Three men went camping in the Puma Hills, an area in the Pike National Forest. What made this particular camping trip unique was; they were all Grimes men. Three generations in fact. Now that may not seem like a big deal but surprisingly, this camping trip took a long time to organize. I’ve been camping at various times over the years with both my Dad and with my Son but never at the same time. It seems like a simple thing to organize but with all of us serving in the armed forces at one time or another it just never made it past the good idea stage.
I’m the middle generation now but I remember trying to make the same scenario happen when I was a young man. We lived in Iowa at the time and the goal I had envisioned was making a trip up to the Boundary Waters in Canada. Dad was retiring from the Air Force and moving back to Des Moines but my Grandfathers health began to fail before I could make it a reality.
Time passes swiftly and I began to realize another opportunity might easily slip by so I got a commitment from everyone to make it happen this summer. Dad caught the train to Denver and slipped through the “Gestapo” as he called them [Denver was hosting the Democratic National Convention at the time and the Secret Service were all over the place to include boarding the train in Ft Morgan and checking everyone’s “papers”.] and rode the bus on down to the Springs.
Josh came up from Pueblo and we headed west on Hwy 24 past Lake George and up CR-77 towards the Tarryall Mountains. The weather was looking pretty good with the exception of some scattered afternoon showers. We headed into the National Forest and followed the forest road several miles to our campsite where it promptly began to rain. We threw up a tarp real quick and waited for it to pass which it did in short order. Soon after camp was setup and we enjoyed the remainder of the day, built a nice roaring campfire and sat around watching the sun set on Pikes Peak. We spent a nice Colorado evening catching up on life.
I had planned to try my hand at some night photography but the clouds kept getting in the way and I had to give up on it. We turned in and had an uneventful night with Abby standing guard outside.
Morning dawned bright and sunny. We fired up the campstove and cooked up some coffee, bacon, eggs and created a breakfast burrito of sorts. The remainder of the morning was spent relaxing and solving the problems of the world. Josh had to leave around noon to get back for classes and Dad and I decided to take the Jeep to the end of the forest road and see if we could get up high enough to see over to the Continental Divide. We followed the road several miles up through a saddle but never found a vista even though we got out and hiked around a bit. The road went on over and down the other side so we followed it further and ended up tackling some pretty rugged 4WD roads.
We eventually found some nice overlooks but never did find a spot that allowed a view over the South Park Valley to the Collegiate Peaks. Regardless, it was a nice adventure and Dad got to experience some true “4-Wheeling”. When we got back to camp the afternoon clouds were starting to form up and rain looked imminent. We restrung the tarp and settled in for an afternoon of on and off again showers. The evening was mostly rain-free and we enjoyed another roaring campfire and fellowship. The clouds kept tantalizing me with moments of clear sky through which the Milky Way showed bright and dense with stars but never stayed clear long enough to do the long exposure necessary to capture a good photo.
All said and done, it was wonderful time of “male-bonding”. Perhaps we’ll get the chance to do it again.