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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

Monarch Lake

Monarch Lake

Timber Creek Campground

Blue let us sleep until 6am today. Even so, we were slow to get moving. It was in the 40s and I discovered a plastic baggie overflowed from a drawer onto the heater, so we hesitated to run it for long. Ted took Blue for a quick walk and we got ready to go look for animals. A quick trip southwest was fruitless. A bit past the campground, I spotted a female moose, but Ted then realized he left his phone back at the camper. So we made detour to the campground. I needed to register for another night anyway, so we killed two birds. Continue reading “Monarch Lake”

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”