30 pm at Fox Theatre in Walsenburg.
CULTURAL FESTIVAL: ANNUAL CUCHARA 4TH
OF JULY PARADE, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Street dance, barbecue, kids games. Everyone
is welcome to participate in the
Annual Family Fun Run in Cuchara
Cuchara Valley Rec
July 4-- July 5
Independence Week Festivities in
Trinidad at Central Park
July 5 - July 6
CONCERT: Spanish Peaks Music Festival
The Spanish Peaks Music Festival comes
to La Veta for two days each July and
features a solid lineup of awesome
INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE IN LA VETA
@ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Parade on Main Street. Floats by Individuals,
organizations, agencies, civic,
church, and school groups are welcome.
FUN RUN: Spanish Peaks Striders: Francisco
Ft. Days 10K & 5K @ 8:30 am -
10:00 am. Spend an hour Saturday
morning on a 5K fun run/walk or 10K
run through La Veta, located in the Cuchara
Valley at the base of the Spanish
CONCERT: DANA LOUISE
@ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm tickets| $15
At Deerprint Wine in La Veta
STAND UP COMEDY: LUCAS BOHN
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
tickets $10 – $15
Lucas Bohn is energetic with an edge.
Fox Theatre Walsenburg
GARDNER CHUCKWAGON DINNER
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
the Gardner ChuckWagon Dinner will be
held in the yard behind the Methodist
FUN RUN: SPANISH PEAKS STRIDERS: AGUI-
LAR 125TH ANNIVERSARY 12.5K 8:00 am
- 10:00 am
CULTURAL FESTIVAL: August 3, 2019, marks
the 125th anniversary for the Town of
Huerfano County 4-H Fair
BIKE: STONEWALL CENTURY RIDE
Stonewall Century Ride
The Stonewall Century is a challenging
road bike ride along one of Colorado’s
most beautiful scenic highways.
CONCERT: DARRIN KOBETICH
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Fort Worth, Texasbased
solo acoustic guitar master
At Deerprint Wine in La Veta
Trinidaddio Blues Prefest Party
CONCERT: Trinidaddio Blues Fest
2019 headliner - The Sugaray Rayford
FUN RUN: SPANISH PEAKS STRIDERS: MAR-
ATHON OF LEGENDS
8:00 am - 10:00 am
For more events
There are many more events happening
in the area than can be listed here. Be
sure to check out the following websites
for current event dates.
Colorado State parks
Cuchara Valley Recreation
Fox Theatre, Walsenburg
Francisco Center for Performing Arts
La Veta Mercantile
events all year long -on Facebook page
Museum of Friends
Spanish Peaks Country
Spanish Peaks Arts Council
Spanish Peaks Intertional Celtic Music
Stonewall Century Ride
LAS ANIMAS COUNTY
Santa Fe Trail Days
Trinidaddio Blues Fest
Trinidad Historic MainStreet Facebook
Trinidad Triggers Baseball
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 11
Lathrop State Park
Offering two lakes, Martin (all motorboats) and Horseshoe
(wakeless) Lakes. Two miles west of Walsenburg
on Hwy. 160.
Wahatoya State Wildlife Area
Wahatoya Lake and Daigre Reservoir. One mile east of
La Veta on Moore St.
Blue Lake and Bear Lake
Three miles south of Cuchara on Hwy. 12.
(See information below)
100-acre lake stocked with browns, cutthroats, rainbows,
kokanee salmon and splake.
On Hwy. 12—37 miles west of Trinidad or 17 miles
south of Cuchara.
Famous for being home to four species of trout, cutthroat, rainbow, kokanee and
brown. Thirteen miles south of Cuchara on Hwy. 12. Fishing only by artificial flies or
Trinidad Lake State Park
Five miles west of Trinidad on Hwy. 12.
Bosque del Oso State Wildlife Area
Stream fishing when running. 21 miles
west of Trinidad on Colorado Hwy. 12.
Strenuous hike to pristine lake in upper
Huerfano River area. Coldwater stream. 13
miles west of Gardner on County Road 580.
State Fishing Licenses are required in Colorado and are available at many local
stores and Lathrop State Park Visitor Center.
Blue and Bear
Recreation at 10,500’
Whether you are looking for overnight
camping or just a day in the great outdoors,
Blue Lake and Bear Lake are great destinations.
The U.S. Forest Service operates the two facilities
that are enjoyed for picnics, hiking, fishing
Blue Lake is a lake located at 10,480’ elevation.
The campground has 15 official sites. There are rest rooms and drinking water
photo by Renee Rinehart
available. The fishing is excellent and there are several trailheads leading into the Sangre
de Cristo Mountains nearby. There is a crossroad at the campground and if you take the
left, you’ll be starting up the hill to Trinchera Peak. Up about a mile-and-a-half is the
northern end of the North Fork Trail.
Bear Lake is about one mile further up the road. Bear Lake Campground is located
at 10,500’ elevation and has 14 official campsites. There are rest rooms and drinking water
available. Camping, picnicking, fishing, and parking are fee activities. There are also several
hiking trailheads nearby.
Directions: From Highway 12 at Mile Marker 20, hairpin turn, is the road to Blue
and Bear Lake and the entrance to the Cucharas River Recreation Area. Blue Lake is four
miles in, and the campground is up the hill above the lake. Bear Lake is one mile further
up the dirt road.
Page 12 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
La Veta Trails: Find Your Trail
courtesy marilyn russell, la Veta trails
The pristine beauty of the Spanish Peaks region offers 130+ miles of multiuse
trails for you to experience a variety of mountain, community, prairie and
wetland environments. Whether you prefer to gravel, mountain or road bike,
hike, ride a horse or a motor bike, fish, view wildlife, or simply want an easy
trail to walk with your children, the Spanish Peaks has trails for you.
A variety of recreational activities are available for you to experience on
the trails in La Veta and Walsenburg. These trails connect you to businesses,
recreational facilities, and other activity centers, as well as parks and open
spaces. The icons inform you of the uses allowed or amenities available on
Go to www.lavetatrails.org to find links to trails and useful information
about each. The links are searchable so you can find the special trails that suit
you – dog-friendly, picnic area, difficulty level, and even trails with rest rooms.
Trail descriptions cover directions to the trailhead, distance, elevation gain, connections
to other trails, and much more.
After a day on the trail, visit La Veta, Walsenburg, Cuchara, or Gardner to
have a meal, a latte, an ice cream cone, pizza, freshly baked bread, or local barbeque.
Shop at the many galleries for original works of art, pottery and jewelry
made by local artists. Top off your day with a play, live music event, or a movie.
Go to spanishpeakscountry.com and lavetacucharachamber.com to find links to
lodging, dining, shops and galleries. Visit the La Veta Public Library website for
a link to things to do for all ages and interests and a community calendar
trail maps and information
San Isabel National Forest Trails - Maps and information can be found at the
San Isabel National Forest La Veta Work Center, 103 E. Field St., La Veta, CO
81055. (719) 742-3681. Alternatively, contact the San Carlos Ranger District Office
in Canon City at (719) 269-8500.
La Veta Trails – www.lavetatrails.org. Trail maps can be printed from the website.
La Veta/Cuchara Chamber Information Center is located at Paradise Coffee,
305 S. Main St., La Veta. Hours Thursday-Monday, 6:30-2:00.
Spanish Peaks Country:
Over 130 miles of mountain, prairie,
wetland, and community multi-use trails.
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 13
cuerno Verde & hogback nature trails
Both are located within Lathrop State Park on Highway 160, two miles west of Walsenburg.
