nap_time: (Tea)
Got back yesterday from camping and while I don't think it was the best idea to Amtrak to and from Colorado, overall it was a great, great, great time! Just like 2004, I have the crazy urge to write everything up. Not sure why, not sure if I'll even finish. But I do have 1.5 more loads of laundry to do and I'm avoiding the gym. ^__^

First, the train ride. Amtrak was pleasantly on time or close enough, both ways. It seems Amtrak got stimulus monies (from 2009, I think) to rehab their fleet of long haul cars which meant electricity for everybody! Woot! Ok, so I didn't really care, but if the people I'm travelling with are happier with charged electronics (TRUST ME, they are!), then I'm all that much happier to travel with them. Most people did manage to control themselves as far as cell phone chatting; heh, I only had to roll my eyes a couple times as people struggled to say where they were. Ummmm, Nevada? Utah? Planet Earth? Hahahahahaha!

I think my favorite part of the California Zephyr route is between Salt Lake City and Grand Junction. Don't get me wrong, I love the Rockies (Grand Junction to Denver) and the Sierras are fine (Sacramento to Reno), but some of the desert and sedimentary rock formations in eastern Utah are awesome! The track follows what I assume are a variety of rivers, and that just really amps up the scenery. Mmmmm! I even saw a bald eagle an hour out of Grand Junction in some awesome canyon/river place. [No photos, sorry, but feel free to come along with me next time, I'd loooooove to do it again soon.]

So, I got off Amtrak at Grand Junction (22 hours after getting on), picked up my rental car, and drove about 150 miles to the southeast to the Matterhorn campsite in the San Juan National Forest (about 12 miles from Telluride). I was pretty tired but the closer I got to my destination, the easier it was to shake off my fatigue because the scenery! I mean the spectacularly awesome scenery. Just sigh. The mountains are so high and dramatic and covered in trees and greenery. And there are even spots with red sedimentary rocks that took my breath away. It's just so damn beautiful - besides the fact that it's in the middle of nowhere and they have real winters, I soooo want to live there.

The campground itself was pretty delightful with lots of trees and some nice secluded spots. It was a bit strange in that they charge by the number of structures for each spot (it usually seems to go by number of people or small extra charge for additional vehicles) so I ended up getting my own super-secluded tent spot. Did I mention it was secluded, because it was just a bit of a hike to get to (ok, and a few times I felt like a target for an axe murderer as I walked alone back to my tent at night).  But beautifully surrounded by aspen and mountains of course! And it got a whole lot of morning sun. Mmmm! Mmmmm! Mmmmm! My brother's spot was also lovely (more aspen!) and that's where I spent a great deal of time eating, chatting around the campfire and generally enjoying the heck out of my family camping vacation time.

The weather, however, was a bit chancey. Ugh, right from the start as I drove to the campground, I had to drive through thunderstorms. I have to say that yes, I love a good thunder and lightning performance, just not when I'm driving through one. Also, apparently, when I'm tenting through one. Oh yeah, because we got a can of thunderstorm and rain whoop-ass thrown on us day three. All the other days we had a bit of rain but day three was a deluge. My tent was relatively dry (no water actually leaked inside) but everything was damp and muddy. Ugh, and worms kept crawling to their death between my tent and the ground tarp. Fortunately, day four, our last day, made up for all the previous rain and we were able to fully enjoy the day and even an extra late-night campfire.

So, yeah, my trip had all the good things a camping vacation should have. Awesome scenery (I almost cried when I left); quality time with family members; food cooked and eaten around a campfire; plenty of hiking and nature time; and wildlife I don't usually get to see (bald eagles, herds of elk, marmots, Colorado birds, and howling coyotes [ok, that one I only heard]). The only serious complaint I have is that I had been looking forward to pitch blackness at night for both star gazing and for sleeping in. I pine for both and was big, fat DENIED both because we were there for the full moon. Yes, the full moon is awesome and all that, but it was soooo bright! I didn't need a flashlight to walk to my tent at night! The moonlight poured through my wimpy tent material. AUGH! Damn you moon! Ok, I joke a bit. But next time? I'm scheduling a camping trip during clear weather and a new moon! 

Date: 2012-08-10 08:33 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
that sounds amazing! I don't think I've been camping since 2004. How sad is that?

Date: 2012-08-13 08:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Well, I don't want to sound mean (but I'm going to anyway) but when I was a kid we moved to central Illinois for a few years and that brought ALL camping activities of my youth to a halt. I'm not saying it's totally Illinois' fault, but who wants to camp in the Midwest? I need mountains - REAL mountains!!!! - for camping.

Heh, I'm just a snob that way ^__^

Date: 2012-08-13 08:56 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
HAHAH! Are you saying the Ozarks aren't mountains? ;-)

Date: 2012-08-13 09:02 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Heheheheh, I think I just did. I just read the Wikipedia entry on them and I'm shaking my head in pity (Dude, no peaks even reach 3,000 ft above sea level!!!).

Date: 2012-08-13 09:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I've only camped in Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. I've never camped in the mountains. I have followed the shower rule, though. And the Garden of the Gods in Illinois makes you feel like your up high because of all the valleys and trenches.


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