I’ve been working a 9/80 flex schedule this summer so I can have some extra three-day weekends and we finally got out for a camping trip last weekend. All of our old spots are too far away now so we got to go exploring and find something new. I was a little leery of how crowded the mountains might be close in to Denver but I guess we went far enough out that it wasn’t a problem. That decision was partially solved for us by a burning ban from Boulder to Hwy 119 around Central City/Blackhawk. Going camping without having a campfire is just wrong so we ended up going west of Hwy 119 out into the Arapahoe National Forest and found a spot up in Mammoth Gulch that had a really nice view of James Peak.
The weather has been a bit sketchy here lately with pretty frequent rain storms and the weekend didn’t turn out to be any different. We got to our site by mid-afternoon on Thursday and managed to get camp set up before the storms rolled over the mountains. I had picked up a new tarp before heading out and sure was glad we had it. I used it to make a lean-to and we put our chairs and “kitchen table” under it, made a cup of coffee, and waited for the storm to roll on by.
The first storm produced enough rain to point out some flaws in the tent site selection with regards to campsite drainage. In particular, there was one waterway that was determined to go right beneath our tent! A minor diversion channel took care of that problem and I was grateful for the early rain. Those are not the kind of things you want to find out in the middle of the night. The rains came and went throughout the weekend but we managed to stay dry and overall we still had a lot of nice weather in between.
One unpleasant side-effect of all that rain was an abundance of mosquitoes. I have to confess I’ve gotten really spoiled living in South Central Colorado where mosquitoes were practically non-existent. Fortunately, we had some oils that Rhonda had brought along and some OFF which kept them from biting (mostly) but it’s still a little disconcerting having them swarm all around you.
Abby was kept entertained by the local squirrels and chipmunks and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend too. We went for a short hike on Saturday down to the valley floor and found the creek that we could hear rushing along from our campsite. It has been a late spring in the mountains and there is still a lot of snowmelt which keeps the creeks moving right along. The water was incredibly cold but that did not keep Abby from getting in. There were a number of folks fishing the creek trying to catch a mountain trout for supper. Abby went fishing too but she didn’t catch anything either 😉
We had heard trains chugging along during the weekend so after we packed up Sunday morning we down into the valley and found the Moffat Tunnel which was built in the 1920’s to connect Denver with Salt Lake City and then on to the West Coast. The tunnel goes under the Continental Divide, is 6.2 miles long and comes out near Winter Park on the other side. There were a bunch of vehicles(30 or so) parked there which seemed odd until we realized there is a trailhead there for the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.
We decided to go home a different way and headed up to Nederland, CO where we stopped for coffee & ice cream, and then a picnic lunch by Barker Meadow Reservoir. We then followed Boulder Creek down the canyon, on into Boulder, and finally back to Aurora.