Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

August 8, 2011

8/7/11 - Up the Poudre and to Medicine Bow NF

Camp at my sister's house
We left my sister's house at 11 am after breakfast, coffee, shower, wash hair, packing up the food in the refrigerator and the frozen cat food. Last night, I made 2.5 pounds of food for them so I could freeze it overnight. It is sitting in the cooler with the frozen ice packs. I don’t have all that much cold food with me this time. I still have some cheese and I bought Greek yogurt and cherries last night. I got an onion and I still have quite a lot of sardines and tuna in cans that I can make a tasty meal of.
Dumping gray water

The first stop was my sister's land where I dumped my very clean gray water tank. There is very little but water in it since I flushed my hot water tank yesterday with fresh water. I use only biodegradable soaps and detergents and just a tiny bit of toothpaste goes in there. It looks like nothing but water. I think it would be perfectly safe to have dumped in the gutter by my sister;s house, but onlookers wouldn't know that. They would think I was dumping raw sewage.
Tunnel CO-14 Up the
 Cache la Poudre canyon

We went up I25 to CO-14 west up the Cache la Poudre canyon. Beautiful drive. Most of the traffic was downhill so it was easy driving. We stopped at a reservoir and I went across the road to look at it. Next thing I knew, here comes my dog running across the road, She jumped out the driver's side window that was half open. Not going to leave that open again! Fortunely, there was no traffic.

Poudre Falls

CO-14 high in the Rockies

CO-14 High in the Rockies
We stopped up high and I let my dog off the leash for a little splash in the small river. It was down a steep slope so she was safe from the road. At the top of Cameron Pass, we took pictures. The Rockies are so beautiful. The Poudre comes out of the north side of Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park.

It was a short drive down the west side of the pass to North Park – a very large valley at 8000 ft or so surrounded by mountains. We stopped at the Arapahoe Wildlife preserve to overlook the grassy green valley with small rivers winding thru it. On the way, I saw a coyote family trotting thru the sagebrush, including a small pup.

Arapahoe WP - North Park CO-14
We stopped for ice in Walden at about 5pm, a small town in the middle of North Park. We drove northeast towards Laramie, WY. At about 6 pm, I decided to try to find an overnight parking spot in the Medicine Bow Nat'l Forest a bit over the Wyoming state line. I went to a couple of parking areas but they were posted no overnight camping, so that was no go. 

I decided to try a NF road (dirt) and see if I could find a suitable clearing. I went up a couple of miles on a very good road and found a few potential openings next to the road. It is thickly forested so there weren't any open spaces off the road. I found a open and nearly level spot at a Y with another road and parked thinking it would do well enough. There's no one around. There's a lot of beetle kill of the pine trees here, Such a shame. There are large areas where there are new little trees so I guess they are trying to reforest the damaged areas. I love the smell of the Rockies.
1st Camp

Camp in Medicine Bow NF

My dog and I walked up the road a bit and found another spot that seemed more pleasant and a bit more secluded. It is an old road access that has been closed by the NFS. We walked back and drove the van up there. There's just enough room for the van and it is close to level with just a slight tilt down towards the passenger side. There's no cell signal up here but it is very pretty and I appear to be completely alone. We are at 9000 ft. The temp was about 68 at 7pm but no doubt drop much lower by morning. I'm running my roof fan on low to cool down the van but I suspect I will need the extra blanket tonight. It is a welcome temp after the mid 90's along the front range today.

This is a lovely spot and how wonderful to be so self-contained that I can have all the comforts of home in such a remote spot and for free. My laptop has 3 ½ hours of use on the battery and it can recharge tomorrow when we drive. The only light I need is the under-cabinet LED that barely uses any electricity. I passed up a little RV park outside of Walden that sits them cheek by jowl with little shade. I'd have to pay who knows what just to have a plug. Much better up here in complete privacy and where my dog can run without a leash. The only thing that I'll leave behind is a little dog poo.

Today, for the first time, my male cat hopped out of the van. I'll have to watch him. He has stayed in the van the whole time and refused to come out until today. The perverse cat picked the least good places to jump out. He was a bit crazy last night and wanted to rumble so that may have something to do with his sudden bravery.

Route: US34W – I25N – CO14W to Walden, CO – CO125N - WY230

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