2016 was a great year for me... Actually, they are all good, some are better than others as the saying goes.

Where did we travel in 2016? As usual, we got around. In the early winter months, I like downtown Colorado Springs, North Cheyenne Canon and Garden of the Gods.

In the spring, we like to go to New Mexico! 3 Rivers Petroglyph Site is an amazing place with over 20,000 recorded petroglyphs, all of which are easily accessible. We stop there on the way to White Sands National Monument. From there we went to the new National Monument in the Organ Mountains, just south of White Sands. We went to Ghost Ranch in May.

In the summer, we like to head to the mountain basins near Lake City or Ouray or both. This year, we did American Basin near Lake City. After my morning drive up to American Basin and back, we got up the next morning to try a new-to-us trailhead and the truck wouldn't start! We ended up getting it jump started and driving to Gunnison to get a new battery. The original one was about 9 years old, so it was time. Always an adventure. I was very happy to not have been stuck up in American Basin, which is around 11,500 ft in elevation. We also went to Crested Butte and stayed up at Lake Irwin. Our granddaughter went with us and caught a trout, which we had for supper. We then went over to Paonia to pick cherries! Marjorie made this awesome cherry conserve from the Rainier cherries we picked. We also pick Paonia peaches, which are incredible! And, our favorite winery is there and we always stop by. You can never have enough good wine!

This fall, we made a grand tour of Grand Mesa in western Colorado. This was our first time staying there and we weren't sure what to expect. Well, the mesa, touted as the largest flat-top mesa in the world, is at 10,000 ft elevation. We camped at Jumbo Lakes and tooled around and did some hiking. The fall colors were wonderful and at peak. A few days after we left, they had snow! From there we went down CO141 through Unaweep Canyon to Gateway, Colorado and then along the Dolores River, ending up in Hovenweep National Monument in Utah. The drive was spectacular with amazing fall colors, canyons, mountains and clouds.

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James Van Hoy
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