LOCATION: Outside of Steamboat Springs, in north central Colorado
CAMPGROUND: Meadows Campground – a National Forest Service park. Nice sites far apart from one another, picnic table, and firepit (although there is a burn ban in effect). Pit toilet. No other services. $5/night with senior pass. 4 stars out of 5.
WEATHER: Cold in AM; warming to 80!
DRIVE: 5.5 hours
At Firehole Canyon, since we were very remote, the night skies were beautiful. Last night, I got up in the night to gaze at the Milky Way. So quiet.
We had heard that there might be a forest fire on the route we wanted to take today, but had no cell service or wifi. So, we went east on Interstate 80, trying to pick up service. Still no luck. The Interstate was full of big semi-trucks which always makes me nervous. We got off after about two hours, thinking that we would ask someone about the route as we got closer.
We drove south through desolate Wyoming which turned into desolate Colorado. The only thing of interest was the sagebrush and natural gas machinery. We did see several pronghorn and a few wild horses.
As we neared Steamboat Springs, the landscape changed to tree-covered mountains. Steamboat Springs is a ski resort town, and seemed quite fancy. We asked about our possible road closure at a gas station, and no one seemed to know. So, onward we went.
Sure enough, outside of Steamboat Springs, we saw the road closed sign. Now to Plan B, which is through Rocky National Park, to get to our next location in the Loveland/Fort Collins area.
We stumbled upon this campground, pulled in, and had practically the whole place to ourselves. We are nestled under some nice pines.
We took a stroll around the campground. We discovered we are at 9000+ elevation, so strolling was about all we could do! No jogging up here!
We struck up a conversation with some Colorado campers and told them where we are going tomorrow. They told us we are out of luck. Rocky Mountain National Park has a quota system to keep crowds under control. They release only a certain number of passes for each two-hour slot. There are no slots available tomorrow. So, now to Plan C – we will have to go down to Denver, then circle back north. I am not looking forward to Denver traffic which I have heard is terrible.
We sat around the picnic table, nibbling on some olives for happy hour. We spit out the pits on the table and grey jays swooped down to grab them. They are very tame.
DINNER: Very gourmet. I belong to a Facebook group called Gourmet Camping. Someone had posted a recipe something like this, and I made it with a twist. It is lamb/cheese filled portebello mushrooms. First I removed the gils from the mushrooms and poured a bit of olive oil on them. I baked them for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, I made up a filling with goat cheese, 1 leftover grilled lamb burger, some pesto (as I am out of basil), chopped baby spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. I placed a slice of tomato at the bottom of the cooked portebello, added the fillling, and cooked another 15 minutes. Our side was a cucumber/tomato/baby spinach salad and a toasted pita filled with a Greek yogurt/cucumber mix.
Coincidentally, we listened to a Jacques Peppin podcast over dinner. Cool!