Repeats are great!

The anticipation of pulling up jacks and rolling down the road to a new location is always exciting, but returning to familiar territory can be equally enjoyable.  There’s something comforting about revisiting a place.Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

our daughter, Ashton

This summer we find ourselves once again calling Denver home.  Last year we stayed in Westminster (northwest of Denver) at the Westminster Elks Lodge.  At the time, our daughter lived just a few miles away making it super convenient to hang out with her.  The location was also ideal to head into Denver regularly and explore the city, which we took full advantage of.

Last summer also included a few visits to Rocky Mountain National Park.  RMNP offers one majestic view after another with wildlife sightings almost guaranteed.  Gosh, how I love this place!

Elk in rutObviously, our main reason for returning to Denver for the months of June and July were to spend time with our daughter.  Last year Ashton moved to Highlands Ranch (south end of the Denver area) which meant the Elks Lodge in Westminster was no longer a convenient option for us to stay.

That was fine by me since the lack of views and high density parking were not my favorite.  Now, we had the  perfect opportunity to check out some lovely state parks.

Our first stop on the agenda was Chatfield State Park, located southwest of Denver.  We spent ten days here last year and liked it so much that we ended up booking a two-week reservation in the very same site for a June visit.  The views from my campsite were exactly what I was craving.

Denver, Colorado

the view out my RV door – site 74 at Chatfield State Park

I’ll jump at any opportunity to camp with a water view.   Add in wildflowers and wildlife…camping in Colorado

Denver, Coloradowell, it just doesn’t get much better.  Since, I’d been feeling a bit under the weather, this was the perfect place for me to lay low, recover, and enjoy the scenery.

During my working days, I was one of those people who would go on vacation and would need a vacation to recover from vacation.  I’ve never been one to lay at the beach or pool while sunbathing or reading.  Oh no, no lying around when there are things to do, sights to see, and adventures to be had.

Denver, Colorado

downtown Denver

To some degree, that hasn’t changed much.  Before we even travel to a new place, I usually have a list of things to see and do.  If nothing else, at least a trail map. That doesn’t mean we’ll carry out the items on that list, it’s meant as a rough idea of what an area has to offer.  The kids have plenty of travel stories involving their mom (moi) dragging them off in the rain to go zip lining in Maui or learning to ski in a blizzard.  No sitting around for this family when adventure awaits.

Denver, ColoradoThat said, I was really excited to return to Denver for the summer.  I had such a great time here last year that I compiled a list of places new and old to visit and even picked up the latest edition of 5280, a great magazine for anyone visiting Denver.

However, my health had other plans in mind and this summer I find myself joining the ranks of loungers near water reading.  Because I explored so much of Denver and the eastern Rockies last year, I’m actually enjoying the down time and of course it helps to be camped in some pretty awesome spots.

Chatfield State Park

Chatfield State Park, near Denver, Colorado – site 74

I really like Chatfield State Park …… mountains, water, wildlife, wildflowers, and sunsets.  The park was experiencing some serious flooding during our stay.  So serious that the western side of the park was closed, as were all the boat ramps.

camping in Denver

western entrance (Wadsworth Road) into Chatfield SP – the day use area is totally under water. The water is supposed to be on the other side of those trees. The trees should not be under water – picnic area and swim beach.

We even lost the ability for sewer for an entire week causing us to make a trip to Cabela’s to dump our tanks.  In other words, the park had no flush toilets anywhere, no showers, and no dump station.  We even experienced some power outages.  I felt badly for the staff as none of this was their fault and yet some campers and boaters were hostile.

camping in Denver

We’re looking at the swim beach, what’s left of it and the partly submerged restrooms. It gets worse!

Colorado State Parks

the same beach restrooms are almost totally submerged just a few days later. Check out the buoy’s in both photos.

Colorado State ParksFor us it was all part of the adventure and we were even refunded the difference between a partial hook-up verses a full hook-up.  I think it helped that we’re comfortable dry camping.

