Back In The Colorado Mountains!
Thursday, May 31st, I arrived at Humphrey RV in Grand Junction for a couple of repair items. They are right in the peak of their busy season, so I was prepared to be there awhile. However, they finished quickly and I was on the road by noon. They have to order one part, so I will need to make another trip back there in the next few weeks.
In the eleven years I lived in Colorado, I had never been to the Aspen area. So I headed east on I70 with plans to camp in Carbondale. As I traveled south from I70 on Hwy 82, a sight for sore eyes came into view as I rounded the last curve leading into the Crystal River Valley. The first high mountain I see upon entering Colorado!
The twin peaks of Mt. Sopris tower above the town, rising some 6,600 feet above the valley to a height of 12,953ft. This is one of the most beautiful mountains I have seen in Colorado! You can see it from just about anywhere around in this area.
I am camped on Prince Creek Road at 7,500ft. I can tell I’ve been out of Colorado for a year. I am having to acclimate to the thin air – but I sure do love it! Prince Creek flows by camp and Mt. Sopris just peeks above the ridge.
While in Moab, I was able to order a weBoost cell signal booster. I had a strong signal at Moab, so didn’t get to test it. Here there is no usable signal at camp without the booster – 1 bar of Verizon 1x, which won’t even support phone calls. With the booster I can get 2 bars of Verizon LTE, however it is still very slow speed. But I can get email and light web pages! On Sunday I went into town to the Bonfire Café. They roast their coffee beans and the coffee was delicious! They also have speedy wifi. Even in town the cell service is very spotty – ranges from 2 to 3 bars and slow.
When I was setting up camp on Thursday, I noticed the three kitchen drawers were not closing properly. I removed them to investigate and was dumbfounded to see that the frame supporting the drawers had only been attached with two staples into the top on the right corner and they had pulled loose. The left side was just hanging in space!
This is typical of the way RVs are constructed. With the manufacturers selling units as fast as they can build them, it most likely won’t change anytime soon. This had to be fixed before I traveled again, so I spent Monday and Tuesday working on it.
I removed the staples and raised the frame back up into position.
I attached two angle brackets to the right side. On the left I was able to get a screw into the top left corner behind the sink. Then further down screwed it to a cross piece attached to the wall.
I really would like to get a support under the frame somehow. The heater duct that is under it is attached to the wall and the floor. So I need to go between it and the frame. Working in that small space required all kinds of contortions, which wore me out. So I still need to finish this up. It should hold for a little bit as it is much more secure than as originally built.
The hike to Hanging Lake is one of the best known hikes in the state and is extremely popular, with 100,000 visitors annually! It is in Glenwood Canyon and begins off of I70. The US Forest Service was planning to implement a quota system for the trail beginning this summer. However they weren’t able to get all the pieces in place, so postponed it to 2019. Since I am in the area, I want to do the hike. On Thursday morning, I was up at 5am to get to the trailhead early before the parking area filled. I’ve read it sometimes fills as early as 7am, but this morning there were only three other cars there when I arrived at 6:30. I was glad to get an early start before there was a big crowd of people.
The trail goes one mile up Deadhorse Creek Canyon, following along the creek, with about 1,000ft of elevation gain.
The canyon gets lots of moisture and is very lush; lots of moss and ferns.
The canyon is narrow and doesn’t get much sunlight until later in the morning. It was still a little cloudy when I arrived at the lake, and the lighting wasn’t the best for photos. But it was beautiful!
There is a short side trail just before the lake that goes to spouting rock. It had a pretty good amount of water thundering out of the rock wall.
From the parking area, the trailhead is about a tenth of a mile east along the Glenwood Canyon bike path. There were lots of wild rose bushes in bloom along the way.
Thursday night was the first of the weekly rodeos that Carbondale has during the summer months. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to a rodeo. They had barrel racing, team roping, bull riding and a few other events. It’s a nice community event.
The Maroon Bells!
On Friday I took a day trip to Aspen. The iconic Maroon Bells are just outside Aspen. These mountains are used in lots of advertising in Colorado, so they are immediately recognizable to anyone who has spent much time in the state.
Having seen lots of pictures, I expected the Maroon Creek area to be beautiful. And it certainly was!!
A few photos from Maroon Lake.
I didn’t have too much time to spend here, so I hiked the short scenic loop trail that goes past Maroon Lake and makes a loop up Maroon Creek.
There were a few wildflowers in bloom. These shooting stars were particularly lovely.
While I was here I drove through two of the forest service campgrounds to see if there were sites I could get into with my Nash and truck. There were a few that would work. I want to come back here during the fall for aspens. I checked on recreation.gov and all sites are booked for this September. It looks like reservations can be made up to a year in advance. In September, I need to try to get a reservation for next year.
I enjoyed my few hours here along Maroon Creek Road, it is definitely one of the highlights of Colorado! More on the rest of the day in the next post.