Rain, Rain, go Away

SteamboatI was really hoping to rent a Kayak or Canoe today and get out on Steamboat Lake.  I love being out on the water.  Al’s hesitant to paddle and would rather rent a boat with a motor.  “But I want to paddle”……envision a three-year old throwing a tantrum 🙂  “But, Ingrid, we haven’t been out paddling since our Boundary Water Canoe Area days.  Don’t you think we’re a bit out of shape?  You do realize we’ll probably end up in the water?”  I’m up for the challenge!

Fortunately for Al, the weather wasn’t agreeable.  We awoke to overcast cool temperatures and a gentle steady rain fall.  Not the kind of boating weather I was hoping for.

We’re in need of a few groceries and could use some internet time as well.  Day three of no internet and Al and I are starting to feel the beginnings of withdrawal symptoms.  We grab the laptops and head into Steamboat Springs.  A little retail therapy wouldn’t hurt either.

We stop to watch this sheep herder and dogs move this flock of sheep
Hahns Peak Lake
Hahns Peak Lake

Time spent on the internet at a cute book store, check; retail therapy, T-shirt purchased, check; groceries, check; yummy lunch at a bistro, check…….time to return to camp.  Although it’s still overcast and the rain comes and goes, we’ll head back to camp slowly, exploring along the way.

Pearl Lake State Park offers a more intimate wilderness experience than Steamboat Lake.  Pearl Lake is a tranquil 190 acre lake perfect for fishing and canoeing.  The campground is rustic and not recommended for RV’s longer than 35′.  There’s only 39 sites, and in our opinion, only a hand-full would accommodate our 31′ rig….all on the upper loop.  Pearl Lake State Park is perfect for small trailers and tents.  Elevation 7800 feet.

Hahns Peak Lake
Hahns Peak Lake

SteamboatWe continue heading north on County Road 129 past Steamboat Lake to check out Hahns Peak Lake.  This small lake is a paddlers dream.  No motors allowed.  The campground sits at 8500 feet in elevation and offers 25 sites.  Hahns Peak Lake and Campground is managed by the Routt National Forest and camping fees are very reasonable.  It is definitely a little more of a challenge and effort to get to this remote Campground, nestled within a pine and aspen forest.

Al and I are both happy and satisfied with our camping experience at Steamboat Lake, Colorado, and aren’t interested in changing locations during this visit.  In the future, we would most likely choose Steamboat Lake State Park again as well.  This is truely a beautiful and serene place….a place we hope to return to again and again.

Steamboat Lake

Steamboat Lake

Steamboat LakeSteamboat Lake

Nothing to do, but Admire the View

SteamboatWe watched the sunrise.  We ate breakfast, drank coffee, and just sat while admiring the view.  We hear cows mooing and sheep baaing. Al and I are both morning people.  As a matter of fact, when we lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, my favorite time of day on the strip was 5:30 – 6:00 in the morning as the sun was rising.  And why would I be on the Strip that early?  Let’s just say “college football and checking spreads”.  The rest of that story will just have to wait.Steamboat Lake State Park

Ah, back to the beauty of Steamboat Lake and the Colorado Rockies.  Steamboat Lake State Park is located 26 miles north of the town of Steamboat Springs and sits at an elevation of 8000 feet above sea level.  There’s 198 camp sites and the park is open year-round, but full-facilities are only available late May to mid October.  It gets cold around here and Steamboat receives plenty of snow each winter….over 300 inches.

Steamboat Lake State Park
We’re camped on a peninsula 🙂
Steamboat Lake State Park
Camper Cabin

This 1,055 acre man-made lake is a haven for water sports and anglers.  Steamboat Lake is well known for sizable rainbow trout.  Visitors can rent a watercraft from the marina; canoes, kayaks, ski boats, and fishing boats.  There are plenty of hiking trails in the area, and are surrounded by meadows of wildflowers.

The Dutch Hill Campground offers campsites with electric, campsites without electric, and Camper Cabins for those lacking their own equipment.  We opt to camp at the Bridge Island Loop, which is on a peninsula and surrounded by water.  We take a small bridge over a creek to access the land.  This is a less popular camping loop since there’s no electric.  Fine by us, we have a generator and plenty of battery operated lights.  Right now there’s only two other campers in this area.  However, the weekend will fill up.  Thus, we’ll leave prior to then.  Right now, we’ll enjoy our own private slice of paradise.Steamboat

Sandhill crane
Sandhill Crane

The weather is gorgeous today….sunny and 72 degrees.  It’s the third week in August.  Al and I take a couple of short hikes today.  We meet and visit with the couple hosting at the campground and they share some information on the area.  We enjoy lunch at camp at the picnic table and later in the evening a wonderful campfire.

