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Note: I have lots of photos but cannot get them off my camera- USB cord trouble.

I get to my destination in Pike National Forest and get stuck in mud before I even get out of the van. I learn that I am not supposed to drive all the way into the camping area because the road is steep and my two-wheel drive van will most likely get stuck. It does. I leave the van where it is and go off to meet everyone in Kira’s family and find Kerry. We hug and I tell him of my dilemma. He and and the guys kindly get to work getting me unstuck. After several tries to simply back up, they finally tie the van to a sturdy super truck and pull me back up the road, into the area where I am to camp. Along the way, the van nearly topples (so they tell me, because I could not watch). Then the van connects with several young aspen trees and takes on some new dents. In the end, the van is deposited where it should be and I breathe a sigh of relief despite the new dents.

When I bought the van 5 camping seasons ago, it was in perfect condition. Now, it’s a beat up adventure mobile. I have a long, low dent where I clipped a fire hydrant a few years ago. Before that the famous Wyoming wind nearly twisted the driver’s side door off, and it remains dented in several places. The new dents are on along the side cargo doors. My current plan is to trade the van on a used Class C camper, but with all the dents it may not have much value. I think long and hard and change my camper upgrade plans once again, to a pop-up or small vintage trailer that I can pull with the van.

Getting stuck was somewhat of an embarrassing way to make an entrance, but my arrival at the family gathering is perfect, in terms of dinner! Along with everyone else, I throw some meat on the grill and add some things to the communal table of food. Thunder storms come and go during the early evening, and finally give way to a steady rain. I retire to my van t get out of the rain, read Kindle and listen to satellite radio in hopes there is news about the birth of the royal baby. No news there, so I turn off the radio and listen to the rain, which poured all night.

Landscape of a forest in Colorado, United States.

Landscape of a forest in Colorado, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sleep well in the rainy, high mountain forest. The property is on the south flank of Pikes Peak, at 9500 feet. I notice the low oxygen as I walk uphill to my camper each time. High elevation and no Internet or cell service are part of the package when camping in the Colorado Mountains. The trade-offs are the incredible views and the cool temperatures. The big cities down below swelter through 90 degree days while I am here. The nights up here are downright chilly, but I have everything I need to stay warm.

We have a dog drama in the morning. My dog, Tango, is not finished his breakfast when Kerry’s dog, Miss Mags, decides to steal the remaining few bites. Tango growls and attacks Miss Mags who is at least twice his size. Miss Mags does not like that one bit and fights back. Tango screams and howls as though he has been mortally wounded  as Miss Mags proceeds to kick his butt; however, Kerry and I get there and get them apart before any bloodshed occurs.

Next, Kerry gives me a tour of the property, which is steep and heavily forested. From the driveway, the land slopes down to a meadow. High mountain wildflowers are everywhere. I feel kind of troubled tromping around on top of the flowers and I am guessing in time the family will establish trails.  We finally get to the two fresh water springs on the property. The water has been tested and is suitable for drinking. It gurgles cold and fresh from the rocks. Later that afternoon, the guys work on a little damn to trap some of the spring water for baths.  To the north is a view up to the main road where I came in. It is beautiful country and sentimental because this habitat of high mountain forests characterized all of my stomping ground when I lived in Colorado Springs.

I do not hear many birds. The family also reports they have not seen much wildlife. The only excitement was when one couple stayed up there alone and a mountain lion prowled around the sleeping area. A few pistol shots into the air was enough to send the cat away.  However, mountain lions only live in areas with plenty of deer and other prey so they must be in the area, perhaps in hiding until they acclimate to the new property owners.

Five young kids are part of the crew camping here. They have all the space they need to run and play outside the adult sitting area. They keep themselves occupied with the hammocks, toy trucks, and pretend games most of the time, coming up for air at meal times. They are beautiful young children who will grow up camping at the Grandparents place in the forest. They talk about  names for the property and the scattered camping spots.

A nice dinner, a nearly full moon, a campfire, and S’mores take us into the night. I walk up to the van and read  Kindle untill I am drowsy. Again I sleep soundly.

_MG_0746_7_8Enhancera

_MG_0746_7_8Enhancera (Photo credit: markbyzewski)

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