Mostly flat and paved trails that circle the two lakes, and provide exceptional
views of the Spanish Peaks, Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, and Greenhorn Mountain.
The Visitors Center can provide detail on the hikes.
Blue and Bear lakes
Four miles off of Highway 12, south of Cuchara. From La Veta take CO Highway 12
south 14.2 miles to Bear Lake/Blue Lake Campground sign (Forest Road 422). Turn right
onto FR 422 (dirt) and drive for 5 miles to the Bear Lake Day-use Area on the right. Hiking
around and between the lakes provides a taste of the surrounding wilderness at high elevation.
Elevation of Trail: 10,480’
Daigre reservoir trail - Wahatoya State Wildlife area
This one mile trail is an easy to moderate hike, looping the Daigre Reservoir. The
gravel surface trail traverses on the top of a berm on the south side and through woods on
the north side with stunning views of the Spanish Peaks and Mt. Maestas. Parking is available
at the entrance to Daigre Reservoir. Drive east on Moore Ave. for about one mile to
the parking area on the left.
This is a short interpretive trail of flowers provided by the Farley Foundation. Parking
is available; trail is bordered by a split rail fence. A stone monument is in place with a
bronze plaque dedicated to John B. Farley. From La Veta take CO Highway 12 to Cucharas
Pass, turn left on County Road 46.
Trail Length: 100 feet
Fiesta park/cucharas river trail
This nature trail follows the Cucharas River, starting at the stone wall behind the
Huerfano County Community Center in Walsenburg in Fiesta Park at 10th and Russell. It
is an easy hike at a .61 mile distance. Parking is available at the community center.
School nature trail
Located just east of La Veta Schools, this is a .25 mile interpretive loop trail with stone
dust surface. Slight rise to the painted benches. The trail passes information kiosks and
plant identification markers. There is a beautiful view of Mt. Maestas. Great for families.
Dogs on leased are welcome. Parking is available on the southeast corner of E. Garland St.
and Birch St. east of the school.
Second Street trail
This 2 mile, gravel surface trail starts at 2nd Street in Walsenburg and ends at the Walsenburg
Golf Course. The trail meanders through pasture land and open range.
Trail Connection: Lathrop State Park. To access this trail, go north on 2nd Street in
Walsenburg to off street parking at cattle guards.
Wahatoya State Wildlife area
One mile east of La Veta on Moore Street with parking area on the right. Two lakes,
Wahatoya and Daigre provide an opportunity for a picturesque stroll near town. Both are
easy to moderate walks with loop trails around each reservoir that are about one mile in
Turn off Highway 12 at the top of Cucharas Pass onto the Cordova Pass Road. It’s
about 12 miles to the trailhead. This trail ties into both the Wahatoya and West Peak Trails
providing multiple options from one trailhead.
Trail Length: 3.5 miles
Elevation at Trailhead: 9,800’ Elevation at Summit: 10,400’ (Elevation Gain 600’)
From the village of Cuchara hikers can access the Dike Trail by walking up Oak Street
to its terminus. Although you will not be able to see the dikes, this trail climbs, then traverses
the slope that separates the White Creek and Cucharas River.
Trail Length: 3.4 miles
Elevation at Trailhead: 8,500’’ Elevation at Summit: 8,800’ (Elevation Gain 300’)
indian creek trail
The Indian Creek Trail is a 13-mile trail from Bear Lake to Sulphur Springs off County
Road 421. It has multiple access points, so shorter sections can be achieved in a day or halfday
hike. This trail offers views of Cuchara Valley and the old Cuchara Ski Resort.
Trail Length: 13 miles
Elevation at Trailhead: 8,600 Elevation at Summit: 10,400 (Elevation Gain 1,800)
Located on the Huerfano and Custer County border, this trail can be accessed from
Highway 69, five miles south of Westcliffe and then 10 miles south on Custer County Road
Spring creek trail
Spring Creek Trail begins next to Cuchara Sanitation and Water District offices on
Highway 12 in Cuchara. From the trailhead, it is a moderate 1.5 mile walk to Aspen
Meadows, a wide-open space perfect for a picnic. Just above the meadow hikers can access
the Dodgeton Loop to the north, or Baker Creek trail to the south. Both of these options
lead up to Indian Creek Trail.
Take Hwy. 69 to Gardner. Go west from Gardner on CR 550. Turn onto CR 580 at Red
Wing and follow the road to the traihead. The trail ebgins at about 10,000’ and the lake is
From La Veta take County Road 360 for six miles to the intersection with Forest Service
Road 442. Four-wheel drive advised for the last two miles to the trailhead. The trail crosses
the saddle between West Spanish Peak and East Spanish Peak. It offers splendid views of
the plains to the north, Wet Mountains and Greenhorn Mountains.
Elevation at Trailhead: 8,400’ Elevation at Summit: 9,800’ (Elevation gain 1,400’)
West Spanish peak trail
Take Highway 12 to the top of Cucharas Pass, turn east on County Rd. 46 and continue
on dirt road for 6 miles to the Cordova Pass Summit and trailhead to West Peak. Hike
2 miles to timber line, and from there it is another 3/4 mile to the summit of West Peak.
Start early to get off the peak before afternoon weather develops.
Elevation at Trailhead: 11,248’ Elevation at Summit: 13,600’ (Elevation gain 2,352’)
Saturday, August 10
102-mile ride from
La Veta to Segundo
on The Scenic
Highway of Legends.
Out and back ride at
7,500 ft. elevation.
Spanish Peaks Cycling
Page 14 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Be Bear Aware
one man’S traSh iS
another Bear’S Snack
What do bears do when these food sources are
absent? They search for substitute foods by following
their incredibly efficient sense of smell. They
are drawn to people’s yards when they smell trash,
pet foods, fruiting trees, and other enticing aromas.
They may also be attracted to chicken coops
or bee hives. Some people will call these bears a
nuisance; a word Holder says he will never use to
They don’t do it to bother you, they’re just
doing what they have to. It therefore becomes our
responsibility to discourage hungry bears from
perceiving our environs as food sources.
How do we do this? We can start by keeping
our yards free from temptations. We can use bearproof
trash receptacles, or if that is not doable, we
can avoid putting out aromatic trash until it’s time
to be picked up by the collectors. Where bears are
attracted to bird feeders, remove the temptation by
not feeding birds during the fall (birds should be
able to find alternate foods); avoid feeding pets
outdoors, or bring their dishes indoors after
they’ve eaten; burn food off barbeque grills and
clean up after each use. Also, electric fencing can
be erected around chicken coops and bee-hives,
goat or pig pens, and rabbit hutches to discourage
hungry bears. Look on the CPW website for fencing
suggestions, diagrams and pamphlets on how
to avoid conflicts with wildlife.
by tom macedo
The signs of spring are all around us. Buds are
forming on trees, perennials are popping up
through the soil, songbirds are appearing and singing,
and, bears are coming out of their winter
slumber. It’s these bears that increasingly need our
understanding and attention. Poor wild berry and
acorn crops in recent years have created an environment
in which bear-human encounters are
more prevalent. Generally, bears will den in the
higher, wilder country in Las Animas and Huerfano
Counties, but those seeking food have
brought them into areas where people live. Since
there have been more bears in and around our
towns in southern Colorado, chances are that some
are denning close to you.
Many of us feel fortunate to be living in a region
where we can observe wildlife. But unless we understand
our wild neighbors, we may pose a threat
to their existence. Helping people to understand
bear behaviors has been an important mission for
veteran District Wildlife Manager Bob Holder.
Holder has been working in Southern Colorado for
43 years (and counting). He believes bears deserve
our understanding and respect as they are highly
intelligent, industrious, and not intrinsically any
more dangerous than any other wild animal.