Paddlers were loving it.  With the boat ramps closed, the only boaters on the water were either kayaks, canoes, or those that rent a slip at the marina.  Even the weekends were quiet at this normally crowded reservoir.

Colorado State Parks

this is the main road heading toward the Wadsworth entrance turned kayak launch.

Colorado State Parks

the Platte River covers the main road toward the Wadsworth Road entrance

Roads and trails were underwater throughout the park.  This all took place the last two weeks of June, and as of this writing, the water has receded and all roads are open/assessable and all facilities are back in operation.  Colorado sure experienced an unusually wet May and June in 2015 making for a nice showing of wildflowers which Miss Hummer was loving.hummers

Chatfield ReservoirSo although I haven’t been out and about exploring much lately, my repeat stay at Chatfield State Park was great.  I relaxed outside watching the world go by, or rather hummers whiz by, I played around in the RV kitchen experimenting with some new recipes, we enjoyed lots of visits with the daughter, and even managed to fit in a little socializing.

Next up, we move camp over to Bear Creek Lake Park…….

To check out my first attempt at making Barbacoa click here.  And here’s the two latest additions to my library.

My Paleo Patisserie: An Artisan Approach to Grain Free BakingPlate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling

I never thought food photography would be so challenging. Let’s face it, anyone can take a photograph of a plate of food and post it on Instagram or Pin it, but making the food look like an appetizing morsel instead of tossed cookies takes a little more work …… as I’m finding out!

Colorado State Parks

I could get used to this view!




80 thoughts on “Repeats are great!

  1. The views over Chatfield looks lovely! Seems the flooding made it ideal for the kayakers;) I always prefer non-motorised lakes for kayaking (even if only temporarily). Your hummingbird photo is awesome! Can I ask what camera/lens combination you are using? We are considering upgrading ours and have started looking at what options are out there.

    • Thank you Inger. I’m actually shooting with a bridge camera; Panasonic FZ200 which is awesome for hiking 25-600mm lens capability. However, I have my eye on a Canon SL1 due to it’s small size. The SL1 feels comfortable in my hands (I do have a tab – near “About” page – labeled Cameras where I share camera info). Last year I tried the Sony a6000 and although it took great photos, the lens availability in the Sony line is limited. With Canon there’s endless lens options including Tamron and Sigma. It seems like a good time to buy a camera as everything I’ve been looking at is priced considerably less than last year. What do you shoot with now?

      • I am currently shooting with a Olympus OM-D E-M1. I wanted a camera that was light and easy to carry and hold. But I am finding lens options are limited, and I am not 100% happy with wildlife / bird photos (which is partially due to limitations in lenses). I am thinking about getting a DSLR as main camera and using the smaller EM-1 when we need to pack light. I haven’t noticed the Camera tab, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for your feedback!

  2. Weather can certainly have an impact on travel plans but it sounds like you made the most of your stay in the area. I’m sure the best was spending time with your daughter.

    • You are so right, the best part about our stay was time with our daughter. We’ll return in the fall and with all the moisture, I’m thinking there should be a nice showing of color 🙂

  3. Hey there, havenot had a chance to check back in with you but it sounds like all is moving along and you have switched camp grounds. I hope your feeling better. I could tell at our visit you were not yourself but you manage to put up with me and all my questions. You are my mentor for traveling in the future. I wouldnot mind getting together again before you leave the area if your up to it and I will treat you to lunch somewhere just to give you a change. Let me know if that’s possible and where you are now. I had to get Jessie moved out of Ft Collins and on her way to Oklahoma for her new job. So this is the first weekend I have been able to just stay at home and get somethings done around here. Plus find space for all her things. Its been a hectic few weeks. Anyways hope your feeling better and enjoying this beautiful summer we are having, even if it rains a lot it makes it really pretty instead of dried out. Take care, talk soon. One question what do you guys do when traveling to get your mail.?

  4. Sorry to hear about the flooding – hope it dries out by Sept. When we stayed there 2 years ago, I recall reading how much of the park could be flooded if need be but didn’t think it was so likely to happen – now we know why they built the dam.

