We had read about canyons and water in southeastern Colorado and we had to go check it out. We'd make base camp in La Junta, and we planned on checking out Apishapa Canyon on the way there. We'd mispronounce it for the entire trip but it was worth the stopover.
Using some GPS coordinates we found online put us at someone's ranch instead of the right place. The rancher made it clear we were on his property so we turned around and did some backtracking to where we saw signs for the wildlife area. We knew that the rancher's road went down into the canyon so we weren't sure what the day now had in store for us.
We headed down the long dirt road for many miles, seeing no one else. Signs noted we were on private land but we were allowed to pass through. When we came to the intersection we took the north fork, thinking it would put us closer to the canyon.
The first road we took ended at a gate with a bunch of cowboys on the other side. They told us it was private land past the gate so we turned around. Another fork took us to a little-used trail that ended at a fence. It was noon so we stopped for lunch there. It promised to be a hot weekend with temperatures in the mid-90s.
We turned around, intending to check out the other fork. But then the clouds came in and we decided it wouldn't be smart to stay. The rain came, and the road turned into a slick mess. We had mud terrain tires and good vehicles ready for this kind of stuff, but we were still sliding around. Luckily, the road and terrain was very flat. Unfortunately, that meant we would need to skip the southern fork this time.
We made it out to the pavement and it poured rain all the way to La Junta. It was often horizontal and making visibility challenging. We went through La Junta to Bent's Old Fort. It was still raining horizontally, but most of the group put on ponchos and walked to the fort. Strangely, it didn't rain the entire time we were in the fort but it started back up as we left. The fort was pretty cool, and we were glad we stopped.
After checking into hotels and the KOA we met for dinner and beers. It looked like it was going to be an interesting trip.