Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Heading to the mountains

Tuesday, June 20
We have three different thermometers counting the one in the Lazy Daze. One reads 101*, another 103* and the one in the camper says 102.7.
Hot. Hot. Hot.
In Leadville the high forecast temps for the coming ten days are in the low to mid-70's with the nighttime temps in the uppe 30's.

I took a Izzy to her life guard job this morning then brought her home at noon. We were all packed up and headed out about 12:45. Had an uneventful drive to Leadville arriving just before 5:00.
We're camping in a disbursed area in the San Isabel NF, Leadville Ranger District, off FSR 113. 39.245057 -106.358160 9,688' elevation. This is a fairly popular camping area because it's only ten minutes from town and less than ten minutes from Turquoise Lake. Plus, of course, it's free. Our site is adjacent to a county park, Kendrick Park, with a volley ball net, soccer goals, pit toilets and trash cans!! A very convenient location as disbursed camping sites go. Adjacent to the park is the county golf course. From our site, golfers could easily walk to the golf course.

Some rain would be nice to cut down on the dust. Some mosquitos at night. Gopher likes it because she can wander around without a leash. Put up the hummingbird feeder and as expected in a pine forest, business was good. There is internet access but it's on the slow side, but adequate for our needs.

The higher altitude frequently caused ignition problems with the refrigerator. Right now , 9:45 pm, it's 64* at 9,688' and the frige is working just fine. We'll see what overnight brings. I'm going to keep track of the temps to see what happens.

Got up at 3am and the fridge was out. Ambient temp of 46*.  Relighted it. At 6 am, 42* ambient it was out. The fridge temps were OK.  Right now it's 42* and the frige is working just fine even at 9,688'. By 8am the frige was at 32*/14*.

First we took a drive along the north side of Turquois Lake then towards Hagerman Pass then along the south side to check out the campgrounds. There are seven NF campgrounds around the lake. We drove through a few of them and with the odd exception, were not impressed with the sites. Mostly you were jammed on your neighbors. Not our camping preference.

The haze in the distance is from the multiple fires in Utah.
Along Hagerman  Pass

We had lunch at the Mexican food truck that parks in the Safeway plaza. Very good.
I drove around the area where we are, later in the day, looking for future camping sites. Came across this great one located right on a small creek. 39.25045 -106.37637. If I simply didn't feel like packing up and moving, I would have. Next time.
8pm. Frige 33/13.

The refrigerator experiment. At 6:30am it was out. Ref temps 41/14. Outside temp 38*. I tried starting it but no luck. As the morning progressed, it warmed up and I would try again. Finally when the temp reached 46* the ref started and stayed operating.
Woke up to a bright, sunny day.
Took a ride along the Halfmoon Creek Road towards the Mount Massive Trailhead then continued on a narrow, rough and rocky road that ran along the creek. Saw some great tent camping sites. There are RV suitable sites along Halfmoon Creek Road until the trailhead parking areas then the road becomes too narrow and rough.

We drove some of the road to Mosquito Pass.

On old mine

Mine tailings

From Mosquito Pass

Checked out the town dump/water fill station to use on our way out of town. $7.50 for both. Later on, we explored the forest area around where we are camped. There are countless camping opportunities on a network of FS roads. Most are best for tents, but a few can accommodate mid-sized RV's.
We decided to head south on Monday to the Clear Creek Reservoir area.

Up at 5am. Had breakfast and dumped the tanks at the city waste water office then headed south to the Clear Creek SWA. People were pulling out. I kept looking and finally found one of the best sites in there. Right on Clear Creek. 39.019514 -106.276265.
In hindsite, the creekside location was a mixed blessing. Carol thought the rushing water was so relaxing and it was. However, once the sun started setting, the mosquitos swarmed like we had rarely ever seem happen. Sitting outside was out of the question.
From our campsite

From our campsite
Morning coffee

 The creek is running high and fast from the snow melt. We're a thousand feet lower here than in Leadville. 8,961'. It's warmer but easier to breathe. We think the elevation at Leadville might have been bothering us in some way. After a nap, we both felt a lot better. We'll hang around here for a few days. Our reservations at O'Haver Lake don't start until Sunday, July 2. We got real lucky the other day and snagged a four day cancelation over the holiday weekend.

We drove to the Vicksburg and Winfield ghost towns. Both are from the silver mining days. They have a few original structures and several reconstructed ones. There is a camping area at Winfield. There were two RV's there but no way I would drive the camper over 12 miles of rough washboard to get  there.

One of the Aude children

A beautiful drive through the mountains.

Went exploring looking for future disbursed camping sites in the area. Found a real nice one just south of the Twin Lakes  Reservoir.

The mosquitos won. We headed south to Buena Vista. Had a superior lunch at the House Rock Kitchen.
House Rock Kitchen

This has to be one of the very last operating drive-in movies in America.

We drove to the top of Cottonwood Pass. It's closed on the west side for extensive road work.

There were two vans with Texas tags parked near us. One guy in his early 20's perhaps,  was almost unconscious and a girl in her teens, was trying to give him some water. The guys eyes were rolling back. I told the girl that this guy was suffering big time from altitude sickness. The only fix for altitude sickness is to go lower. NOW!!!. She sent a friend to tell the supervisor what  was happening. I explained the problem to two other kids who were rushing back from their hike. Eventually there were 15 or 20 kids loading into the vans. No idea how this poor guy fared.
Once again. Smoke from the UT fires

Deciding what to do  from here. Our reservations at O'Haver Lake don't begin until Sunday.
Probably just go exploring here and there. Plus, of course, some fine meals to give the cook a break.👏👏👏


Paul said...

We were recently at Great Sands National Park and the mosquitoes were bad there. What has your experience been regarding mosquitoes in the Colorado mountains? Are the mosquitoes only in certain areas or are they everywhere? Are they around until the first frosts?

Candace said...

There us a drive-in movie in Delta, CO on the western slope. Shows new, just released movies May though @Oct. This week is Transformers and 47 Meters Down.