Salida East dispersed camping area is really too low to be comfortable when camping in July.
I buy a 6-inch, clip-onto-the-desk fan at the True Value in Salida. That fan, plus our ceiling vent fan, helps us cope with the hottest part of the day. Bridget, Reggie, and I also cool off in the Arkansas River, which is delightfully refreshing!
While at Salida East we take care of errands and go on short trips into the mountains.
One day I take us up to the Angel of Shavano trailhead. Along the way I look for campsites but all I find are sites suitable for tents only. We stop at the group campground and sit in the shade of the shelter to share a picnic lunch.
From there we take a look at the the campground which is small, cramped, and full.
When I see the traffic and OHVs on trailers going further up the road, I decide to turn around and return to Salida.
“This is too crowded for us. We’ll find something better.”
(Note: “Angel of Shavano” refers to the angel shape that the snow forms on Mt. Shavano in the winter.)
The Best Little Trailer waits next to the Arkansas River at Salida East
More about Nemo and his family!
I meet Nemo’s owner, Mitch.
He tells me about his situation relating to the wildfire south of Salida, the Hayden Pass Fire. Last heard, the fire had consumed 16,350 acres and is expected to burn another three months.
Mitch (not his real name), along with Nemo and Annie (another rescue pup), were evacuated from their home. The first night they sleep at the Super 8 in Salida. The next day Mitch goes out and finds a used travel trailer. He buys it and sets it up near us at Salida East dispersed camping area (BLM/free).
No more motel living at over $100 a night!
“Wow! You’re a decisive man of action!” I remark as Mitch tells me his story.
He gives me permission to take a photo (above) of his travel trailer. It’s a lightweight, vintage Award model.
Okay, about Annie . . . .
That’s Annie in the photo (above). Mitch took her off death row two years ago on the day she was scheduled to be killed. He says she’s a wire terrier mix. Her resemblance to Spike has me thinking she’s a rat terrier mix. Who knows.
She could be any number of breeds!
Mitch loves dogs and, under his kindness and care, Annie has improved a great deal from the days when she was overly aggressive. Even so, to be safe, Mitch decides to keep her separate from the crew, as she still has some issues.
Mitch and his canine crew are our neighbors for two days.
During that time I’m impressed by Mitch’s upbeat manner and also his calm demeanor while his house sits in a wildfire zone. He explains that the fire burned both hillsides bordering the property of his 100-year-old home.
“Used to be green trees, now it’s all black stumps. The house and the grounds are okay.”
On the third day Mitch takes off for the two hours that evacuees are allowed to visit their property.
He returns to camp very excited.
“I have lots of good news!” he exclaims. “I had a contract on my house when this fire started. This morning the realtor told me they still want to buy the place! They’re a couple in their sixties and they really like it. It has two trout streams with bridges over them and huge cottonwoods. I also talked with State Farm and they’re gonna’ pay for the night in the motel and for the cost of staying at an RV park until we can go back to the house. I’m taking the trailer to an RV park closer to my property.”
“That’s wonderful, Mitch! Everything is working out for you.”
“I guess I’ll find out if the air conditioner on the trailer works,” Mitch adds, smiling.
There’s a lot more I could say about Mitch.
During the short time that he, Nemo, and Annie are our neighbors, I witness Mitch extend real help and generosity to a person in a precarious situation — recently out of work and living in a tent while traveling, hopefully, to a better future. I’m not going to write anything more than that in order to respect that person’s privacy. I bring it up only to point out the depth of character I saw in Mitch.
Think about it.
His house and belongings are jeopardized by wildfire. His life is turned upside down by being evacuated. He may lose the buyers for his house. He has two dogs and they go to a motel. Then he’s in a travel trailer and it’s hot, very hot!
While coping with all that, he gives generously of his time, energy, and money to help guide a person he’s just met out of one of life’s dark valleys.
And not for one moment do I hear or see any frustration or complaint!
Not one word! He chats with me and we laugh together while watching our dogs play (See previous post.)
Arkansas River at Salida East boat ramp area, view upstream to neighboring RV park
Next post . . . .
The crew and I look for campsites in San Isabel National Forest.
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