Just before you arrive in Poncha Springs along I-285 S, you will find the Christmas 1806 Picnic Ground. It’s a ‘don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it’ spot, but a significant one nonetheless.
It was pouring rain when we arrived at the Christmas 1806 Picnic Ground, so we decided to eat in Salida. In good weather, however, its a great ’20 min’ stop for a picnic on a covered table, even though there’s no bathroom available.
Zebulon Pike and his party of 15 attempted to climb Pike’s Peak on November 27, 1806. They failed, but trudged on through South Park. They were looking for the Red River, which was the southern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase. The explorers eventually made their way past the Arkansas River, but with little food, they stopped near here to send out hunting parties. They managed to shoot eight buffalo, and Christmas Day in 1806 was spent feasting on buffalo and repairing equipment.
So, take a quick breather, stretch your legs, read a little history, and enjoy the beautiful views of this far western corner of the Arkansas Valley!
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