Sunday, July 8, 2012

American Lakes July 2012 - Camping in the rain

Panoramic morning in the mountains
One of our favorite places to camp is at the American Lakes in the Colorado State Forest State Park. Not only is it a super beautiful spot, but it's also where we went on our first camping trip together and we go there every year.

This year, our trip was a little wetter than most. Okay, a lot wetter. This is probably the wettest camping trip I've done in Colorado. Usually storms around here are a quick affair, so found some trees to hang out under a couple times when some stronger rains came. Of course, when we got to our camping spot a nice long heavy storm came. We waited under some trees, but the sparse spruce trees at 11,000 feet don't do a great job of blocking rain so we still got soaked.

I can appreciate a little rain, but it sucks when it doesn't stop long enough to even cook dinner. Not to mention, it's also a bummer to share a tent with some wet, muddy, and cold dogs. As we sat in our tent eating our dinner (a big-time no-no for sure) we decided to make it a 1-night trip instead of 2, and we'd have a "do-over" another weekend.

It rained off and on all night, but it stopped for the morning and we got a reminder of why we love to come here so much. The rain is a double edged sword. While it's a hassle for camping, it makes this valley beautifully green, keeps the bugs down, and feeds the wildflowers. On top of that, it keeps people away so we had those whole gorgeous scene to ourselves while we enjoyed breakfast.

Wet Banksy 
One Soggy Banksy

Kuzca models her new jacket. We just got these recently and were really glad to have them on this trip. It helped keep them warm on a damp chilly night. We've tried covering Kuzca with a blanket before, but it never stays on all night.

I have fond memories of our first camping trip to the American Lakes. It was Christine's dog's, Bucket's, last backpacking trip. He spent most of the day swimming in the lakes and was really tired on the way back to the car. We had to stop several times so he could lay down and rest.
It all comes full circle. Kuzca is now 10 years old, and she's not quite the spry pup she used to be. She still loves to go walking, but we were worried about how much she'd be able to hike. She tackled the hike into the lake with no problem, but she was hurting on the way out. We think the combination of two days in a row of hiking plus cold, wet paws were making her hurt. We made it about halfway down with her walking gingerly. After that we had to take more frequent stops so she could rest, just like Bucket several years earlier. Unlike the 100+ lb Bucket, Kuzca was happy to be picked up, so I carried her occasionally as we got closer to the car. Christine swears Kuzca looked happy about it sometimes, although not in this picture.
Ryan carrying Kuzca

And just to show how great this place looks without the rain, this is a picture I took on a previous trip that was in the Colorado Lake Hikes) book.