June 7 – 8, 2016: After hiking the dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park, we headed to Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs, Colorado before retiring to our campsite on the Arkansas River in Salida.
A friend had mentioned Salida when I was outlining my criteria for a future place to live (good mix of outdoorsy, hippie, artsy, foodie, and, possibly, walkable). So, the next day we briefly explored downtown Salida and indeed enjoyed the vibe and local folks. The residential areas are close to downtown and home styles include old historic brick houses as well as cute bungalows. Downtown is totally walkable and includes lots of nice shops with art, consignment clothes, home decor, and more. We ate at a fantastic sandwich shop, Sweetie’s, visited Wood’s High Mountain Distillery (where I had an amazing chai drink), and sampled wine at Vino Salida.
We would have stayed longer but we wanted to get to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, an International Dark Sky Park, before the moon phase shifted further away from the new moon. So, onward we went, with our route taking us over the Continental Divide and through Curecanti National Recreation Area, a stunning area we’d like to enjoy in the future. The jagged rock spires and pinnacles that towered over the lake reminded us of some landscapes from our visit to Scotland in 2014.
- Arkansas River Salida East, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Salida, Colorado, United States (NOTE: this free BLM campground was being considered for co-administration by BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife; a fee may now be assessed for camping. TIP: The Poncha Springs Visitor Center, just down the road, has a dump station and potable water for a $5 donation.)
TIP: If you’d prefer to book in advance or don’t want to camp, check out these other accommodation options in Salida.