Skip to content

Summertime (Part II: Colorado)

As we drift into September in Northern California, summertime is a not-so-distant memory.  Long days of bright blue skies and hot sunshine lull me into a  lemonade- loving time warp.  But the soft air and faint ocean brine in the breeze are sharp contrasts to real summertime in Colorado.

Salida-Colorado-Way-Back-Inn- Laurel-Schaffer-Downright RedNear Salida, Colorado. Photo: James Schaffer

James, Theo the wonder dog, and I usually soak up love and sunshine in our hometown of Durango, Colorado; but this year we were looking for quiet and epic aloneness.  We found this in quantities at the Way Back Inn outside of Salida, Colorado; a fabled town in the middle of the state, surrounded by fourteeners, with the Arkansas River throwing trout at your feet.

The Way Back Inn, is in fact not an inn.  It is an off the grid house consisting of a recycled miner’s cabin with a straw bale addition.  It’s chock full of marvelous finds and antique furniture, a bed that jumped out of a tree, and warmth in every rustic surface. It sits on 70 acres of wilderness abutting more BLM wilderness.  It’s amazing.

way- back- inn- Salida-Colorado- fourteeners-off the grid- strawbale

  way Back Inn   way back inn bed

Way back Inn- Salida- COlorado- Off grid housing- laurel Schaffer- Downright-RedThe Way Back Inn.  Photos: Greg Walters 

 I can’t remember the last time I heard nothing but birdsong and wind.  No people, no traffic, no light pollution- nothing but starry skies and blazing sunrises.  Such a profound absence of the business of life seems almost decadent, too luxurious and rich for indulgence.  But what are vacations for after all.   We poured generous glasses of wine and settled in.

way- back- inn- Salida-Colorado- fourteeners-off the grid- strawbale

way- back- inn- Salida-Colorado- fourteeners-off the grid- strawbale

way- back- inn- Salida-Colorado- fourteeners-off the grid- strawbale

Theo-way- back- inn- Salida-Colorado- fourteeners-off the grid- strawbale- Laurel Schaffer- Downright Red

Theo-way- back- inn- Salida-Colorado- fourteeners-off the grid- strawbale- Laurel Schaffer- Downright Red

 

I’ve trundled around exotic destinations near and far.  Fabulous cityscapes, lush jungles, underwater paradises, sprawling slums, majestic mountains.  Loved them all and hope to return to many.  Sometimes however, the best destination is a quiet space of time with those you love the most.

As all good adventures do, this one left us longing to return even as we left.   Ah well, summer must end and daily life return.

But.

The road always calls…

Utah, Colorado, Laurel Schaffer, downright red, rainstorm

  • Karen Hopper

    Beautifully written and photo documented, as usual! Looking forward to sharing more of colorful Colorado with you next week.
    Love, Mom