Sun’S out, tonGueS out
As bears come out of hibernations, they need
to kick-start their digestive systems. They do this
in large part by gorging on grasses and forbs. They
are not thinking about prey, and can be observed
in the spring grazing alongside deer and cows. As
a matter of fact, science has shown that up to 90%
(or more), of a bear’s diet is vegetation. This includes
acorns, berries, wild cherries, and nuts. The
animals that they do eat are mostly grubs and ants;
which is not to say they won’t eat a young deer
during fawning season — they do — as well as rabbits,
hares and ground squirrels and other small
mammals. But they are not the terrible predators
that some folks deem them to be.
When it comes to understanding bears, Holder
says that just because we might come upon a bear
feeding on a cow, or a sheep, or a deer carcass,
doesn’t that the bear killed the animal. He teaches
that these omnivores are first and foremost opportunistic
feeders, which unfortunately has been the
cause of unpleasant human-bear interactions.
Holder says that bears think with their stomachs...
stomachs that in some recent years are empty and
growling at the very time of the year when they
need to bulk up.
Every fall a bear will go through a period of hyperphagia,
a time when they ingest between 10,000
and 20,000 calories a day. This they must do as a
matter of survival as they will lose about 30% of
their body weight during winter hibernation. The
calorie rich foods they require for this bulk up
(berries, seeds, and nuts) are some years in short
“the Fault, Dear BruinS, iS not in our
traSh canS, But in ourSelVeS”
Officer Holder says that people need to be
aware that their actions could cause the demise of
these intelligent animals. When a bear believes it’s
found a reliable food source in your yard, it will return,
and you may call your local wildlife officer to
report it. If the officer has to remove the bear, it will
be double ear-tagged; if the bear is caught again for
ANY reason (pet food out or bird feeders beckoning,
or easily accessed trash) regardless of the time
frame between captures, that tagged bear will be
It seems unfair, and it is, when you consider
that all the bear was doing was trying to fulfill a
natural need. But, when a bear loses its fear of humans
and their surroundings, things quickly go
badly for them. Last year, due to regional late
spring frosts, the subsequent autumn crops were
unavailable to the hungry bruins, and they did
spread out into our communities in search of desperately
needed calories, and they did find what
they were seeking, and ultimately bears had to be
destroyed in numbers that I think would make
many of us more than uncomfortable to realize.
And, if you think wildlife officers — who took an
oath to protect wildlife — have no problem euthanizing
these creatures, you’re wrong. They do not
want to destroy a bear whose only crime was to
seek a meal.
It’s a fact that more and more people are moving
into our area; in some instances, from places
where they had never had to consider living near
bears. It’s important for the new arrivals to learn
about bear-proofing their yards, their homes and
their vehicles, just as it is for the long-term residents
to reconsider their habits, if bears are to be
protected. Learn about bears; there is good information
online and at your local state parks, or contact
your local District Wildlife Manager. Attend
one of Bob Holder’s State Park or school presentations.
And once again, seriously assess what you
might be doing that could ultimately hurt a bear.
Consider this a heads-up; we have until autumn to
get it right.
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 15
Oldies rock tours
by ruth orr
Okay, so maybe there aren’t any guitars, keyboards,
or crazy haired men in tight leather, but the
rock tours outlined here are worth screaming for anyway.
We are lucky to live in an incredibly geologically
diverse and historically rich area of the country. From
the tops of our mountains and mesas to the bottoms
of our valleys, we can read the history of our land in
the rocks. Now, with the help of these trips, you can
travel through time and see the processes that made
our counties what they are today
Red remnants of a long gone range
The geologic history of the area is ancient. Between
one and two billion years ago, huge beds of granite
formed all over the area. A range of mountains
known as the Ancestral Rockies uplifted in the same
place the current Rocky Mountains are today. As they
eroded, huge amounts of sediments were dropped in
the low areas near the mountains. As they hardened,
they formed the thick beds of red rock that gave Colorado
its name. You can see these rocks if you drive
along Highway 69 from Walsenburg to Gardner and
look right, at the base of Greenhorn Mountain. They
are also visible if you want to get out of the car and
hike a bit. (For more info see the Red Rocks on the Cucharas
As you drive along Highway 69, keep an eye out
for the Gardner Butte on the right hand side of the
road before you reach Gardner. About 27 million
years ago, the Sangre de Cristo mountains were thrust
upward, and the faulting caused breaks and cracks in
the surrounding rock. Bubbles of magma pushed up,
but failed to reach the surface. They slowly hardened
into the Spanish Peaks, Mount Maestas, Silver Mountain,
and the Sheep Mountains. Around the same
time, smaller cracks in the rock allowed for Gardner
Butte, Huerfano Butte, and the world-famous dikes
around the new mountain systems. All the buttes are
volcanic pugs, essentially magma blocks that hardned
underground before they could successfully explode
out onto the surface. The softer rock around them
slowly eroded away, finally exposing the rock to the
Pass Creek Pass divides geologic eras
Once you’re in Gardner, start looking off to your
left for Co Rd 550. Be aware that this is a dirt road
heading up into the mountains with no real amenities
along it, so excercise caution. Once on Co Rd 550,
drive for about five miles, then turn left onto Co Rd
570. Stay on that road for about 3.6 miles, it will turn
into Cross Creek Road. Stay on that, turn slightly left,
onto Co Rd 572, and you will be on Pass Creek Road.
Follow Pass Creek Road through the mountains for
stunning views of the 25 million year old intrusions
on the east side, and 1.7 billion year old mountains on
the west side. As you come down over the pass, hang
a left at the fork in the road (should be about 17 miles
on the Pass Creek Road) and keep driving until you
reach Highway 160. Turn left again, heading east, and
follow the highway back to Walsenburg. If you miss
the fork, don’t worry, follow the loop and merge going
left, then stay on the right branch, turn right, and follow
the road back out to Highway 160.
Table top mountains...what’s the deal?
Another trip option is to start out in Trinidad.
Visit the Louden-Henritze Museum, located at 600
Prospect Sreet within Trinidad State Junior College.
Admission is free, so take the chance to head in and
learn about the history of the area from the dinosaurs
through the paleolithic people of the area. From Trinidad,
drive south along I-25 to head past Fisher’s Peak
and over Raton Pass.
Fishers Peak is part of Raton Mesa, a broad overarching
group of mesas in the area. Their formation
is credited to more igneous activity in the region from
about the same time period as the mountains and
buttes a bit further north. As mountain ranges lifted
up, the Rio Grande Rift began tearing a hole in the
continent to the west (the rift has since healed and is
known as the San Luis Valley). Not all of the magma
was trapped below the surface however, and some of
it reached the top to spill out over the landscape. It
cooled into hard basalt, resting in patches on top of
softer rock below. Over time, the areas not capped by
basalt eroded down, but the basalt protected the underlying
rock and kept it standing up taller above the
valleys below. You can see the flat tops protecting the
towers beneath as you drive through the pass and
look out south across the landscape.
Everything is dead (almost)
Once you’re in Raton, you’re in a prime position
to see one of the most dramatic events in world history:
The K-T mass extinction. Sixty-five million years
ago, more than three quarters of all life on earth died.
This was the end of the dinosaurs, and the event
marks the boundary between the Tertiary and Cretaceous
time periods. To witness it for yourself, head
west on Moulton Avenue in Raton , then turn left onto
Hill Street. Drive up to the intersection, then turn
right onto the scenic highway. Follow that to the KT
Boundary Trail parking lot, then follow signs for a
short hike to the boundary. For such a huge event, the
boundary can be hard to see: a thin layer of Iridium is
all there is to mark it. There are signs in the area telling
you where to look. Head back to the parking lot,
turn left, and follow the scenic highway past the Hill
Street turn off to the top of Goat Hill for some spectacular
views of the region.
