Durango has many talents but one that is worth kudos is the nomination for a top 10 Christmas town. …Again! We are truly a Winter Wonderland. Magic happens here especially during Christmas. Durango is nestled in the mountains easily lending itself to a Christmas town. In all our years at the O-Bar-O Cabins, nestled even more in the mountains!, we have always had a white Christmas. It has even snowed Christmas eve. Talk about magic! O-Bar-O does our part in contributing to the Top 10 Christmas town. The cabins are decked out in their Christmas finest. Sure to please even the youngest Guest we might have.
To celebrate our achievement there are activities galore. Kicking off the season around town;
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Sittin’ by the Florida
Are you hot? It is July for heaven’s sake! It must be at least 100 degrees if not more where you live. Here at the O-Bar-O we like to sport a high of about 85 degrees this time of year with overnight lows in the mid to upper 40’s. Okay, I am not trying to rub it in just trying to enlighten you! This is part 3 of the How to Beat the Heat in Durango, CO series. Previously we entertained hiking, Mesa Verde National Forest and the nightlife. O has many great qualities including the O-Bar-O Cabins. Don’t you think? So we continue….
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Cabin on the river at the O-Bar-O Cabins
Is it hot where you are? Beat the Heat in Durango. This is part 2 of the series on How to Beat the heat in Durango, CO. In the last blog I wrote this was a 3 part series. Well, it’s a 4 part series. Apparently I can’t count! The first part we discussed , according to the alphabet, the A-G possibilities. Animas River, Bar D Wranglers, Cool off in the art galleries, the train, events, flyfishing and golfing. DATO or Durango Area Tourism Office, http://www.durango.org , published a list last year and we are just reviewing with some additions! Durango has so many activities in the summertime that can appeal to everyone in the family. Including the 4 legged, furry ones. Now we continue with the letter H;
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Relax on the Florida River
Is it hot where you are? Here is how to beat the heat in Durango, Colorado, a 3 part series! How do you beat the heat? Besides the obvious of a cold shower, right? Just kidding. Durango has tons of ways to cool off and chill out. I am reminded of an article http://www.durango.org/ put out last year. It is the A to Z guide to beat the heat while visiting our little slice of heaven. So, for our 3 part series let’s review their list with a few upgrades;
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Summertime at the O-Bar-O
Summertime in the Rockies is the most beautiful time in Colorado. Well, all 4 seasons are pretty great but summer is by far the top finisher. That crisp, mountain air that smells of fresh, pine, and the occasional river are a symphony of the sweetest sounds….I mean smells! Durango is full of activities in the summertime for all ages. Hiking is a local favorite here in Durango. There are trails from really easy to expert in the area. O-Bar-O Cabins has hiking books for our Guests use. It tells you all about the hikes and how to get there. That way you can plan out the perfect hiking trip. By about June you can hike up to be rewarded with a meadow full of wild flowers. Isn’t the saying April showers bring May flowers? Well May showers bring May and June flowers to the higher elevations! The photo opportunities are endless. You never know what you might encounter while on a trail. Like I said before Southwest Colorado boosts thousands of trails from easy to expert. There are even a few trails that you can bring the younger crowd (2yr-5yrs) giving you the opportunity to see as many wild flowers and wild life as you can. Guests at the O-Bar-O have been know to spot a bear or two in the summer! I promise to tell Yogi no stealing pic-a-nic baskets.
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Relaxation has an address
It has been seven months since the Gold King Mine Spill just north of Durango and we are still receiving phone calls and e-mails asking about the aftermath of the Gold King Mine spill on the Animas river. Most of the questions are about water safety. Is the water safe to play in, have the fish and marine life died, and the biggest, is the water safe to drink? The pictures of the river right after the spill were horrific. The color was that of French’s mustard. It has a horrible situation that wasn’t catastrophic, however, the media did make it sound like Durango was just ruined. If you read the articles we were forever going to be drinking mustard water, glow in the dark, and sprout an additional head for starters! Well, it took about 4 or 5 days after the spill and the river was once again open for business. I admit, I was holding my breath worrying about the fish population but it didn’t seem to any effect on their well being. They are still swimming around eagerly looking for their next meal. The majority of Durango’s drinking water comes from, you guessed it, the Florida River. And wouldn’t you know that the O-Bar-O is situated right on the Florida river! The Florida is one of the rivers that has never been mined on in the area. After we get first crack at it, literally, it supplies Durango and farther on the ranchers and Southern Ute. The water coming from the Florida has to be the tastiest water available. Maybe I should bottle it? Bottom line is Durango, the Las Animas river and O-Bar-O Cabins have survived the Gold King Mine spill. So, don’t believe everything you hear in the news. Durango is still an incredible place to come for vacation. The O-Bar-O is situated right on the banks of the Florida river about 12 miles from downtown Durango. The O-Bar-O gets first dibs on the best drinking water you will ever taste. Fresh and Rocky Mountain cold! If you are still a little unsure of the spill, please call us. We can help put your mind at ease. We look forward to seeing you soon for a little Rocky Mountain Relaxation at the O-Bar-O Cabins.
