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Old 11-17-2015, 04:39 PM   #15
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High Country Hangouts

For many years, we have headed for the Colorado high country when Middle Tennessee was hot and steamy. Our favorite place is the area around Leadville. We always find time for a few nights at the NFS campground at Camp Hale, in Eagle Park. Not too far away is a nice group camp, and people regularly boondock in the vast area of Camp Hale, the WW II training ground of the 10th Mountain Division.

There are lots of places to go and lots to do. One could easily spend a month in that area. It's high, but a few nights spent on the high plains, then a few more along the Arkansas River in Beuna Vista, leave us pretty-well acclimated. By-the-way, we are now in our mid seventies and still doing it! (Going to Colorado, that is.) 😉

Richard
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #16
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If we have a snowy winter, the higher pass roads and campgrounds may not be clear of snow until August. Since there is a big El Niño this year, lots of snow is likely. We are already quite a bit above normal in precipitation this year. We've had about 7" of snow in this much drier part of the state.

There's a 2wd road from the Alma area to Leadville—Weston Pass. I haven't been on it for at last 25 years and recall it to be just a dirt road, but a quick check on the internet says high clearance is helpful on the west side, so I don't know if it is good for an Airstream on that side. As I recall there is quite a lot of open land on the way to the Mosquito Range from the Alma side that could be good for boondocking. Don't take the nearby Mosquito Pass Rd. by mistake.

Another area with a lot of camping is along the Taylor River and near Taylor Res. There are a couple of FS CG's and dispersed camping north of the Res. Tincup, an old mining town is nearby. Best to go from Gunnison north rather than over Cottonwood Pass. That pass is paved on the east side, but not on the west. Lots of washboard and dust.

Gene
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Old 11-18-2015, 12:58 PM   #17
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It is wonderful that the two of you picked up on this Thread.

Ray...there are LOTS of us picking up on this thread. But I believe a lot of us are afraid to make a commitment to you for various reasons that we might have to break..thus disappointing you. At least that's the case for myself. But I'll keep tracking your messages, and maybe...... Have a safe winter in any case. jon
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:49 PM   #18
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Thanks Boomerang.

Finding Airforum members who are so generous with information, that would be not available to those outside these areas is what makes it wonderful. Idaho is a State that we have done some Off the Grid camping, but not enough to be comfortable in offering any of my experiences... yet. Maybe you might have an interest some year... in working up something.

Anyone following some posts are getting first hand knowledge of areas to visit. Once becoming comfortable with the first campsite... others begin to fall into place. It is finding that comfort level. It is not easy...

Colorado has been considered the Switzerland of North America. Colorado is probably even better, since the structural geology of our mountains gives us accessible areas to camp at no charge. As of today, Castle Rock is getting a good taste of Winter.

We all think of our home state as home, but to those not living in your state... it can be a drastic change in climate, environment and even culture worth visiting. Small towns in the Rocky Mountains are inhabited by some of the friendliest residents I have encountered. Time moves at a slower pace. Some remote places... actually are working backwards to the old comfort levels not seen in decades. I see that in Nevada as we begin exploring here.

Colorado has modern cities and yet travel fifty miles and you are back into an earlier attitude once out of the city limits. It is the same with Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and western parts of South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. I have never been to west Texas, but it is different in its geology and climate, as well.

For those who want to develop that comfort zone... traveling with others, experienced or not, is how you build your confidence. It is also a very interesting crowd with varied interests and experiences. Much like an outdoor school while there.

There is plenty of time for those being tempted. Time to consider options. But, it will come down to getting things eventually organized and everything becomes organized chaos. That is what makes these "adventures" what they are intended... to be an adventure and not a cookie cutter field trip of knowns. Detours from a planned route is never out of the list of possibilities. The group has a general idea of what to expect... but the list of things that can change any rigid schedule is long.

