“We need to find our next camp!”
Bridget and Reggie eagerly take their places in the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
Today we motor northward from Salida, Colorado, on Route 285. About halfway between Salida and Buena Vista, we turn left and head west on County Road 278.
Imagine living with the mountains of the Sawatch Range in your back yard!
Route 278 crosses Route 270. We continue going straight, heading for forest and the mountains.
The dirt road is wide and smooth. This section of the road is Route 272.
Beyond the sign, two figures appear along the side of the road. What is that up there?
The PTV creeps forward.
The favorite defense of pronghorns is to flee.
Later I read that the American Pronghorn has been clocked at speeds up to 60 mph. They’re the fastest animal on the North American continent.
These two don’t run; they stand very still.
Not wanting to startle them, I stop the PTV before coming close. I hold my camera out the driver’s side window and take the above photo across the hood.
The PTV slowly rolls forward.
The pronghorns react by walking over to a small tree.
They seem curious, rather than afraid.
Maybe they’re used to vehicles passing by as they graze.
I bring down the passenger side window and take the next two photos before Reggie, The Photo Bomber, figures out what’s going on.
I couldn’t ask for better posers than these two!
Look at the shaggy coats, distinctive noses, and, oh, those lovely eyelashes!
Well, that was a wonderful welcome to the forest.
We continue on our way . . . .
Right away boondocks appear!
The first three are set back from the road and are large. Each one contains a big rig. In fact, one site has two big rigs in it.
All the campsites are spaced far apart. Even though there’s very little under story, campsites are not visible, one to the other.
The fourth campsite is empty.
I pull in, park and let out Bridget and Reggie so they can explore. This is why they are always eager to ride in the PTV!
The campsite is very large, too large for us. Even the fire ring is huge. One could easily fit three big rigs in this site!
I like a smaller campsite with less bare ground and with more charm.
“Okay, let’s look some more. Here, have your drink before we go.”
We drive up and down three different roads.
A road to the left goes to Brown’s Creek Trailhead. Several boondocks are along this road and a few of them are very nice. It’s the weekend and all are occupied. The sites are not attractive to me anyway, because hikers driving to the trailhead and the OHVers are frequent users of this road.
Going straight, the road soon forks.
Shortly before the fork in the road, a stand of pines next to a small meadow of grass and yellow flowers catches my eye. We stop and look it over. (The last photo of the previous post shows Bridget in this site.)
Besides the shady charm of this site, I like the view of Mt. Antero (elevation: 14,269 ft.), the tenth highest peak in Colorado, where people hike and prospect for aquamarine.
Back on the road . . . .
Bear left at the fork and you will find four nice boondocks widely spaced. The road is narrower and has more curves.
Bear right at the fork and one drives a short distance to where the forest opens up into a meadow. There are three boondocks here, each at the end of its own “driveway” and very separate from each other.
“Okay, crew. We’ve scouted the area. There are several campsites that would make a good home for us. Let’s go back to camp. We’ll move here tomorrow.”
Monday, July 18
We return with the Best Little Trailer in tow.
My first choice is occupied. That’s okay. We settle into my second choice, one of the three sites at the edge of a meadow.
“Antero Meadow Camp”
The crew and I camp here for two nights.
Internet signal is strong. There’s plenty of open area for the crew to roam and for Reggie to be on 50 feet of tether. Cool breezes sweep down from the mountains. It’s peaceful and private. The second day thunderstorms drum around the peaks, sending light rain on our camp. All in all, this is a good, serviceable camp. However, it lacks an important element, important to me anyway.
And that element is charm.
Another way to put it — It lacks “personality.” One way I can tell when this important element is lacking is my reluctance to set up an outdoor room.
At “Antero Meadow Camp” I don’t bother to put down the blue mat. I have zero nesting impulse.
The third morning, rather than unhitch in order to check, we go ahead and move camp, taking the chance that my first choice for a campsite has been vacated.
I’m happy to find it’s available!
Soon the Best Little Trailer is positioned with the door opening to Mt. Antero.
“Antero Pines Camp”
The exuberance of Bridget and Reggie upon our arrival confirms that they, too, can tell the difference between an ordinary camp and one with personality.
“Okay, you little boondockers. Get out of the way so I can put down the mat.”
NOTE: This post makes it seem that one simply drives into the forest and finds great boondocks all over the place. Sometimes that happens. Other times one can expend several hours of research and driving and still not find an attractive camp that meets one’s personal criteria. The crew and I had an unproductive morning like that. I didn’t want to blog about it. I mention it here to point out that sometimes finding a boondock takes perseverance and patience. — Sue
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