Category: camping

Moab Daily float trip

August 7th, 2012 — 10:16am

A couple weeks ago several friends and I loaded up and headed to Utah to float the Colorado River in a section called the Moab Daily. We arrived early so we could secure Onion Beach as our campsite for the night. It was such a beautiful beach with white sand surrounded by red sandstone cliffs. We spent the day lounging around our campsite, dipping in the river every few minutes to cool off in the 100 degree heat. There was an old movie set across the river from camp that we paddled over to to explore. It was pretty cool, an old open saloon set that we named Soggy Bottom Saloon. How cool would it be if there was actually a float-up saloon?

In the evening we made campers stew (with only one pocket knife!) and beergaritas and played badminton until it got too dark to see the birdie. Then we resorted to making up our own game in the moonlight, a version of baseball that involves an oar, a frisbee and silly rules like you have to sing the whole time you’re at bat and you’re out if you don’t dance whenever you get on base. We named it Riverball and it was SO fun. As it got later, we mellowed out and ended up laying shoulder to shoulder in the raft, staring at the stars and asking raft questions, some serious, some silly. Finally we all made our ways sleepily to our sleeping bags laid out side by side in the sand under the screen tent.

Heat comes early in the desert so we had coffee, granola bars and oatmeal and started to pack up. But first we had to clean up the remains from our party the night before. There were beer cans and Beergarita glasses everywhere! That day’s float was perfect. The river was full of raft companies ferrying people along… lots of foreigners who were staring wide-eyed at the beauty surrounding them. Some of the hired guides pulled up alongside us to admire Caleb’s raft. As the tourists stared, we all just lounged on the sides of the rafts, River pops hanging from our mouths, enjoying the heat and sunshine, taking pride in the fact that the river is a part of our lives, if only a small part.

The river is so low right now that there are barley any rapids at all but we did get to ride down one small one in our life jackets, leading the way as Caleb followed in the raft. I can’t help but feel so much delight in the river, especially when I’m surrounded by friends.

As we packed up the raft and headed home, we started to plan the next adventure on the water, wondering where we would go next and how epic we could make it the next time. Gosh, what a good summer it’s been. I’m so thankful that I’ve gotten to live so much LIFE lately and that I’ve been able to do it with people I love, people who I can laugh and laugh with. It’s so good to share life with each other.

This pretty much explains the awesomeness of the last two days #riverritas

Oh Utah...


The photos don't do it justice




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Ruedi Reservoir

July 17th, 2012 — 2:54pm

Last weekend, we packed up the car and took off to the mountains to camp with the our neighbors and their family. As long as I’ve lived in Colorado, I’ve never ventured above Basalt so it was a great adventure. We camped above Ruedi Reservoir which feeds into the lower Frying Pan River (can I just say that I think fly fishermen are SO hot?). Gosh was it beautiful up there.

Ruedi reservoir in the rain <3

Reudi reservoir - so gorgeous

This little guy didn’t let his mom sleep, so after he caught up on his sleep, she got to take a long nap while we played with him in the screen tent.
Flying Gunni

Little camper

The best teether

Silly boy

Roasting shmallows over a grill
Because there is a strict fire ban in Colorado, we had to roast our marshmallows over the gas grill… whatever gets the job done.

The children learned to paddle
We took the kids to the reservoir and threw them in the Ducky so they could figure out how to paddle. They did great and there was only one small injury involving a kid getting hit in the head with a paddle.

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epic raft trip

June 14th, 2012 — 10:53pm

Late last night we got home from an amazing rafting/camping trip. Knowing this trip was coming up definitely helped me get through all the hard work I was doing on the clinic last week. Carrie, Seth, Caleb, Brian and I set out Tuesday after work, with the raft in tow and camped at Rifle Gap enjoying Beergaritas and Campers Stew (both are A-MA-ZING!). We got up earlyish in the morning, had percolator coffee and oatmeal, packed up and headed out. After stocking up on more Beergarita ingredients and cold fried chicken, we hit the river. We put in in Glenwood Canyon which is my most favorite part of all of Colorado. If you haven’t driven on I-70 through the canyon, it’s definitely worth it. Riding the train through is even more amazing and, of course, floating down the river is the very best.

We had an epic day navigating rapids, eating and drinking delicious things, with me tripping on the rocks which left my legs all bruised and scraped up (par for the course) and swimming in the hippie dips (a section in the river where the hot springs drains into little pools – I could live there forever.) It was such a perfect day spent with people I love… kind of a last hurrah for our little group before Seth and Carrie move to Ft. Collins.