    • It worked precisely as it was designed to and things have now returned to normal. It might have been an inconvenience to a few people but sparing folks and the city from flood damage is priceless. Hey, maybe engineers know what they’re talking about…. wink, wink 🙂

  5. It looks like you have found a wonderful place to rest and mend. Hope you are doing just that. Your photos are breathtaking. My camera is sick and I think has been for awhile now. I am going to have to send it in soon but since our point-and-shoot died a few months ago, I need to get another before I send the only camera I have in for repairs. I am not hearing the best of news about Panasonic’s customer service. 😦

    • Oh darn! Gayle and Jim ran into lots of problems with their camera (as you probably already know). Mine is giving me trouble focusing…. grrrr! I have my eye on a Canon SL1 but then I’m back to the lens dilemma 😉 We’re at Cherry Creek SP now and it has become hubby’s fan while Chatfield remains my fav. Good luck with the camera issues and I’m starting to feel better, thank you 🙂

      • Mine starting out having trouble focusing and has gotten progressively worse. I would love to have a mirrorless or DSLR but don’t know that I will go there yet as I use my camera most while hiking and wouldn’t want to schlep all that equipment in my pack. Glad to hear you are beginning to feel better.

        • You know I bought the Sony a6000 first and then returned it for the FZ-200? The lack of lens option in the Sony line was disappointing and the 200mm lens just wasn’t going to work for those TX birds. Great camera, just not for me. The Canon SL1 is about the same size as the Sony, and since it’s Canon there’s tons of lenses available. I do like my pocket Sony though and can relate to not wanting to schlep. Keep me posted on your experience with Panasonic as I have a feeling mine might be just a matter of months behind yours.

  6. You had such a lovely site for R & R, but that was seriously crazy flooding! Glad you were above the high water mark. Your hummer photo is lovely, Ingrid. It’s so much fun (and honestly, kind of a surprise) when we manage to capture one in flight. Of everything we photograph, though, taking an attractive food photo seems to be the most challenging — even though the food doesn’t move. 🙂

    • I know it’s crazy that I can capture a better shot of a fast little bird than I can of a plate of food, but I’ll get better just like I did with the birds. Practice! We’ve stayed in some lovely spots for June and most of July. One more week and we’ll be heading into humidity and bugs…. yikes!

    • I agree Jerry … not only cool creatures but adorable little things. Awe, and thank you for the kind words. (btw, nice gravatar photo)

  7. Enjoyed catching up with your past few post. Comments were closed on the top Colorado towns so I am cheekily going to say we lived telluride and loved crested butte. We did the train to and from silvery on so didn’t get to see that road- it was a fun trip with interesting people on the train.
    Great photography – and yes I wish food photography was all about whipping out an iPhone.!
    Take care and get well.

    • I just love western Colorado and hope to spend more time in that part of the state next summer. Ah, you know all too well the challenges of ‘good’ food photography. You do pretty well on that subject. Happy travels!

  8. I believe my friend… You have tackled food photography very well. But I will agree… Lots of shots have to be taken!
    That sunset view… To die for!
    Hope you are feeling better!

    • Thanks Nancy. Yeah, that sunset was crazy pretty. Guess there is an upside to storms rolling in and out. I am doing better thank you, but still have a month or two before I totally beat this thing!

        • Actually, supposedly it takes a minimum of 90 days to recover from Valley Fever. Some folks take a year. I’m in the middle of my third month and can see I’m getting much better. I’m one of the lucky ones. I probably won’t attempt any hiking until we return from the Midwest just to be on the safe side. It’s been a challenge to lay low when I have so much beauty before me waiting to be explored.

  9. It’s a bit unnerving to camp in rising waters, isn’t it? So sad that some folks have to be jerks about situations that are beyond human control. That’s why they call is c-a-m-p-i-n-g. Maybe folks like that will decide to spend their next vacation in a hotel.

    Hope you are feeling better soon, Ingrid.

    • Fortunately at Chatfield SP the campground is up on a hill. Thus, the water would never reach the campground allowing us to sleep soundly. We’ve camped in other places where such was not the case and unnerving it is.
      Yep, I think I’ve turned the corner with this spore. It’s breaking up, thank goodness. Scary stuff as you know.