Gateway to the Spanish Peaks...
and awesome views
For the more adventurous spirits who want great
views and awesome rocks away from tourists, consider
this loop. Start in Trinidad (or anywhere south
of Aguilar), make sure your gas tank is full, and drive
north along I-25 until you reach exit 30, then follow
County Road 63.1 in to the town of Aguilar. If you’re
coming from the north, there is an exit at mile marker
34, but the views of the mountains are far more stunning
coming in from the south. While in Aguilar, if
it’s summertime, check out the Apishapa Valley Heritage
Center at 151 Main Street. A small number of
volunteers man the museum, but can’t be there all the
time, so before you get into town, be sure to contact
them ahead of time for an appointment.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pat
Romero 719-680-1393. The museum houses archaeological
items, newspaper articles, old photos, school
memorabilia, and more.
Off the tourist trail
When you’re done with the museum, get ready to
head up the road and into the wilderness. Drive west
through Aguilar along Main Street until you get to the
end of town, then hang a left on South San Antonio
Avenue to follow the road around the corner and out
of town. Enjoy your views of the Apishapa Valley as
you drive, with the Spanish Peaks in the background.
Keep an eye out for your turn: on the left side of the
road is a rundown shack, directly across the road is
County Road 54.2. It should be about 3.5 miles from
Aguilar. Turn right onto the dirt road. From here out,
most of the land around you is private property and
open range, so there won’t be fences and there may be
cows on or near the road. The second half of this loop
involves lots of hills, so if it’s been rainy lately, consider
rescheduling. There is almost no cell reception.
Water, water, everywhere, but not a
drop in sight
As you drive, keep an eye out for local wildlife,
and watch for the brilliant sandstone formations and
rock dikes all along the sides.
The sandstone is ancient and has a history most
people don’t expect when looking at the high arid
mountain environment it is found in. After the Ancestral
Rockies eroded away, a shallow inland sea
crossed across the heart of the continent and our entire
region was underwater. Thousands of feet of sand,
silt, mud, clay, and marine fossils settled on the floor
of the ocean, and over time gravity cemented them together
into stone. It was this stone that was cracked
open when the Spanish Peaks and their dikes came
bubbling up from the mantle. Much of the stone has
eroded away through the years, but outcroppings and
boulders can be seen all along this drive.
Mountains and meadows
Continue following County Road 54.2 until there
is a fork in the road. Stay right and turn onto County
Rd 41.4, which turns into Co Road 313. Stay on 313
for another few miles. From the turnoff onto the dirt
road until your next major turn onto Co Rd 312 should
be about ten miles. The signal to turn is a rundown
one-room schoolhouse at a fork in the road. Take a
right hand turn onto Co Rd 312, and follow it up.
Keep your eyes peeled for incredible views of the Spanish
Peaks, the Wet Mountain Range, and Greenhorn
Mountain as you drive down. Remember, this is all
private property, so don’t go wandering off even if
there isn’t a fence near the road. Stay on Co Rd 312,
also known as Rouse Road, until you come to an intersection
with Co Rd 310. Stay right and continue
heading down out of the mountains on 310. Don’t
turn off 310 and it will take you all the way back to I-
25. You can turn left for Walsenburg or right to head
back to Trinidad from there.
SUMMER CHILDREN’S ART CLASSES
FRIDAYS FOR FUN
Local professional artists as instructors
2019 FFF Classes
Painting Yourself June 14
Clay for All
June 21 9-noon
Totem Building July 5
Painting with Tools July 19
Steampunk Art July 26
Navajo Sandpainting Aug 2
Encaustic Aug 9
Drawing with Tools Aug 16
Lana Thomas Wachterman
Doodling with line and color Aug 23
105 Ryus Ave
PO Box 33
La Veta, CO
Apparel Glass Jewelry Pottery Woodwork
Local Artisan Gifts
205 s. main st. la veta
Page 18 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Please don’t pet the wildlife...
These tips will help keep you and the wildlife safe as you explore and enjoy the great outdoors in Huerfano County
by travis Sauder
colorado parks and Wildlife
WalSenBurG– Summer brings a noticeable
change to Huerfano County.
Snow melts out of the high country, revealing
lush green meadows punctuated
by colorful wildflowers. Lakes and
streams are filled with beautiful, clear
water and hot days paired with warm
evenings draw people outdoors.
Summertime also means an influx
of visitors to Colorado, both those coming
“home” to their vacation properties
and those who come to camp, fish and
recreate in the natural playground that
The influx of people also coincides
with an increase of wildlife activity and
that can create some problems.
Whether you are a year-round Coloradoan,
a summer resident, or simply
spending a day with us, you have an
important role to play in protecting the
wildlife you encounter. By following a
few simple rules, you can protect both
the wildlife and yourself while helping
ensure all our wild creatures remain for
future generations to enjoy.
rule no. 1:
Don’t feed the wildlife
You’ve probably seen this and
other slogans. I’m afraid they are somewhat
ineffective as deterrents because
they don’t answer a key question: why.
Why not hand out apples or corn to
deer? Why not hang hummingbird
feeders? Or put out piles of bird seed
for bears? Some may think these are
harmless. But they often have horrible,
Deer are ruminants with very specialized
dietary systems. Their stomachs
are designed to digest natural
forage, such as grasses and shrubs.
Providing them food that doesn’t
occur naturally in the area, such as apples
and corn, can cause severe damage
to their stomachs. Often, the damage is
so severe the deer dies. What was
meant to help ends up in a painful
death for the animal.
Then there are bird feeders. I understand
people like to attract birds.
They enjoy seeing different species
with their wild colors and unique
chirping. But birds don’t need supplemental
food. And hanging bird feeders
is like ringing a dinner bell for bears.
That pound of seed you hung for the
chickadees is a calorie smorgasbord to
a bear looking to build up fat reserves
Hummingbird feeders filled with
sugar water are even worse. If you
want to attract birds, try using a bird
bath (a floating, solar-powered fountain
really helps) or dust bath to entice
our avian friends without unwittingly
luring our resident bears.
If you absolutely must put out a
feeder, make sure to put it out well after
sunrise and bring it in well before sunset,
the times when bears are most active.
Speaking of bears, they are often
the subject of slogans, such as “Garbage
kills bears” and “A fed bear is a dead
bear.” Unfortunately, the slogans are
true, even if most fed bears are fed unintentionally.
Often it is trash left unsecured and
outside overnight. This is easily solved
by putting all trash into a bear-proof
container or locking trash in a garage or
shed until the morning of trash pickup.
If you are camping, make sure to
store all food in a hard-sided vehicle,
lock the doors and throw a blanket over
it (some really smart bears seem to
visually relate a cooler with food).
Never eat or cook inside your tent.
Just last year a bear broke into an
unoccupied tent and discovered food.
He returned the next day, twice, taking
advantage of food left on a picnic table
and a bird feeder a camper had hung.
On the bear’s third visit to the campground,
I was called and ultimately
had to euthanize the bear for human
You want to talk about a bad day
Pronghorn graze as smoke from the Spring Fire helped create a dramatic sunset. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks
and Wildlife / Travis Sauder
on the job? Killing a bear that was
simply following its natural instincts
tops my list. Taking the extra effort to
lock up trash and keep a clean campsite
isn’t just a good idea, it can literally
save a bear’s life.
rule no. 2:
look, but don’t touch
Watching and photographing wildlife
is a huge reason people love living
here and visiting. Deer, elk and pronghorn
roam the county. Bighorn sheep
live in the high country and rocky
ledges in the western part of the county.