Winter wonderland in Durango
Did you know Purgatory turned 50 this year? We have something in common with the Super Bowl. It turned 50, and what a better way to celebrate 50 years at Purgatory then with a Bronco’s win. While natives have been calling it Purgatory since the 60’s it has had a different name for the last few years. But, alas, we are back to good ol’ Purgatory or Purg, if you prefer. Purgatory gets it’s name from a creek that runs through the Animas River valley called, of course, Purgatory Creek! I haven’t done my research but I would bet Purgatory Creek was named sometime around the time Silverton was going through the silver boom in the 1800’s. What’s is so nice about Purgatory is the vastness of the terrain. There are many trails from the very novice to extremely experienced. The temperatures in our little slice of heaven are also wonderful for skiing. Even though the thermostat will register 28 degrees it feels like 60 when you are in the sun on top of the mountain. Now that has been established on to the more fun part of 50 years at Purgatory. For the fashionista’s out there the ski fashion over the last 50 years might be laughable and disastrous however, be thankful that we aren’t wearing long skirts or bouffant hair styles anymore! In the 1960’s ski fashion looked to the fashion world and the runways. It became a glamourous look. A step up from the bulky materials used in decades past spandex helped create lighter more form fitting attire. The 1970’s brought about psychedelic colors, of course, and maybe a hint of peace and free love! What the 70’s did do was bring about change to the layers of warmth. I didn’t start skiing until the mid 80’s and it was all about blue jeans, short jackets, gators and bouffant hair styles. There must have been enough hair spray applied to the hair styles of the 80’s to cushion just about any fall one might have on the slopes. If you do some research however, you will find that it was the birth of the onesies and overalls in very catching patterns both abstract and animal. Guess the animal designs were meant to bring out the tiger in you! Not much changed in the 1990’s except the colors of the onesies and the style of the hair . Gone was the spiked bangs ushering in the frosted tips. With the growing popularity of snowboarding ski wear took on a nostalgic air in the fact of bringing back the 2 piece snow out fits. So what might your personal favorit be? Although there were some nice looking styles throughout the years I must say mine would be the most recent with the mere reason technology has given us fabrics that are much warmer than say the gabardine of the 1920’s or the polyester of the 50’s. Me? I’m happy with the warmth so therefore, by default my favorite genre is the current one!
Well, all I can say is my how the outfits have changed over the years but also how supremely happy we are, here that the O-Bar-O, that the name has been restored to Purgatory. It does the heart good to hear it spoken again.
Come celebrate with the O-Bar-O and enjoy 50 years of skiing at Purgatory.
Snowshoeing at the O-Bar-O
Valentine’s Day at the O-Bar-O
Everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day a little bit differently. It is a time for amore! To renew all those warm fuzzies you get for your significant other. A way to remind them how important they are and you would be lost without them. Well, Mike certainly might be lost….If you are part of the majority you might buy a card, chocolates or even some red roses for the love of your life. Years ago Mike and I decided to forgo the cards and flowers on Valentine’s Day and go for something out of the ordinary. Yea, sometime we do dinner at a nice restaurant (Mahogany Grill is a good one for this in downtown) but mostly it’s a weekend to kick back and enjoy nature, with each other! As a general rule of thumb all of our lives are so busy we sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses. (I know, I used the pun) That is if we roses for Valentine’s Day, right? So the question is what would you do at the O-Bar-O if you were here for Valentine’s Day? Well, I know it wouldn’t be shoveling snow, unless you are into that kinda thing. A little kinky if you ask me! We have had a decent amount of snow this winter so instead of shoveling what about trying out the snowshoes at the office for a trip around the property. It’s only about 3’ deep on the way to the river at this point. Not too bad! Cruise around and try to determine what animal left that print in the snow. No cheating, we all know what Peanut’s prints look like and they aren’t big enough to be a mountain lion. After forging your own path with the snowshoes a nice warm soak in the hot tub down by the river as you listen to the river gurgle seems prudent. Now that you are all warm and relaxed snuggle up with your favorite person or furry beast, next to the fire with an assortment of your favorite movies out our library, of course hot chocolate would help to sooth that spot. Don’t fall asleep just yet…you have all those movies to watch, remember? If you are up for more adventure there is a great sleigh ride, skiing or even dog sledding.
We here at the O-Bar-O wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day weekend. It doesn’t matter what you do just so long as you spend it with your true love and CHOCOLATE!
Western wonderland at the O-Bar-O.