As many know about Colorado's variable climates any time of the year. (At these higher elevations.) You drive in dry and leave wet. Not always, but you make adjustments at the spur of the moment. But... when we begin to take names... things will have started.
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:55 PM   #19
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If y'all can go with Ray at some point...you must do it, because it will be worth it, I promise you.

Also, he does not do "rallies", which require reservations, lots of organizing, etc., so loosely structured and loosely planned works.

He is throwing this all out 9-10 months in advance because he is excited about it, and wants to think about it over the winter, and hopes others will be, as well.

Ray wants to share what and where he knows, and that is commendable, as many would keep it all to themselves.

If you think you can be there, throw your hat in and join the fun!

If you can't when it comes time, he will understand.

Am I right, Ray?


Maggie.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:05 PM   #20
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Not only that... Maggie may again, be taking names and keeping me up to date, as well! If she is thinking a year and maybe two ahead and plans to be in attendance. Just routine for her now.

As we camp you will receive as much small talk about geology and archaeology you can... stand. Gold is where you find it. Agates are where you find it. You cannot find fossils in granite. What is... granite? I noted Gneiss Guy... is a great play on a common igneous rock, as well.

You will also learn to think like an Indian migrating during the seasons and camped at high ground in the Summers from the heat of lower elevations. Once you understand that many highways are also along routes of seasonal travels of Indians 200 years ago and 9,000 years ago. It is all under your nose... but you have to smell it to know it. We might be lucky enough to have Thinair (Chris & Carla) the resident archaeology expert on future trips, including Wyoming.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:46 PM   #21
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High elevation Colorado

Sounds interesting. We live in Silverthorne, CO all summer (elevation about 8,600'. I'm a professional artist and my husband is an excellentt fly fisherman. Always looking for OtG sites that afford paintable vistas and good trout streams that we can camp next to.
BTW, I have a 23 FC which I tow with my 5.7 V-8 Jeep Grand Cherokee...so the A/S is our only clearance concern.

Mid- to late July timeframe may be pushing it if we get a true El Niño winter as predicted.

So--might any of you share similar interests?
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:20 PM   #22
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Ray,
Just the conversation to inspire me before Thanksgiving. I'll be following this thread, taking notes, and hoping to join and explore some new areas if we return from our sailing season in good time. Our camping also got sidetracked this year by a move into a new home in Hesperus, CO. We're at 7700 ft, gazing across Wildcat Canyon at the La Platas. 6" of snow earlier this week made it all the prettier. We'll roll the Airstream down the mountain after Christmas and head for the sailboat in Fl, returning sometime in July.


Safe Travels,
Jamu Joe
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:44 PM   #23
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Thumbs up Joining In!

We are new Airstream owners in our late 50's that live in the Denver area. I'm an avid outdoor person, have climbed all the Colorado 14ers (54 of 'em), and have camped extensively throughout Colorado. Would be interested in July-August dates. Agree with other posters that this year is dumping heavy snows, so anything before July 1 would probably have issues.
Would be happy to answer any questions about specific areas. My favorites would be around Lake City, Twin Lakes and Cottonwood Pass areas outside of Buena Vista, anywhere around Ouray and Telluride, and the Never Summer Range around Walden.
Don't need air conditioning, plenty of water from streams with the proper filters, and more star viewing than just about anywhere else! Gather your own wood and have a campfire. Don't leave any food outside and you won't have any bear issues, I haven't seen one in probably 10 years.
I will follow the thread, should be a good ongoing discussion!
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:29 PM   #24
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There are some nice campgrounds south of Telluride. Matterhorn is at about 9500 ft, I think. Also from Almont to Taylor lake, there are some nice camps.
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:30 PM   #25
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Camping in Colo High Country.

One of our favorite places to camp above 8000 ft is at Cascade Camp Ground about 5 miles above Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. It is right on the bank of Cascade Creek and the sound of the babbling brook is very peaceful. From the camp ground you can drive on up to St. Elmo and play with the Chipmonks and view one of the best preserved Historic Mining Camps and if you wish you can drive on up to Cottonwood Pass. The road is very passable until you are above St. Elmo a few miles. 4 Wheel drive is not a must but close.