Things are a-changin around here but I’m living in my new way, soaking up all of life there is, cherishing every moment because who knows what tomorrow will look like. As I sat on the raft yesterday, laughing as people cracked jokes and teasing Caleb about his country music, I just drank it all in, sealing the day into my memory and enjoying it as much as I could. It’s amazing how much more of life I live these days.

Rifle gap
camping at rifle gap

The raft and the Colorado
Caleb’s amazing raft

Fishing at dusk
The boys fished at the end of the trip.

The riv
I’m always amazed at how tranquil and healing it is to be on the river. I so get why people spend their entire summers on the river.


Love this pic

Brown trout
catching a brown trout

Hippie dips
at the hippie dips

Epic bagel sammiches
making huge bagel sammiches at the end of the float (I was head chef.)

(read Carrie’s version of the story here.)

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camping and shaving the cat

June 30th, 2011 — 9:53am

Yes, the two things happened in conjunction with each other.

With Carrie being in town, I scheduled a few activities with her before anyone else could get a hold of her. I’m greedy like that.

The first one was camping. We had planned to camp on top of the Colorado National Monument, but because of rainy weather, we opted to camp in the backyard. We had a great time, roasting marshmallows and eating sunflower seeds around the campfire. We got just the right amount of camping sleep, which isn’t very much.

camping in the backyard

camping in the backyard

After camping, we decided that Evil Kitty needed to be shaved. She had so many mats in her long hair and was shedding all over the place so it seemed like a logical idea. Carrie wrote about it in detail on her blog, but needless to say, it wasn’t the best plan.

Shaving the cat

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12 days with very little bathing… continued

July 16th, 2008 — 4:18pm

Continued from before

After many phone calls and time pouring over the map we thought to call our friends who often camp on their parents land in Cedaredge. Thankfully, they were there camping and were happy to invite us along. So we spent our 4th with good friends listening to our dog viciously bark at their dogs. The next day we got moving early and I took to the phone again, looking for a place to camp the night. Our friends Chris and Shenan had planned to meet us our second day in Crawford, so we were trying to find a place that would take all of us. Again luck was on our side and I secured the last two camping spots in Ouray, one of my most favorite places in Colorado. It was in an RV park, but it didn’t matter, there was shade and so much to do and amazing scenery… and showers!

We spent the evening cleaning up and relaxing. Chris and Shenan offered to keep our kids for the night in their camper so we even had some alone time. The next morning we walked to the local coffee shop before joining up with our friends (and kids!). We spent the afternoon swimming in the hotsprings pool before lightning forced us to leave. So we all piled into Chris and Shenan’s camper and the kids napped (begrudgingly) and the adults played cards. On our way out of town we ate at the True Grit Cafe in Ridgway which is a homage to John Wayne because he filmed True Grit in Ridgway. And we were off to Gunnison.

I wasn’t thrilled about going to Gunnison because I had pictured it as a cute mountain town and when we drove through a couple days before I found out that it was nothing at all like I’d imagined. Also because we had tried to cancel our hotel room in favor of more camping but the hotel made up a new policy at the last minute that they didn’t accept cancellations in July. I had argued and argued with them days before about canceling, but didn’t have the emotional stamina to take it any further. So we just decided to go ahead with our reservations. It ended up fine. We used the time there to bathe(!) and do laundry and I had a touch of food poisoning or something, so I wasn’t up to hiking all over the place anyway. Plus the reason we were in that area of Colorado was to camp at the Dinner Station campground, rated the highest by our camping book. Dinner Station was described as the campground that you visit as a child and continue to visit every year thereafter.

Unfortunately our tastes must be quite different that the author of this book. Dinner Station was past Taylor Reservoir in a field of sagebrush and pine trees and was alongside a creek. It was ok, but by no means an amazing campground that we would travel several hours to visit every year. The campsites were close together, with many of the parking spots right on the road. There was well water provided, but the hand pump it came out of was so rusty that the water was brown. We planned to go ahead and stay but the people in our reserved spot from the night before hadn’t quite packed up yet, so we drove around exploring a bit. We ended up at a campground on the other side of the mountains called Mosca. It was right on a lovely fishing lake and the camp spots were a little more private. Jim was worried about running out of gas and I like the spot better so we just decided to forgo our reservations and stay at Mosca.

The water system at Mosca had dried up, and we had very little drinking water with us. (I had forgotten to fill up our big jug in Gunnison.) We were a little worried about what we were going to do about drinking water until Jim remembered that we still had water in the camper’s reservoir. So we had enough drinking water and we boiled our rusty water from Dinner Station to wash and rinse dishes and one crisis was avoided! We fished to no avail and enjoyed the evening, roasting marshmallows. This campground was the coldest we stayed at, even though the elevation was lower than Lake Irwin. It got down to 33 degrees that night. Times like that, we were thankful for the camper!

