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  • J.F. Rowan

Eleven Mile Lake SP.

Even though I was a bit under the weather, we both had a very nice visit with Jane and Klaus. We left Breckenridge and headed south setting our pace so that we could arrive in Weston CO for a house sit that we signed up for several months prior.

Eleven Mile Lake State Park, Camp Site

Tucked into our site for the night. Not our first choice, but such is life.

Eleven Mile Lake State Park

If you're willing to hike a bit, you could access some better areas of the park.

Our first stop was a state park named Eleven Mile Lake State Park. If I had a boat, a few cases of beer and an Ex-Wife, this is exactly where I would go…possibly. Cause nothing says, “Welcome, make yourself at home” like partying all night, too many lights and a vault toilet that hasn’t been emptied since Roosevelt had Rickets. When we first arrived, Yvette asked the person minding the desk in the visitors center what spot would be good for us. Something clean, quiet…you guys know the drill right? The lady behind the counter quickly assigned us to a spot and when we found it, it was not even close to what we had in mind. So, Yvette walked back to the visitors center and on the way found a much better spot. When she asked the same lady behind the visitors' desk if she could switch spots, the lady said, “Absolutely, no problem. We will however, have to charge you an additional $6 administrative fee.” The balls. Yes, the first time we tried a Colorado state park, we were sold and there are some real postive things in their parks. But now, after we’ve seen how their system works, we’re really not huge fans of this state park system here. Another not-so great customer oriented philosophy is that if you want to reserve a site online, at the visitors counter, or by phone, you will be charged an additional $10. Why? Because they feel if you should be allowed to reserve a spot, the $10 will give you “peace of mind" that you'll have a spot waiting for you. Now, here’s the kicker. They have now taken a bunch of state parks across the state and made them exclusive “Reserve Only” parks. Which means all of the sites must be reserved in order for you to stay there, no more "first come first serve." Even though they advertise the sites for say, $30 night, in fact when you get there, you’ll end up paying $40 for the first night (not including a day use fee (($7)) if you don’t have their annual pass.)

Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument

"Stumped by the stump" at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument

Very old and now somtimes very fragile. These were Redwoods at one time.

Okay, enough of that nonsense, we left the next day and headed to Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument in Teller County Colorado (Click for in-depth information). Again, taking advantage of our National Park Pass, admission for us was free. I remember as a kid being amazed at the whole process of petrified wood and here we were, seeing it first hand. These redwood stumps were huge and almost perfectly preserved. We walked the large loop trail that wound its way through these petrified behemoths. If you ever have the chance to visit this place, I highly recommend it.

Mueller State Park

Great trails at Florissant

After a quick lunch, we sat in the coach and brainstormed as to where to camp. Mueller State Park popped up. It was only about ten miles from Florrisant and instead of spending the $10 fee on a reservation, we decided to take our chances and drive there to see if they had any "frist come first serve"sites available. Scores! As it turned out, a group had just canceled which opened up the entire group site area to individual campers and we were able to get a spot for a few days. And, the site had a great view of Pikes Peak! Again, this is one of those rare occasions when this park system works. It was hot during the day, but nighttime temperatures were in the 50’s, great for sleeping. The altitude was around 10,000 feet and even though it didn’t bother Yvette, my sleeping was sometimes restless.

Mueller State Park

Even close to the camp area at Muellar, great trails could be found.

Mueller State Park

More discoveries along the trail at Mueller State Park.

Yvette took advantage of one of the park programs and engaged in a 5-mile day hike. Yvette and I are usually pretty good about having enough water on hand and she loaded her pack with more water than she could drink. Good thing as one of the other hikers during her hike couldn’t quite complete the hike due to dehydration and possible heat exhaustion and Yvette came to the rescue with her extra water. She also stayed with the person until a ranger could transport the hiker to a cooler area where she could recover. We would stay at Mueller State Park for 4 days and then laid up at Trinidad State Park for our house sit in Weston. You remember Trinidad Lake State Park right? If not, you can go back to this blog, and read what our intial stay was like. The only difference between now and then is that they are much busier now and as such, we had to reserve a spot, for an additional $10. (It just happened to be one of those parks that became reserve exclusive.) But, at least it was a relatively quiet stay. We stayed 3 days and then met the homeowners in Weston (about 14 miles away) for the house-sit orientation and get introduced to “Trinny.” They had a seperate living area so instead of having to go back to the state park, we simply stayed the night at our house sit. My next post will be about the sit itself. See you then!

House Sitting in Weston Colorado

"Trinny." Our great house-sit companion coming up in our next blog post.

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