DEL NORTE— The La Vereda del Norte Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association is hosting a special trail event on Friday, July 21. Doug Knudson, Ph.D. forester, will lead participants up to Cochetopa Pass in the early morning and will stay for tours each day until Sunday afternoon. There is no charge except for the campsite.
Highlights of the weekend jaunt on Cochetopa Pass include a visit to the highest point of the Old Spanish Trail (10,000 feet). Come up to where the Ute People enjoyed their summers for centuries. This pass is a fall and spring flight path of Sand-Hill Cranes. It used to be a big trail for bison and still is for elk. Count the birds. Help inventory trees, flowers and whatever you discover, which will go into a guide book. Fish at the height of the season. Take some easy hikes. Locate one of the southernmost lodgepole pine stands. Enjoy trail stories.
Believe it or not, this pass was once one of the easiest, safest ways to get to Southern California. Dozens of people from New Mexico came this way West and changed the politics, farming, ranching and science of southern California and Oregon. And most Americans know little about this National Historic Trail.
The Old Spanish Trail Association folks will meet people at the Luder’s Creek Campground (Rabbit Canyon NN 14 Road). This is on a good dirt road that branches off State Hwy114 west of Saguache. The campground is about a mile+ from the summit of Cochetopa Pass. For more information, call 719-873-5239 or email [email protected]