Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Longmont to Carbondale, CO


Sunday, June 14

Jennifer and Karen left early in the morning after their nice visit.
We left home a few minutes before 9am and drove to the Heaton Bay campground near Frisco.  Stopped in Idaho Springs for a rest. There is a really nice creek side park near the Visitors Center with easy RV parking. Clear Creek is running high and fast. There were dozens of people loading up for raft rides. Idaho Springs is very convenient to Denver so I suspect that's where the crowds were from. There have been three recent drownings from capsized rafts but that doesn't seem to concern people.  As turbulent as the water is, I'm sure you get an exciting ride.
We got a decent site at Heaton Bay; certainly adequate for one night. The place was a lot more crowded then when we were here just two weeks ago.

Monday, June 16
I was up, had a cup of coffee, and out walking with Gopher by 6am. It just gets so light, so early. The first day of summer is later this week, so the days are very long. We were finished with breakfast by 7:30. Stopped by the new Whole Foods in Frisco. Split a very good breakfast sandwich, bought a loaf of just-out-of-the-oven cranberry walnut bread and some chocolate chip cookies.  Then a quick stop at WalMart for a hummingbird feeder.
Then we took SR 91 to Leadville. Stopped at the Forest Service Office to add  to my MVUM  collection. 
 The Fielder book we're using as a travel guide, of sorts, lead us to FR 110(Halfmoon Creek Road). A beautiful drive towards Mount Elbert(at 14,433' the highest mountain in CO.) and Mount Massive(14,421').  We came across a number of very nice disbursed camping areas all along the road.  A good  place to stop if visiting the  Leadville area. The women in the FS office was very helpful with camping ideas and tried to tell me about a bunch more nice places near Leadville,  but my hearing has gotten so bad, I just could not understand what she was saying. She was nice enough to mark you-are-here on map she gave me. 
We continued south to the Clear Lake Reservoir SWA intending to stay the night. We had been there before and it's a  very nice free camping area right on a stream. Popular with the fishermen types.

 By about 2pm we decided to head off to someplace we had not been before so started on CO 82 (Independence  Pass Road)towards Aspen. There is a limit of 35' total length for vehicles on this road. Tight switchbacks near the top. 
The road follows the Roaring Fork River. We kept looking for a place to camp for the night and came across this. It's not too far west of FR 391. We tried to drive 391 but it got so rocky and narrow, I turned around as soon as I could.  Good luck, as it turns out. Where we are is probably  one of the most beautiful campsites ever. We are right on the rivers edge. Just us. 39.08945. -106.54176.  Just across the creek is the remains of a log cabin. Wonder if this was someone's homestead in the 1800's? Gopher had a nice swim in the river with her leash on. The current is quite strong.

Our campsite
The Roaring Fork River
A good day for a swim.

Then we had salads for dinner to help offset the Cranberry bread and the cookies. On the average, we do OK.
Tomorrow we drive Independence Pass; at 12,095' it's the highest paved pass in North America.
Tuesday, June 17.
Up again by six. On the road by 7:30. The drive over Independence Pass in interesting in a, relatively speaking, wide RV. In places on the Aspen side of the Pass Road, the road narrows to 1 1/2 lanes. Twice I stopped, moved as close towards the cliff as possible then pulled in the side mirror. 
It's still winter at the top of the pass. Rainy, foggy, windy and cold. Gopher and I took a real quick walk.

It's still winter at 12,000'

We drove to Aspen but it turned out to be a madhouse of congestion and traffic so we continued on to Carbondale.  Carbondale has a nice city parking area right downtown at the corner of 4th Street and Colorado Ave just across from the City Hall and Police Station. You can stay overnight there. We had a very good lunch at the Village Smithy Restaurant.   Then got Gopher and walked around downtown and on the multi- use trail. Tomorrow is the weekly green market.
The Forest Service office was staffed by a really helpful guy. Got more MVUM maps plus he directed us to a nice campground for tomorrow.

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