  10. Indeed Hatfield is a perfect place for just lounging around. I sure hope you are really mending and ready to go. Your hummer captures are so perfect! Ingrid you have mastered your camera! Between our heat and humidity, I think I can use some of your rain there.
    Food photography could be easy, as it does not move.

    • I must have sat outside patiently waiting for well over an hour for a hummer to cooperate. She was worth the wait. And food photography is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. I thought birds were challenging but making food look scrumptious presents it’s own issues. Since I don’t have the energy to run around hunting birds, I’ll practice shooting food 😉

  11. I was unable to see all your great photography as our internet service is horrible here but I am able to read your posts & im so sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well. I hope you make a full recovery soon. Chatfield is a beautiful park. Rest, enjoy the scenery, & heal.

    • I feel your pain with unreliable internet… been there. It can be frustrating. Both Chatfield and Cherry Creek State Parks are beautiful and perfect to explore the Denver area. The only downside is they both fill up on weekends so without a res it’s almost impossible to find an open site.
      I’m doing better. Thanks for asking 🙂

  12. Ingrid sorry to hear you’re not feeling well – it must do you good to see tryout daughter. I remember reading about all the fun you two had last summer. Enjoy the time with your daughter and take things slow and get well and am looking forward to your next post from Bear Creek Lake Park!

    • Although I’d love to be out hiking and exploring, I’m finding the quiet time can also be enjoyable. We’ve had some great visits with the daughter just sitting around camp watching the storms roll in and the hummingbirds whiz around and with the Rocky Mountains as a back drop….. I can’t complain 🙂

  13. Sorry to hear you are not up to par!! I’m sure with that amazing view you will get better real soon. Hope you have a wonderful time with your daughter. Your pictures are all beautiful, but the humming bird was spectacular. Get well soon.

    • Thank you and yes with amazing views, visits from the daughter, and hummers flying around camp, I’m feeling much better. Not quite ready to tackle the trails, but going in the right direction 🙂

  14. Your Miss Hummer shot is spectacular. Sorry to read that you’ve not been feeling 100%. Glad you’re taking things a bit easy this time around, Ingrid. Feel better very soon. What a gorgeous sunset and I love your downtown Denver view. 🙂

  15. Hope you are feeling better!!! Your photos are stunning and thank goodness someone else has a difficult time of making food good enough to post a pic of. George just welcomes food….LOL. So I am okay not posting my kitchen forays…..all I care about is fishing and crabbing lately. Spending time with the daughter should make your time for healing go better. Stay strong and get better. Hugs, for us both.

    • Fishing and crabbing sounds not only fun, but delicious. Sometimes I’m just to impatient to eat that taking the time for a “good” photo takes a back seat to me chowing down LOL. However, just like you and jewelry making, I’m bound and determined to improve in this area of photography. Thus, will try and curb my appetite in the name of art…. 🙂

  16. I sure enjoy hearing about your adventures, Ingrid. I, too, like to totally explore a place; but you’re wise to just chill when the body calls for that. Your photos are so wonderful, I love the zinnia-foreground photo in downtown Denver. And the submerging bathroom series is astounding!

    • Thanks Jet. Yeah, that flooding was unbelievable. It surpassed a record for the park, but what I failed to mention in the post was the reservoir was built specifically to alleviate flooding in downtown Denver, which it did/does…. mission accomplished. And with the exception of inconveniencing a few campers and boaters, no homes or businesses suffered flood damage which occurred in the 60’s prior to the Corp of Engineers building the damn.
      I too like that zinnia photo and was looking forward to running around Denver again to capture some better shots. I understand my camera much more than I did last summer when I first bought it.

  17. Hi, your rain issue is the opposite of what we are seeing here. A few showers but barely enough to dampen the ground. The photos are beautiful. Like others, We love the hummingbird photo!
    Feel better!
    Sean and Sherry

    • Thank you…. I’m enamored with hummingbirds – and cranes. I guess I like birds that are either really small or super big 🙂 Looks like without needing to dodge rainstorms, you’re able to get in some great hiking with stunning views. Glacier NP is so pretty!

