I’ve embraced camping this year, and I’m fairly new to it. I have camped in the desert as well as in hot and dry weather in southern Colorado, but I hadn’t tried camping in higher elevations. We had a 4th of July weekend planned in Colorado at 9,000 feet and above, so that would be my next camping test.
Many people are surprised to find out that Colorado’s mountain tops are still covered in snow in early July. Many of the highest peaks still have snow on them in August. So the 4th of July marks the start of the summer for most of us in the mountains. During the day, we enjoyed temperatures that didn’t get much higher than 80 degrees, though it was often much chillier. It rained in the early afternoons and evenings, too. At night, we had a few lightning storms and it hovered around 50 degrees.
We were supposed to have a big group, as we always do for the 4th of July. However, many people had broken Jeeps to deal with and it ended up being only Bill, Bill’s son Tom, and I at the big group site in the South Fork Campground near Green Mountain Reservoir. The site was nice, with a huge fire pit, plenty of places to sit, and a nice kitchen area for cooking. There is a fire ban unless you’re at an established campground with a fire pit, so we were lucky to have a fire.
I had my big tent, of course, and Bill had his smaller tent. Tom decided to test out some camping techniques he’d use for backpacking, so he was in a tarp in a very minimalist setup. It was cold the first night, and only Tom got much sleep (surprisingly). Still, the site was roomy and we enjoyed it.
We found a lot of mud and bumps on the two days we spent wheeling in the area. Matt joined us on Friday, and Ben joined us on Saturday. After 12 hours of wheeling on Saturday, everyone was pretty tired. Bill and I discussed it, and we decided to skip our third day of trails and head for home early. We packed up our campsite at midnight in the rain, and it was 52 degrees. After driving home, I was exhausted but happy we didn’t stay in the mountains.
I think I only like camping when it’s above 60 degrees at night. And rain makes tent camping kind of an ordeal. Live and learn!