This past August, we took a family trip to Colorado. Tent camping, hiking, friends, family, a real steam engine train ride, a historic gold mine and panning for gold, the top of a fourteener, a half-marathon – there were lots of fun things to do and great memories were had!
It was a driving trip and so our journey there (and back again) meant a 15 hour road trip in Rob’s Toyota Tacoma (with all five of us, it was a little cramped!) Rob likes to get it all done in just one day and knock out the unpleasantness of the road all at once, so we were pulling out of our driveway at 2:30 in the morning on our departure date. But each equipped with their new Lands End backpacks filled with books and their cool new water bottles from REI, the girls were ready to go.
Once we leave for trips this early, the girls usually go back to sleep for several more hours, then we listen to several audio books (Hank the Cowdog rocks!!) and watch a movie or two; then before you know it, we are there!
We spent the first night with Rob’s sister Meghan, her husband, and their two boys (Eli:4 yrs and Leo:6 months) Then the next day, we all headed out to Rocky Mountain National Park for a two day camping trip together.
The campground we were at was just beautiful and the area of our tent site was about 80 yards up and over a hill away from the road (and away from a restroom and a water faucet, too) My attempt to put an image of the campsite below isn’t great, but you might be able to see that it was more remote than the other ones.
And that little black square next to our site was a bear box where you were required to store all food items and anything else that gave off any sort of aroma. It was kind of scary that the park had already seen 21 black bears this summer, when last summer there were only 2 sightings. Yikes! So needless to say, we followed the rule that everything from food to toothpaste went in the box or in our cars parked down at the road!
The mountain views where we set up camp were amazing, over my shoulder you can see Longs Peak in the distance. And the boulders Dee is climbing on kept the girls and Eli very entertained (and me very worried) while we were hanging out at the site. They never grew tired of it!
As for sleeping, the girls all shared one of our two-person tents while Rob and I slept in the other one we had. Meghan, her husband Dave and their boys had the much better setup in their bigger family sized-tent. With little kids that wake up screaming in the middle of the night because someone is touching them, or someone stole a blanket, or they cant find their water, or they have to go potty, it would have been easier to respond if all 5 of us were in one tent together. Fumbling out of your own tent in the middle of the night and trying to unzip your way into their tent was quite the disruption to a good night’s sleep. But we brought what we had and these tents were from the camping days before kids. Next time, hopefully we will have acquired something for all of us!
The days we spent here could be considered car camping. Because our vehicles were parked not too far from us, we didn’t have to limit our packing too much. We had the “luxuries” of bringing with us a bigger camp stove, coolers for our food, more utensils and plates, we could eat a more varied menu, and we could bring several changes of clothes. Our site even had a nice picnic table to do meal prep on and where we could all sit down together to eat. And even though there were no showers here to truly clean ourselves up, it was nice that there was a place to fill up our water bottles and use a real bathroom down by the road. And you didn’t have to find some stream to wash your dishes in; this campground had a place for that, too!
At each of the restrooms, there was a separate area with a water basin to wash your dishes. It was a little bit disturbing as you can see the resemblance to another common household item that you would NOT be washing dishes in!! You even had to flush the water and food remains down the hole when you were done.
As mentioned earlier, the camping time while we were in Colorado was only for 2 days. And these pictures were mostly about the camp site. Next to follow is our hiking we did at a nearby trailhead while we were at Rocky Mountain National Park; then there will be more posts for the others days and activities of our time in this beautiful state…