I ran away to the woods!

1

Living in Colorado, we are lucky to be able to “run away” for higher ground often. That was the case this past weekend. On a recommendation of friend, we added a hike to the outing.

alpine mountain lake surrounded by mountains

Note to self: when receiving recommendations on a new hike, take into consideration the fitness level of said friend!!

purple wild flowers along the hiking trail
Wild flowers along the hiking trail

This was our 2nd attempt trying to hike to Agua Fria Lake. This not so popular lake on the east side of the Continental Divide, was fairly challenging. The 4-mile hike to the lake is steep and rocky, but those that are up to the challenge are rewarded with great views of North Park along the trek up. Give yourself time to stop along the way and enjoy the views. You gain about 1,400 vertical feet in 3 miles, then you climb down another mile to reach this beautiful alpine lake. I would recommend at least time for a picnic along the lake shore or a little fishing. If you are like us, we carried our fly poles and tried out luck on the lake. One of us got a bite, no fish after that. I’ll blame the nasty wind. Regardless, the scenery alone makes all the effort worth it.

Agua Fria – Water falling over to the canyon below
Beaver Creek

July seems to be the push for family vacations; that last trip before kids of all ages go back to school. We found the area that normally is fairly quite, totally busy. Not only were the campgrounds in the area totally full, the dispersed camp sites within the 3-mile radius were occupied. Because of this, we decided until schools are back in session, we will stay around the house and catch up with summer chores. Plus another couple of weeks and the high country will start to cool down. It will be much nicer to camp then.

Dispersed camping east of Buffalo Pass

Fishing Weekend on the Green

0
The Green River

Spring in Northwest Colorado has been cool and wet this year. Not that any of us will complain after last year’s fires, but still, where is summer?! We are limited where to camp at this point; too much snow in the high country. We don’t normally go to the same places week after week, but adjustments need to be made if we want to camp right now.

We headed to the Green River, again, this past weekend. Our timing was actually pretty good, since the release from Flaming Gorge will be increasing this Monday. Reports say it will go up to 6,000 cfs. Rafters will be happy.

BT looking for the big Brown Trout

Saturday we headed to the river stretch just below the dam (Flaming Gorge, UT). A little busy, but you could still find a spot on the river where you didn’t have anyone close by. Fish were biting, and water was pretty clear. While Bill fished with another friend that joined us for the weekend, I ventured along the river on the hiking trail that goes from the dam to Little Hole; about 7 miles. Beautiful, easy trail along the river.

Wild Flowers along the river trail

Fish were caught, and released! Everyone was happy. We left our campground early afternoon on Sunday to 80 degrees, it was 57 by the time we got home. Glad we had a couple of nice summer days in Utah.

Camp ~ Lily Pad

2019 Camping Season Has Begun

0
Blue Heron along the Green River bank

The snow in Northwest Colorado has finally melted enough for us to get our RPod – travel trailer – out of the back yard. It’s always exciting to get ready for that first trip of the season. Getting all the gear back in the camper. Trying to figure out where to go, since the high country is still snowed-in. In the end, all it matters is that we go, somewhere, anywhere! Last year we logged 40 camping days for the season. Let’s see if we can beat that number in 2019.

My first task: organizing the storage space. I had baskets, I had dividers, Command strips – I believe Walmart stock is up due to my obsession with getting the camper organized and my quest to be more efficient this year! Having a smaller camper makes it a bit more challenging to store things. The use of the space is essential to being able to find “stuff” once you packed it all in. After much thought and some rearranging, I think I got it. I was so efficient that I have an entire shelf that is now empty. I question what was there before. Am I forgetting something? In the past couple of years since we purchased the RPod, every inch of it was filled with “stuff”; what I deem important stuff. A home away from home.

“Camping, where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless!”

Vegetation along the river bank

So, off we went to the Green River, middle of nowhere Utah. The weather was beautiful; cool nights, warm days. This part of Western US is the perfect spot for one to disconnect from everything. You have to travel 60 miles either way, East/West, to find civilization. We set up camp at Indian Crossing, BLM campground, just along the river. It’s normally not too busy of a spot. We only had about 4 or 5 other camp sites occupied. The Green River is very popular with both rafters and anglers. Normally you will see outfitters drop off their trailers during the day. Otherwise, it’s a low key spot. I don’t fish; either spend my time reading or taking photos. Bill is the fisherman of the group. Several attempts were made to bring in a nice big brown trout. The one time Bill actually hooked one, it was too big and took off with the fly and the line. I probably don’t have to tell you, he was not very happy! I kept reminding him it’s called “fishing” not “catching”; I laughed, and laughed… he didn’t see the humor. Early morning the river flow was about 900 cfs, but by early afternoon more than doubled. 

Mighty fisherman

We did some exploring in the area after lunch on Saturday. In this vast area, one can easily get lost. It’s easy to imagine outlaws in the 1800’s hiding out. It hasn’t changed much. Apart from some curious cows grazing by Red Dirt Creek, no living creature was around for miles and miles, in any direction. Red Dirt Creek was flowing nicely. We also stopped over at the Jarvie Ranch on the way back to camp; always fun to walk through those old building.