Wildlife in the area consists of sandhill cranes, waterfowl, elk, deer, bear, coyote, fox, beaver, chipmunks and other small mammals.  The trash containers have a special locking mechanism, making it “bear proof”.Steamboat Lake State Park

Oh, what shall we do tomorrow?

Hahns Peak
Admiring Hahns Peak

Steamboat Lake State Park

Burrrr, its quarter to six our first morning at Steamboat Lake and Bear is restless.  “Really, Bear.  Can’t you wait awhile?”   “No mom, gotta go, gotta go. Come on.”  I gently roll out of bed and quietly throw on some clothes trying not to disturb Al.  Bear on the other hand, makes no attempt to be quiet. Steamboat

I raise the blinds on our large rear window and am amazed with the awesome beauty.  I gasp louder than intended, “Oh my gosh”.  Al comments, “Is everything ok?”  I respond, “I didn’t realize you were awake”.  Al says, “Did ya really think I could sleep through Bear’s shenanigans?”  Yeah, he was a little crazy this morning.  Must be the cool, rather cold air.  I love seeing him so energetic.  I just wish he would have slept in.Steamboat Lake

It rained last night and this morning there is a fine layer of mist and fog engulfing the landscape.  It’s stunning.  So stunning, Al jumps out of bed to join us on the morning walk.Steamboat Lake

It’s quiet, it’s serene.  We watch the sunrise………Steamboat

Hubby wins !

Steamboat SpringsAs Al and I enjoy a leisurely lunch on the outdoor patio at Grappa Bistro in downtown Golden, we discuss a new location.  Although I am in love with Golden, Colorado, it’s time to move on…..move on to cooler temps.  I suggest Rocky Mountain National Park.  It’s August 20th and the tourist season is winding down.  So I feel confident we’ll have no trouble finding a camp spot.  Besides, it should only take us about an hour and a half at the most to get to Estes Park.

Al has other thoughts.  He suggests Steamboat Springs and the campground at Steamboat Lake. We return to the RV and he presents me with information on Steamboat Springs and the surrounding area.  It’s been almost fourteen years since our last visit to Steamboat.  Al, the consummate gentleman, always acquiesces to my whims.  Perhaps it’s time I agree to his……nah, I allow him to plead his case and pry me with champagne and chocolate before submitting….”you win”.  I’m kidding, no champagne was needed.  I really didn’t care where in Colorado we went, but it was fun playing with hubby.

Golden Colorado
Al taking care of ‘business’

We say our good-byes to daughter and the next morning we depart Golden and head west on Interstate 70.  We’ll need to cross the Continental Divide twice.  Our first summit is Loveland Pass at 11,158 feet above sea level.  We drive through the famous Eisenhower Tunnel.  This tunnel is the highest vehicle tunnel in the United States and is approximately 1.7 miles in length.  The Eisenhower Tunnel is located 50 miles west of Denver.

SteamboatI have no photos because I’m busy being a back seat driver co-pilot.  As we exit the tunnel we are graced with the most gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains.  However, what goes up, must come down.  We decrease in elevation with a series of turns….first left, then right.  Al downshifts the truck transmission to keep from riding the brake. That’s ok because I’m pushing down hard on my imaginary brake on the passenger side and gripping the “ah sh*t” handle until my knuckles turn white.  I’m very used to mountain driving and don’t usually stress, but we’re pulling 31 feet and can’t take the turns like a normal vehicle.  We also don’t have the ability to stop as quickly.

Whew, one pass behind us.  At the towns of Dillon and Silverthorne, we head north on Highway 9 and eventually pick up Highway 40 in the town of Kremmling.  We’re heading toward the northwest part of the State of Colorado.  Rabbit Ears Pass is our next Continental Divide crossing at an elevation of 9426 feet.  This pass is long and more gradual.  No white knuckles necessary!

We arrive in the town of Steamboat Springs in time for lunch.  We manage to find parking and a rustic, quaint restaurant where we devour a couple of Buffalo Burgers before heading north on County Road 129, twenty-six miles to Steamboat Lake.

Steamboat Lake
Steamboat Lake State Park

We arrive at Steamboat Lake State Park and set up camp on Bridge Island; a less popular loop without electric that sits on a peninsula.  We have a private spot in paradise.  We spend the rest of the evening relaxing and taking in the beauty……Steamboat