Birds of every shape and size exploit
the various habitats. Lizards and rattlesnakes
can be seen sunning themselves
While the deer, in particular, can
seem tame, it’s important to remember
these are all wild animals. In June,
when the does (female deer) have their
fawns, like any mother, they can be
very defensive of their young. This also
raises a good point: if you find young
wildlife, leave them be.
Many wild animals will leave their
young alone for extended periods of
time, relying on the built-in camouflage
of the babies’ fur to hide them while the
mother goes off to feed.
Keep your distance. How close is
too close? A simple rule of thumb is
this: if your presence causes the animal
to change its behavior, you are too
A bedded deer standing up while
watching you, a bird flying off its nest,
or any animal running off are all signs
you are too close. A bear in a tree may
look relaxed, but if it makes a groaning
sound, huffs and clacks its jaws, it is
showing you it is stressed by your presence.
Keeping a respectful distance from
wildlife and not handling young animals
are some simple steps we can all
follow to increase our enjoyment of
them while making sure the encounter
doesn’t negatively impact them.
rule no. 3:
know your surroundings
Almost everyone has heard of the
jogger near Fort Collins who was attacked
by a young mountain lion. No
doubt it made many worry that wild
carnivores like mountain lions and
bears are hiding behind every tree waiting
The good news is this simply isn’t
true. It’s actually quite rare for wild animals
to attack people. Almost every
animal is going to choose to avoid contact
with people. But you should take
certain precautions when venturing
Mountain lions and bears are most
active at dawn and dusk, so being extra
vigilant during these times is a must.
Making noise while out hiking
alerts animals to your presence and
gives them a chance to run away. You
don’t want to startle them. Avoiding
areas with lots of dense brush also reduces
the chance of a surprise encounter.
If you do spot a mountain lion or
bear, back away slowly while talking in
a firm, loud voice. Raise your arms over
your head to make yourself appear
larger. Never turn your back or run, as
this can trigger a predator/prey instinct.
Also, don’t climb a tree. Both
mountain lions and black bears can
climb much better than we can.
If you are attacked, fight back with
everything you have. Use sticks, stones,
or anything you can find. Hit the animal
in the face, eyes and nose. I recommend
carrying a can of bear spray.
Numerous studies have proven that
handguns are an ineffective deterrent
against a charging animal while bear
spray is extremely effective.
Besides bears and lions, there are
other dangers to keep in mind. Rattlesnakes
can be found in just about every
part of the county. Watch for them in
rocky areas during warm days. If
bitten, seek immediate medical attention.
Lightning is another danger. If
you are out hiking, be aware of the
weather. Afternoon lightning storms
are common, especially above timberline.
And they are deadly.
Hike early, get off the mountain as
soon as storms start building, and tell
someone where you are going. Carrying
a GPS device, basic survival gear,
multiple layers and a first aid kit are all
good ideas when recreating in the
rule no. 4:
Get out and enjoy it!
We are blessed with an abundance
of wildlife and a huge variety of
species. By engaging with these wild
creatures both wisely and safely, we can
reduce the stress they experience while
maximizing our enjoyment of them.
Whether it’s watching them in our
backyard, viewing them through a
camera lens or binoculars, or from opposite
ends of a fishing pole, we must
each intentionally choose to protect
and care for our wildlife.
As your wildlife officer, I appreciate
your efforts. And if they could talk,
I think the animals would say thank
you, as well.
A buck in velvet rests among charred trees after the Spring Fire.
Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Travis Sauder
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 21
"Colorado's Mystic Mountain"
"Huajatolla" is the Ute Indian name for the majestic and mystical twin peaks rising up out of the prairie in southern Colorado.
Pronounced "Wa-ha-toy-a", it means "Breasts of the Earth". Copies of the legendary Huajatolla 1916 print available at the World
Journal office at 508 Main St. in Walsenburg, or from our website; www.WorldJournalNewspaper.com
Page 22 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
by ruth orr
When people think of our area, they tend to
think of pristine natural beauty- unspoiled national
forests, dramatic mountains and rock formations,
wild animals roaming the plains and through the
trees. While we do have all that, we also have
something that may be a bit more surprising to
those who don’t know:
Music. Music for all ages across a wide
number of genres, from single evening concerts to
multi-day festivals; from traditional Celtic to Bluegrass
to Electronica to Country to Blues, we have
it all, spread across our territory.
Perhaps the longest running music festival and
concert series in the area is the Spanish Peaks International
Celtic Music Festival. Now in its 15th
year, the festival has grown from an afternoon
backyard party to four days of workshops, classes,
demonstrations, talks, and concerts, happening all
over Huerfano County.
The SPICMF has brought in internationally renowned
artists, from countries ranging from Argentina
to Spain and from Canada to the British
Isles, a well as superstars from the United States of
Taking place the third weekend of September
every year, the festival officially kicks off with an
evening concert in the town of Gardner before
launching into a full weekend of fun and music in
La Veta and Cuchara, with evening concerts in
Walsenburg. This year’s lineup will include internationally
famous and local favorites The Old
Blind Dogs, as well as several up and coming hot
bands from Ireland, plus a host of other artists,
some new to the festival, some back by popular demand.
To see the schedule, check out who is coming,
and buy tickets, go to celticmusicfest.com.
There is another celtic harp concert the following
If Celtic music isn’t your cup of tea, there are
loads of other musical events to pique your interest.
Trinidad has its own Blues festival, Trinidaddio,
which takes place in August and dominates
the town with funky music and awesome people
(trinidaddiobluesfest.com). See page 31 for more
The High Kings, who tour the world and previously played at the LIbrary of Congress in Washington,
D.C., came to Huerfano County in 2016. In addition to their other concerts, they took
the stage along with the local high school choir for one of the many free shows and events the
SPICMF hosts over the course of the weekend.
Sonic Bloom is another multi-day music festival
that happens in June (sonicbloomfestival.com)
that attracts a couple thousand people each year.
The Spanish Peaks Music Festival in July
brings Country music stars to play in La Veta (spanishpeaksmusicfestival.com).
Deerprint Wine and The La Veta Mercantile
(both in La Veta) and La Plaza Inn, Daily Perks,
Walsenburg Pizza, and the Fox Theatre in Walsenburg
host concerts regularly all summer long, as do
other locations around the county, such as the Dog
Bar in Cuchara, so keep your eyes on the World
Journal for upcoming events so you don’t miss out!
There’s more music just over the border in Colfax
County, New Mexico too, so branch out and
enjoy! Whatever your interests are, you’ll find
something for them here.
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 23
High Altitude Sickness
The ups and downs of visiting the mountains
Many visitors traveling
to our area who live at
lower elevations may experience
People who normally live
at or near sea level are
more prone to acute
mountain sickness, especially
Acute mountain sickness
is brought on by the
combination of reduced
air pressure and lower oxygen
occur at high altitudes.
Symptoms can range
from mild to life-threatening.
In most cases the
symptoms are mild.
percent of people will develop
mild symptoms at
altitudes between 6,300 to
associated with mild to
moderate altitude illness
• Difficulty sleeping
• Dizziness or light-headedness
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea or vomiting
• Rapid pulse (heart rate)
• Shortness of breath with exertion
People with anemia have a reduced
red blood cell count, and therefore have a
lower amount of oxygen carried in the
blood. Those prone to anemia should
La Veta 7,037’
La Veta Pass 9,413’
Bear Lake 10,480’
Blue Lake 10,500’
Cordova Pass 11,243’
E. Spanish Peak 12,683’
W. Spanish Peak 13,626’
Mt. Blanca 14,345’
consult a doctor regarding
an iron supplement.
