Camping in Colorado

I’ve never been a big camper, but Matthew has always been a fan.
So when I came home one day to him laying in our new tent that he had just set up in our living room, I knew that we were both going to have to be all in.

Spring2017_3
As always, somehow Matthew worked out an amazing deal buying our gear online at Backcountry according to Matthew, Backcountry offers significantly better prices than other places and they price match. He had a coupon, and from there, he managed to get another percentage off, so our awesome gear was high quality, yet heavily discounted.
Rough estimated cost of our gear:
Marmot Tent: $130
Sleeping Bags: $70 each
Camping Backpacks: $130 each
Camping Stove: $10 (from Amazon)

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Camping Trip #1
Although we got a steal on all of our gear, our first Colorado camping trip didn’t go as planned (no surprise there).
Early one May morning, we set off on a trail near Nederland with our new sleeping bags strapped to crappy old book bags (we had yet to receive our new camping bags). Little did we know that May in the mountains didn’t mean that there wouldn’t be any snow, or more importantly, ice.

We waded through some water (melted snow) that led us to a big slab of ice going straight up a hill. That’s where I, the cautious one who hates ice with a passion, drew the line. So, we turned around and headed back to the car.

Of course we weren’t going to be total wimps and go all the way home due to the ice mishap. Instead, we found another campground nearby that we didn’t have to hike too far to get to. Although this campsite right off the West Magnolia Trail was nothing like the more secluded, wilderness spot we were hoping to find, it was a good start for our first Colorado camping trip and was close enough to Nederland that we could easily drive into town to pick up some drinks for the night.
When we chose our site among the marked tent sites, we set up camp and then roamed the trails all around it until it was too dark to do so anymore. Then, my least favorite part of camping rolled around: night. Random noises. Rustling. Not being able to see anything on the other side of the tent. Those are some of my worst fears when it comes to camping, and as expected, I slept horribly. However, we made it out alive and woke up to a beautiful sunrise that made it all worth it.

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Camping Trip #2
Rather than settling down at a campsite, the most intriguing thing to me about camping is actually the journey to the campsite: backpacking. As a total endurance junkie and a hyperactive person who doesn’t know how to slow down, I want nothing more than to walk and walk and walk with the challenge of having extra weight on my back.
So, our second Colorado camping trip included just that.

We set off on a part of the Colorado Trail that we mapped out to be 24 miles long. Originally, we planned to do half one day, and the other half the next, but of course it didn’t work like that. The first part of the hike was all uphill, which was difficult, but stunning, as we crossed over rivers and tread on lightly traveled ground. While I gladly accepted the challenge, Matthew, unfortunately, was wearing his new hiking boots that were not broken in enough, so he ended up taking those off to hike in flip flops instead. That’s right. He hiked about 20 miles in flip flops. Hard.Core.

So, we ended up hiking about 18 beautiful miles the first day, pausing for 15-minute breaks every hour to have small snacks along the way, and setting up camp just as the sun was setting. After cooking a tasty meal with the fire that was way too easily made and extremely hard to put out (we’re not used to dry weather camping, as Georgia’s damp weather provides a whole other challenge), we popped some melatonin (that’s right, I made sure to bring some this time), and fell right to sleep.

Summer2017_13
The next day, backs and feet in pain, we set off to hike the remaining 6 aspen tree-filled miles, running into some other campers along the way who had run out of water. We gave our last bit of water to them, hoping that we were truly just a couple miles from the car. Thankfully, we were, and we could not have been happier to see Matthew’s Scion TC, and even happier to snack on the Oreos we had left waiting for us as rewards.

Summer2017_19
Overall, both trips were fun, and the tranquility coupled with the views of Colorado’s mountainous woodlands made every second worth it.
& now that we’re all geared up and familiar with camping in Colorado, I’m looking forward to our future trips when summer rolls around again!

frugal & free,
Claire

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