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Old 07-26-2010, 11:00 PM   #1
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Pawnee National Grasslands....Colorado

We bought our 08 25ft. Safari last October and so far have spent 28 nights in it. All but two were spent on public lands. (read free) After 25 years of owning slide in pick up type campers we wanted to try something a little different for a change. Boondocking as you AS folks call it (and now us, too.) is nothing new to us. We have spent countless days in places all over the west with our slide in camper. So why not with a travel trailer? Sure, you got some limitations on back country road conditions but there are plenty of easily traveled roads leading to spectacular places to park an Airstream.

We were getting tired of the mountain scene, having to deal with thousands of people competing for few spaces. And then there are those blasted ATV's that every one seems to have several of trailered in to these nice camping sites. Noise, dust and they are everywhere you go in our national forests. No one wants to walk anymore, lets ride instead.

And the worst part is the return trip home on the parking lot called I-70 eastbound. What a drag this is getting to be. Not just on holidays anymore, every weekend. You locals know what I am talking about.

After hearing that a cool front was due in for the weekend, I suggested we head for the Pawnee National Grasslands. My wife and I have spent alot of time there hunting, hiking , bird watching and sport shooting in the past. Only 100 miles NE of Denver, we got to a favorite spot across from the Pawnee Buttes by 8 pm Friday nite. Not a soul around. Perfect.

Daytime high temps topped out at 75 with light breezes both days. We saw only a dozen or so people hiking on the trail to the Buttes. No ATV's were seen or heard all weekend and not another RV was there either. This was nice...really nice. We hiked the Butte trail, slept in late both mornings, watched a movie Saturday nite and shot our .22's mid day on Sunday. Of course we indulged with our favorite beverages while taking in the wonderful scenery at various times of the day. We headed home at 4pm Sunday taking a leasurely pace down uncrowded hiway 85 all the way to Denver.

This was a totally relaxing weekend and we will do it again before the season comes to and end.

Some pictures:
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:57 AM   #2
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Nice pictures. I've never camped there, is it open like the national forest lands? I agree about the I-70 parking lot, we never travel to and from or fav mtn spots on Fridays and Sundays.

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Old 07-27-2010, 08:39 AM   #3
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Bob,

Thanks for posting and I enjoyed the pics of the grasslands. We also like "plinking". Looks like a place we will have to get to some day....Tim
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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Great pictures.
I've spent quite a bit of time on the grasslands in South Dakota. If one just sits still long enough - the grasslands are teeming with wildlife. I find it very interesting how the landscape changes with the movement of the sun and breeze through out the day. I remember seeing a Great Horned Owl one evening while hunting coyotes - this thing was bigger than a 5 gallon bucket sitting in the tree! It was very impressive.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:16 AM   #5
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National Grassland Camping

There is nothing like experiencing the open expanse than our high prairie. Welcome to the AS experience. You will enjoy the long term camping that the AS provides.

If you found the Pawnee Buttes and Grassland interesting, try the National Grasslands of NW Nebraska. North of Crawford, Nebraska (Sioux and Dawes Counties) with the Black Hills appearing black in the distance. There are Toadstool State Park, Fort Robinson (for Boondockers), the Hudson-Meng bison kill site and the entire Ogallala National Grasslands for the Rockdocking off of the grid camping. Antelope, coyotes, deer and, of course a good variety of livestock.

Among the National Grasslands there are large privately owned ranches. If the gate shows a pasture number, you are free to camp off the side of the two track roads. The geology is the same as the Pawnee National Grasslands- Oligocene badlands. Fossil turtles are abundantly seen washing out. Bones and teeth of extinct mammals are in the gullies, to see but the BLM rules prohibit the taking of them... Brown chalcedony in the lower formations are common and the famous Fairburn Agates can be... can be... not very likely found where the gravels of the Cretaceous are exposed, just below the white gumbo badland formations. Sugar Loaf is worth climbing. Telegraph hill and its pine tree terrain is a relief from the hot sunny days and cool evenings. The Sioux and Cheyenne Indians left their mark on these wonderful canyons and mesas that extend west into Wyoming.

Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy your AS until you cannot physically take it on the road.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:46 PM   #6
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Great pictures and postings guys. Thanks. We're heading towards all of those locations on our monthlong journey west next week and hope to see many of those grasslands you all speak of. What a nice way to spend a quiet day or two just camping and relaxing. It'll be great to see the grand landscapes of the west once again and this time with our Airstream.
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:00 PM   #7
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I like Wyoming and New Mexico, too- plenty of boondocking and a way cheaper State Park System. And even then, I like to wait untill after Labor Day weekend to hit the road... Thanks for the tip on the Grasslands, will check it out some day. How about Jackson Lake- been there? -tim
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:52 PM   #8
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Very nice indeed.

That is a lot of what Airstreams are good at: going someplace off the beaten track, making your portable homesite comfortable, not needing hookups. Hope you have a lot more of these "total relax" experiences.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:31 PM   #9
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OK, what is the difference between Boondocking and Rockdocking ?
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:13 PM   #10
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Never mind, I read Rays posts on the subject and think I got it figured out.

Rock on Ray !
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:40 PM   #11
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I have camped there many times too over the years and it is open nearly year round. Of course, there are only ten sites so if a person wanted to camp there during peak season, they would probably want to make a reservation on one of the 5 or so sites that you can reserve. If a person wants quiet, this is the place because it is off the beaten path in Colorado.
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:38 PM   #12
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I just got "No Public Albums" when I tried the link. I'm interested. This is only a few miles east of the property we bought last year north of Ft. C.
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