From plan A to plan B

We were out the door by 6:30 Saturday morning.  I had packed us a picnic lunch, threw sweatshirts in the backseat of the little truck, and had our route all planned out.  We stopped for gas to top off the tank.  I always like starting out with a full tank of gas before embarking into virgin territory especially when heading into the mountains.

The drive into the mountains via Interstate 70 west out of Denver went smoothly. Although, there did appear to be more traffic than one might expect at this time of the morning.Mt. Evans

The day’s destination was Mt. Evans.  My daughter and I visited Mt. Evans last year and I was eager to share the scenery with hubby.  As soon as we exited the interstate in the town of Idaho Springs, I knew something was up; there were way too many pedestrians and cyclists for this time of the morning.

Mt. EvansA mere mile north on Highway 103 and my fears were confirmed…..  a cycling event  and therefore the highest paved road in North America was closed for the event.  Bummer!  Looks like we won’t be taking highway 5 to the top of Mt. Evans 😦

However, I’ll admit I wasn’t too terribly disappointed as the weather didn’t appear very agreeable; gloomy skies and cold temps with storms threatening.  We definitely would’ve needed those sweatshirts especially at the top of Mt. Evans; 14,265 feet in elevation.

That’s the thing about Colorado, if you don’t like the weather in one spot you can drive a mere thirty minutes in another direction and go from 80 degrees Fahrenheit to a cool 50 degrees and Saturday mornings temps near Mt. Evans were closer to that 50 number than the 80…. burrrr.  It’s been hovering in the 90’s all week in Denver so this felt very chilly to me and my bare legs.Mt. Evans

Oh well, since plan A didn’t work out it’s onto plan B.  I had never driven Highway 103 from Echo Lake to the town of Evergreen; an alternate route for picking up Highway 5 up to Mt. Evans. The last thing we wanted to do was drive back the way we came knowing the event congestion would just increase with every minute.

Colorado State ParksWe were so glad we ventured via this route.  The scenery was beautiful and the road was in excellent condition.

We even detected some possible boondocking locations.  We’ll need to check with the Arapahoe National Forest for the rules and any other pertinent information.  We know we’ll attempt a return visit to Mt. Evans sometime in the next few weeks and this is the route we’ll take….  I-70 to 74 to 103/66 to 5

It was only 8:00 in the morning with our plans for the day foiled. I just couldn’t bring myself to return home.  I had to think of a place for a picnic……..

Last week, I received a question from a blog follower wanting to know if I’ve ever been to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  I knew exactly where this park was located.  We’ve spent some time over the past two summers camped around Denver and I had every intention of previously checking out this State Park, but never got around to it.  Her inquiry was just the nudge I needed to explore, as my interest was equally piqued.  The next day, with camera in hand, I explored Golden Gate Canyon State Park and immediately knew I needed to show this place to hubby.Golden Gate Canyon State Park

So here we were, driving back towards Denver on a Saturday morning after our failed attempt to visit Mt. Evans with an unopened picnic basket when Golden Gate Canyon State Park pops into my mind.  I wanted hubby to see this park anyway, thus this was the perfect opportunity.Colorado State Parks

From the town of Golden we headed north on highway 93 then turned west on 46.  We meandered along this 2 lane curvy road at about 30 mph dodging weekend cyclists here and there (Coloradans love their outdoor activities – share the road!).  After about sixteen miles, we turned onto a small road heading toward the campgrounds.  Mountain Base Road has a 19% grade and some switchbacks.  Therefore, RV’s of any kind aren’t allowed and need to stay on highway 46 and continue to 119 to access the Reverend’s Ridge Campground.Golden Gate Canyon State Park

As we slowly made our way deeper into the state park, we stopped at several trailheads to take notes for future hikes.  The road was lined with wildflowers which had me wanting to savor the moment.  Al was lost in his own thoughts as he was deeply inhaling the scent of the pine forest.Golden Gate Canyon State ParkPine trees, Aspen trees, snow capped mountains in the distance, endless hiking trails, and wildflowers…. yep, the perfect place for a picnic.  But first we wanted to check out the campground.

Would this be a place we’d like to stay?  Stay tuned…..
Coleman Broadband Quad Chair with Cooler, Red


44 thoughts on “From plan A to plan B

  1. Glad you had a Plan B. What a great decision.

    I love the wildflower photos. You can post as many of those you want. I will look at all if them.

  2. Looks like a great plan B, have you ever done Weston Pass, did some wildflower shooting there one summer. Remind me when we see you this winter to give you a copy of my brothers book to photography in CO, think you’d enjoy it.

    • Hmm, not sure where Weston Pass is. I’ll need to Google. Trust me, I will definitely remind you about your brothers book. I look forward to seeing you guys this winter 🙂

  3. Oh, I can’t wait for the next post! 😉 You are a gem! Yikes, a 19% grade??? You’re darn right we won’t take the RV on that thing. haha It looks like a beautiful place… so far. Thanks again! — Denise

    • Sounds like you won’t be able to do a scouting trip out here so hopefully my post tomorrow will provide the info you’re looking for 🙂 AND feel free to email me if you have any more questions.

