WY > CO
Rocky Mountain National Park
To drive from Wyoming to Colorado, you have a few options. I saw in a national parks book we have that you can take a scenic highway through the Rocky Mountain National Park and it was directly in line with the campsite we were headed to. Even though you have to pay the park fee of $20, it seemed worth it. Because we have our pups with us, we’re pretty limited on any national park hikes or activities so we’ve pretty much avoided them, but a scenic drive and the pictures we saw of this place twisted our arm. The photo above captures the awe of the drive. There is a lot of different terrains actually, and the drive takes you to such a high altitude that trees can’t grow. If you have an opportunity to go to this park, you should. They handed us a newsletter that listed out all the cool free activities the rangers do as well so if you do hang in the park check those out too!
After a 3 hour drive we were ready to be out and moving around. I picked another great campsite, I mean look at the views. This place also had access to a creek that fed into the Colorado River, and we learned it was a gold medal fishing river. We actually didn’t know it had a water source but again, we weren’t sad about it. After we setup our camp we only had a few hours of sunlight so we had to act quickly to find firewood. You can see a pretty dense hill of pine trees was just behind us so we trotted up there to look. Almost immediately we ran into a bone skeleton of a decent sized animal. We gathered some wood from that area and headed back down. I wasn’t a huge fan of taking the dogs up that hill again since I believed those bones were from a bears victim. We decided on this part of the trip to use up some of our canned goods in our pantry box so we had pretty simple food, but still filled us up.
The next day Luke really wanted to hike to the top of the pine hill, but I still wouldn’t do it with the pups. Instead, we decided to walk along the creek and see what was around. Our dogs are not big water dogs but we’ve done a few other creek walks in our past and this time was by far the best they’ve done. Sox especially is resistant even to getting his feet wet and every opportunity he had to find a path through the bushes, he did.
We got to this landing between the creek and where it opens up and found a ton of flat skipping stones, so Luke taught me how to do it…I did a few, but still was not the greatest at it.
We collected a ton of dead brush on the adventure and brought it back. The rest of the day was pretty much just relaxing in the shade and getting ready for the fire. The temperature went from 75 during the day to a low of 48 at night and our little Arizona blood wasn’t ready for that! The dogs were pretty cold too they actually laid under blankets. The fire was definitely a must.
The next day we drove into a small town and visited a Family Dollar to pick up some citronella and some bowls. We realized just a bit before we got to town that we left our bowls and spatula at the last campsite. When we came back to camp, we went on another creek walk and this time tried to walk along the bank where the river opened wide. I am really good at noticing moving objects because Sox barks at everything, so when she spotted a mink, it was no surprise. We thought it was an otter, but now in writing this post realized our names “Totter and Ottiver” no longer apply. Guess we should call him “Minkus” now. Sox didn’t see the mink and at one point was even standing right above his little home where he had run to hide. We turned around shortly after and went back to camp with our stack of wood. The rest of the night was much like the first. I was having a hard day. It was the first day that I really realized this is her life for awhile and it put me in a funk. They debated on staying the third night or whether to make that their motel day. Being the stubborn person I am I insisted I’d be fine tomorrow and that they should stay and push me through this funk. It was slated to maybe rain though, so we decided we’d leave if it was looking like bad weather.
We woke up to completely blue skies and decided to drive into a larger town as our water needed to be refilled and we had forgotten to do it the day before. We grabbed the pups and headed into Granby. We found a really nice market and Luke grabbed water while I went over to a Subway and grabbed us a breakfast to split. Then we drove to an open street on their downtown strip and took a little walk through the neighborhood and the town. On the end of the walk, we decided to share a latte and enjoy a minute of wifi.
When we got back to camp we saw it was getting pretty busy. Some volunteer rangers stopped by and Luke started a conversation with them. He learned there were bears and bobcats in those thick woods and that weekends at this spot usually get pretty busy. We ended up getting a few camp neighbors, and one had a dog that Sox was obsessed [and not in a good way] with. He ended up being held in Brooke’s lap to keep him from barking.
We invited our camp neighbors to our fire night and at one point had 10 people (including us) around the fire. I realized what a “guys world” camping is when it was me and nine men around this fire. I felt pretty proud that I was there and holding her own.
The next morning, we packed up and headed to Utah for a much-needed motel night.
See where we go next!