Rock House Trail

Rock House Trail

Sunday at Lake Vesuvius promised to see summer out in full force. As soon as we woke, the heat and humidity were oppressive. We quickly decided it would be a relaxing day – no long hike. We spent a little time driving around the region and then did one of the short hikes.

Lake Vesuvius Furnace
Iron Furnace

The Rock House Trail is only .42 miles long. It is paved and wheelchair accessible, at least in theory – roots have made much of the pavement rather rutted. Continue reading “Rock House Trail”

Lake Vesuvius Lakeshore Trail

Lake Vesuvius Lakeshore Trail

Labor Day may mark the end of the official summer season, but our trek around Lake Vesuvius was our sweatiest and most miserable exploration of the summer. Fortunately, we had amazing views and spectacular wildflowers to distract us. On more than one occasion, I leaned into the humidity, lush plant-life, and the cacophony of birds and insects and pretended I was on a jungle exploration. Fortunately, the weather was made manageable by the knowledge we would have a cold shower and air conditioning before bed.

We ended up at Lake Vesuvius because the Iron Ridge Campground had availability a month before Labor Day. The 8.25 miles of the Lakeshore Trail beckoned as a perfect way to enjoy our first day in Wayne National Forest. We set off from the boat ramp parking lot from which the Rock House Trail also departed. We were fortunate to encounter an employee at Kountry Kayak, the boat concessionaire, who offered a fantastic map of the hiking trails in Wayne National Forest. I had studied this map enough at home to be confident of finding our way by following the lake, but this was a waterproof version that covered lots of trails and will be a great addition to our map collection. Continue reading “Lake Vesuvius Lakeshore Trail”

Iron Ridge Campground

Iron Ridge Campground

Holiday weekends are always a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, it is hard to not take advantage of an extra day of hiking and camping. On the other hand, everyone else with a camper or tent has the same idea. We were even rather late this year in booking. At the end of July we were in Colorado with spotty internet, but I found an open campsite on the app and quickly booked it without knowing much about the region. It seemed the camping gods were on our side because we found not just a relatively quiet and beautiful campground, but I think we may have had the best spot in the campground! Continue reading “Iron Ridge Campground”

Centennial Trail

Centennial Trail

Sadly, my plan to sleep in this morning didn’t work out. I woke at 4:30am to see the refrigerator was displaying two glowing lights, indicating it needed to be reset. I got up to do so, only to realize the fridge was fine. My eyes were just extremely bleary. At that point I was pretty awake, so I read in bed and dozed on and off. Eventually, Ted had pity on me and made a delicious hash with last night’s leftover steak and potatoes.

We did have a relatively lazy start to our morning. We slowly got everything cleaned up and ran the generator. Finally we headed out for our hike. My cell didn’t want to load the maps so we wandered into town, looking for better service. Eventually, I realized my phone was loading too many things after such limited service and we got our proper headings. While we were in town, we might as well get some stamps and send out our postcards.

Continue reading “Centennial Trail”

Shrine Ridge and the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad

Shrine Ridge and the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad

This morning Blue entertained herself by chewing on the wall instead of waking us up right away. Fortunately, I was in the process of waking up, heard something not quite right, and caught her before she did much damage.

We had a full day planned and wanted to get an early start anyway, so we got up, grabbed a yogurt and headed out for our hike. Unfortunately, this hike was 40 minutes away, right off I-70, so we backtracked over roads we covered yesterday. However, the drive went quickly and soon we were on the gravel road that leads to Shrine Pass. The road was rough and rutted, even by Colorado standards. Our gratitude that we didn’t attempt the road with the trailer was tempered by regret that we didn’t get to try dispersed camping this trip. Maybe another time. We made a pit stop for birding and then backtracked to the rest area for an actual pit stop. Blue was particularly hyper as we climbed the road and managed to wiggle her way into the front seat.

Continue reading “Shrine Ridge and the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad”

Arriving in Leadville

Arriving in Leadville

I am getting used to Blue waking us up early, but I will never get used to feeling like a ground squirrel beneath a snow drift as she fox pounces, then digs at my head. Not fun at anytime let alone 6am.

We slowly got moving, packing up to move on. Ted made cinnamon rolls and bacon for our breakfast while Blue monitored the activity of the chipmunks outside. I washed my hair in the campground showers and we all helped pack up the trailer (well, except maybe Blue – she had that whole chipmunk thing). We were soon heading west, through a series of turns and passes that got us to 12,000 feet and then back down. As Ted said, these are much better motorcycle roads than trailer roads.

Continue reading “Arriving in Leadville”

Renew and refresh

Renew and refresh

Base Camp Campground

Our final morning in Rocky Mountain National Park was a little stressful. As soon as we woke up, we realized the recently charged battery was dead. This meant no lights, no water pump, and soon the carbon monoxide detector began beeping. Ted quickly maneuvered the truck around to be able to power up off the truck battery, but it meant a speedy packing up and exit from the campground.

The trip back to I-70 was beautiful but windy. Ted is getting very good at switchbacks. Along the way, we reached out to our on-call RV mechanic to do some long-distance trouble shooting on the battery issue. Continue reading “Renew and refresh”