Page, Arizona and Monument Valley

We stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam which was created to hold back the Colorado River to make Lake Powell. Susan had been here before and she was still stunned at the beauty of the place even though we only saw a little bit of it.
She scrambled down on the sandstone cliffs to nearly the waters edge. Simon ran back and forth between us since Rick chose not to make the hike. She got some pretty cool photos and a couple of souvenirs. It really is a magical place.
We resupplied in Page and headed to Hovenweep National Monument. But just before getting there, we drove through Monument Valley. Amazing landscape once again. Photos cannot capture. We arrived at Hovenweep, selected a campsite and decided to stay for two nights.

Ruins trail

One nice thing about Hovenweep is that Simon is allowed on all the trails. But having been to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, we came away disappointed with the level of ruins. We were not able to go in the ruins and due to COVID there are no tours. And the park ranger was unfriendly. But We did the 1.5 mile hike and went back to camp to hang out. The weather is perfect-60 degrees.

Hovenweep

Here we are in site 29 taking pictures of the nearly full moon. We had a good dinner and decided to hike in the morning and ride bikes in the afternoon. It’s nice not to have to break down camp in the morning.

Sleeping in the Desert

After leaving Bryce, the weather got much warmer. Susan was a bit anxious about where we were going to stay so when we saw a road we took it. We had to go through one hunters gate and two ranch gates to get to someplace acceptable to both of us. Not much to look at but it was quiet and free so we stayed. We both agreed we’d leave by 8:00 the next morning. We were on the road by 7:50, a new record for us!

Torrey to Bryce

It was worth it to stay in an RV park last night. It was cold but we were warm inside just using our ceramic 12v heater. We watched 60 minutes and had peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.
The road to Bryce from Torrey is stunning. The landscape changed constantly from alpine trees to desert canyons to green farmland. We are amazed since we didn’t expect that.
We booked a room for tonight so we could take real showers and stay warm. It’s supposed to be 9 degrees tonight.
We checked out the campground in the park and will go there tomorrow. A hike is on the agenda for sure!

Weather moved in

These two pictures were taken this morning on the absolutely beautiful drive from natural bridges to Hanksville. Just when we got there, the weather changed and it started raining. We checked out a couple of motels and the local rv park but opted to go to Torrey and stay at a local rv park there. Another beautiful drive and as soon as we got to Torrey, it started SNOWING! We quickly unloaded the trailer putting everything under the car and are hunkered down using our inside heater for the first time. Hope we stay warm!Stay tuned.

Manti LaSal National forest


We finally made it to Utah and are camped on Elk Ridge near the Natural Bridges National monument. It’s very secluded but there are others camped nearby. We just don’t see or hear them. We’re going to stay two nights here so we can explore the area. Keeping an eye on the weather. Simon is apparently fine.

Manti LaSal National forest


We finally made it to Utah and are camped on Elk Ridge near the Natural Bridges National monument. It’s very secluded but there are others camped nearby. We just don’t see or hear them. We’re going to stay two nights here so we can explore the area. Keeping an eye on the weather. Simon is apparently fine.

Morning coffee

It was cold here last night but we still haven’t needed the inside heater. Rick had a bit of cell service so we started watching the presidential debate. It was so awful that we watched an episode of Outlander which was much more interesting and entertaining.
Simon kept us awake some by making sounds like he was in pain. We think it’s his left front leg but he can walk and sit but whines when we touch it a certain way. We gave him some doggie ibuprofen and hope that helps.
Today we will try to get to Capital Reef National Park where we will stay for two nights. The weather is supposed to change and get cold so we will decide then which direction to go. Maybe we’ll end up at the Grand Canyon!?
The sun is so warm this morning. Rick is doing a little web work and I’m just slowly drinking my coffee and packing up. It’s so nice not to be in a hurry.

Outside Paradox, Colorado


We didn’t quite make it to Utah but this site is really nice. It’s in the National forest near Paradox high up on a Mesa. Once again no one around.

