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Roll With The Changes

Greg learns to never tease a little rain cloud, and discovers that it snows in Colorado occasionally…

My next stop was at Cheyenne Mountain State Park near Colorado Springs. It opened in October 2006, making it currently the newest of the parks and one of the most modern.

Cheyenne-Sign

It’s curious how they set up the campground. You can either have full hookups, meaning electricity, water, and sewer, or choose a walk-in tent site. Nothing in between. The park has 20 miles of trails making it a popular spot for a day trip as well.

It’s all about the views here and they are great for most of the sites.

Cheyenne-Mountain_009

Notice the clouds? That is looking south. The sky to the north was still blue, with a smattering of white clouds and one small rain cloud I nicknamed “Fred”.

Rain-Cloud-Fred

I laughed at him, saying “show me what you got.” He said “look behind you.”

I was walking the campground at the time and when I turned my head I saw his whole family appear over Cheyenne Mountain.

Cheyenne-Mountain

Followed by rain.

Cheyenne-Mountain_051

Note to self: Do not taunt small rainclouds. They might have backup.

It was clear the next morning as I drove north-east about 150 miles to Jackson Lake State Park.

Jackson-Lake-Sign

I set up camp and made something different for lunch. Socat.

Taco-Time

(That is tacos spelled backwards, and I ate them with my left hand)

That night I made a wish for the next day’s weather. Clear blue skies.

And I got them. With a nice sunrise.

Jackson-Lake-Sunrise

See, look at the blue sky as I walk the campground…

Jackson-Lake_013 Jackson-Lake_105

And look at the wind sock near the marina.

Jackson-Wind

The wind was gusting 40 – 50 mph and there were whitecaps on the lake. It took me several hours to take photos of the 241 sites. Many times I had to walk backward leaning into the wind.

Jackson Lake is very busy during the summer as boaters from the Denver area 70 miles west come here to fish, waterski, sail, or just hang out on the beach. The sites are good sized and about 2/3 have electricity.

Monday morning I woke to find a small dusting of snow on my car. Hmmm, that’s not so bad I thought, so I headed another 50 miles east to North Sterling State Park.

Snow-Car

There was a bit of snow on the fields and a gazillion birds.

Snow-Road

The birds hang out on the edges of the road and fly away when you pass by. This can go on for several miles at a time. I also spotted some chilly tacos.

Snow-Cows

The roads remained clear and I arrived safely at North Sterling, where I am currently snowed in.

Snowy-Monday North-Sterling-Sign

Yep, snowed in!!! Tuesday morning looked like this:

Car-Front

The wind was still blowing hard so the snow piled up in drifts.

Car-Side

The campground looked very peaceful.

North-Sterling-Campground

The trees looked very cold.

Frozen-Tree

So what did I do on Tuesday, you ask? I strapped on my big hiking boots and walked the 141 sites. I mean, doesn’t this campsite below look appealing?

North-Sterling_115

A nice lakeside campsite. Do a bit of fishing, maybe take a dip in the lake. Cook a good meal and follow it up with a big campfire. Yep, that’s what I envision when I look at that picture.

Being 125 miles from Denver, this park gets pretty busy in the summer, but not quite as much as Jackson Lake. As there, 2/3 of the sites here have electricity.

While I write this on Wednesday afternoon the snow has begun falling harder. The weather should be better by Friday so I can continue onward. I’m still having fun, though.

In fact I can think of at least two good benefits derived from camping during snowstorms.

  1. No loud neighbors. No neighbors at all, actually.
  2. Save money. No need to buy ice.

Cooler

Regards, Park Ranger

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