Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 8 and morning of Day 9

Day 8:
We traveled up from our campsite over Medano Pass which is somewhere over 10k feet, down into Sand Dunes National Park, across the high desert plains and finally into the eastern portion of Rio Grande NF southeast of Stormking Mountain. The climb up Medano Pass was not hard. There were a few steep rocky sections that flexed the suspension but we never lost traction. Apparently we didn't start taking pictures until the descent...
where the park service was nice enough to warn of the dangers of river crossings.
Somewhere in here we saw our first mountain goats.

Bear scat! Although the kids kept referring to it as "bear scratch" for the remainder of the trip. We ended up seeing our first bear about 4 minutes after we took this picture. It was a black bear that turned on its heels in the road right in front of us.

Lunch stop at the last water crossing with the dunes in sight. It was hot!

First time driving in deep sand. I'd read about it but it is more difficult than I expected even aired down.
Great Sand Dunes National Park. Amazing!

This photo hardly shows the grand scale of the dunes!

Out of the Park for free! As we pulled up to the kiosk/booth to pay the $25 dollar fee just for passing through the park, the Ranger ran from the booth across the street and into another building. Needless to  say, these cheapskates took the opportunity to wave our hands instead of the Park Pass and headed out of there.
I was so amazed by the beauty of the deep blue sky contrasted with pure white clouds and green trees and shrubs.

After we left the Sand dunes we came down out of the mountains to this...more flat, barren land.

Entering the eastern side of the Rio Grande National Forest just north of Del Norte. This was probably my (Jesse) favorite section of Colorado. It was gorgeous, not quite as tall as some of the other ranges, but there was no one up here. No one. And tons of trails and rivers to explore. I think the next day we passed through Big Meadow and Willow (Groundhog) Park. I could probablly stay there for an entire summer.

Pretty soon we were back in the mountains!
Loved seeing all the great (read expensive) lonely mountain homes sprinkled upon the land in the middle of nowhere! Many of them are off the grid as well.
We climbed past these houses and climbed on nicely groomed gravel roads to about 10,000 feet where, passing a $14/night NF campsite, we turned off the main road onto a 4wd drive trail and quickly found an awesome campsite. 
We had a somewhat early dinner and explored the area.
You can tell my hair is a bit dirty/greasy. We hadn't showered since the on-board quick showers in we'd taken in Oklahoma. I'm pretty sure we'd swum in some rivers since then but I can't be sure.
The cooking set-up. Nothing fancy but it did the trick.

Views from the campsite.
Awesome campsite! Lots of room for the kids to run around and play frisbee.

Bed time snack.

Most likely Larkin was not sleeping when we felt like she should be. The more time she spend falling asleep in the tent the more she got used to it. Towards the end of the trip we could put here up in the tent and she would go to sleep alone, with no one up there. At this point, that wasn't the case!
This photo only barely captures the beauty of the sunset in real life.

Sunset and the kids were already in bed. That was rare. Looks like we were doing laundry.

For those of you familiar with roof-top-tents, you will notice that I didn't usually set the fly up the poles that create the small vestibule/overhang over the doors. Later, when we encountered high wind I would take the rain-fly off completely and not put it back on for almost a month when we finally saw rain in Wyoming.

Yep we were pretty dirty on our trip!
Speaking of this, for those of you traveling with families you will know how hard it is to keep the little ones even semi-clean. At night we would use the spray nozzle from our water supply to spray the kids legs off, then we would wash theirs legs, etc. with a washcloth and soap and rinse. It worked pretty well. We also tried to use sleeping bag liners so we could wash the liners rather than the entire sleeping bag.

Here is the day's mileage. Not many miles but we did make a stop for gas and groceries in Del Norte. Still a slow, long day. 

Day 9:
We traveled across the Rio Grand NF, north over Stormking Pass and through some incredible alpine meadows with little two-tracks crossing through them. Then we headed southwest down Cebolla Creek Road towards Lake City.

The next morning I went for a bike ride that lasted all of twenty minutes because of the elevation. I felt pretty pathetic.

Packed up and ready to go. I'm helping Bailey in through the rear sliding rwindow. This was his normal mode of entry.

Ring-around-the-rosy with the girls.

Apparently Larkin didn't like the macabre ending of the song.

Larkin's favorite place to play.

Day 9: a stop for lunch in the Aspens on Cebolla Creek.

We tried to sneak in some photos of the two of us when we could. Good thing our photographers are getting older, taller and a little more skilled at using the camera:)

Love my girl!

And my boy!

And my blue eyed, blond headed baby who doesn't look a thing like me (Steph)!

No comments: