Friday, July 5, 2013

A Buena Vista 4th of July

Leaving Gunnison, we headed East over the Continental Divide to Buena Vista, CO. Though we crossed the Divide, the high desert-like environment we've landed in is very similar to the landscape we just left. Buena Vista sits in the Upper Arkansas River valley and is bounded by the 14,000 foot peaks of the Collegiate Wilderness to the West and the great, rounded boulders of the foothills of the San Isabel National Forest to the East. The area is considered a "banana belt" because the winters are relatively mild compared to other parts of Colorado. Oddly, the locals call their town "Biewna Vista" instead of the Spanish pronunciation as the name is spelled.

The Buena Vista Valley. Collegiate Peaks in the West. Arkansas River is directly below us in the photo

We are now experiencing the typical, daily, late afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains surrounding us, with brief showers dropping welcome moisture and cooling temperatures on Buena Vista as well.

Afternoon thunder clouds are building as we walk downtown enjoying the historic buildings

Buena Vista began in the late 1800's as a railroad town serving the mining operations of the area. Today the railroad is defunct and river sports, mountain climbing, backpacking and hunting are what draws people to the area. The historic downtown strip has several empty storefronts and the town is trying to draw tourist and business focus a couple of blocks East to the riverfront where new businesses and residences and parks are being developed.

These locals are a common sight around town.

There is such a big focus on river sports here that some sections of the Arkansas River have been engineered to enhanced water sports. You can walk a path along the river to check out the white water sections and see folks practicing too.

They did a decent job of keeping a natural look to the river when engineering
it for maximum water sport fun.

This unique stand-up paddle board seems to be made specifically for river use.

Bouldering is popular here too,
a new sport for us to try perhaps???

Buena Vista puts on an "old fashioned 4th of July". Marching bands and cheerleaders were in short supply; here we saw lots of fire equipment, off road vehicles, old cars and farm equipment!

Hans and I are very fortunate to be able to travel as we are; enjoying the amazing variety of people and places and things there are to do in this great and beautiful country we live in.  Happy 4th of July to all!


  1. You need to climb a "collegiate!" Yale? Harvard? I'm a Princeton man, myself :) 14,000 feet, baby. Good you are getting the rains, not here, tho, not yet.
    Box Canyon Mark

    1. We talk about the 14ers...but just can't quite commit!

  2. Looks like you landed in a quaint little place for the 4th. Looking forward to hear more about Buena Vista and what adventures you get yourselves into!

  3. We really liked Buena Vista (and Salida). Stayed in the same RV park you are in, which was okay. Nice bike riding on the dirt road behind the park and so much hiking in the area.
    Would highly recommend eating at Eddyline. Excellent pizza and large selection of beers. Enjoy!

    1. We came down out of the hills today onto the dirt road behind the park and commented that it would be a good place to ride! And we ate at Eddyline (the small one) yesterday! Great minds think alike!

  4. What a cute little town! Did they put on any fireworks? We had so much fun hanging out with the Wynns - they're great and said to tell you hello also!

    1. No fireworks due to the fire hazard...and tonight we got quite a downpour so fireworks would have been ok!

  5. I enjoyed reading about your time in Gunnison. Crested Butte is probably my favorite spot in CO. I'm glad you took that drive through Gothic to Slate River Road. I find that area simply stunning and can't wait to return.
    I look forward to your explorations in the Buena Vista area. Hope temps are not too hot. Happy trails, Ingrid