We may have found one of our favorite lunch spots. It's always a bonus when we find a great spot to relax and visit, and this was a good one. We even discovered that it would be a great place to set up camp, with lots of places for tents and campers. Perfect!
We had just completed the Cottonwood Canyon Loop and we started Carrizo Canyon from the north end. That meant we were soon at the picnic area. There was a camper there with lots of people who were spending some time near the river, and a tent that didn't have anyone near it. Luckily, there was another picnic table open so we grabbed it after finding a wide spot to park.
After spending a couple days in the hot sun of southeastern Colorado it was so very nice to sit in the shade. The tables were big, and both the table and benches were made of concrete that held the chill of the shade. The entire thing was covered but without walls, so the breeze was just perfect. We ate our lunch and no one was in a hurry.
After lunch we walked down the accessible path. It was made of concrete and had very little slope, and it was an easy stroll. The interpretive signs were helpful, explaining what we'd find in the area. It was a really short hike, and it ended at a box that looked out over the river. It was very scenic and all of the water was unexpected.
We could see people down the other trail who had stopped to play in the river at the water crossing. It didn't look very deep but it looked like they were enjoying it. Big trees reached out over the cool water and it must have been a fun time.
We didn't end up doing the other walk, but we'd have to check it out the next time we were there. Instead, we headed out to see the rest of the trail. The northern half of the trail took us through sand and dirt tracks across fairly barren areas with little shade and only the smallest trees.
It didn't take long to reach the Cottonwood Canyon Loop. We turned right and headed around the corner to find the gate where we'd continue the trail on the southern half. We closed it behind us and kept going.
The southern half was a bit more green but only a bit. There were even spots where the dirt trail turned to rock, but it was never an actual obstacle or even very bumpy. We were all aired up so it was good that it didn't get too crazy.
We discovered it didn't take long at all to finish the trail, so we hung out at the county road to decide what to do. Our plan was to explore all of the roads in and south of the Cottonwood Canyon Loop, but it was mostly private property. We could go back to check out Skull Canyon but we were thinking it wouldn't go very far. Our plan for the next day was to come back down to the area to do Picture Canyon, but after further discussion we decided to make a long and single day out of it and do everything right then.
We mapped out the roads between where we were and where Sand Canyon came out on the west end. They were nice and easy roads, though when we were heading east they actually worked their way in curves through some really pretty land. It was a great drive.
So, the afternoon found us at Sand Canyon. It might be a long day but at least we wouldn't be getting home late at night the next day. A change of plans for the better!