Our second day north of I-70 and Rifle would start in New Castle where we all met to gas up. Then we headed north on Buford Road. Right at the start, there was a sign noting that the road was closed at the Meadow Creek turnoff. That was our first destination, so we were happy to see we'd at least be able to do that. The Cabin Lake Fire had been right where the northern half of Buford Road was, so it was naturally closed.
The start of the trail was mellow, a nice trail for a great morning. Temperatures were just about perfect, and then the trail started up switchbacks.
At first, we thought it might be a good trail to take our motor homes back into the woods on, but the switchbacks were probably too tight and steep for that. Still, there were many shorter trailers and trucks that could make it.
We started in pine trees that turned to aspens, and then we were up on the mesa. There were big views under blue skies with very few clouds.
We stopped at the Meadow Creek trailhead to air down and read another sign about the fire. This one said the trail was open all the way to Buford, and we saw people coming from that direction. Someone stopped and we had a chat, and they told us to stay on Buford Road and not take any spurs, and we'd be fine.
We had a long day on Meadow Creek and Blair Mountain, and then we were back on Buford Road. Walt and Chad had taken Coffee Pot Road out, so Mike and Matt did the northern half of Buford Road. There were thick stands of trees on both sides as it started heading downhill, and then we saw burned areas on both sides.
Trees were black, and the ground was covered in ash. It was sad to see. There were a few spurs, but we stayed on the main road like we were told. When we got to the main road at the end, we turned around and headed back in. Once we got to the end of Hay Flat, we took that over to Little Box Canyon and headed back to camp that way.
We were only at Rifle Falls a short time before Walt showed up after his long trip on Coffee Pot Road. Was his option better? We may never know!