Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cottonwood Lake

Wednesday morning was a very slow work day so right about noon, I headed out for Cottonwood Lake and four days of “decompression”. It’s about a 2 ½ hour trip, the weather was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. There were plenty of spaces at the campground so I chose one that had a view of the lake in the background. There really are no bad spots at this campground only some that are even better than the others. Setting up Bivouac was a snap…or almost. Once I got inside the trailer and started turning everything on I found that the water pump would not work. For me, that would not necessarily be a problem as I have camped often in cold weather not having any “onboard” water. In two days however, The Bride, The Emmer and Molly dog were going to join me and no internal water could be a BIG issue. It was too late this day to worry any more about it so I chilled. A little fishing, a little gawking at the scenery, a little pasta for dinner, a little reading….life is good. I hit the sack early but at about 3 am I woke up….freezing! For all you flatlanders enduring August temperatures, it was 50 degrees in the trailer at 3 am. I’m lovin’ this! I turned on the heat and went back to bed.

Daylight comes at about 5:30 am and being as how I keep pioneer hours while camping, I was able to do a little fishing and have a nice breakfast before 9 am. At 9, I headed into Buena Vista to see if there were any chance at all in getting the water pump fixed. I really didn’t think I had a snowballs chance of getting it fixed before The Bride and company arrived but I was determined to at least try. Luck was with me! I found an auto repair shop that could do it if they had the parts and lucky for me they had an employee on his way to Salida, CO to pick up some parts….and there is an RV shop in Salida. An appointment to replace the water pump was made for Friday morning.

I was back at the trailer by noon and had a great lunch. Braunschweiger sandwich, chips and a fresh peach. Time to fish….and I did. All of the fishing I’m doing right now is in beaver ponds that are on the back side of the lake. This requires VERY careful wading through a maze of little ponds and waterways. It’s real easy to step into a hole deeper than you. The good news is the water is crystal clear and you can see the holes, if you pay attention. Rainbows, browns and brook trout are the normal catch. I do this fishing with a small ultra light spinning outfit. It’s really too congested with bushes and trees to use a fly rod of any type. In some cases I would crouch under a large bush and make an underhand or side arm cast into an area of clear water not 15 feet square. The fish are not big but it’s a real kick to catch them in this way. Since I released all the fish I caught and I'm not about to take my good camera wading with me, I won't be able to show you any pictures of the fish I did catch.

A couple of hours of fishing. A hike in the aspen forest. A dinner of red beans and rice. Man o man life is REALLY good!

Friday morning I was once again up at dawn but there’s no time to fish this day. I need to get Bivouac ready to go into Buena Vista. The shop owner told me to be there by 9am and I was. The part he needed didn’t arrive until about 11 am. Normally that would have driven me right up the wall but I’m getting the hang of “decompressing”. The rest of the family wasn’t going to show up until about 7pm so I just sat in the trailer looking at the spectacular Collegiate Peaks and reading.

Just to break the monotony, I called Guitar on the cell phone to tell him it was 75 degrees and crystal clear where I was sitting. He was most appreciative of learning this as he sat in Denver. To better understand his appreciation you would have to know that Guitar just bought a one ton dually diesel truck and a fantastic Artic Fox camper. He’s been wanting to do this for years and finally pulled the trigger about a month ag
o. Due to “circumstances beyond his control” he has not been able to take his rig on it’s maiden voyage as yet. My weather report had about the same effect on him as telling him they just raised his retirement age to 90! He was one despondent guy….Hang in there Guitar, it won’t be long and you’ll be out here with me.

Once the part arrived it only took about 45 minutes to install the new pump, fill Bivouac up with fresh water and head back to Cottonwood Lake. That left me with plenty of time for….you guessed it…fishing AND a nap!

By 7 pm, The Bride had still not arrived so I decided to walk down towards the lake. There’s only one road in, so she would have to pass me as I walked. About a half a mile from the campsite I heard a “bleating” coming from the sheer cliffs on the side of the road. I looked up and saw three mountain goats that must have rappelled half way down the sheer face of the cliff….that’s the only way I could figure they got to the spot they were at! The “bleating” came from a juvenile goat that was apparently “stuck” in the place he was standing. One of the adults had to go and show the young one how to get up the cliff.

I stood transfixed and watched the show for at least a half hour until it became too dark to see. This was a very special thing for me as it was the first time I have ever seen mountain goats in the wild. Big horn sheep are fairly common in Colorado and can regularly be seen many places but mountain goats are quite a bit more reclusive and for whatever the reason I’ve not been able to spy one in the wild. Unfortunately, I didn’t h
ave my camera with me so no pictures to show you.

Shortly after this sighting The Bride arrived with not so pleasant things to say about Friday afternoon traffic headed from the Denver metro area up to the mountains. We got everyone settled in Bivouac and settled in for the night.

On Saturday morning we headed down into Buena Vista to check out “Gold Rush Days. The Emmer is not much of a “camper girl” and when offered the choice of communing with nature or checking out the street fair…nature lost. We spent about two hours checking everything out and then headed back to the campsite….with plenty of daylight left for a little fishing and a short nap.

How did Molly dog do in all this you say? Well, not like I expected at all. Molly dog is an adopted “mostly” Australian Cattle Dog but in spite of the breed description, she is a clingy nervous type. She was not at all at home in Bivouac on that first night and insisted on being VERY close to one of us at all times. I had thought that she would love being in the wilds and going for long walks but the unfamiliar surroundings kept her close to me even when I let her off the leash. To be fair she started to loosen up a little on the second day but still kept very close to one of us most of the time. Oh well, so much for the quintessential “man and his dog” image.

Sunday came way too soon. I’m normally a raring to go type but this day I just didn’t want to leave. We finally had everything packed and ready by about 10:30 am and headed back to “the world”. The only good thing about this part of the trip was that once again the weather was perfect, sunny, cobalt blue sky, temperature in the high 70's... The lower in elevation we got, however, the warmer it got and traffic got heavier and wilder. Throughout the trip home I couldn't help but think about when I could do the next trip! There are some possibilities so stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting.

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