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So tonight I got to Cortez. Was planning to work my way east on Hwy 160 boondocking to check out pretty places and just mosey about. Started looking at the big wonderful (and new to me) interactive map of ALL national forests. So I click on a few actual campgrounds to see what the areas are like. Turns out TODAY the San Juan forest went to a level 3 fire alert. That closes nearly the whole forest for camping. I'll put a link to the map the Forest Service put out below. So my plans to go east on 160 and then up through Salida have changed. Looks like the forests north of San Juan are open showing mainly level 1 fire alerts. So now I have to go look at what temps are like in the Telluride area. Huh

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC...583247.pdf
(06-14-2018, 12:56 AM)WriterMs Wrote: [ -> ]So tonight I got to Cortez. Was planning to work my way east on Hwy 160 boondocking to check out pretty places and just mosey about. Started looking at the big wonderful (and new to me) interactive map of ALL national forests. So I click on a few actual campgrounds to see what the areas are like. Turns out TODAY the San Juan forest went to a level 3 fire alert. That closes nearly the whole forest for camping. I'll put a link to the map the Forest Service put out below.  So my plans to go east on 160 and then up through Salida have changed. Looks like the forests north of San Juan are open showing mainly level 1 fire alerts. So now I have to go look at what temps are like in the Telluride area.    Huh

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC...583247.pdf
Project rains / monsoon here in the SW for this weekend, that may change a lot of the fire hazards.
We've been getting moderate smoke, occasionally severe, here in Telluride. Temps are good. The Bluegrass Festival starts Wednesday next week which is our biggest camper festival. With the shut down of the San Juan the place will be very crowded.

Priest Lake is the closest established dispersed camping if you are coming up from Cortez. There are several good, less well known spots on the Galloping Goose coming down from Lizard Head Pass/The San Juan National Forest Boundary. Not sure if the road starts in the San Juan or not, if so you can get access going upstream around Trout Lake, Priest Lake is just downstream.

It's probably worth sticking around until the Bluegrass folks start showing up, they are a great crowd. I hear there are some great camps on the upper forks of Dallas Creek. I've not been up there as it is so close, but I may do so soon looking for a smoke escape. Highway 50 heading east is a great route, and it takes you less than 10 miles north of Salida. The route over Owl Creek Pass(I think that's the name) to Gunnison from just North of Ridgway is also very good.
the problem is you all are in the wrong place at the wrong time. you need to move north, the vast forests of eastern Oregon do not have this problem at all. in fact they have had plenty of rain and it's still raining on a regular basis. check it out on your weather app. here's the link to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest,

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/

highdesertranger
Curiously, it rains in the NW until July 5th, in the SW the Monsoon starts on that same date. More or less.
(06-14-2018, 08:20 AM)highdesertranger Wrote: [ -> ]the problem is you all are in the wrong place at the wrong time.   you need to move north,  the vast forests of eastern Oregon do not have this problem at all.  in fact they have had plenty of rain and it's still raining on a regular basis.  check it out on your weather app.  here's the link to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest,

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/

highdesertranger

A local from Steamboat Springs, CO, told me that they had plenty of rain in the spring. Heard the same thing from somebody else. It might be worth checking out this area if you are unwilling to go all the way north for the summer. And if you do, it won't be that many weeks before the northern wildfire season starts, and the southwest wildfire season ends. Remember last summer?
Since I'm just meandering and exploring new routes until hitting Montana for the summer, I had not given thought to a place like Oregon (though I might like to visit the coast there after tourist season to look for agates). I did go north to Ridgeway... backtracked to the Dallas Creek/Blue Lakes trailhead where you can camp for free after a fine lunch at a Costa Rican restaurant in Ridgeway.

About 45 minutes of often rough gravel/embedded rock road for the Dallas Creek East access, but the scenery is great and the trailhead area where you can park is beautiful. Heard the river/creek all night and then about midnight some gentle sprinkles began off and on. Was raining nicely as I left about noon today. Now in Montrose at a one-night free city park site for some laundry and 4 bars of Verizon for internet use ... then up to the free mesa camping to sample that tomorrow.

I think Montana nights are about warm enough for me now... if I start at lower elevations in the east. I enjoyed Columbus and a Fishing Access site in that area when I was boondocking a few years ago.

I have not heard if further south in the San Juans have gotten the same rain as up near Ridgeway.