Another place for us to camp at 8000 ft is Alvarado Camp Ground about 5 miles SW of Westcliffe, Co. This one is especially handy for us since it is only about 5 miles from our home in Silver Cliff. The road to the top of Hermit Pass is not well maintained now as it was when we built our first Cabin here. At that time we could drive our Mercury Monteray to the Hermit Lake parking lot and walk about 1/4 mile to the Lake to fish, it is all we can do to stay on our ATV now but the ride is worth it if you can hang on. Another benefit of Alvarado is it is only a Sip and a Jump to as fine a Café as you will most likely run into. It is Alpine Lodge and we eat there on a lot of special occasions.

If you are interested I can most likely help you set up a fun weekend.

Don B.
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:16 PM   #26
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The first time I came to Colorado in 1976, I drove up to St. Elmo with a '73 Honda Civic. At that altitude, the car used enormous amounts of gas, but there was one pump in the town. Otherwise, I would have had to push the car (not all that hard when I was in my 30's and Civics were very light in those days) until I could roll down to Princeton Hot Springs. Lots of interesting mining stuff up there. There's an old mining road over the mountain to the west side that has been maintained by a 4wd club, but I don't know if it is open. If I recall, there is an old tunnel (it may have been a narrow gauge roadbed long ago). I drove up to it once, but that was many years ago. With the snow we are getting this year, it may not be clear until August.

I don't think you can drive directly from St. Elmo to Cottonwood Pass, but have to go back down to the valley. Cottonwood is closed in winter, paved on the east side, but washboard dirt on the west side. It is drivable with a trailer (slowly), but lots of things will move around. It is one access to the very pretty Taylor River valley, a large reservoir, many FS camping sites, and the small town of Tincup.

If you are into exploring old mining roads, you need 4wd and a small truck or SUV. A large truck will do it, but if you meet someone else coming the other way, you may have trouble getting past each other while the one on the outside has to get right up to the edge while looking down a 1,000' or so. There are many old pass roads and other mining era roads in this area, some of them very scary. I don't know if The Colorado Pass Book is still in print, but it is a valuable resource if you want to explore the high country. The problem for us with 25' or longer trailers is that we don't usually pull them with smaller vehicles and it is difficult to drive full size trucks on narrow roads. "Roads" may make them sound better than they are—call them Jeep trails.

Gene
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:30 PM   #27
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Colorado 2016 or Bust?

We have returned from the Tucson Rock Show and Gilbert Ray RV Park. Vendors from across the world and returned with wonderful wood carved hiking "staffs" and owls from Indonesia. I already have more rocks than one can consider reasonable...

There are some very experienced Colorado Boondockers already posting on this Thread. I am not among this group of experience, but would welcome any PM's contacts, towards a group think tank of planning some Adventure in the future. My resume is that of the "accidental tourist" living in Colorado. Never intending to expand our experiences in the High Country until this year. Now is the time.

I find Base Camping most appropriate in Colorado and then traveling into the some of the most beautiful mountain scenery to be found in the United States. Many of the base camping locations are accessible to most trailer lengths. Anything under 25 feet is most flexible in Base Camping Colorado. After a first season, trailer lengths will be determined as base camps develop. Actually, the preferred for trailer camps.

This would be NON RV Commercial sites. National Forest and BLM Boondocking.

We will be back in Castle Rock, CO mid March from the Mohave and Sonoran Deserts in the Southwest this Winter.

Anyone in Colorado wanting to put something together... I am anxious and ready to get started. The fishing, hiking, biking, rock hunting and just admiring what remains of wilderness and remote camping still exists at the bases of this towering spine of the United States.
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:39 PM   #28
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How does an A\S work off road.

Hi, new to forum, been looking at travel trailers and like the A\S, looking for how they work as an Off-Road bondocking rig... Found this thread, seemed like a good place to start.

Thx!
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