Friday, July 24, 2009

Back From A Mountain Fix

clear2 It’s amazing what two nights and three days in the mountains can do for the soul! It was a great trip and I found even more new places to explore.

Tuesday morning however, I was sure that my soul was damned. When I began final loading of the RV first thing Tuesday morning, I opened the RV door and the electric steps came down and stuck in the down position. When the steps are in the down position it is impossible to drive the RV….unless you want to tear the steps off of the RV body, and I did not. I fiddled, fumed, fought and festered, but nothing would get the steps to operate correctly. I finally had to disconnect the arm from the electric motor that powers the steps and then use two ratchet straps to hold the two steps in the up position. A little thing like electric steps was NOT going to keep me from my date in the mountains.

After I resolved the steps issue, I started to load the scooter on the rack that fits on the front bumper of the RV. Well started is not the correct word because I couldn’t get the scooter to start! The engine would turn over, run very roughly for a few seconds and then stall. I fiddled, fumed, fought and festered with this for about an hour and decided just to load it with sheer muscle power (It only weights about 100 lbs.), take it with me and see if I could get it to start once I got to my campsite. It took about another hour for the remaining preparations and just as I was getting ready to drive off, I decided to try the scooter engine one more time….while it was sitting on the rack. To my surprise it started right up!clear1

I was on the road at about 10 am and got to my campsite a little after noon. The campsite is a “dispersed” camping area which means that there are no designated sites and you camp where ever you want. I found an area about 5 feet from Clear Creek, the stream that feeds the reservoir, and was delighted at my luck.

“Luck” might not be a good word to use in selecting that camping site. I later learned that because this is the hottest part of the summer, even in the mountains, and because I was so close to the water, I would be attacked by millions of mosquitoes, the instant I left the protection of the RV. It made it pretty much impossible to enjoy the view of the stream anywhere except from the inside of the RV.Vicksburg

After hearing all that you’re probably thinking that this was a terrible trip, but it wasn’t. After getting all of the above stuff out of the way, things started to click in a good way. Tuesday afternoon I rode the scooter about 12 miles further up into the mountains on a small dirt road, scouting for possible adventures. I had been up this road in a car 8 or 10 years ago and remembered that there were two small ghost towns way back in the valley. Riding on a scooter gave a completely different perspective to the surroundings. I could feel the cool wind in my face and smell the aspen trees. Everything seemed more beautiful and more fragrant on the scooter!

I rode until the road became a four wheel drive trail and decided that on Wednesday I would come back and hike up that trail. I also spotted numerous boondocking campsites for future reference. clear5

I returned to the RV at about 4:30 pm and decided to try fishing for a while. That didn’t work out too well because about the time I got the belly boat pumped up and into the water, the wind started blowing like crazy. I toughed it out for about a half hour and caught one small trout. The wind didn’t seem like it was going to quit, so I did.

The next morning I was up early and headed out for my hike. Even though I was anxious to start the hike I took my time and stopped numerous places along the way to explore and take pictures. I got to the four wheel drive trail about 10 am and figured I would walk up the trail for about two hours and then turn around and come back. Summertime in clear3the mountains brings afternoon thunder showers and more dangerous, the lightning that accompanies them. Colorado is a top state in the category of people killed by lightning and I certainly didn’t want to add to that reputation. 

With all of the stopping, exploring and taking pictures, two hours only got me 2.5 miles up the trail. That 2.5 miles however was 2.5 miles of soul cleansing, Rocky Mountain beauty. (See picture at the top of the post!). About two miles into the trail, I came upon the ruins of the Banker Mine. According to my research this was a silver mine started in the 1890’s and it shipped oreclear4 until around 1927. The tunnel has been closed but you can see the tailings pile in the background of the picture to the right. The mountain in the background is aptly named Granite Mountain.

I spent a good deal of time poking around the four or five remnants of buildings and trying to figure out what each building was used for. It was so picturesque that it was hard to leave and continue the exploration.

The exploration continued only for another half mile when I ran out of time and the four wheel drive road turned into a hiking trail. According to my map there are several more old mines and another ghost town about two miles further up the trail. I decided to leave that for my next trip.Window View2

I had lunch sitting on a boulder in the shade of a large fir tree and just let my soul giggle. Normally when you hike round trip over the same route, the return is a bit boring but this scenery was so spectacular that it was great in either direction. I was back at the RV by about 3 pm and decided that I needed a nap.

Napping was accomplished in a professional way and it was time to fish a bit more. This time I decided to forego the belly boat and fish from the bank. I really didn’t care if I caught a fish or not because I was still enjoying the glow of the morning’s adventure. It’s a good think I didn’t care….because I didn’t catch anything.

While eating dinner that night and planning my activities for Thursday I heard on the radio that this was the weekend for the Fairplay “Burro Days”. I’ve always wanted to attend this event and have never gotten the opportunity. Fairplay is a small mountain town and it’s 3 or 4 motels and one small RV park are normally booked months in advance for this event.clear6

I decided however, to give it a chance and drive back to Fairplay Thursday morning. Maybe I could luck on to a place to camp for the weekend. If I did my plan was to call The Bride and get her to drive up and meet me for the weekend. If I couldn’t find a place to camp I was halfway home anyway and would just continue on home.

Luck was not with me on this endeavor. I found one business that would let me park in their parking lot right on the main highway…no power or water and just a gravel parking lot. I called The Bride to see if that was to here liking even though I wasn’t too crazy about the idea. The Bride was of the same mind a me, so I called it a trip and drove back home.

The RV is now at the lot and the repair guys are going to look at the steps this week. Aspen Glen I will need some type of fix for this as The Bride and I leave on Friday afternoon for a Circle The Wagons trip with the rest of The Circle to La Vista Campground about 3 hours southwest of the Denver area.

The Wednesday after we get back I take off again, this time to the Pecos Conference, which I posted about earlier. Two days after returning from this trip I start on another Forest Service Passport In Time project which I’ll tell you about in a future post.

Thanks for visiting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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