I’m getting a bit of time this evening to write a little snippet about my recent vacation to Colorado. A good friend of mine & I flew out to Denver, rented a vehicle, and traveled around the state camping for almost a week. It was a blast!
The rental car’s trip odometer read 994 miles when I pulled in early Sunday morning to the Enterprise vehicle return station. I lugged my bags, which seemed much heavier now than when I had departed on this adventure, boarded the shuttle, & headed to the airport. What an excellent week we just had!
Monday August 10, my friend Kylie & I departed our homes and headed for the airport. We finally met up in Denver late Monday night, and the adventure began. We stayed in a hotel Monday night due to late arrival – and started camping Tuesday.
We were up early due to the time change on Tuesday, we ran some errands for additional supplies that we didn’t bring along, then embarked on part 1 of our adventure. Kylie had never been to New Mexico, so we quickly headed for the border. Once we completed that task, we headed back north to Trinidad where we stayed at Trinidad Lake State Park. We unpacked, set up camp, and just relaxed for the rest of the day. It was hot, but a dry heat which was bearable. Unfortunately, no swimming allowed, but we spent the evening cooking over the fire and playing cards. That night, the stars were spectacular, we were able to very clearly view the Milky Way. Made me remember why I enjoy Colorado and my trips out west so much.
Wednesday, we woke up early again and broke camp. We decided to head West, towards Pagosa Springs. On our way, we stopped at a waterfall (I believe Treasure Falls) and enjoyed the view and COLD water. For our camping on Wednesday night, we stayed in the San Juan National Forest, taking advantage of the free, primitive camping. This was BY FAR our favorite campsite. We “shopped around” for about 45 minutes, finally settling on a spot at the top of a hill near the dead-end ATV trail. We pulled in and immediately started enjoying the view. We didn’t see another single person that day, no vehicles, no hikers, no one. It was serene. We did have a tiny bearded dragon buddy who hung around all night. We again cooked over the fire (s’mores for dinner) and just hung out for the evening. We did encounter, what my traveling partner took to be a massive bear or horrible monster beasty, cows. Ranchers are able to graze their herds with permits on public land. We encountered a small herd, who were traveling the road between pastures. A bit dramatic, but no harm no foul. Wednesday night, we sat in our chairs and enjoyed the stars once again. That night, we watched a meteor shower, and saw a TON of shooting stars.
Thursday, we were up early again. We now have setup & breakdown at a science, taking less than 20 minutes to entirely set up or tear down camp. Wednesday night was cool, we slept well on our mountain & did not succumb to bears or mountain lions. We packed up & headed into town. We splurged on McDonald’s breakfast and headed north to the next town on our route, Buena Vista. On our way, we stopped at Cottonwood Lake, a gorgeous glacial lake – we intended to camp there but the sites were all full. We actually ended up camping somewhere closer to Salida, along the Arkansas River. Great camp site! Didn’t have shade during the day but the night was cool and we got to put our feet in the river. Another great night for stars.
Friday was probably the saddest day, as we had planned to camp, but since our route changed and the fires were spreading smoke across much of central Colorado, we ended up in a hotel. We searched and searched but all campsites were full & we couldn’t find a spot to primitive camp. Regardless we had a good day traveling & seeing the sights. We got into our Saturday hotel on Friday, ordered some excellent Italian for dinner, and enjoyed being out of the car.
Saturday we pretty much took the day to de-compress. Got our nails done, hung out around town, packed up and prepped to head home. We were so very lucky to have had an excellent trip with no issues or disasters 🙂