Old Highway 90
Mike's drive shaft blew up the day before, so we said goodbye to him and headed east out of Naturita. The turnoff was easy enough to find, and we were surprised to find it paved as we followed the San Miguel River. We came around a corner and found cows everywhere, with cowboys rounding them up. It took a while to get through the herd, but the views were gorgeous so we didn't mind the wait. We kept finding more cows and cow byproducts as we headed along the pavement. We even found some people getting horses out of a trailer and blocking the road doing it. It was an interesting start to the day.
We came to a big ranch at a bridge across the river, and the trail turned to gravel. The scenery through that canyon was even better, and we stopped at a kiosk soon after that to get our bearings. We passed Ray's Trail as well as Cottonwood Trail, planning on seeing them again later if all went according to plan.
The road was fairly easy, but there were a few steep switchbacks that would be difficult to impossible if you were towing anything. We weren't sure how this used to be a highway, and we hoped that the name didn't make it seem okay for a big truck to take. We were enjoying it, but we imagined there were some people in the past who had a really bad time on it.
There was a big switchback with parking, and we stopped there to get a lot of pictures. It was chilly that morning, and windy, but gorgeous. That scenery was worth the entire trip.
After that, the climb up Reade Hill and up to the Rimrocker Trail was pretty uneventful as we worked our way through the trees. When we got to Rimrocker, we turned left to go the short distance over to Houser Road. It promised to be yet another great day in Uncompahgre National Forest.