Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eleven Mile

We spent part of Father's Day weekend camping at Eleven Mile State Park, just south (I think) of Lake George, Colorado. It was sort of a trial camping trip for us. You see, we were very spoiled when we first moved to Colorado. HP (Scott's employer) had an incredible piece of property about half an hour away from the city where we could go camping for FREE whenever we wanted. They also had cabins which could be reserved for FREE in advance. It was close, easy, and backed up to national forest land, so there was plenty of space to explore.

Unfortunately, HP sold the property to a developer about a year and a half ago (a tragedy, if you ask us) and since then we've been too lazy to find a new spot. I think we've also been afraid of being disappointed and afraid of the hassle of finding a great new camping spot. It's just not easy to do when you're dragging two kids along with you. Early last week we finally decided that we needed to do a test run somewhere, and we didn't really care where. The spot just had to fit these requirements: (1) Libbie had to be able to come with us, (2) it had to be close, (3) we had to be able to camp away from RV's and other loud campers. As it turns out, our girls were probably louder than any RV, but at least we had lots of space.

Eleven Mile State Park is about an hour and twenty minutes from our house, which is about as far as we're willing to go. Libbie was allowed to go, although she's supposed to stay on a six foot leash at all times (lame), and our campsite was awesome. It was about a half mile walk from the parking lot to the campsite we reserved, which was one of the closer campsites. The last quarter of the walk was uphill and rocky, which is difficult to deal with when ferrying gear, a cooler, a bike and trailer, two little kids, and an overly-excited dog, but we made it. Well, I guess it wasn't that tough for me since I just had the kids and the dog and a couple of things to drag along. Scott, on the other hand, made a few bike trips to the car, dragging all of our gear along in the bike trailer. Next time we'll just take our backpacking gear, not our car camping stuff.

The site we reserved was right next to the lake with lots of privacy, tons of space, and gorgeous views of the lake and the Collegiate Peaks (a bunch of 14'ers just west of the city of Buena Vista). The views were truly spectacular and there were a few private spots along the lake where we could let Libbie off leash to swim and burn off some energy. Scott and the kids went fishing (although they seem to need better bait to catch the huge fish lurking near our campsite) and the kids enjoyed all the s'mores they could roast.

I spent most of my waking hours there reading the sixth Harry Potter book, and Scott spent most of it sitting out on a rock overlooking the lake and the mountains. The girls spent their time playing goofy imaginary games where Brynn's name was Alice and Callie's name was Megan, and Libbie spent a lot of time rolling around in the dirt at my feet while I read. We did let Libbie off leash twice to swim. The first time was great. The second time she took off after some geese and their gosslings, swimming a good thirty yards toward the middle of the lake before she had the sense to turn around. She will enthusiastically chase anything that moves.

Here are some photos Scott took of the weekend. I took a break and left my camera at home. Although Brynn made fun of Scott's camera (I thought I might pass out when I heard her ask Scott, "What are you doing with that stupid little camera?"), it was nice to be on the other side of the lens for a change.

This little cove was about a 75 yard walk from our campsite, and not accessible from other campsites nearby.

The view of the Collegiate Peaks from our campsite.

More views from our campsite. The more I looked at this view, the more I thought it looked like the view of Cheyenne Mountain from the Springs. Except, of course, with a lake instead of a city in the foreground.

Addicted to Harry Potter.
I used hot cocoa as a bribe to get the girls to smile for the camera. Brynn was only "pretending" to be happy...she was very grumpy because her sister was sitting too close to her.

More Harry.

The girls slept in Scott's solo tent. Scott, Libbie, and I shared our old pre-children two man tent. This was the first time we'd slept separately from the kids while camping (we also have a large six-ish man tent), but I think taking two tents worked out well. I guess it was all good until Callie started screaming in her sleep in the middle of the night and in order to check on her, Scott had to unzip his sleeping bag, unzip the tent, unzip the rain fly, put on his shoes, zip the tent, walk to the kids' tent, unzip their rainfly, unzip their tent, poke his head in and hear, "We're trying to sleep, stop shining the light at us." I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants. Libbie and I were happy to be cozy in our tent.


Michael said...

camping is a blast, im surprised to hear that there aren't very many spots in colorado. I would just be scared of the wildlife.

harry potter rocks and leashes are definitely lame. When we go to Pawleys Island for 4th of July, we're letting the dogs loose, no matter what kind of leash laws are on the beach.

3boys247 said...

I am glad you guys had fun! It looks like you had a gorgeous spot.