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  • J.F. Rowan

Working our way to Golden CO.

At some point (I’m still trying to figure when…) we signed up for a house sit in Golden Colorado. What I do know is that we needed to get from Leadville to the Golden area, lay-up in Golden Gate State Park and use that particular park as an overnight stay after we met with the folks at the Golden house sit. Sound confusing? Yea, me too. But here’s the short of it. We drive all day from Leadville to Golden Gate State Park. The plan was to stay there until the day we were to meet the house sit owners and get our orientation. We would do this by driving from the state park (leaving our trailer behind) to the homeowners house (about 40 miles away) get our orientation, then drive back to the campground, stay one more night, then drive back to the house sit (with the trailer) once the owners left on their trip the next day. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

Hooking up with I-70. Not a bad drive. Keep your head up and on a swivel!

We did drive all the way from Leadville to the Golden Gate State Park, but even though we used the shower and laundry facilities, the campground was filled to capacity. So now what? Well, you pull out the maps. We drove a bit further north and found an dispersed camping area around a town called Nederland. These are camping areas that are generally free and far enough apart where you usually don’t see each other. So, we drove down a particular forest road that accessed these areas and picked out a spot. Yes, it was free. And as such, everybody and their brother knows about them including every character under the sun. The site itself was okay, but before pulling into one of these spots it’s a good idea to walk the entire area to look for anything that might stick you or your tires. I could have easily filled a 5-gallon bucket with broken glass, shell casings, nails, screws and other undesirable items. And that’s just the area under the truck! The rest of the campground was littered with everything imaginable. At one point I just stood silently looking over the area in disgust.

Dispersed camping north of Nederland CO. Watch out for those used syringes!

We only stayed one night. This was supposed to be a pretty exclusive road with only 22 campsites that were pretty much full by the time we backed into ours. So it was a bit disconcerting when someone slows down or turns around in your spot at 3 AM. It happened twice. As my mother used to say, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” Since then, I’ve read that this particular place has become a major headache for the surrounding community. The area has become a haven for the homeless and drug addicts. Our willingness to “Boon-Dock” has had this very set of circumstances hamper our enthusiasm more than once, so our ability to pick better spots is going to take a bit more practice. But we’ll try again.

Back on the road, we headed for a new spot (regular NF campground) further up the road called “Camp Dick”. Hmm. Yea, whatever. We pulled into the campground and found a nice quiet spot and apparently the gods were shining down upon us because no sooner than we parked the rig, 5 or 6 other units came in behind us and filled the campground. Timing is everything.

Great hiking at Camp Dick.

Our stay at Camp Dick was great. Yvette and I saw a moose on our way to a local town, Estes Park, for provisions and a bit of lunch. The campground had several trails that we took advantage of and we also took advantage of having a campfire for a couple of nights while there. A big deal because as it would turn out, it would be the last time we would ever have a campfire in Colorado. Fire bans throughout the state would ban the practice of any open flame type fire indefinitely. The risk was just too high. As I write this, there are 12 active wildfires in Colorado alone. The largest has consumed over 78,000 acres and is still very active during this writing.

We left Camp Dick and backtracked down past Golden Gate State Park (yes, they were still full) and kept going until we hit Golden Colorado. We met with the homeowners, got introduced to the dogs and reviewed our responsibilities for this particular house sit. A nice house and great dogs. But where to stay for the night before the actual sit? Well, sooner or later we were going to have to do it I suppose…Walmart! Yep, stay tuned and we’ll let you know it went.

Fast moving snow melt.

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