Crooked Trees Forest

We didn’t notice the trees when we got here last night. They seem to be the only ones around that look like this.
We woke up to howling, gusty winds but the sun warmed us up so it wasn’t too bad. We didn’t use our indoor heater but we did try the outside one. We think it will work pretty good when we need it.
We woke up slowly and took a short walk around the area. There are plenty of really nice spots to camp here. We headed out to ridgeway via Owl Creek Pass and on to Utah from there.

Natural Bridges and more

We were awed at the bridges but we’re not prepared to hike to the bottom of the canyon. We’ll save our hiking for Bryce.
Back at camp we rode our bikes a bit and decided to head out early for Hanksville. Cold weather is coming so we might have to stay put and wait for it to pass.

Owl creek pass

First night of many. We are almost at the top of Owl Creek Pass near Rowdy Lake. First time we have used 4wheel low. There’s a hunters camp below us but we haven’t seen or heard them. We’re expecting it to be cold tonight so we’re going to try our new heaters for inside and out. This place makes up for the disappointing experience in Gunnison with maskless out of staters and cold lunch. Maybe we’ll see some shooting stars later if we make it that long.

Owl creek pass

First night of many. We are almost at the top of Owl Creek Pass near Rowdy Lake. First time we have used 4wheel low. There’s a hunters camp below us but we haven’t seen or heard them. We’re expecting it to be cold tonight so we’re going to try our new heaters for inside and out. This place makes up for the disappointing experience in Gunnison with maskless out of staters and cold lunch. Maybe we’ll see some shooting stars later if we make it that long.

Fishing trip

Beautifully calm at the lake this morning. Smoke from the California wildfires was starting to fill the air. We must have picked a good spot since right after we got there two guys and a couple in a boat decided to be there with us. The whole damn lake and they gotta be right with us!
Susan caught the first fish but it was small so we let it go. Not long after Rick got a nice one. He named it “Lunch” while Simon helped him bring it in. No more action after that and the wind was starting to blow so we packed up. We may come back later. Time for lunch!

Busy day

We decided to be tourists today and went on the Twin Lakes boat tour. Jim and Lexi were our tour guides and boat handlers. Both had been doing boat tours for a good portion of their lives; Lexi was a commercial boat commander on large boats on the Mississippi.
The tour included information on the geology of the area and a tour of Interlachen. We’d been there on foot before but not on a tour so we picked up a few new fun facts about the place. Simon was allowed to join us and he was very well behaved. There were four other tourists on the tour from Iowa. We stayed far away from them since there were not wearing masks.
After the tour we took a drive to the top of independence Pass so Simon could play in the snow. He (and we) were not disappointed! It’s 17 miles from Twin Lakes to the top. Susan has a fantasy about riding her road bike up there. She thinks she may have missed her window.
We also checked out some disbursed camping on the pass. Found a couple of nice spots along the creek. Maybe next year?

Twin lakes disbursed camping

The weather was so nice in Salida after the strange summer storm dropped 14” of snow in the yard. We were cooped up last week so figured the tourists would be gone and we’d have our pick of good spots at Twin Lakes. We were right.
We have a great view overlooking Twin Lakes. The surrounding mountains still have snow on them and the aspen leaves are already starting to turn yellow. We plan to get in some fishing and maybe hiking on Independence Pass. We are here for three days.

Palisade campground, Creede

We are in site 11 and Cristin and her kids are in site 4. It’s easy to go back and forth without being too close. And then our neighbors and good friends Martin and Jane stopped by with their new to them camper van. It was nice to them outside of Salida.
We’ve been to this campground a few other times and have always had a nice visit. This time was no different. Clean sites, bathrooms and respectful campers. And Bill the campground host was very friendly.
We attempted to visit the Wheeler Geological Area but the road was so rough and further than we thought so we turned around. We decided we would rent a Jeep next time and start early in the day.
Fishing was also a bust but a small garter snake found its way around Susan’s ankle while she soaked her feet in the river. She was freaked out but possibly the snake was more scared.
We enjoyed a delicious salad of our home grown tomatoes and basil for our last night’s dinner. Paired up with scanga pork chops-yummy! Food always tastes better outdoors 😁.

