Over the pass

Over the pass

Last night wrapped up with Ted befriending our neighbor Emmanuel, a single dad out with his girls for the first time. We invited him to share our campfire after their bedtime and therefore stayed up a little later than intended. Blue didn’t seem to care and got us up at 5am again. Ted put her back outside, but I was awake enough to read and doze rather than fall deep asleep.

Since we didn’t have reservations for the night, we were eager to get backed up and claim our first-come-first-served campsite. We finally packed everything up as fog oozed over the mountain ridge, layering us and our things with a glistening of water. We said goodbye to Hermit Park around 8:30am. We were sad to leave, but ready to explore another area.

The only way to the other side of the park is via Thunder Ridge Road. This 40 mile stretch of paved highway doubles back on itself again and again, climbing to over 12,000 feet. Few guardrails separate the road from 90 degree drop offs. It requires a confident driver, especially if you are towing 5000 pounds of trailer behind you. Ted wove uphill expertly. He paced with all of the SUVs, vans, and sedans. Downhill was another story. It was our first extended downhill grade and it took about half of the trip of looking in the manual to figure out how to use the transmission to slow us down. We think Blue might have been greatly distressed by the pressure in her ears and I worked on giving her chewy treats and trying to trigger yawns in her by yawning myself. Continue reading “Over the pass”

Our First Colorado Hike: Lake Isabelle

Our First Colorado Hike: Lake Isabelle

Blue remembered our promise to be up early again this morning and woke us at 5:30. Warming up took a little more time and we realized why when we glimpsed the 44* on the outside thermometer. We got breakfast, dug out warm clothes, and packed up to head to the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Since dogs are not allowed on the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, we sought out some of the beautiful surrounding areas. The Brainerd Lake Recreation Area was about an hour drive, but well worth it. We checked out the campground and filed it as a possible home base for later in the week. Continue reading “Our First Colorado Hike: Lake Isabelle”

First Day at Elevation and Old Fall River Road

First Day at Elevation and Old Fall River Road

We enjoyed our dinner on Tuesday night and took in the spectacular show of the setting sun. We kept marveling at the solitude of the Hermit Park Bobcat Campground. The only civilized sound that reached us was from the occasional airplane. Mountain chickadees settled within arms reach of us to dine on juniper berries. Vaguely familiar birds turned out to be lifer Pygmy Nuthatches. Suddenly, two large vans with trailers proceeded up our road, with speakers at full blast. Dozens of teenagers jumped out, chanting, cheering and singing. The contrast to our recent serenity couldn’t have been more stark. Soon, several of the girls found Blue and squealed their joy at having a puppy to pet. Blue basked in the attention. The kids were at a sleep-away camp and had recently returned from a several day backpacking trip. I am sure I was much more obnoxious at times of my adolescence, but I hope that most of my camp song nights were far enough away from vacationing ears.img_8888Fortunately, we were exhausted enough that the poorly sung oldies (Britney Spears) didn’t keep us up much past 9:30. Which was a good thing because Blue woke us about 4:30. Continue reading “First Day at Elevation and Old Fall River Road”

Colorado Bound

Colorado Bound

There are times in life when you are watching a documentary on the Rocky Mountains and you decide you absolutely have to visit. So you pull out your calendars and begin to discuss when might be the best time to take a couple weeks off and head out with the trailer and the dog.

And sometimes, when you are doing this, you realize the absolute best time is now; despite a freshly-spayed dog, despite a few personal and work obligations, despite a trailer that is waiting on parts for both warranty work and Memorial Day body damage, despite having no itinerary and no reservations, and despite being rear-ended in a hit-and-run while parked. So you start packing everything you can think of and 96 hours later, you are on the road, heading west! (Thanks in no small part to the help of great friends, family, co-workers and neighbors!) Continue reading “Colorado Bound”