Monday, August 10, 2009

North Fork Resevoir

Problem: Xander has never been camping.

Goal: Take Rochelle and Xander to a nice, friendly campground just far enough off the beaten path as to avoid the glow from a nearby city. The ideal campsite should include a picnic table, ample tent space, running water, and sanitary restrooms.

Reality: Campground FAIL

Our journey began on a warm Friday afternoon. I left work early so that we would have plenty of time to drive up into the Collegiate Peaks and setup camp. At this point I should mention my secondary goal: to bag a couple of 14ers during the trip (Mt. Princeton and Mt. Yale). We set off and made good time, arriving at the campground around 4PM. Driving up to the gate we notice a traffic cone stating "campground full". We would see this sign again many times before the day was over.

"No biggie" I said to the family as we had passed at least three campgrounds on the way up. We drove back down the road and started looking for a new campsite. As soon as we would enter a campground entrance, a wonderful "Campground FULL" would greet us. We repeated this process at no less than eight different campgrounds, ever so slowly pushing us farther away from the trail-head. Naivety would creep in and I would drive us through the campground convinced a vacancy would appear. It was then I noticed each site had a paper that proclaimed "RESERVED". In nowhere, Colorado - Really?

It was getting dark and we were beset with cranky dispositions. With seemingly all options exhausted, I scoured the map for a "/\" icon. "Here's one" I mentioned to Rochelle, "but it's pretty far out there". It was either going to be the North Fork Reservoir or the Motel 6 in Salida.

The pavement ended about three miles in and morphed into a steep, gnarly "road". Re-checking the map, I reassured everyone that there was only six miles to go. "It probably won't take us more than fifteen minutes to get there" I thought to myself. Roughly an hour later we roll into our dark and sparsely populated destination. As I drove around the campground circle, Rochelle recovered from contractions while Xander watched "Dora the Explorer" for the 10th straight time that evening. It was 11PM when we pulled up to the campspot and began unloading. An hour later we were in bed and trying to comfort with a cold, over-tired boy. It was a long, long night.

We spent the remainder of the weekend hanging out, fishing, and exploring the resevoir. Xander fell down a lot negotiating the rocks, tree limbs, and roots scattered around camp. We soaked up the raw alpine beauty and huddled in the "Hilton" during intense thunderstorms. We laughed and we cried. I think this picture sums up the trip best:

Check out our gallery for more pictures of the trip.