September 2009


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We had one final camping expedition for the 2009 season (on the weekend following Labor Day) along Rampart Range.  Following the trend of a mild summer, winter began an early treck into Colorado.  While it snowed in the mountains, it rained alot in the foothills where we were camping. 

IMG_1818The rain held out long enough on Saturday for Nicolas to use his new chainsaw to cut up an entire tree and split them with his Gerber ax.  Ken and Colleen Curry joined us in the adventure that afternoon, but were unsure on whether or not to stay for the night.  Once their decision was to remain, the boys set up the tent…and 5 minutes later is when the rain started.  And kept coming.  All through the night.  Fortunately, there was soooo much wood, that we were able to burn a fire non-stop; and thanks to the Curry’s, we had a large tarp that we used to shelter us from the rain.  So despite the damp conditions, it was an enjoyable time.

 

IMG_9672Sunday morning revealed to us wonderfully warm sunshine.  With so much wood still remaining, we were able to have a fire that lasted us through the morning.  Afterwards, Kara and myself hiked to the Devil’s Head Fire Lookout, which has a 360 degree panoramic view of the Pike National Forest that stretches for 100+ miles.

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View Within Tower

 

View of Pike's Peak

View of Pike's Peak

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For our summer vacation 2009, we took an inexpensive trip for 3 days of camping, followed by 2 days of visiting Grand Junction, and 3 more days of camping to cap the trip.

For our first camping excursion, we headed out to western Colorado near Marble, CO.  It was a great time off-roading in Pearl, giving her the workout of her life on class 5/6 trails on the Lead King Basin trail.  On our way up the first night, we got stuck going over some rocks where a stream bed crossed the trail.  We were worried, but thankfully with some help from other off-road campers whom assisted in unloading our excess camping gear weight, we made it up and found a great spot…which overlooked a lush meadow to the west and other mountains in the far distance.IMG_0814 Here’s our view!  With Colorado having such a wet and cool summer, the wildflowers were beyond comparison anywhere.  In the past, we had only seen a few columbine flowers in the wild, but they numbered in the thousands upon thousands!IMG_0820

While in the area, we took followed the Lead King to the backside of the Aspen/Maroon Bells Wilderness for hiking.  Much to our pleasent surprise, a primary trail guided us past a beautiful and large waterfall that was coming from a hanging lake, just below one of the 14’ers.

IMG_0849Sunday was wet and dreary, so we took advantage of more off-roading, this time heading on the southern route to visit the very historic Crystal Mill.  There wasn’t much for hiking, but the drive was great.  There was a family from Sweden who had hiked 4 miles from Marble and were soaking wet in the rain.  We were able to help them by bringing their two children into town on our way back.

IMG_0946 IMG_0953The rain didn’t get us to down, we just cooked a basic dinner and watched the gorgeous sunset and clouds/fog that would creep in and out of the meadow where we were camping for one the most fantastic sunsets that anyone could experience!IMG_0980

Monday morning we packed up and drove to the town of Aspen to see the east side of the Maroon Bells and hike in the Wilderness area.  It was very pretty, but we needed a shower desperately, so off  IMG_1010to Grand Junction to stay with Kara’s great Uncle Marlo and Aunt Judy on their ranch. IMG_1046

I (Kara) wanted this break to clean up a bit, sleep on a comfy bed, and  tour as many Palisade wineries as possible.  We also did some jeep offroading in the region and saw some different parts of CO.  Then on Thursday we visited the Colorado National Monument prior to driving to the top of the Grand Mesa for our next camping adventure.

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Our second part of this camping trip.  We drove a winding road up to the top of the Grand Mesa.  At 10,000 feet it was much cooler than the valley and beautifully lush and green.  We found a quiet place to camp by a lake and set up.  The best part of the trip was playing with Nick’s new camera and taking some great night shots of stars!!  We also hiked up the National Trail to the highest part of the Mesa, the crest at about 11,000, but at a 10 mile hike, it wore us out.  Overall it was a great week of relaxing and enjoying some Colorado beauty that we hadn’t seen before.

 

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