Rabbit Ears Peak

We started our hike with lots of enthusiasm. The wildflowers were amazing and the trail head was right at our campsite. It wasn’t a long hike but it got steep at the top. Real steep. Susan was a bit leary about it especially the descending part. But she did it and we enjoyed a snack and a long rest at the top before heading back down. By now Simon was very hot and tired and kept stopping in every shady spot he could find. When we got to the little stream near our campsite, he literally laid in the water like he was soaking for about five minutes. When he finally got out, we headed back to our site feeling pretty good that we “summited “ Rabbit Ears Peak!

Exploring

We met up with Karen and her kids at their campsite about two miles from here. They were heading into town so we decided to take a hike near our site. The views were awesome as were the wildflowers. It’s been so dry though that the trail was very dusty and we were a mess when we got back. We’ll try again tomorrow on a different trail to reach the Rabbit Ears. We keep seeing the same moose in the meadow across the road.

Exploring


We met up with Karen and her kids at their campsite about two miles from here. They were heading into town so we decided to take a hike near our site. The views were awesome as were the wildflowers. It’s been so dry though that the trail was very dusty and we were a mess when we got back. We’ll try again tomorrow on a different trail to reach the Rabbit Ears. We keep seeing the same moose in the meadow across the road.

Rabbit Ears pass


Tonight is the start of a long weekend with family and friends to remember the one year mark of Andy’s last day on August 10. We have grabbed a large site in a disbursed camping area above Dumont Lake. We are here alone tonight but others will be trickling in starting tomorrow especially Karen who is on her bike(s) making the trip here from Littleton. We are hoping to explore this area and also get in some fishing.

Rabbit Ears pass

Tonight is the start of a long weekend with family and friends to remember the one year mark of Andy’s last day on August 10. We have grabbed a large site in a disbursed camping area above Dumont Lake. We are here alone tonight but others will be trickling in starting tomorrow especially Karen who is on her bike(s) making the trip here from Littleton. We are hoping to explore this area and also get in some fishing.

More about disbursed camping

We spent a lot of time around the campfire (we had three in two days) at our spot above Twin Lakes. Tim serenaded us and Terri entertained us with pine needle “sparklers” and shooting rockets. It felt like a real vacation with no pressure or time frames. And Simon and Coola were the best at social distancing!

Walk around Lily Pond

We started driving up the road from our disbursed camping site and it ended about three miles up at Lily Pond. We couldn’t drive any further without risking our city cars so we bushwhacked and walked our way around the pond. We found some very old structures including a stone fireplace, a corral, and a very old log cabin. We ate lunch there on a huge log. It was evident that someone had taken very good care of the forest here. Nice to see.

Simon and Coola social distancing doggie style.

Lily Pond

Fireplace

Cabin

Lunch spot

Solo setup


Susan is meeting up with Cristin and her kids at Angel of Shavano campground for a couple of nights. Rick opted out so Susan handled the setup, food and getting the camper there. First time either one of us has done this solo. Looks like she did ok 👍

Disbursed camping

We were surprised that all sites were full at Parry Peak and Twin Lakes campgrounds. COVID-19 has sure brought the tourists to Colorado. We are with our friends, Tim and Terri who also have a teardrop but a T@B which is bigger than our T@G. We are above Twin Lakes in disbursed camping. Fire restrictions were just lifted so we will have a fire tonight. Weather is cooperating so far and no bugs yet either! We are here for two nights.

