Our week started off with an Elk encounter. We woke up early on Saturday morning (5:30 AM) and quickly packed up camp, said goodbye to our new Wheaton Professor friend (he was up) and set out for the backside of Rocky Mountain National Park. We went up and over Trail Ridge Road to Milner Pass where after an encounter with some Elk and a little finagling in the parking lot to get a good spot we set out on a day hike up Mount Ida. Some of the best views in RMNP are to be had from the top of Mount Ida.
Bull Mountain Campground
We spent the better part of the amazing day on Mount Ida before heading into the Grand Lake area. Here we found another dispersed campground known as Bull Mountain Campground, located off a dirt road on the south-western side of town. This is a sprawling campground located off of many different adjacent roads. The entire area was well packed on a Saturday night, but we eventually found a nice available spot. It was, however, located near a fellow camper in a camouflaged bus who decided to play party music well into the night. That kinda sucked.
We arrived at the spot with 2 bars of LTE and thought we had once again hit the jackpot only to realize that the network was jammed with people and therefore too slow to do anything with. Good thing we have a few books along for the journey otherwise boredom might have set it 😜.
Overpriced Showers in Grand Lake
Sunday morning we once again set out looking for greener Internet pastures. We first stopped off at Stillwater Campground located on the Grand Lake’s shore. This would be an amazing spot to camp if not for the prohibitive price. You have to pay the park entrance fee as well as the campground fee in order to stay here. Still, the views of the lake with the Rocky Mountains rising up behind are gorgeous.
The going rate for showers in this area of the country is a staggering $7 each. We really needed one so we forked out the money. I thought at $7 this would be the best shower I had ever taken; I was wrong. The showers were dingy and at least on the men’s side one was broken, the other was a handicap shower (I’m too tall for that 4’ high shower head) and so I was stuck with the third unit. This unit was temperature controlled meaning I couldn’t adjust the heat and it was a bit on the cold side. It also had a push button the size of a pen head that had to be pushed in every 1 – 15 seconds to keep the water running. I was very frustrated having the water continuously turn off with no rhyme or reason as to the duration. Stillwater is therefore not recommended, but they are one of the only public showers in town. If someone is looking for a good business idea and wants to live in the mountains, a public shower and laundromat somewhere near Grand Lake might be a good investment.
Pioneer Park – Hot Sulphur Springs
After the disappointing over-priced showers we headed down to Granby, Colorado and filled up on gas. Thanks to a new app (Coverage Map) I was able to determine that there was a good LTE signal at a free dispersed site located due west in the small town of Hot Sulphur Springs. There are only 14 sites available and upon our arrival, they were full up. So once again we relied on the kindness of strangers and found a kind couple willing to share their site with us. They were traveling to Salida, Colorado from Florida to visit their son. They had stopped in this spot for a few days to fish the Colorado River. Super nice people.
As camping spots go we hit the jackpot on this site and I plan to do an in-depth post on this location soon. Points of highlight are that the spot has screaming fast Verizon LTE and it sits adjacent to the Colorado River. While the campground doesn’t have much in the way of amenities the small town makes up for in the form of a park on the other side of the river. By nomadic standards, this might be paradise.
We set up our site here for the work week and made friends with our neighbors. They were here trying to catch fish in the Colorado River and had some success on Tuesday night pulling in what I estimate to have been about a 20” rainbow trout. On Wednesday morning they packed up their site, but before heading out invited us to stay with them when we get down to Florida. They offered to take us out canoeing and I think we will take them up on the offer as we plan to winter there in a few months.
Resupply in Granby
Later on Wednesday, I headed into Granby 12 miles down the road. We needed resupply as the groceries were running a little thin… I was out of beer! I found the prices at the local City Market to be very reasonable. There was also a nice liquor store adjacent to the market as well. I procured some Tommy Knocker’s Maple Nut Brown which is brewed just down the road in Idaho Springs. I do love Colorado!
The Challenges of Showering/bathing as a Nomad
Thursday was more work, but being that the day was hot and Sunday’s showers long since passed we really had a desire to get clean. I searched all around and the only shower available is at the local hot springs. You do however have to pay the $20 entrance fee (per person) which is to steep for a shower. So I started up our hot water heater and Jennifer took a shower off the side of the camper. I decided to save water and ventured into the Colorado River to take a bath. It was a bit cold but felt nice after a long hot day. I had the privilege of sharing the river with a group of geese (thankfully downriver) and a deer. I am one with nature.
Enjoying Hot Sulphur Springs
Friday was yet another workday… these get in the way of exploration and fun! 🙂 We had hung our bathing suits up outside to dry the night before. Jennifer’s is bright pink. For the majority of the day, we had a horde of hummingbirds constantly poking at her suit looking for nectar. It was awesome!
After work, we walked into the small town of Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado and had an excellent dinner at a western tapas place called The Dean Public House. Hard to believe the words “western” and “tapas” go together, but the food was excellent! We had some Elk burger sliders, a gourmet pizza, some homemade bread, and Olathe (Colorado corn) fritters. I highly recommend this spot when in Hot Sulphur Springs, that being said there are only four places in the small town to choose from. It was a very nice way to end the week.