Drink plenty of
water, avoid alcohol,
and eat regularly.
Foods should be relatively
high in carbohydrates.
People with underlying
heart or lung
diseases should avoid
Early diagnosis is
mountain sickness is
easier to treat in early
The main treatment
for all forms of
mountain sickness is
to descend to a lower
altitude as rapidly and
safely as possible. You
should not continue
climbing if you develop
Extra oxygen should be
given, if available. People with severe
mountain sickness may need to be
admitted to a hospital.
Call 911 or seek emergency medical
assistance if severe difficulty
breathing develops, or if you notice a
lower level of alertness, or other severe
symptoms such as confusion,
coughing up blood, or shortness of
breath at rest.
Enjoy your visit to our valley.
La Veta Fire Protection District
Some common-sense tips to stay flash-flood safe
by mark craddock
It's an undeniable fact: The
Spring Fire of 2018 was the thirdlargest
in Colorado history, burning
more than 108,000 acres of forest in
Huerfano and Costilla County. But
there is still plenty of pristine backcountry
waiting to be explored, miles
of trout streams waiting to be fished,
thousands of campsites where one
can sleep among the stars in quiet isolation.
There is, however, another undeniable
fact. Flash floods have always
been a possibility in southern Colorado
— indeed, much of the West —
and the Spring Fire has increased the
chances that they will occur locally
over the next several years.
Back country enthusiasts would
be wise to keep an eye on the sky and
plan their adventures around the possibility
of quick escape if conditions
rapidly change. Late-day thunderstorms,
common throughout the
summer and early fall, are not a
Like most wilderness dangers,
however, a little common sense will
go a long way toward ensuring a safe,
memorable experience in our slice of
A July, 2010, U.S. Forest Service
publication provides the following
tips for staying flood-safe:
• Know your area's flood risks.
Monitor the NOAA weather radio for
all hazards bulletins, or your local
news stations for vital weather information.
You can visit www.noaa.gov
for weather updates and for flood
safety driving tips:
• When possible, carry a NOAA
weather radio. There are many portable,
battery operated models which
will slip easily into a backpack or
• Stay alert for signs of heavy rain
(thunder and lightning), both where
you are and upstream. Watch for rising
• If flooding occurs, get to higher
ground. Leave low-lying areas immediately.
• Do not try to outrun a flash flood
in your car. Climb to safety immediately.
• Avoid areas already flooded,
especially if the water is flowing fast.
Do not attempt to cross flowing
streams. Remember: turn around;
• Don't try to swim to safety; wait
for rescuers to come to you. Do not
camp or park your vehicle along
streams and rivers, particularly during
• Be especially cautious at night,
when it is harder to recognize and respond
Locally, the risk of flash flooding
is greatest in streams that are
fed by runoff from burn-scarred
hillsides, which are less able to absorb
and retain water. Hikers
should be particularly careful in the
regions along Pass Creek, Spring
Creek, Middle Creek, Indian Creek,
North Abeyta Creek, South Abeyta
Creek and the Huerfano and Cucharas
Page 24 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
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World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 25
‘Cuchara River Estates’ River and Views are breathtaking
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39.45 acres 35.08 acres
Page 26 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
The Ten Essentials of backcountry hiking:
How to stay safe when you’re out in the mountains
by ruth orr
aBoVe treeline near you —
Everyone knows that Colorado’s
mountains are beautiful, and some of
the best views in the state are above
treeline. However, going out into the
wilderness, especially into the back
country, has its risks. If you’re not prepared,
you could get into a lot of trouble.
the “10 essentials” are things that
everyone venturing into the back
country needs to bring/do in order to
be safe and prepared in the event of an
emergency. The list includes:
• Water. You get dehydrated
really quickly at high elevations, so
take way more than you think you
need. If your head starts to hurt, that’s
a good sign you need to drink more
•nutrition (extra food) and make
sure it’s actually nutritious! Sugary
snacks won’t tide you over.
•insulation (extra in case of having
to stay out overnight). Try to bring
something waterproof in case of rain.
Don’t go with something dark or
camo– the brighter your color scheme,
the easier you’ll be to spot.
•navigation (map and compass).
Try to figure out where you’re going in
advance so you don’t end up lost.
Look for landmarks on the trail so you
can keep an eye out for them when
you’re actually on it. If you have a SAT
phone, or can rent/borrow one, take it
along. As you hike, turn and look back
often so the trail looks familiar to you
going both ways.
•illumination (headlamp with
extra batteries). The stronger the beam
the better. It will help you see, and can
be used to signal for help if you get
lost. Know the code for SOS!
•First aid kit. Bandaids are a
good start, but make sure your kit includes
material to wrap twisted ankles,
disinfectant wipes, moleskin, and
painkillers. Bandanas can make excellent
impromptu slings. You should
also carry a loud whistle in your kit.
•Fire (waterproof matches and fire
starter). Fire is extremely useful, for
keeping yourself warm, keeping animals
away, and for signaling to rescuers
where you are.
•repair kit (knife or leatherman,
sewing kit, etc.). If your gear breaks
down on the trail, be able to fix it!
•emergency Shelter (space blanket,
bivy sack, tarp). If you’re not carrying
a tent, make sure you have
something you can put together to
keep yourself warm and dry if weather
conditions go bad.
•tell people where you’re going!
Don’t set off on your own without telling
someone your plan and how long
you think you’ll be out. If you get lost,
that will help rescuers figure out where
and when to start looking.
When you’re up in the mountains,
especially above treeline, pay attention
to the weather. It can change really
quickly, and you can get into real
danger if you get caught out in it.
Lightning will usually strike the tallest
thing around, so it’s best to get off the
mountain before afternoon thunderstorms
If you do get caught out in a storm,
don’t panic. Try to move downhill, but
if the storm is on top of you, it may be
best to wait it out rather than make
yourself a target by standing up.
To minimize the chance of being
hit by lightning, crouch low and space
out from fellow hikers. Try to balance
on the balls of your feet; the less of you
that touches the ground, the better, and
wrap your arms around your knees.
If you cannot squat and balance on
the balls of your feet, sit down, preferably
on an insulated object like a foam
pad or soft pack full of clothes, ball up
and wrap your arms around your
In both cases, keep your feet together
to remove potential for current
to flow in one foot and out the other.
Don’t touch metallic objects like
backpacks with metal frames.
Hiding under a tree won’t help
you either, if the tree is struck the electricity
may jump to you.
how Search and rescue
responds to emergenciesnot
Few people really understand how
Search And Rescue (SAR) responds to
emergencies. The first rule of a rescuer
is “don’t become a victim,” so the SAR
team will not put themselves in a situation
that presents unreasonable risk.
If you’re out in bad weather, you’re
going to be there until it’s safe for
someone to come fetch you.
Many of the calls for help come
late in the day, which means the SAR
team will spend the afternoon and
evening assembling and preparing for
the rescue, but will not be able to begin
operations until the following morning.
Be prepared to spend a night (or
two, in rare circumstances) in the
mountains waiting for assistance.
In case something goes wrong, you
get hurt, or even just lost, follow the
Stop– As soon as you realise you
may be lost, stop, stay calm and stay
put. If you keep going you are likely
to get even more lost. Sit down, drink
some water, and eat something.
think– How did you get to where
you are? What landmarks should you
be able to see? Were you heading
North or West? Where were you when
you were last sure you knew where
observe– What can you see?
