Today Rocky and I climbed to the highest point of Raider Ridge
behind the house we are staying in. My neuralgia was acting up, so I
did not join Monica at the Lutheran church service this morning
where she was invited to play the piano again. We have been adopted
by the congregation - very, very nice folks. They will help us find
a place to stay next year when we return to Durango.
The climb up Raider Ridge is steep. In a few spots you have to use
your hands to steady yourself. My starting elevation was 6,800
feet. Rocky and I put on 1,100 feet of elevation very quickly.
We reached the rocky summit at slightly over 7,900 feet elevation in
just over an hour. We made the return trip in 35 minutes.
On the way up the ridge, I took one of the two attached images. The
image is of the upper Animas River Valley. The direction is to the
northwest. The variegated coloring of the sandstone on the high
ridge across the valley is beautiful. The other attached image is
from the top, looking directly down into part of Durango.
The tree species I encountered along the way included ponderosa
pine, pinyon pine, Douglas fir, white fir, Colorado blue spruce,
narrow leaf cottonwood, gambel oak, choke cherry, Rocky Mountain
juniper, and quaking aspen. There are no record-sized trees on the
ridge, but a scattering of ancient pines, firs, and junipers keeps
one riveted to the ridge, hoping to find a really ancient tree of
My first emails from Durango were about Raider Ridge. Compared to
other ridges in the vicinity, it is pretty tame, but I wanted to
climb it once more and this time make it to the absolute top.