Day Journeys to the Middle of Nowhere: South Fork

Travel Column by Kirsten Laskey

Seeing a Whole New Side to South Fork

One of the great things about leaving your front door is that you can encounter anything. Anticipation for what you might stumble upon hums loudly as you move down the road.

I heard that hum of excitement as my parents and I recently drove to South Fork, Colo., despite the fact that I have visited this tiny “burg” several times in the past.

Photo: D&RGW water tower in South Fork. By Kirsten Laskey

My parents own a parcel of land in the area and were members the Rio Grande Club golf course.

I’ve spent many afternoons with my mother, sister, niece and nephews at the club’s wading pool while my father and brother-in-law played golf.

South Fork is a testament that you can find the unexpected in the middle-of-nowhere.

In this sleepy mountain town where businesses and residences are few and far-between, off in a corner sits this dazzling, expensive-looking clubhouse and stretches of manicured greens.

Before this past weekend, I used to think the development where my parents own their property and the golf course were South Fork’s only claim to fame.

This trip, however, revealed an entirely new picture.

Photo: A competitor tries his luck at using a chainsaw on a tree post during South Fork’s recent Logger Days. By Kirsten Laskey/

We arrived in the town by driving on U.S. 285 and turning onto U.S. 160.

You can see craggy grey mountains and conifer forests in all directions.

The landscape is painted in every imaginable shade of green. Standing on my parents’ property, I could see storm clouds billowing up in the distance and while there was an occasional breeze, it was silent.

It was picturesque, but further down the road we spotted something even more intriguing.

My parents and I did this unintentionally but our arrival into town coincided perfectly with Logger Days.

Photo: Spectators fill the stands to watch the competitions. By Kirsten Laskey

According to the town’s website, this community event has been held for more than 25 years in recognition of the industry that originally caused the town to prosper.

Entering the event, I spotted an art demonstration involving a tree stump.

The artist glided a sander over the carved stump as he transformed it into a soaring eagle.

There was a group of white tented booths that sold everything from vanity license plates to pet ID tags.

People strolled around with plastic plates heaped with carnival food.

Photo: Pet ID Tags Booth: Logger Days features not only competitions but also a variety of vendors. By Kirsten Laskey

The main attraction took place in a wide-open field. A semi-circle of metal bleachers were filled with spectators, while out in the field stood two immensely thick tree posts and a group of men yielding chainsaws.

It was a competition to see who could handle the chainsaw best.

The town website reports that the Logger Days competitions include axe throws, plunge cuts, wood chops, wrapper throws, speeds cuts and other tests of skills.

Meandering through the booths and watching the wood chips spray out of the tree trunks as the chain saws plunged into the wood, I felt elated for stumbling upon this event.

Photo: A booth is decorated from head to toe in vanity license plates during Logger Days in South Fork, Colo. By Kirsten Laskey

It’s amazing what can be found just by turning a corner or going further down the road to the middle of nowhere.



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