Where on the map is it? Where is the
sun in the sky? Roughly how long
until sunset? What does the weather
on pages 18-21
look like it is going to be? What
supplies do you have? How long will
plan– Never move until you have
a plan. Based on your thinking and
observations, come up with some possible
plans and then act on the best
Check for phone coverage. If you
have some then you can call for help.
They may be able to explain how to get
home or they may come to get you.
Use your whistle to try and attract
attention. Three blasts is the universal
signal for help.
If you have any bright items get
them out and hang them on trees
around you or spread them on the
ground in a clearing. The colors will
make it easier for a rescuer to find you.
If you are confident enough you
may wish to try and retrace your steps
to find the path you were on earlier.
Sometimes your best plan is to stay
put. If you are truly lost, and can’t remember
how to get back, don’t try.
Find a sheltered spot for the evening,
under a tree or behind a boulder out of
the wind. Don’t sleep next to the
water, the sound may keep you from
hearing a rescuer and vice versa.
Layer on as much as you can, and start
a small fire. You don’t need a huge
blaze to alert people to where you are,
and if it gets out of hand you could get
yourself into an even more dangerous
Most importantly, stay calm. Panicking
will only make it more likely
you’ll be hurt. Help will come.
If done right, backcountry hiking
can be an incredibly beautiful and rewarding
expereience. With proper
planning and safety gear, you should
be good to go. Always check the
weather before you head out, and
make smart choices while on the
Stay safe and happy hiking!
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 27
Scenic Highway of Legends
colorado highway 12 Scenic Byway
The Scenic Highway of Legends (Hwy. 12) provides something for everyone: great opportunities to hike, fish, picnic, shop, golf are found
along the way. Drive the entire 80-mile loop around the Spanish Peaks in a half-day, or make stops along the way to fill the day. See route
map on page 23.
1. Mile Marker 70 – Trinidad. Spanish for “trinity” Trinidad
was first settled in 1859 along the Mountain Route of the
Santa Fe Trail. George Simpson, a scout, trader, explorer and early
Trinidad resident is credited with saving the town from a Ute Indian
attack. Simpson climbed a sandstone bluff on the north side of
town and taunted the Indians until they followed him out of town. He
spent days hiding in caves atop the bluff, keeping the Utes busy.
It is said the Simpson died in St. Louis, but his wishes were to be
buried atop the bluff north of Trinidad. His body was shipped back to
Trinidad and was buried on the bluff now known as Simpson’s Rest.
2. Mile Marker 67 – Trinidad Lake State Park. The U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers completed construction of the dam on the Purgatoire River in 1977. The
river was named many years ago after Spanish conquistadors explored the area
in 1594. The leaders of the expedition, Juan Hermana and Francisco Bonilla argued
resulting in Hermana slaying Bonilla. The priest who had accompanied the expedition
refused to follow a murderer and returned to Mexico. Hermana and the rest
of the group continued on – but were never seen alive again. Their bones and
armor were found along the river bank, possible victims of an indian attack. Since
they died without the benefit of a priest, and thus last rites, they were said to be
in Purgatory ad the river was named “El Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio”
or The River of Souls Lost in Purgatory.
3. Mile Marker 63 – Cokedale. The arc of the coke ovens is a vivid reminder
of the coal industry and its history in Huerfano and Las Animas counties.
Coke, which is coal with the moisture, sulphur and phosphorous removed, was
the preferred fuel when smelting iron because it burned with intense heat and was
free of foreign substances. The American Smelting and Refining Company began
building the mining camp of Cokedale in 1907 and closed in 1947.
4. Mile Marker 55 – Segundo. The mining town of Segundo was built in
the early 1900’s. At the time, Segundo was the largest coal processing plant west
of Chicago – with 800 coke ovens. A number of mines were opened by the Colorado
Fuel and Iron Company in the early 1900’s. The names of these mining and
coking camps, Primero, Segundo, Tercio, Cuatro, Quinto and Sexto were named
in the order they were built.
5. Mile Marker 50.8 Cordova Plaza The Cordova Chapel, built in 1871,
still sits south of the highway. It was still in use in the 1940s. It’s an example of a
plaza where local families would spread out along the river forming familyoriented
villages called plazas.
6. Mile Marker 49 – Weston. The town of Weston was originally named Los
Sisneros, after Juan Sisneros, a rancher who settled here in the 1880’s. The name
was changed in 1889 after the first post office was established with a new postmaster
named Bert Weston.
7. Mile Marker 42 – Vigil. Juan Vigil and his family founded Vigil in the
early 1860’s. The town of Vigil was incorporated and had a post office from 1890
until the early 1920’s. Across the highway is the “House on a Bridge.” The bridge
was part of the original road between Stonewall and Trinidad.
8. Mile Marker 41 – New Elk Mine. This mining site is one of the more recent
ones to be developed. It was first opened in 1946 and called Apache Prospect. Five
years later it was purchased by CF & I and renamed the Allen Mine. In 1991 it was
purchased by Basin resources, Inc. and renamed the New Elk, in 2008 it was purchased
by Canadian based Cline Mining Corp. The New Elk site was a processing
plant, where the coal was washed and prepared for shipping. The large pipe crossing
above Highway 12 at Mile 29.4 carried refuse from the washed coal to a dumpsite.
9. Mile Marker 38 – Stonewall. The large rock wall rising 250 feet above
Stonewall is part of the Dakota Sandstone Formation, created millions of years
ago. Once lying at the bottom of the ocean, it was pushed vertical at the time the
mountains were formed.
#7. Mile Marker 42 – House on a Bridge
Just off Highway 12 in Vigil you can still see the “House on a Bridge”. The old bridge linked
Stonewall and Trinidad.
In the early 1800s, Spain and Mexico granted ownership of thousands of acres
to individuals who promised to colonize it. In 1841, Beaubien and Miranda were
awarded a grant of 1,700,000 acres. Later, the grant was inherited by Lucian Maxwell,
and became known as the Maxwell Land Grant. In the 1880s, Maxwell Grant
representatives claimed that the Stonewall Valley was part of the grant, and that
settlers in the area must pay for their homesteads or leave. They sent armed guards
into the valley. Contending the boundary markers had been moved north by Grant
representatives, the settlers vowed not to leave without a fight. Richard Russell,
one of Stonewall’s earliest settlers, went under a white flag to the Stonewall Hotel
to confront the Grant deputies. Armed settlers surrounded the hotel, and in the
confusion, Russell was shot and later died. Despite pleas from the settlers, the U.S.
government upheld the Maxwell Land Grant claims, and the settlers found themselves
paying for property on which they had lived for years.
10. Mile Marker 33 – Monument Lake. In the center of the lake a rock
formation used to rise 15 feet above the water (it collapsed in 1999) and was the
namesake. The monument is said to represent two Indian chiefs. At the time of the
volcanoes, the water disappeared from the mountains. The Indians started to die
of thirst. A chief from the northern tribes traveled south to find water. At the same
time a chief from the southern tribes traveled north. When they met they hugged
in friendship. Then, realizing that neither one had found water, they began to cry.
Their tears formed a lake at their feet. Suddenly one of the volcanoes blew smoke
and lava into the air. The two chiefs, still hugging, were covered by lava and turned
to stone. The lake remained, encircling the chiefs. Their tears had caused the volcanoes
to stop and the water to return and flow forever for their people.
11. Mile Marker 29 - North Lake. Constructed in 1907, North Lake was
created to supply water to the City of Trinidad. The lake is home to four species of
trout: Cutthroat, Rainbow, Kokanee and Brown.