  18. Ingrid I agree that sometimes going back to a place you have been provides a far more relaxing time. I too love the adventure of somewhere new but it is work figuring out where to be, what to eat, what to see. Your photos are stunning and I’m with Amy on the hummingbird capture. The storm cloud over your RV is amazing. Sorry to hear about the flooding.
    Good luck with the food photography. I’m off to have a look.

    • It’s amazing how much I use fellow RV bloggers for recommendations. I seem to visit the blogosphere first and then start the Googling when it comes to new locations. I can see how that isn’t necessarily an option for you with your unique adventures. I can’t remember if you visited the Sonora Desert Museum when you were in Tucson. Hubby and I loved the hummingbird aviary and I’ve been trying to capture a nice hummer photo ever since our visit. I finally had the patience and right camera settings to snap a few nice hummer shots…. bout time 🙂

    • Thanks Amy. I think I finally have my camera and it’s settings figured out when it comes to capturing birds. Now I’ll start working on food photography… that is, until the birds start calling me 😉

  19. I have to say the weather has been nuts – either dry or dumping way too much water with flooding! Beautiful Captures 🙂 Makes me want to run outdoors, except it is pouring here – 4 inches of rain last night here – it was the 4:30 a.m. wake up call this morning with rain, thunder and lightening. Hope you are feeling better – take care. Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

    • Hope the fact that it was pouring is a good thing for your location, but you are so right, it seems to be either drought or flooding. Kind of crazy. Wishing you a nice weekend as well 🙂

  20. Great capture on the hummingbird! You’re getting so good at that! Sorry about all your rain. We’re only getting the occasional afternoon thunderstorm down here in Durango. It’s been pretty nice weather. 😉

    • I think this part of Colorado is finally back to it’s normal routine…. sun all day with the afternoon thunderstorm rolling in. I can deal with that. The wildflowers sure are pretty with all the moisture… always an up side 🙂

  21. Revisiting a place can be good, and comforting, I agree !

    Is it a tiger lily ? I’m not so sure about the orange flower but it’s gorgeous and your picture is amazing ! I love the angle, very well done !! 🙂 And your picture of the hummingbird is stunning !!!

    • Thank you. Yes, I think it’s a tiger lily and I loved the angle of the light on that shot…. not something I’m usually good at spotting. Isn’t that hummer just the sweetest? She was so little that I had trouble focusing on her face so I was thrilled to see the clarity in the shot 🙂

        • They are very quick which is why I had to set my camera to settings that would capture. I still wanted blur on the wings to show movement. Thus it took a lot of trial and error. Fortunately I had several days and lots of hummingbirds flying around 🙂

  22. A fantastic shot of that hummingbird! Need to go to Denver again myself. My wife’s cousin lives there.
    Have a great time,

  23. Holy cow the flooding! Glad everyone was OK though. That looks like a way pretty area. Returning to places for me is kinda like going home. When we get back here to Wyoming, that is one of those places. I need to check out your food blog. We are getting a bit tired of the same old stuff for diner.

    • Fortunately the reservoir was designed to hold flood waters so the city of Denver wouldn’t suffer flood damage…. it worked! Hubby and I have decided as much as we enjoy exploring new places, we love returning to some of our favorites. Like you said, kind of like returning home 🙂

  24. It was a amazing how much rain this area received. Wow! The water really got high in the park. The last pictures I saw were only halfway up the restrooms. I can’t believe how high it went!

    You certainly had a wonderful place to rest, relax, and recover while visiting your daughter:)

    Love that photo of the hummer:) Gorgeous!

    • Thanks Pam. We’ve really enjoyed the parks this summer. Chatfield and Cherry Creek State Parks are both wonderful. That water level hit a record for the park, but I like the fact that the campground sits so high that there wasn’t even a glimmer of possible site flooding. So much easier to sleep at night 🙂

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