Target Tree Campground was nearly 30 miles from Durango... a little farther than I'd
figured from Google Street view. But, I had planned to rely on Durango for getting my
supplies, and so I took a trip there to stock up on food and a few other things I knew I'd need.
Jeff (the campground host) gave me the exact name and location of the land office where
I could purchase my senior pass.
Durango's main thoroughfare is also Hwy 160. I knew I'd seen a Walmart just as I'd
arrived in town... coming from the east... but.. well... how can a person get
lost when there is only one main road??? Hmm?? I couldn't find the Walmart, which was
okay because there were several other stores where I found what I was needing.
I went to the land office to purchase a National Parks Senior Pass. These Senior Passes
cost $10.00... can be purchased at age 62... never expire... give the person free entrance
to all the National Parks... and allow the person to stay in any campground in the
National Parks system for half price... which includes National Parks, National Forests,
BLM lands, Corps of Engineers land... and others. (Besides this... there is free "dispersed"
camping for anyone on these lands. You can stay in one camp up to 14 days. To stay
longer or with a group... you apply for a permit.)
The woman at the counter had had to get up from her lunch to attend to people. She
apologized to me, saying she'd been trying to get to her lunch for two hours. I apologized...
said it didn't bother me... and asked to purchase a Senior Pass. She looked at me with a
smile and said... "You don't look 62." And then turning to another woman
at the counter, "Hey, Kathy... she doesn't look 62 at all,
does she?" I thanked her for her compliment, and then supplied her with the identification
she'd requested. My driver's license has a really bad picture of me... with a very old and
unhappy scowl on my face... and... well... there was no further discussion about age.
(Did I hear a female voice quietly saying "oh... yea... okay." -- ?)
Durango was undergoing a lot of road construction now that it was late springtime. The
tourists were coming and there was a lot of one-lane traveling... a lot of indiscipherable
turns to make onto indiscipherable multiple lanes of traffic. I stopped to get gas at one of
the Conoco stations and when I walked into the shop there were two guys deep in conversation.
"... before you can open a cannabis shop you have to apply for a license and pay a fee."
I wondered if this was the beginning of cannabis tourism.
(Note: Durango does not as yet have a cannabis store. Recently (late July) a news article
mentioned that four licenses had been applied for... and named the locations where the
proposed shops would be.) From my best understanding... Telluride is the closest town
where there are established cannabis shops. Telluride is a noted "hippie" haven... or was...
before it became the condo capital of the west. I haven't been there... don't know.)
I headed back to the campground and paid for two more days... at the Senior rate of $7.50
a night. I needed some time to get oriented and organized... which I hadn't yet accomplished.
I tried cooking up a dinner with a camp fire, using what I thought was very dry tinder. It
burned but it kept smoldering and losing its flame. It was awful breathing it when it wafted
in my direction. After a while a helicopter flew over... which I thought was good... rangers
monitoring for forest fires... and only later did I wonder... did they think my campfire was
a forest fire ?? with all that smoke I was making...??? -- (Someone told me a few days later
that the way the rangers keep track of how long campers stay in one spot is to take overhead
pictures of areas and compare them.)
I tried everything to build a decent burning fire and had no good success. After several
tries... I began to reconsider cooking over an open fire altogether. This area is very dry...
there is even a drought... and it is just not worth running the risk of something going awry.
I'd have to come up with another cooking method.