It's been eight days since I dropped Margaret off in Phoenix. In those days, I've conversed with Overlanders, spent time watching elk nibble grass and stood over canyons half a mile deep. But I was yearning for water. A flowing creek, lake or waterfall. Heading for Uncompahgre National Forest, I had hopes of finding a camp, hiking trails, at least one body of water and spending my last week alone with Teardrop and Jeep in an amazing spot to call home.
Unfortunately weather can have it's own mind. Roads washed out from a good Colorado winter made for finding my magical camp impossible. The road was closed due to repairs forcing me to spend the night at cute primitive site about half a mile down a side road. Morning came, I ate a lovely breakfast and I headed back down the road to a new, but unknown camp.
I found a lovely cafe, Happy Belly Deli in Norwood, CO that had homemade cinnamon rolls and good coffee. There, with some time, I found what could be a nice camp for a few nights with some hiking, streams and a lake. But it wasn't it. One good spot was taken by another camper and the campsites at the lake high up were still closed for the winter. Sadly this was a lovely spot and I could have enjoyed it for a few days.
So off we went around the hill to Ouray. I stopped at 520 in Ridgway for a burger and a beer, which gave new hope. I found a new camp option along the Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton. I asked Jeep to take Teardrop and me up the mountain and into the cold. This camp was basically part of the Alpine Loop and the entrance to Corkscrew Gulch. Although there were people coming and going, overall I had a great location, no neighbors, a good flowing creek and lots of forest.
I woke the first morning to 3"+ of fresh snow. I felt we might get some weather overnight and waking to the utter silence snow brings was a delight. I made coffee, put my chair in the sun and watch the snow melt faster than it had fallen. Teardrop was back in her element. I think snow softens her edges.
After a second night here, I decided it was time for some warmer weather. I managed my way southeast of Gunnison to a great creek, but not secluded spot off the road. Although beautiful rust-colored rocks and bronze grasses surrounded me, this wasn't my ideal location. Thankfully the road saw little use after about 8pm, I was in bed snuggled up by 7. Morning broke, I had a simple breakfast of eggs on toast (an Aussie thing I guess) and packed up in search of a grand location.
I'd never been to Crested Butte and heard it was a a quaint town, so I headed back through Gunnison for some fuel and up into the mountains. As Jeep, Teardrop and I made our way though town, cute as it is, I still needed to find a new camp. So I made haste up to Kebler Pass and figured I'd see what we could find outside of Glenwood. Fortunately we never made it that far. To my surprise, this was no ordinary road. Stellar view of mountainsides covered with snow. Aspen just starting to bud. Snow melting and creeks flowing. Flowers galore. It was amazing! I saw several "camps" but for some reason kept driving. We came across a side track and decided to put Teardrop into a nice pose for some pictures in the Aspens. After a few shots, we headed onward, but I kept thinking what a great spot we stopped at. After a mile or so, we turned around and headed back. Down a path we came across an amazing little spot in the middle of Aspens, grasses, flowers and snow-covered peaks in the distance. This was the place Teardrop, Jeep and I had been searching. We found home, at least for a few nights....