Yep, that is what Durango is. A top 10 Christmas town, in December, that is! We are on the incredible elite list with only 9 other select towns in the whole USA to share this honor. What qualifies a Christmas town, you might ask? Well, to be honest I am not really sure but here is my story and I’m stickin’ to it. First of all you have to have snow. What is Christmas without snow? I am sure our counterparts in say, Florida, might disagree but in my book you must have snow. This will be our 7th winter in Durango and at the O-Bar-O and I can say we have always had a white Christmas, makes me think of Bing Crosby and that baritone voice of his whenever someones says white Christmas (it is currently playing while I am writing this!). It usually starts to snow in earnest by the middle of December. Mike and I tease about how there is a light switch that is turned on the 14th or 15th of December and turns off about the 15th of March. Snow seems to simply set the mood for a magical Christmas. Next might be the festive nature of the town itself. Of course downtown and all the great ships are decked to the max. O-Bar-O is no exception. Our cabins are fit to host the best Christmas with decorations both inside and out and Christmas lights everywhere! Did I mention that there would be snow? I believe the last qualifier would be the activities. What better way to start the season on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge train (durangotrain.com). The train cars are decorated for the season carrying passengers on it’s daily trips to Cascade Falls and back. The Polar Express train is a shorter trip for all ages. Dress in your best jammies and don’t forget your blanky for that trip. I have heard, but not confirmed, that DSNG is also doing a cut your own tree train. What a blast to ride up in the winter wonderland, cut the perfect tree all while seeing God’s beautiful country. If I were lacking in the tree department, which I am not, I would definitely take that trip. Purgatory is celebrating 50 years this season. Skiing is not necessarily an activity specific to a top 10 Christmas town but it doesn’t hurt, right? This year I think Mike and I will try this next one. Horse drawn sleigh ride. Doesn’t that sound so dreamy? Did I mention there would be snow all around with the horses taking you on a ride, gliding over the snow covered valleys looking at the snow-capped peaks, while you are buried under a ton of blankets (well, that would be me) and your hot chocolate to keep you warm.
So there you have it. As Christmas brings about the dreams of Sugar Plum Fairy’s and candy canes remember that Durango has all the magic of Christmas wrapped up into on great package. The perfect accommodations to top off the trip of course, The O-Bar-O! Did I mention there would be snow at our place? What better place than a top 10 Christmas town to provde the perfect setting of festivities and fun to get you into the season and creating the perfect Christmas with you and yours.
Fly fishing just outside the Columbine cabin.
Say that 3 times really fast, fly fishing the Florida, fly fishing the Florida, fly fishing the Florida. I have to admit it is just as hard typing it as saying it. It probably doesn’t help that I was saying it in my mind as I was typing it! Okay, down to business. Contrary to popular myth fly fishing isn’t all that hard. Yes, there is some finesse required on the casting that will take a little practice but doesn’t all fishing? My cast certainly isn’t one to write home about but it gets the job done. With the many forms of fishing available to try I have to say fly fishing is the best. You can walk the river in search of the elusive trout all the while looking around you at the majestic mountains, the tall pine trees and the rugged terrain. It is so beautiful, hence, O-Bar-O being the little slice of heaven in God’s country! It’s as if you are communing with nature. You feel more rested and relaxed then you possibly could have imagined. Taking up the sport of fly fishing can be as expensive as you want it to be. You can purchase equipment for about $200 to get started. The return on investment is greater than you might expect. Now, fishing different rivers and at different times of the year requires different flies. Most local fly shops know what is working and at what time of year. Of course, we have our own in house fisher person who, during the winter, ties flies specific to our stretch of the Florida River. What Mike ties is indicative of our Florida River bugs. Yea, I know, bugs….yuck! But that is what trout feast on. And our trout are choosy in their bugs. They like their bugs with a little bit of bling. Yea, I know. O-Bar-O fish have expensive tastes!
Because our river is small and fast moving nymph fishing is the most successful. What is nymph fishing, you ask? It is the type of fishing that is done below the surface of the river. You will have to get more specifics from Mike but the gest of it is fishing with some weight on your fly line allowing it to float down the river to a certain point and stripping it back up to attract potential fish. Each part of the year there are different “hatches” of bugs. This is where the fun begins! You can test out flies to see what works best on the river at that given moment based on what you see flying around. You can also ask Mike, too! Most of the Florida River is on private property so access is next to impossible unless you know the right people. Well, I am here to tell you that you do know the right people! If you are not up to braving it alone we do offer our “Hooked on Fishing” package. Call or e-mail no less than 2 weeks before your arrival to ensure time is available.
Just remember we are catch and release only using barbless hooks and artificial flies. Well, there is an exception. The Osprey don’t seem to get the concept of catch and release. They squawk a bit when I remind them!
See you on the river and tight lines to everyone!