Rather than stay another night without good water, we decided to pack up and spend our last two nights camping at a campground that we knew was good. So we headed back towards home and camped at Silverjack Reservoir. It was beautiful and relaxing until the dog decided to go after Honor. Honor was just trying to pet him and he just went after him, barking viciously, baring his teeth and snapping. I picked Honor up to get him out of the way as Jim pulled the dog back. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jim so mad. Tuck spent the rest of his evening laying on his back under the table of the camper. We kept him tied up so he couldn’t reach the sleeping children. And we decided that we could no longer keep him in our family. It’s just not worth risking our kids or anyone else’s.

The last couple days, we made sure to keep him away from the kids, and when we hiked down to the reservoir, we left him in the camper. I think this was the first time that Jim got to truly relax because the dog wasn’t tied to him. Plus he caught a bunch of fish. Eden and I got bored and hiked back up to our spot. We spent the afternoon knitting and coloring. It took 12 days, but I finally relaxed! We headed home the next day, completely filthy and ready to come home.

Overall, it wasn’t the lounge around, be limp-as-a-noodle vacation that I had anticipated. But I got to spend some really good time with Jim. Because he was there, the kids behaved and were really enjoyable. The dog stress/incidents were really upsetting, but I feel like we’ve done everything we could with him and hopefully we can find a great, childless home for him to go to.

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12 days with very little bathing

July 14th, 2008 — 11:33pm

lake irwin
(click to see the whole set)

Sunday we left home for Glenwood Springs after Jim finished playing at church. We had decided to play our time there by ear and drove around a bit when we arrived looking for a dog friendly hotel. Google via text was my constant companion those first few days. While I made a phone call from the parking lot of one hotel, Jim backed up and ran over one of the tie downs holding the camper to the truck that had come loose, consequently ripping a small portion of the bottom of the camper completely out. That was fun.

We finally found an (expensive) place to stay downtown and settled in. We walked around, ate dinner at subway and then drove to the hot springs to swim. Tuck relaxed in the camper while we swam – luckily he doesn’t mind being in there and it was cool.

The next day we headed up to the GWS adventure park via gondola and poked around a bit, rode the roller coaster and headed back down the mountain. Next we stocked up on food for 6 days and Jim got some parts at Lowes to fix his little tie down mishap. It was a lot of shopping and we finally headed to Redstone around 4. Redstone is a great campground about mile from the actual teeny, tiny town. There is a castle above the town, but we didn’t take the time to check it out. Those couple days at Redstone were pretty relaxed, our spot was mostly out of the way, so the dog didn’t have many passersby to bark at. Jim got the camper fixed and we spent an hour or so down by the Crystal River throwing rocks and relaxing before a bunch of kids pulled up in a 15 passenger van and stripped down, changing into suits to swim in the river. We decided to leave, which ended up being good timing because it started to rain and I had left laundry washed in my new Wonder Clean hanging out. I ran all the way back to the campground which was a good test for my knee and saved the laundry. We got to shower that night and packed everything up so we could leave early the next morning. Eden and Honor made friends with the camp host’s grandson and Tuck got all snarly and mean when the kid tried to pet him.

The next day we took a quick trip back to Carbondale to pick up a few groceries that we had forgotten before we headed up Kebler pass to Lost Lake. This was the campground that we were most anxious to stay at because it didn’t take reservations. I thought we would be fine considering it was a Wednesday but I hadn’t taken into account that it was 4th of July week. The campground was beautiful and consequently totally packed. The drive up the pass had been stressful and I started to freak out a bit because we didn’t have a place to stay. But I consulted our Colorado Camping book, which we used to plan the whole trip, and found a campground on a lake not far from Lost Lake, closer to Crested Butte. The book spoke of the campgrounds popularity, so I was worried that it would also be full. Luckily, we got one of the last spots there.

I ended up being really happy with Lake Erwin, it was so beautiful. The dog, on the other hand, took his opportunity to make us miserable. He barked at everyone that walked by, which happened frequently because we were close to the bathrooms. If a dog walked by he completely lost it. Jim tried every dog-whisperer-trick in the book to keep him under control to no avail. Basically the dog spent our entire trip tied to Jim’s belt loop. (This is where we see that Jim is MUCH more patient that I am.)

