Monday, September 25, 2023

It felt good to be settled in one location for a while

We're way behind in getting travel posts published because we were having way too much fun traveling! So we won't be confused about when each "wandering" happened, we'll start each blog with its actual date.

July 27 and 28, 2023

This morning we left Kremmling, and we were headed towards Buena Vista, Colorado. As we drove deeper into the mountains, we also drove deeper into wildlife territory. Colorado has added overpasses for animals to walk over the highway, rather than across these busy roads.

Our drive was 100 miles through some beautiful scenery. The mountains got taller as we headed further south on our drive towards our next destination. 

We stopped in the city of Silverthorne at the Colorado Welcome Center to pick up some travel information. The plan was to spend the next month in one campground, so we were looking for advice on the best things to see in this part of the state.

We stopped for diesel, and we're always watching the pricing trends for fuel. This summer we have seen diesel $1.20 higher than gasoline, we have seen diesel cheaper than gasoline, and today we saw them the same price.

As we drove further south, the landscape looked drier. We checked into our site at the Arkansas River Rim Campground, and the owner told us they hadn't seen any rain for a month. We had reserved a month-long stay here, which is very unusual for us. We found that daily rates at a full-hook-up campground in the Colorado mountains can cost around $80 per night. So booking the monthly rate made this prolonged stop affordable. This is a no-frills campground with no amenities. But it does have good solid 50-amp service, water and sewer hook-ups. Plus, it was half the monthly rate price when compared to the campground just a mile down the road. The back-in spaces were close together, but we were surrounded by mountains.

We were situated on a ridge just above the Arkansas River, but we found that the trees were so thick we couldn't even see the river behind us. We were excited about the possibilities of strolling along the river. But we found that the walk to the water was steep and precarious, and we wouldn't do that but once. But our camp site served us well during our month-long stay.

We got the motor home set up with the slides out and the full-hookups connected. Then we hurried into the nearest town--Buena Vista, Colorado. This town is known for its wide variety of activities, and a free concert was scheduled in the park at 6:00. A singer from a nearby town was singing and playing the guitar, and a big crowd showed up for the concert. There were even two wanderers that had just arrived to town, and they were dancing in the grass.

On the first morning of our month-long stay near Buena Vista, Colorado, we were ready for a hike. We could gaze upon a line of 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation) across the highway from us. We had made a list of hikes in the area, but we found that the elevation gain to get on top of any of those 14ers was a little frightening. While Denisa tries to limit us to hikes with 1,000 feet of elevation gain or less, we were seeing the summit hikes around here have over 4,000 feet. Yikes! But this  first day we were taking an acclimation hike to help us get used to this altitude. On our gravel road drive to the trail head, we could see a row of 14ers to our left--Mt. Shavano, Tabeguache Peak, and Mt. Antero.

To our left was one of the most imposing 14ers--Mt. Princeton. This massive mountain houses the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort at its base. There are twelve 14ers in this county, the most anywhere. 

Our destination this day was the trail-head for one of the easier trails in this area. We were hiking through the aspens to Browns Creek Waterfall.

Once we were out of the trees, we had great views of the towering mountains that encircled us.

Most of today's hike was part of the longer Colorado Trail. This 469-mile-long trail stretches from Denver in the northeast to Durango in the southwest part of the state. 

While the wildflowers weren't as abundant as in Wyoming, Denisa couldn't resist a picture of the Scarlet Galia along the trail.

We would cross Browns Creek several times on the hike, and we were glad for bridges and stepping stones to keep our feet dry. We met an early-morning hiker that reported seeing two moose at the waterfall, so we turned on the speed in hopes of seeing them too.

Sometimes we wish that we didn't get moose-sighting reports from hikers we meet. The moose were gone by the time we arrived. We were beginning to think that Colorado moose were just a fairy tale. But we weren't disappointed by our destination--Browns Creek Waterfall.

Mark climbed down the falls to take a picture of Denisa standing beside the waterfall . . .

and then jumped over the falls and climbed up for another angle of the waterfall. We chose a lesser-used trail back to the pickup to make the hike into a loop.

At 7.2 miles and 1,119 feet in elevation gain, it was a good acclimation hike for this new area. When we got back to the motorhome, we got the piano out of its storage spot. This is something that we rarely have time to do with our shorter stays. After a safe drive and a nice acclimation hike, it felt good to be settled in one location for a while.

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