On To Northern Colorado
July 30 – August 6
Early Monday morning I get on the road to Denver and arrive at Ainsworth Trailer Repair around 9:30am. They look at the tire wear and the axle and determine that it is bent and needs to be replaced. I was pretty much expecting this. When I explain I am traveling through the area, they get me right into the shop and start on the repair. I was very pleased! With Misty it isn’t easy to stay in a hotel. I avoid that if possible. Ainsworth is a huge operation that works on semis down to boat trailers. The Dexter distributor for this area is just a few blocks away. Ainsworth was able to remove the axle, take it over to the distributor and get a new one all set up. They finish up around 2pm! They have excellent reviews on Google, and my experience was in line with the reviews. I would recommend them if you are in the area and need trailer repairs.
As I head west out of town, I make a couple stops for gas, a few groceries and also food for Misty. I buy Fussie Cat brand food for her, which is not real widely available. So I found a place nearby I could get it.
I hit I-70 West and drive back thru Winter Park and continue on US Hwy 40 West to Hot Sulphur Springs. Just west of town is the Gilbert Campground in the Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area.
This is a free campground directly on the Colorado River. It has a couple portable toilets and a trash dumpster, but no other services. There is a short loop road with a couple sites that are open to the river, other parts have willows along the bank.
Just past this loop the Colorado bends to the west and Beaver Creek flows into it.
The road continues a short ways along Beaver Creek with a few more sites. That’s where I end up as the front section is pretty full. And if you’ve read my blog before, you know I don’t like to be crowded in! I locate a site that is long enough for me to pull over off the road and level enough front to back that I don’t have to unhitch, which is nice since I only plan to be here a night or two.
This is an okay site for a layover. I am pretty tired from all the driving I did and dealing with the repair so don’t feel like driving further. I can’t see the creek due to the willows, but I can hear the water gurgling by. It’s very relaxing. But the mosquitos are voracious, so I mostly stay inside.
Beaver Creek is aptly named, as right in front of my truck there is a beaver pond. I see one quite large beaver.
Tuesday I sleep in very late so I stay here another night. Wednesday morning I continue on Hwy 40 West to Hwy 14. I take Hwy 14 East toward Walden, which is in North Park. It’s a short drive, about 60 miles. I’m headed to Delaney Butte Lakes State Wildlife Area. There are three lakes – South, North and East. As you enter the Wildlife Area, South Delaney Butte Lake is the first one you come to. It is a smaller lake with a few camping spots scattered around the perimeter. On the east side of the lake there is a pull off just large enough for me. I like this side so I am facing towards the butte.
And there are lovely wildflowers growing alongside.
There are numerous white pelicans, gulls and other waterfowl on the lake. The pelicans and gulls like to hang out on the dock at the boat ramp.
It is very hazy and smoky here. There is a wildfire burning to the west in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness, and a lot of smoke is blowing in from the California fires. It is very windy and also rains a lot during my stay, and I hoped it would clear up some. But North Park is surrounded by mountains, so I think that kept the smoke in as it never did get any clearer.
It was very quiet here, with a few other campers across the lake, but no one near my camp. One day I take a drive around to look at the other two lakes. North Delaney is the largest with the most camping spots. There were a lot of people on that lake.
The East Lake is the smallest with only a couple places.
There is a lot of wildlife here. As I was driving around, I saw a group of about ten pronghorns lying down on the hillside above the road. There are five in a row in this photo. Do you see all five?
Of course there were lots of little prairie dogs running around. Most were about the size of a chipmunk, but this guy was huge in comparison.
Then on the side of the butte is this doe with a spotted fawn. Notice how hazy the mountains in the background are. And they really are not far away, maybe ten miles. I had planned to do at least one hike up in that direction, but with so much smoke, I just couldn’t get motivated to do it. And there were air quality advisories also.
Lots of ducks on the lakes.
There was another group of pronghorn grazing just off the road.
The lakes are no wake zones. Most of the boats were using electric trolling motors, so they didn’t make any noise. There was also this gentleman in a bright yellow Hobie paddle boat. I love the color and he got around the lake in it very well.
I drive into Walden one day to go to their library. The Verizon cell signal was too poor at the lakes to be very useable. I wanted to use the library internet to work on the previous blog post. However, the library doesn’t allow patrons to plug their computers or devices into electric. My laptop won’t run on the battery, so I was out of luck. In my travels, this is the first library I have encountered with this policy. But looking at the town, it seems to be really economically depressed. So I can understand they don’t want the expense. The Verizon service was good in town. My truck has a built in inverter, so I ended up sitting in the truck and using my phone as a hotspot to get on the internet to publish the blog post.
Since I didn’t do any hiking there wasn’t much else to do at this camp. It was nice to kick back and relax though. I read, watched some movies and so forth.
On Monday, I break camp and head out to my next destination, which is Steamboat Springs. I visited Steamboat many years ago when I vacationed in Colorado, but during the years I lived here, never made it up to that area. As I am driving out, these two bucks were just off the road. They were walking parallel to the road and stopped right on the top of this little hill as if they were posing.