Our second camping foray for the season was a decided success. We left Denver around 2 on Friday and were at the site around 4:30. When we pulled up we could hardly believe our eyes. We had a giant parking-lot sized place to put our campers and then down the hill, we had a ton of picnic tables, grills, fire pits and lots and lots of woods for the kids to roam around in. The campsite was remarkably secluded and the bathrooms were right along our site as well as drinking water taps. The woods the kids played in were hemmed in by a road but the road was up a somewhat steep embankment so not easy to wander on to. And the lake was just a half mile away.
Just after we arrived, one of the families showed up and the moms took the kids down to the lake while the dads setup the campers. After a while they were able to join us. Loki had a wonderful time swimming in the lake and the kids loved playing on the beach. My crazy kids who apparently have no cold receptors in their skin waded in, Tabby almost up to her waist!! She never did complain about being cold though. After we were done there, we headed back to the campsite and just as we were coming back into the campground, the other family arrived. The kids instantly developed a pack that they ran in pretty much all weekend with little squabbling and much fun. We built a fire, had dinner, roasted marshmallows, made s’mores, put the kids to bed and then the adults sat up for waaaaay too long.
The next morning, we had breakfast and then headed off to the lake for some fishing. Just as we were heading to the lake, Kelly arrived to join our fun for a night. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas than fishing – a storm blew up just as we were getting setup. So we packed it in and headed off on a jeep trail over Hagerman Pass. There was lots to see – beautiful vistas, a Scooby-Doo style abandoned mine (it was actually an old tunnel turned aqueduct), snow drifts (plowed) that were higher than the roof of the car.
Once we were back at the campsite, the weather seemed a bit better and the dads took off for a run around the lake. The littlest napped while the others ran amuck, even as the weather turned a bit colder, very windy and slightly rainy. Fearing our opportunity to start a fire was going to be blown away, I decided I would do the job myself. I am almost always camping with someone who is more skilled in this arena than me and I just leave the job to them, but I know the principles and so I decided to give it a go. The worst problem I had was defeating the wind and just getting it going initially. Finally I took an empty egg carton and stuffed it with some crumpled paper and then stuck the firestick in through the holes in the top and got it going in a couple of places. Then I stuck it down in the firepit with kindling over top and built it up. I was quite proud of my efforts. The weather did eventually get better but we had a nice headstart on dinner and we cooked corn and sausages over the fire and eventually banana boats.
The next morning, the mamas got our turn for a run and we did the same route more or less as the guys, a beautiful little trail that ran around the lake … fun, rolling terrain without too many obstacles and some amazing views. I kicked myself a couple of times for not grabbing the camera to snag a photo of us running around the lake. The weather even played nice for us and we were perfectly comfortable running in the shady trees.
After the run, we all headed back to the beach for fishing attempt #2 which was a decided success. We had a fishing expert in the crowd and he got everyone setup with the right bait and tackle situation (and now is when you realize that I know absolutely nothing about fishing) and the kids were each able to catch a fish … by which I mean reel it in. The dads did all the heavy lifting. We mamas got to hang out on the beach and chat, read magazines and (me) run around taking photos. Though we would have rather caught-and-released, the fish seemed to have other ideas and 3 of the 5 swallowed the hooks and didn’t survive. They did make a fun feast/fight for the noisy seagulls who swooped down to claim our leftovers.
Finally we had to pack it in and leave our amazing campsite and our fun friends. Ben was sad as always, “You no break camping!!” but he was fast asleep before we got to I-70. Cleanup is ongoing, including the kids who left visible residue in the bottom of our shower. It was a whole lot of messy fun. More photos here.