Thursday, May 24, 2012

Colorado-First Month (continued Part II)

(May 11-24, 2012)
May 24, 2012???
The White River National Forest, Colorado is one of “the nation’s most visited National Forest – with more than 10 million visitors annually – the White River National Forest lures folks to the Rocky Mountains with it’s diverse alpine landscape and dramatic scenery.  From skiing to hiking to boating, the White River offers unlimited outdoor adventures.  I-70 cuts through the heart of the forest, providing easy access from Denver.  Home to 10 peaks over 14,000 feet high, this Colorado forest also incorporates eight wilderness areas where nature prospers in all its wild glory.  To ensure the forest’s resources remain healthy for both humans and animals, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) will focus on watershed restoration and wildlife habitat restoration.”
The above is from “YOUR NATIONAL FORESTS” Winter-Spring 2012 magazine.  (
The National Forest Foundation engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, and administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests.
Day before heading up the mountain to my work site, I saw this moose in North Fork Campground. They see lots of them there.  There was actually another one in the brush out of sight.  We had a little snow and lots of rain delaying my departure for my camp.
But finally, I got to get on “into the wild.” I’ve been on the mountain now for four days.  Drove up Monday, May 21. As I headed up the mountain, I passed a grey fox along the side of the road with a mouse in it’s mouth.  It was no more than 10 feet from my van… but I didn’t have the camera ready.  I’ve never been that close to one before.
Then a little farther up the mountain I saw three young bucks beside the road. 
Once in camp, I saw five or six deer (a large collared female, a couple of yearling bucks, and what looked like a couple of younger females). They were grazing right next to where I am now camped for the season.  If they visit this little meadow often, I can just look out my window and watch them. On the drive up here with my boss last week, we didn’t see anything.  Maybe a good sign that I saw all this in one day?
May 22:  I spent part of the day settling in and drove through the campgrounds.  Only one camper present.  No signs up yet so can’t charge them.  There were about six fisherman at the lake.

Sleeping at night has been uncomfortable.  I had trees to the west of me that cast shadows on my site most of the day (not good for solar power or Sun Oven cooking).  Also, the prevailing winds are from the West… and those trees are very close and some are 200’ tall.  If one fell on my site, my van and trailer and all I own would be crushed.  Moving tomorrow, and will be just off the left side of the above photo.  Worked today cleaning up 10 of the 30 sites (raking the sites, and cleaning out fire pits), and cleaning four restrooms.
And I even had visitors today, two Forest Service volunteers (who didn’t expect to see anyone up there so early) and the hosts (it was their 44th Wedding Anniversary) from Rifle Falls State Park, who came to see if I made it up here.  They came on back trails in a jeep, with a friend (taking the photo above right).  Wow, first day on the job and five humans and a dog (Bear loves snow) came to visit.
May 23: After moving my camp across the road, I went out to continue cleaning up the campgrounds.
I rigged up a little luggage rack cart with a Rubbermaid tub to hold rake, shovel, and trash can… and packed a backpack with water and snacks and hauled it around to the sites I was cleaning.  This will have to do until they get me a golf cart. 
And today, I discovered “snowshrooms”… heck I don’t know what they are really called, but they look like dirty snow.  Must be eatable, as something is nipping them off.  Interesting.
It began snowing about 2pm so I had to stop working.
May 24:  Last night it snowed about 3”. 
This is what I woke up to this morning.  Wednesday is suppose to be my day off anyway.  So had to clean snow off my solar panel, and sweep the car off.  I heard voices so decided to drive a bit and see where the people were.  They were at the lake but I could only see them with binoculars. The road was slippery and muddy, so I turned back to camp.  Hard to believe, but all that snow melted off during the day today.
Here are some pictures taken today, May 24, 2012.
There are chickmunks all over the place… and with the early snow melt, there will probably be a population explosion this year.
My new campsite is in full sun from about 10am til 8pm.  OK, gotta get the Sun Oven out.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.