Thursday, August 4
Goodbye to McDonald Flats Campground at Green Mountain Reservoir, after a single, overnight stay. The crew and I return to the mountains south of Silverthorne, Colorado!
Instead of retracing our route, we take a shortcut towards Leadville.
Route 91 passes Copper Mountain and a mine, Tenmile Tailings Pond, and Robinson Lake. It’s an easy drive through forest, with no scary drop-offs or difficult switchbacks. The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries us up to 11,318 feet.
A sign announces “Fremont Pass” and I grin.
We did it!
Ahead a gray curtain of rain moves quickly over the mountains toward us. For this reason I don’t stop to take photos. We have a camp to find!
The rain falls steadily. When we reach Leadville, I pull over next to the welcome sign to wait for it to let up.
During a lull the crew makes a potty run. I study the Benchmark map.
Here’s a summary of the next few hours of this rainy day:
I bypass Turquoise Lake and Twin Lakes. We continue southward in on-again, off-again rain to the Clear Lake Reservoir area.
I turn at the sign for Railroad Bridge Recreation Area, and drive southward along the Arkansas River on County Road 371. Rafters are out in full force.
What’s a little rain to a rafter!
We pass three or four boondocks (occupied) before reaching Railroad Bridge Campground which is basically a turn-around with a few picnic tables, no trees, and all the appeal of a parking lot well on its way to becoming a weed lot.
I park and get out to read the information board.
“Eighteen dollars a night?” I exclaim to no one in particular. (This is an Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Campground. No 50% discount for seniors.)
“That’s right. They must think this is pretty special.”
I turn to see a short, stocky man with a bushy, grey beard and wearing a crumpled hat. He looks like a prospector. Come to find out, he is — a bona fide member of a national prospectors association. We talk, ignoring the rain. I ask for suggestions, pointing out that I don’t like to camp near people.
“Oh, whine, whine, whine,” he replies.
“I’m not whining,” I shoot back. “I’m stating my preference.”
He backpedals, amicably sharing information about boondocks at Stone Cabin.
I had seen the road leading into that area, but passed by it due to concern about mud. (A long-time reader of this blog had told me about campsites there.) Prospector Man assures me the roads are okay since he just came from there.
I check it out.
No good. All campsites are taken. Trees are down all over the place due to recent logging, making it an unappealing place, at least to my eyes. The rain doesn’t help the optics.
Okay, enough fooling around. I’m not looking for boondocks in the rain. Too many people camping around here anyway. It looks like our best choice is a return to Clear Creek State Wildlife Area’s campground. It’s dispersed camping, it’s free, and we can be “home” in a few minutes.
I choose a site away from the river and other campers.
Whew! Now we can relax!
Photo taken on a subsequent, sunny day
Friday, August 5 – Wednesday, August 10
Dear readers . . . . I know this post is long and covers a lot of ground. Bear with me while I try to get this blog caught up!
For five days it rains in Colorado.
Not all day. Regularly every afternoon. I don’t mind it at all. In fact, it’s nice. I have internet! I blog frequently and catch up on the news, which is time-consuming finding sites that don’t lie, an interesting challenge.
The Best Little Trailer as seen upon our return one day from shopping in Buena Vista
I think my recent post about the incident with the two girls having a campfire during a fire ban tainted the impression I’ve given of this camping area. It is a good camp (and free!). These five additional days are enjoyable for me and the crew.
We go day-tripping, taking Route 24 across wide-open grasslands.
South of Fairplay, we investigate Buffalo Springs Campground (meh). On the way out we take a little break.
Next we head toward Weston Pass.
The poor condition of the road keeps us from going all the way to the pass. On the return to camp we drive through the overlook for Collegiate Peaks.
At the campground we meet a young couple and their canine crew.
They travel around setting up sound stages for musical events. Their crew is Charley (4-year-old Great Dane, female) and Skylar (10-year-old Border Collie mix? also female).
Bridget finds Charley’s size intimidating and retreats. Reggie, on the other hand, figures size doesn’t matter!
A pedestrian bridge crosses Clear Creek.
We didn’t cross it when we were camped here previously because it seemed there were always people on it and on the other bank.
The campground has cleared out somewhat and we find the bridge empty, as are the easy walking trails on the other side. I like to wait until conditions are right.
Bridget, Reggie, and I enjoy these walks — at least once a day — for the five days of our second camp at Clear Creek.
NOTE: To avoid confusion, especially for those of you who read comments — As I type this post, the crew and I have moved out of the Clear Lake Reservoir area, camped on a mountain, and now are camped along a creek, the latter having internet signal. We will camp here for a few days and each day I hope to bring the blog closer to real time. To keep up this pace I may not fully participate in comments, although I’ll read every one. — Sue
THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!