State Forest State Park…in Colorado State of Colorado. Reminds me of Arte Moreno's decision to change the Angels' name to "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Which literally means "The The Angels Angels of Anaheim."
I left Stagecoach on Sunday morning heading to State Forest. The first step was to cross the continental divide at Rabbit Ears Pass on US 40. I saw a nice view of Stagecoach Lake and what I guess could be mistaken for rabbit ears. Then the Rockies finally came into view:
I arrived at camp around 10:00am. My campsite wasn't vacant yet, so I started with the campsite photos. State Forest has three main camping areas. Coming from the west on CO 14 and turning off at CO 41, you first reach North Michigan, which is set on both sides of the lake. About 4 miles further up the dirt road you find Bockman. Ranger Lakes is about 5 miles farther east on CO 14, and is the only campground with hookups.
After taking photos at Bockman and the west side of North Michigan, I headed back to my site and set up camp. There were ominous clouds coming in from the west, so I set up for rain. That means my screen house as well as the fly on the tent. I am glad I did. The thunder started around 2:00pm, followed by the rainstorm that lasted for five hours.
The photos below show the view out of the screen house just before the storm, followed by wetness:
Monday morning dawned sunny and cool. Perfect! As my gear was drying, I walked around my campsite and took some photos:
North Michigan is the only campground directly on the water. Bockman seemed mainly populated by OHV enthusiasts (Off Highway Vehicles) and had a nearby stream. At Ranger Lakes, the lakes are about 1/2 mile away. I saw many anglers at North Michigan pulling in quite a few fish. Below are photos of an early morning float tuber, some shoreline fishing, and a photo of people fishing near the rental cabins across from my campsite:
Monday afternoon I finished the photos at North Michigan and drove to Ranger Lakes Campground. The first two photos are from Bockman, the next three are from Ranger Lakes:
Did you notice all the dead pine trees in most of these photos? The Pine Bark Beetle is destroying many of the forests in Colorado. In the photo above at Ranger Lakes, you can clearly see the tree stumps and the dead pines in the background. The Ranger I spoke to said that the beetles are actually native here and don't usually cause much damage, but they were set off by the prolonged drought that Colorado suffered from. She said the only thing that would kill them is 3 consecutive days of 40 degrees below zero. Since that isn't going to happen, she estimates it might take up to 50 years for the forests to return. This is happening state-wide, she said. They have removed 10's of thousands of dead trees from this State Park alone. You hear the bulldozers at work and see piles of trees like in the photo below:
But the chipmunks don't seem to mind too much. They were scampering all around my campsite. They were feasting on the wildflowers and grass shoots, but occasionally they got an attitude and yelled at me, like in the second photo below:
I have a long drive on Wednesday, stopping at Boyd State Park on my way to my campsite at St. Vrain. Stay tuned.
Regards, Park Ranger