Trip Logue: Four Corners Day 1 – Taos to Durango

Retracing the steps of our journey to Canyonlands country, we got on the road late on Monday, about 5 p.m. The first stretch of the trip heading West away from Taos is one of the most beautiful in New Mexico. U.S. Highway 64 trails across the flat mesa lands filled with sage and scrub for almost 30 miles, then suddenly the landscape changes immediately as you cross U.S. 285 and head into the Carson National Forest. Check it:

tpThe colors were out in full blast, completing the spectrum of sunset colors. U.S. 64 runs west through the Carson forest from Tres Piedras on the mesa edge, to Tierra Amarilla, on the other side of a mountain pass that provides some of the most stunning vistas in the Four Corners.

Oh, and did I mention – there is NO ONE HERE. We go stopped by a flagger at a construction site along the highway. We sat there for 20 minutes, and not a single car pulled up behind us during that time.

Sun had set by the time we crossed the Colorado border on the way to Pagosa Springs, which has become more or less a retirement community for Texans, although I’ll have more on that place later.

We passed Durango and pulled over on US HWY 160 just short of Mesa Verde National Park, where we’ll pick up this trip tomorrow.