      • We have already discussed a possible driving route to avoid Raton Pass on the CO/NM border. We drove across it last year, and while it went fine, we would love to just avoid it, if possible. There is a route in eastern CO that is good road and avoids the pass. I even discovered a state park that is somewhat close to the halfway point for us on that route, too. Just thought I would share it, as I never even heard of it before… John Martin Reservoir State Park. The RV sites even have big trees, and they sit on the lower part of the lake. US 287 is a good north/south route, too. Thanks again!

          • The possible week-long camping trip would not be until sometime next summer at the earliest. We are just trying to find a good place to meet our California kids where they can fly in and we can drive and enjoy a few days at a pretty place to camp, preferably with some type of lodging for them nearby, too. This is sounding like a good possibility.

  4. I sure enjoy following all of your adventures, Ingrid. And your photos are so great. This post I especially liked seeing the black-eyed Susans. 🙂

    • Thanks Jet. I just couldn’t seem to get enough of all the beautiful wildflowers. Tomorrows post will feature more black-eyed Susans. Is there such a thing as too many LOL. 🙂

    • This place is so pretty. We’re looking at our schedule to maybe book a few days. You guys would love the campground and area 🙂

  5. Ingrid – Not a bad Plan B, I am certain you will make Plan A happen soon. I am glad it worked out for you and Al. Flexibility is the key – have a great week. Clay

    • Thanks Clay and yes being flexible sure helps when things don’t go according to plan. It’s hard to have a bad ‘plan’ with the scenery around here 🙂

  6. Sometimes an unexpected change of plan can yield some great surprises, Ingrid. Your plan B looks like a very acceptable alternative. The scent of the pines must have been wonderful. I presume that the picnic basket did get opened before too long. 🙂

    • Oh yes, we found a lovely picnic table along a babbling creek to enjoy our lunch. Hubby was particularly fond of the surrounding pine trees and shade. Plan B turned out to be a lovely day 🙂

    • I always enjoy my visits to Golden. The hiking possibilities in the area seem to be endless and my explorations have barely touched the surface 🙂

  7. Sounds like your plan b turned out very well. I want to drive up Mt Evans next time we get out that way and I’m way impressed if folks biked it.

    • I would highly recommend a trip to Mt. Evans. There’s several stunningly beautiful places to stop without having to hike much. The air does get thin. I can’t imagine biking that road but folks do regularly.

  8. I’m glad you made it out to Golden Gate. I visited the park for the first time this summer. I’m excited to go back this fall when the aspen leaves change color. Still haven’t made it up to Mt. Evans, but it’s on the list!

    • Mt. Evans is a must! We’re hoping to camp at Golden Gate Canyon SP – loved the place. I also enjoyed hiking at White Ranch Park just haven’t had a chance to post about it. We live in an awesome state, don’t we? 🙂

    • With the kind of scenery we’ve been surrounded by, it just doesn’t seem to matter if it’s plan A or B, all equally lovely. I know, it’s a tough job 😉

  9. Plan B not to bad, eh? That seems to be the thing about Colorado, Plan B most likely will always rival Plan A. You are certainly capturing the beauty of Colorado with that camera of yours Ingrid. I look forward to your next post. 🙂

    • Photos of the campground going out on Wednesday. I think you and Terry would really enjoy staying there. We’re contemplating our schedule for a stay. Loving my camera but there’s a saga behind that 😉

  10. We did a 7% grade in Arizona with our Cougar to see the Kitt Peak Observatory..The place was worth the trip, but Den had his hand on the trailer break all the way down…pretty dicey in a fiver. Look at you leaving a huge tease at the end of this blog..You should write soap operas!!!!

    • Gotta keep readers coming back LOL. Grades with the RV in tow is always a white knuckler. Fortunately, my little Tacoma didn’t even notice much. The campground post is coming up on Wednesday and it’s just the kind of place you’d love.

  11. I had been thinking of you Ingrid on the search for wildflowers. Those cyclist really do get in the way. 🙂 Good for the two of you to be flexible. Sometimes wonderful thins can be discovered that way.

    • Darn those cyclists. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? LOL I still haven’t seen my fill of wildflowers, but today’s excursion was a start. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t do it justice by picking up ALL the blooms…. so pretty!

      • Ingrid I often look at a beautiful scene and then look at the photo I’ve taken and think well that just doesn’t do it justice. However I think e provide that glimpse of a spot for others to instill the intrigue. 🙂

  12. Our lifestyle seems to be full of plan changes whether for weather, lack places to stay, events, etc. Flexibility is the name our the game:) You made a great choice which turned into a very nice day. I love traveling or hiking and smelling the pines. Wildflowers make me smile.

    • I think to really find the joy and pleasure in this lifestyle, one needs to embrace change and flexibility. Things don’t always go as planned and a sense of humor along with a shoulder shrug can lead to one heck of a fun day. Al and I are still sporting smiles from the wildflowers and fresh pine scent 🙂

    • I think the number is actually scarier than the drive. I kept waiting for something really steep but it was never bad especially for my little Tacoma. The road is in great shape and no real drop offs. So it wasn’t a biggie. Beautiful State Park that’ll we’ll be returning to 🙂

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