12. Mile Marker 22 – Cucharas Pass. Long before the road appeared,
Native Americans gathered at the top of Cuchara Pass to share stories of brave
deeds. Each warrior would make up a dance telling of his bravery and the winner
was given a large feather to wear as he repeated his dance. As he circled the fire,
he would begin to rise until he was high as the top of the trees. Then he and the
rising spiral of his dance would be turned into a spruce tree. As the years passed,
a forest of spruce trees was formed.
Page 28 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
Scenic Highway of Legends
colorado highway 12 Scenic Byway
#16. Mile Marker 11 – Devil’s Stairsteps.
Eons ago, when the earth was new, the Devil was allowed out of his fiery domain to survey the world. He chose the Cuchara Valley as his entrance. He would climb the steps and sit on the
twin mountains. Surveying the world, he plotted to make it his own. God learned of the Devil’s plot, and noticing the beauty of the mountains and valley took it as his own – forever
banishing the devil. However, his stairs remain.
13. Mile Marker 19.9 Cuchara River Recreation Area. This is the turn
to visit Bear and Blue Lakes. Legend has it that the first U.S. Forest Ranger for the
San Isabel national Forest, Asa Arnold, trapped a bear near Blue Lake. The bear
was able to drag the trap and the log it was secured to into the nearby lake before
drowning. Arnold used his horse and pack horse to pull the bear out of the lake,
but the lake has been called Bear Lake ever since.
14. Mile Marker 16 – Cuchara. Cuchara is Spanish for spoon. Some say
that the valley was given the name because of it’s spoon shape. It got this shape
when the giants roamed the earth and one left his spoon on the side of the mountain
in a heavy rain – thus leaving an impression in the side of the mountain.
15. Mile Marker 14 – Dakota Wall, ”The Gap”. The wall is the same
formation as that at Stonewall south of Cuchara Pass (#9). The wall formed millions
of years ago as sand settled to the bottom of an ancient lake and became rock.
The earth was then upthrust and pushed vertical. The gap was created over the
years by the Cuchara River.
16. Mile Marker 11 – Devil’s Stairsteps is one of the grandest dikes in the
area. Over 400 dikes radiate out from the Spanish Peaks like spokes on a wheel,
and continue either above or below ground for as far as 25 miles. These geological
formations are unique to this area. The dikes were formed during the time of the
volcanoes. Igneous rock, molten and flowing, forced its way into fractures in sedimentary
rocks and hrdened. Over the years, the softer sedimentary material
eroded away, leaving the igneous dikes exposed.
17. Mile Marker 9 – Profile Rock. For those with a sharp eye, the profiles of
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson can be seen (face up). There is also a
train on a trestle.
18. Mile Marker 4.8 Town of La Veta
Around 1862 Colonel John M. Francisco and his partner Henry Daigre began
construction of what is now known as Francisco Fort. The fort was used for commerce
and protection. Today, the town sits as the gateway to the Spanish Peaks
19. Mile Marker 0 – Junction of Highways 12 & 160. Rising abruptly
from the plains, the Spanish Peaks are two masses of igneous rock, formed during
the time of volcanoes. Over the years, the peaks have served as guideposts for
those crossing into the southern mountains. The peaks have been known by several
names, including; Las Cumbres Españolas (The Spanish Peaks), The Mexican
Mountains, Dos Hermanos (two brothers), Twin Peaks and Huajatolla (or Wahatoya
or Huajatolla). Huajatolla is an Indian word meaning “breasts of the earth.”
20. Lathrop State Park. Lathrop is the oldest State Park in Colorado. It contains
two lakes for fishing and water sports, a well stocked Visitors Center and is
home to Walsenburg Golf Course.
21. Walsenburg. “The City Build on Coal” was originally founded by Don
Miguel Antonio Leon and was named La Plaza De Los Leones. Fred Walsen came
to town in 1870 and opened a general store. He was an active community member.
Town folk and the new U.S. Post Office thought it an appropriate tribute to rename
the town Walsenburg.
22.-25. Cordova Pass
Cordova Pass Road crosses the Spanish Peaks and can be accessed from Highway
12 at the top of Cucharas Pass (mile marker 22), or from the town of Aguilar
on the east side.
The high point on the Cordova Pass Road tops out at 11,248 feet on the West
Spanish Peak. The Ute Indians say mankind first emerged from the Earth
through the Spanish Peaks. The Pueblo referred to the peaks as “Wahatoya”—
meaning breasts of the world. The peaks have served as guideposts for explorers
of the southern mountains for centuries.
The road passes through the Apishapa Arch, which was built by the Civilian
Conservation Corps in 1934.
Ludlow Massacre Memorial
World Journal 2019 Summer Guide page 29
Apishapa Arch: When the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Cordova Pass Road in 1933 & 1934, they tunneled through one of the many dikes – and built a masonry arch for support.
The road continues into terrain that gets more rugged, with deep canyons cut in the layers of sandstone and amazing rock formations carved over the millennia by wind and rain.
Long before the road appeared, Native Americans gathered at the top of
Cuchara Pass to tell stories of brave deeds. They would feast and dance
around the campfire. Each warrior would make up a dance telling the story
of his bravery.
travel tip: Best to travel only in the summer months. Dirt road can be steep
and may be muddy and rutted, so 4-wheel drive is recommended.
9 Art Cartopia Art Car Museum
and Art Gallery
15 Bear’s Den at Cuchara gifts
11 Big R Store
Western Wear and more
14 Book Nook
15 Crafted in Colorado
8 Dakota Duke’s
2 First Choice Market
21 Huajatolla 1916 Art Print
5 La Veta Gallery on Main
15 La Veta Liquors
27 La Veta Mercantile
5 Painted Horse Gallery
5 Shalawalla Gallery & Gifts
5 Spanish Peaks Art Council
(SPACe Gallery & Gift Shop)
21 SpanishPeaks Outfitters
outdoor gear shop
PLACES TO EAT
27 Alys’ Restaurant
13 Bugling Bull
11 Deerprint Wine & Bistro
2 First Choice Market
14 George’s Drive-Inn
27 La Veta Mercantile
11 Paradise Coffee
3 Sammie’s Restaurant
PLACES TO STAY
3 Sammie’s Motel & RV Park
8 Yellow Pine Guest Ranch
THINGS TO DO
9 Art Cartopia Art Car Museum
and Art Gallery
15 Bear’s Den mini golf
12 Cuchara Chapel
19 Francisco Fort Museum
15 Fridays for Fun
19 Huerfano Heritage Center
21 La Veta Art Walk
15 La Veta School of the Arts
12 La Veta Trails
30 Spanish Peaks Country
13 Stonewall Century Ride
22 Spanish Peaks International
Celtic Music Festival
31 Trinidaddio Blues Fest
8 Two Peaks Fitness
19 Walsenburg Mining Museum
8 Yellow Pine Guest Ranch
24 - 25 All Seasons Real Estate
32 Bachman & Associates
16 - 17 Capture Colorado
7 Code of the West
9 Jerry Henson,
Bachman & Associates
4 Spanish Peaks Land
23First National Bank of
Trinidad, Huerfano County
30 Huerfano County Tourism
3 La Veta-Cuchara
Chamber of Commerce
21 Rio Cucharas Veterinary
14 Shapiro Acupuncture
8 State Farm Insurance
29 Spanish Peaks Regional
Page 30 2019 Summer Guide World Journal
AREA DETAIL MAPS
305 S. main St.
103 e. Field
(at main St.)
at main St. & 4th St.
lathrop State park
hwy 160 west of Walsenburg
cuchara: Dakota Duke’s
15 minutes to La Veta
CUCHARA AVE. EAST
CO Rd 422
Trinidad via Hwy of Legends