But, not everything is fun and games when you camp. It wouldn’t be a camp trip without some “issues”. This trip was no different. I turn on the water pump, and no more than 5 seconds later, I have water everywhere. It’s coming from the wall! What the heck!?! I’m fortunate to have a very handy husband. We investigate and discover it’s the fitting in the shower faucet. Of course, you can barely fit a tool through the opening behind the faucet. Who builds these things? How can they not think we will need to reach behind pipes and faucets. Anyway, after some work and yoga moves, we manage to get it fixed. Good as new!! Life is good again.

We now start planning our next trip. Summer is Colorado doesn’t last long. We have to enjoy every minute of it. Time is wasting. Where is your next trip? Do you prefer established campgrounds or dispersed camping? Drop a line…  Happy Trails! 

What do you want for Valentine’s Day? ~ A plane ticket.

2

Happy New Year everyone. As we put away our respective holiday decorations, retailers across the country have already moved on and are now focusing on Valentine’s Day. Telling us we have to buy more stuff for our significant others, and our pets. Do we really need more stuff? Be honest with yourself, do you?

I love gifts as much as anyone, but a dozen roses at Valentine’s Day equates to a one night stay at a 3-star hotel somewhere. So, I’ve advised my husband that I don’t expect gifts or flowers; save the money for traveling. Of course that also means we skip buying for birthday, anniversaries, etc… (for each other; we aren’t total scrooges) That’s personal decision; it doesn’t work for all. At this time in our lives we both want more travel and less “stuff”.

So, here we are… where to in 2019?! Are you making your lists?

Rpod
Our maiden voyage with Lily Pad @ Grand Mesa, CO (July 2017)

In 2018 we recorded 40 camping days. We decided not to travel abroad in 2018 and focused on road trips. We hiked, camped, fished and golf. Now, on to 2019 travels. Where to go? How to miss the crowds? Decisions, decisions!

Our first trip of the year takes us to Southern California. We haven’t been there since our honeymoon in 2013. That’s like forever in doggy years!

Wild Horse Winery– Templeton, CA

Trip will be a special one; more than a getaway. Will be reacquainting trip for some and introduction for others. Looking forward to trying some good wine and eating great food while finally getting to meet some family members. A perfect combination for a great trip. And, should the California weather cooperate, we might be able to sneak in a game of golf.

Where are you traveling to this year? Any good camping ideas that you want to keep between us? I promise not to share with the world.

Winter is upon us…

2

As winter approaches here in northwest Colorado, our camping days are numbered. We haven’t called it a season yet; not ready to store Lily-Pad yet.

September and the first week of October had us enjoying the outdoors pretty much every weekend. There was fishing, hiking, river floating, and even some wine tasting.

On one of our many trips we visited Browns Park (border of CO/WY/UT). The area is a vast, isolated valley, on the far end of Moffat County, Colorado. In the spring, when the Green River is running at its peak, rafting is very popular. Otherwise, it’s a peaceful corner of the world where you sometimes don’t see anyone for days!

View from overlook - Little Hole, Green River, Dutch John, UT

The view from the overlook at Little Hole, Dutch John, UT

Around the corner from our campground in the Browns Park area, along the Green River, was the Historical Jarvie Ranch. Since I had some time to kill while my husband floated the river, this was the opportunity to take a glimpse on how some of the earlier settlers lived. According to BLM website, in 1880, John Jarvie, a Scotsman, built a ranch along the Green River to offer store goods to those that lived or traveled in this wild territory. Jarvie chose this location due to a naturally occurring river crossing which was used by Indians, fur trappers, travelers, and local residents. At its height, the Jarvie ranch operation included a store, post office, river ferry, and cemetery.

Rumor has it, in November of 1895, the outlaws that occasionally called Browns Park, Utah home decided to repay their neighbors for their kindness and generosity. Basically, they wanted to say thanks for not turning them in. Among those that wished to thank the Browns Park residents were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Float_Green

Floating the Green – Little Hole (Dutch John) to Indian Crossings (Browns Park)

Once in a while, we manage to include golfing in our camping adventures, and in some rare occasions, some wine tasting. Such was the case when we had the opportunity to visit Grand Junction, Palisade and Paonia, this past weekend. Weather wasn’t the best, but that didn’t deter us from our planned activities.

RedlandMesaGolf

Golfing – Redlands Mesa Golf Course in Grand Junction, CO

On this visit, we sampled wines at Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction and Stone Cottage Cellars in Paonia. We had previously visited both wineries and enjoyed their wines. On this trip we brought our good friends and fellow winos for a tasting.

TwoRiversFriends

Friends drinking wine together – Two Rivers Winery

 Mother Nature was in full display as we drove over the Grand Mesa from Palisade to Paonia. The aspens were at peak colors, especially as we drove up towards Powerhorn ski resort. A bit of snow already falling to remind us that winter is coming.

Fall_GrandMesa

HWY 65 – Grand Mesa, Colorado