Where: working our summer job at Three Rivers Resort in Almont, CO
Here’s a math problem for you! What do you get when you add:
- A prescheduled dentist appointment that falls on your Friday
- An interstitial moment where all the cabins have been spring cleaned but do not yet have nightly rentals in them
- The calm before the storm, when the kids are still in school, and tourists have not yet arrived
- Lovely weather
Did you get the answer? You get a three day weekend, perfect for a short getaway!
We had actually planned to head to a campground just 10 miles away, and confirmed with the Forest Service that it was open for the season. But, when we pulled up to the gate, it was most definitely not open. I consulted my trusty Gunnison National Forest MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map, or “black and white”, which lists areas open for dispersed camping) and discovered that we could continue on the same road and camp anywhere along it. We very slowly plodded along the steep dirt road, winding through a narrow canyon, until the vista opened to a wide valley with the stream meandering through. We found a camping spot where the stream made a big U, and created a peninsula, with water on 3 sides. Just up the road were some old cabins, falling to pieces, and cows grazed nearby on the open range. Just our kind of place!
To some people, this is a jeep road. To us, it’s a pretty good dirt road:
Still decent sized patches of snow:
Our dentist visit went great, with perfect reports for both of us. (The dentist seemed a little disappointed when he took a look in my mouth and said “Wow. You have perfect teeth.” with the tone of a man who’s just lost a big sale.) The rest of the weekend was devoted to relaxing and getting out to enjoy the mountains that were just starting to see spring.
Snow covered mountains–going to be a while until we can get up there:
We hiked up a steep and rocky jeep road to Lily Pond, past old mines and ruins of little hamlets where the miners lived. The first half of the trail was all clear, save a bit of mud, but the second part was mostly snow, still 2 and 3 feet deep. We had the road to ourselves, and loved the ultimate views of the mountains behind the lake.
Although it seemed that you could still use it, there’s no amount of money that could compel me to sit in this:
This one might not have a roof, but it comes with a year-round Christmas tree:
My favorite part was the fact that the road was practically empty. We only saw a couple cars each day, so we felt fine to let little Soupy run free. She was particularly enamored with the prairie dogs all around us, and when she spotted one, she’d sit at the hole, waiting for the little guy to pop out again. She never did figure out that they have multiple exits, and that she was getting outsmarted by a rodent who just went the long way around, and was frolicking outside again, just behind her back.
I enjoyed getting out for long walks on the road, watching birds, and seeing the little things that you miss in a car. One day, I just kept wanting to see what was around the bend, and before I knew it, I was at Spring Creek Reservoir. We had driven past on a cloudy day, and were not very impressed the first time we saw it. That morning, I saw the lake in all its splendor, and just had to sit down to take it all in.
When was the last time you had a little getaway? We’re already planning another!