Boondocking - National Forest
After the heat of Grand Junction and the busy time at the Country Jam Concert, we were both looking forward to the quietness and much cooler temperatures of Leadville. Since it sits above 10,000 feet in elevation the temperature was mostly in the 60s.
When we were here a few weeks ago we had already found a gorgeous spot in the National Forest that we knew we wanted to camp at for a couple of weeks. Well, we got lucky and no one was in "our" spot, or even in the entire area. This may change though as the 4th of July comes.
A long back-in made sure we had lots of privacy.
We took a little hike to adjust to this even higher elevation.
Water crossings and mountains.
We also did some geocaching as we drove around Turquoise Lake. Pretty area. Our camp was about 3 miles from the lake.
We took another hike way up a tiny dirt 4x4 road. Once you park you have to hike up to what was described as an old cabin. No trail. As we were getting closer to the hiding spot, we could hear people talking in the distance which we thought was strange as we were out in the boonies. It turned out that the "old" cabin was down the road and this was one of the new cabins that you could rent. It was a big beautiful place. I'm sure the people sitting on the deck were wondering what we were doing out there. These cabins are part of the 10th Mountain which is a not-for-profit organization that manages a system of 34 backcountry huts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. They are connected by 350 miles of routes. They provide a unique opportunity for backcountry skiing, mountain biking, or hiking while staying in secure, comfortable shelters. The name honors the men of 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army, who trained during World War II at Camp Hale in central Colorado.
We did find the geocache. The exciting part was we were the First to Find. You get bragging rights when you are the first one to find any particular cache. It's not easy. Everyone else rushes out once they see a new cache has been hidden. This one was hidden far up in the mountains and had been there for a year before we finally found it. So far, in several years of caching and almost 1000 finds, we have only been First to Find maybe 6 times. Sometimes the cache owner will put a trackable in for the first finder to take. Trackables are really cool items or coins that you then take to another cache and drop it off for someone else to find. I really liked the story that went with this particular cache and the trackable itself. He named it FatBoy. It's a dog-tag type of TB that you can attach to any item you like. FatBoy is a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
From his cache: "A survivor myself, I've found geocaching a great way to motivate me to get outside and get moving. I was also inspired by the words of Julie Wrend, a cancer patient who, when asked how she coped with her terminal diagnosis, answered “I live by living, I love by loving, and I am courageous courageously." FatBoy Lives by Living in honor of Julie and all those who have been affected by cancer. Move him along and help him spread Julie's message to anyone it might help. Find more info at livebyliving.org" Isn't that beautiful? We now have FatBoy and he has traveled all around Colorado with us. We are looking for a special geocache to drop him in.
While I was out at the grocery store one day I decided to buy a special gift for Steve. It was a stump. Not just any stump though. It's actually a fully-contained-fire-in-a-stump kind of thing. It's also called a Swedish Torch. I had seen them before and always wanted to try one. I was skeptical.
You take the sticker off the top and light the wick underneath.
I took pictures every 15 minutes or so. It was a slow start, but it did get going.
Once it did get going, it really was a nice fire. Just the right size.
I'd buy one again.
We decided to up the anty and hike up one of the 14ers here in Colorado. There are 53 peaks in Colorado above 14,000 feet in elevation ranging from 14,001 to the 14,433 feet of Mt. Elbert, the tallest. Since Mt. Elbert was close by and not too hard to get to, we decided to give it a go. We had no intention of making it to the top, we just wanted to test out our endurance and do part of it to get a feel of what we are capable of at this elevation. I do NOT want to go through Altitude Sickness again like I had when we hiked Mt. Humphrey's, the highest peak in Arizona at 12,637, last year.
It was a beautiful hike through the Aspens with a view of the Twin Lakes at the beginning.
At one point you come to the junction of the Upper South Elbert trail and the Colorado Trail. The trail gets insanely steep at this part while going up to the summit.
It's hard to tell but I'm taking a picture looking down the trail. Very, very steep and we had to stop what seemed like every 50 feet to catch our breath and let our legs rest.
We didn't go too much further than 11,000 as it was getting late and we were getting tired! Good to know that we can make it this high without any problems. Once you get back down to the trailhead, you still have about 2 1/2 miles to hike to get back to the parking area. We were whipped!
Columbine, Colorado's state flower.
Lots of beaver activity here.
Almost back to the truck! Wow, our feet were hurting.
After work one night we wanted to check out the Best Wild West Saloon in America in town.
I love the old bar architecture and mirrors.
Good drinks. The noose reminded me of Placerville back in CA.
Interesting gentleman dressed in old cowboy clothes.
Typical evening thunderstorms rolling in.
Next Up: Old Time 4th of July Parade in Leadville.