Solo setup

Susan is meeting up with Cristin and her kids at Angel of Shavano campground for a couple of nights. Rick opted out so Susan handled the setup, food and getting the camper there. First time either one of us has done this solo. Looks like she did ok 👍

Things around campsite

Someone built a very cool shelter complete with a small fire ring and a supply of wood. There’s also some kind of corral and stacks of small wood. Maybe it’s a Boy Scout project? But what’s with the sharp stick? No campfires allowed right now. Someone left behind their cigarette butts and bullet shells in the really nice fire ring at our site. Maybe we’ll be back when we can burn the big supply of firewood on the ground.

Storm in the Valley

Doesn’t look like the skies are going to clear for comet watching. Wind is picking up. Hope the storm to the south keeps going. It’s very peaceful here.

Quick trip


Thought we’d try to see the neowise comet tonight without any light pollution. We are on Poncha pass in the national forest. Lots of disbursed camping sites with plenty of room for everyone. Can’t hear the highway either. Minimal setup and food I Explored around Poncha loop and were surprised that the Rainbow trail is near here. Hope the clouds clear up before dark or we will miss the comet. Plan to be home in the morning.

Mill Creek Trail

We wanted to explore the area around the campground and according to Texas Alan (one of the other campers) it was about a two mile hike. Off we went, fishing poles and lunch. We quickly realized that the trail was climbing with little or no flat areas. We walked through and in Mill Creek several times. Susan slipped at one crossing and got her shorts drenched. We finally arrived at the lake and it was beautiful. Enjoyed our picnic lunch and Susan dried her shorts in the sun. Here she is posing for the unofficial lake calendar 😉. We were pretty tired on the way back down and upon arriving back at camp realized we had climbed 1350’ in 2 miles. From 10,000’ to 11,350’. No wonder we were beat! Oh and there are no fish in that lake.

Gold Creek campground

This campground is 7 miles from Ohio City. There are 6 sites, 2 walk-ins. There are two other campers here so 50%full! No fee to camp here but donations gladly accepted. We’ll leave one. Gold creek runs next to our site. We are on the edge of Fossil Ridge Wilderness Area where we plan to explore today.
Only one casualty so far. Our 5 gallon water jug fell out of the back of the car and split open spilling about 2/3 of the water on the ground. We needed a new one anyway 🤷‍♂️.

Wildflowers!

This is just a small sampling of the flowers around camp and along the trail yesterday. I’ve never seen what looks like a red and columbine but the leaves sure look like one. The colors are so vibrant and they range in size from the tiniest alpine ground cover to large blooms of yellow, purple and white.

Flowers and a Butterfly

The wildflowers around camp were so beautiful. They made our site feel homey while we were out in the woods. The color blend so naturally. And while we were packing up to leave, a monarch butterfly came to visit us and hung around like he wanted his picture taken. So I obliged. We will be sure to come back to Snowblind Campground.

Whitepine, Colorado

Neither one of us had ever been to Whitepine so we weren’t sure what to expect. Well, there’s not much there. Just one main dirt road that gets narrower as you continue through "town." No post office, store, cell service, no nothing. There were some very run down buildings and some newly built ones too. We were surprised to see folks living there – even in the summer. Very isolated. Hard to believe they were able to get the building materials up there for the newer homes.

Cabin in the Woods

 

On our way to Whitepine we saw a cabin not far off the road. Someone had obviously tried to make a rustic cabin complete with table, chair, sleeping cushion and a broom (with dustpan!). It seemed a bit creepy after a while since there was evidence of recent visitors (plastic water bottles half filled.) So was there a guest bedroom outside? And what about a sweat lodge? Too many questions with no answers. On to Whitepine.

Characters around camp

We got to know the campground pretty well while we were there and have selected other sites to choose from. Here’s Art our host who didn’t want to show his face and his dog Bailey (in the golf cart) who supposedly loves people but not other dogs. At our site was The Hugging Tree (we named it that) and at another unnamed site is the Face in the Tree. Can you see it?