We spent some time fishing at Lake Irwin, we took our full day there to walk around the entire lake, fishing in spots. I’m sure Jim would have loved a lot more time to fish, but he did catch one fish when we first arrived. I had a rough week before we left during which I cracked and then completely broke, so dealing with the most. stubborn. dog. was getting to be really upsetting. There was an incident with a cup of tea that I somehow dumped all over my head and smashed into my nose as I was getting up to stop the dog from barking. So our time at Lake Irwin ended with me crying over my dog (and probably the disaster that was the previous week.)

We started out the 4th with a drive through Crested Butte. We would have liked to have taken more time to explore the town, but they were having their parade and the town was packed. I tried to find a kennel in Gunninson to leave Tuck (because we would be back there later) but I couldn’t get ahold of our vet to fax in vaccination records. We drove past Blue Mesa Reservoir (talk about huge!) and along the north rim of the Black Canyon as we headed to Crawford. I had no idea what to expect of Crawford, but I anticipated that it would be something like our nearby state park, Island Acres. Which is kind of like parking lot camping, but they have trees and grass and a playground and showers and real toilets and it’s in the middle of a beautiful canyon, which lends itself to traffic noise, but is still pretty. I was looking forward to the showers.

But it was, instead, a big field of dead weeds without trees or mountains to have any hope of providing shade. The big field was next to a big muddy reservoir that was so full that there weren’t any good spots to fish from. And it was 100 degrees and the swim beach was a mile walk away. There was no way that I was going to stay there. We were supposed to be camping, not roasting in a field of dead weeds. So we drove into the town to make some phone calls. And every single place we called was full. To the brim. And I started crying again, saying over and over again how awful the campground was and the kids were sweet and positive, telling me that it wasn’t that bad. But it really was pretty dern awful and we didn’t know what to do. I was so mad at our camping book because the author wrote of the campground in a pretty positive light, giving it a scenery rating of 6. It was definitely no 6.

And it’s late, so I have to pull a “to be continued…”

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July 13th, 2008 — 10:55am

Before I write all about our trip, I totally flaked out on my promise to my friend Brooke that I’d post after pictures of the camper before we left. So without further ado:

(before pictures are here)

the camper after

the camper after

the camper after

the camper after

The only thing I have left to do is re-upholster the cushions.

5 comments » | camping


July 8th, 2008 — 9:45am

lake iriwn

We’re in the middle of our vacation and I’ve found a rare moment with internet access. (I have to admit, the withdrawals were getting bad!) Due to some unforeseen events and a hideous campground, we’ve traveled more than we intended so we’ve had the opportunity to see much more of South Western Colorado that we planned. Colorado is truly an amazing place. This trip has made me so much more thankful to live here.

We’re off for 3 more nights of camping and then we will be thrown back into the daily grind. I’m not quite ready for that…

lake irwin

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Enoch Lake

June 18th, 2008 — 11:07am

We returned home yesterday afternoon from a 3 day camping trip. We arrived armed with fishing poles, lots of food and a cooler full of beer. I have to say, this was definitely the best trip I’ve ever been on. I mean, look at it:

Enoch Lake

For about two days I forgot about everything stressful in my life, there were no chapters to write, no weddings to plan, no family issues, no naughty children. It was just me, people I love and the lake. Honor was perfect – albiet filthy – he spent his days down by the lake’s edge playing (and eating) the mud. Worms were his friends, the dog his companion.

Honor and Wormy

I think we all turned into fishermen on this trip, even though Jim caught just one fish upon our arrival and I, a single fish just before our departure. Fishing used to be something that I found very boring, but there was something about sitting at the shore of this lake that was mesmerizing, listening to the peaceful sound of birds chirping, woodpeckers pecking and the occasional plop of a fish hopping out of the lake to claim it’s dinner.

Enoch Lake

reeling in

Enoch Lake

Monday we hiked around the lake, the girls with the dog going one direction, the guys going the other, fishing their way around. As we hiked around, we stumbled upon many an impromptu fire pit, littered with evidence of irresponsibility. I’m always amazed at what slobs people can be, leaving trash behind in such an amazing space. (There were even bear-proof trash cans provided!) So I spent some time cleaning up other peoples trash. As we left, I was even more resolved that we will never leave a mess behind in a camp spot.

Enoch lake at dusk

We left reluctantly. Looking at these pictures, all I want to do is go back.

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the camper before

June 10th, 2008 — 9:00am

Finally, some before pictures of our camper. I think the best part is the name of the camper, “the buckaroo”.

the buckaroo

And the wonderful 70’s inside:




I’ll have the after pictures soon, I promise!

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