Sunday, July 6, 2014

Camping for the 4th

One of the handy things about having all my work on an East Coast time zone is that by late afternoon in Denver, they're pretty much done for the day.

I had everything wrapped up at 3:45 my time and set out for Mom and Dad's Thursday afternoon. I got to Deckers an hour later and Victor an hour after that. 

Took some video of Sammi's favorite spot on the curves approaching Deckers (she first practiced with her learner's permit on this!) as well as along the Platte River. And yes, the road really is that bumpy.

I'd set out and the car was at 87 degrees. By Deckers:

By Victor, it had dropped another 10 degrees.

When I got to Mom and Dad's they had the tent laid out in its spot and I helped raise the last of the tentpoles in the cool, post-rain evening. They'd been driving down and seen a baby bear cross the road earlier in the day, so between wind issues and possible bear activity, I was only steps from their camper. Dad gave me an air horn and Mom a walkie talkie, even though I could have barely shouted and had no problem hearing one another.

Dad asked, "Do you want the shotgun?" 

I termed this line of thinking "Bearanoid."

I decided I if I woke up in the dead of night with a bear coming in the tent, I had a better chance of shooting myself than getting rid of the bear, so I declined. I did say, "If you hear the air horn, how about YOU come out with the shotgun?"

For dinner, we walked down to the kitchen camper and shed, which is where all the food stays . . . again, in case of bears. On the way down a neighbor drove by on his ATV and stopped to chat. He had a photo on his phone of bear damage to one of his sheds. So this is not beyond the realm of possibility. Dinner was Rudy's bbq, easy fix, easy cleanup.

Thanks to all the rain, the wildflowers were going crazy -- five different yellows, three different whites, multiple blues and purples and reds. 

 Post dinner? Bear-proofing the trash.

You could still make out plenty of rain in the distance as the sun was setting. It was in the 50s with a light wind, so I was looking forward to bundling into my sleeping bag for the night.

Thursday night sunset

taken from the door of the camper. Literally ten steps away.

Mom syncs the walkie-talkies

And the last of the evening was spent at dominoes

yay! tent sleeps!

The total silence was a little creepy. Since I typically sleep with white noise, every little thing woke me up. There was one moment where the sound that woke me sounded like a bear sniffing outside the front of the tent. It was the wind flapping on the awning. Told you: bearanoid.

Sunrise July 4

Dad trying to cook despite the winds picking up as soon as the sun broke. 

See the back left pancake? That's the only place the fire was heating up the griddle thanks to the wind. We had more like "blueberry cobbler" for the other three pancakes. But the second batch got cooked one at a time in the back corner to make it work. 

so thanks to the wind, we decided to make the shed the dining room

One thing about camping is that it forces you to slow down. There's a lot of sitting and listening to the wind. There's also a lot of chores that eat up the morning. After setting up the kitchen, mixing up the breakfast, cooking the breakfast, eating the breakfast, there's cleaning up after breakfast, which requires sitting around waiting for water to boil. We started moving at sunrise and, after also rigging up tarps to cut down the wind for future meals, we didn't get back up to the camper and tent until nearly 10:00.

 In the hitch of the camper, there was a nest of baby bluebirds, chirping away on Thursday. By Friday, though, Mom and Dad must've decided it was time for flying lessons. Daddy stayed nearby camp the rest of the weekend, keeping an eye on us.

 Resting in the tent before we headed back out for a water and lunch run.

 Mom and Dad filling up with water at the natural spring that is available to anyone needing fresh water on Hwy. 67. There is no sign, so you have to know. 

Cattle grazing to the right, looking at the back of Pikes' Peak from the outskirts of Victor.
See? Clouds are building. It's about 11:30.

Lunch at the Fortune Club (no clean up! no bear trash! running water!)

Clouds are growing

We drove over to Cripple Creek five miles away to get to a grocery store and replenish the bacon for tomorrow's breakfast. We stopped at the scenic overlook on the way back. Within that hour, the sky turned to total clouds and got dark quickly. The temp started dropping. 

behind the beautiful overlook, is the not so beautiful mining operation. 

By the time we got back to camp, we were ready for naps. Thunder woke me up an hour later and we spent the next couple of hours in the camper, waiting out the storms.

Around 4:30 it had blown over and we hiked part of the property line. 
There's our blue bird chaperone, flitting from tree to tree beside us as we walked.

thanks to the moisture of this year, the mosses are very happy

looking down the property line through the power line clearing

yep, still there

the tarp kitchen

Food always tastes better camping. I think it's a combination of the work involved, the tiredness of the day, and the mountain air. 

Nightfall 7/4

Sunrise 7/5

This morning we had horse neighbors along the road.
The dappled gray wanted no part in pictures and shambled into the shade when she saw me walking. 

mouth full of breakfast greens

guess which direction the sun is?
This is me sitting around waiting for something I could do while breakfast was getting cooked. 

Dad heads down to pick up all the kitchen coolers.
Mom heats up water to help me wash my hair. Without running water, it's a two person job. 

end of the tent .  . . for now.

heading out for Colorado Springs

Pike's Peak from the road leaving Mom and Dad's isn't quite so imposing as on the Colorado Springs side. I guess being at 10,000 feet ourselves makes a difference in perspective.

lucky shot, taken on auto, without looking, one-handed, while driving.

most of those shots turn out more like this.

Good couple of days getting away, although it certainly does remind you how wired in life is and how strange it is to get away from it all. The nights in the tent, in total silence and darkness, were sensory deprivation in the best way. And a couple of days of slowing down and remembering why running water is such an awesome thing is always good. Hopefully we can do it again, maybe around birthday weekend!


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