Day 38: Spearfish to Loveland
It was time to get back on the road. Seeing friends, spending time with my fiance, and being back to familiar surroundings was great, but the road was calling my name. The trip down to Loveland, Colorado, seemed to go by pretty fast even though it was about 6 and a half hours with stops. While traveling around Loveland to photograph various campgrounds, I was able to drive up Big Thompson Canyon.
That drive was absolutely stunning. The river runs through the canyon with an extreme force, yet has a calming presence. The canyons walls run so high and close to you that you feel engulfed by your surroundings. Men, women, children and seniors all fish throughout the river whether they wade in or sit along the surrounding land. After driving through and coming out of the top of the canyon, I saw mountains in the distance that were just out of sight. Rocky Mountain National Park. I began to feel excited because I knew that would be my next adventure as I continue through the beautiful state of Colorado.
Due to the abrupt change in the travel arrangements with the campaign, we were not able to secure a campground for me to stay at here in Loveland. Luckily I had an old friend, Toni Schavone, who lived there and her and her boyfriend allowed me to stay the night on their couch. It was great to catch up and see a familiar face in an unfamiliar location. Discover campgrounds near Loveland, Colorado.
Loveland is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, creating the perfect landscape for hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding.The Devil’s Backbone Open Space, Lake Loveland Swim Beach, and a number of city and state parks are all popular destinations for families.
Day 39: Loveland to Grandby
Today began with a fantastic breakfast at The Coffee Tree in Loveland. After I had finished eating, it was time to start driving again. I ventured up Big Thompson Canyon once again to get to Estes Park. This town is know as the base for the Rocky Mountain National park (RMNP). There are endless places to camp within the town that accommodate any version of camping, i.e. tents, RVs, trailers. This is great because it enables anyone to camp right near RMNP, travel in to hike, take photos, adventure, and then return back to their campground of choice. After photographing campgrounds in the area, I started my journey through the mountains.
Simply put, RMNP is beautiful. There are so many things to see and so many ways to see them. Something that people may not know is that RMNP belongs to 4 different Ecosystems: The Montane Ecosystem, the Subalpine ecosystem, the Alpine Tundra Ecosystem, and the Riparian Ecosystem. The difference between all of these ecosystems is based upon height. Montane, being the mountain ecosystem, is the lowest of them all. The Subalpine ecosystem is just below the treeline and the Alpine Tundra is everything above the tree line. The Riparian ecosystem actually runs through all three of the others. Riparian ecosystems are ones that surround bodies of water, and there are a plethora of lakes, streams, ponds, waterfalls, etc. all throughout RMNP.
Once I finished my breathtaking drive through RMNP I headed to Granby, Colorado, and stayed at a USFS campground named Sunset Point Campground. The location was gorgeous. It was out on a small peninsula jutting out into Lake Grandby. The park is located right next to the water with more than half of the spots overlooking the lake. I took about an hour of my day to sit and relax and watch the sun’s reflection on the lake dissipate as the sunset fell behind the hills in the distance. Discover campgrounds near Granby, Colorado.
Rocky Mountain National Park is well-known for it’s scenic vistas, extensive recreation trails, climbing routes, alpine lakes, staggering mountain peaks, wildflowers, and beautiful starry nights.
Day 40: Granby to Steamboat Springs
September 9th started off with a big bowl of oatmeal and a couple cups of french pressed coffee. I had the liberty of photographing and videoing a USFS property named Stillwater Campground. After being on this trip for a month now, I can firmly say this is the nicest USFS Campground I have been to. 75% of this Campground is right on the water and only steps away from a beach on Granby Lake. The Park offered full hookups as well as tent sites. The best part about this park, in my opinion, was that it allowed for credit card payments. I have yet to see a USFS property with this feature and it was refreshing to have that option.
After shooting Stillwater, I headed on to my next destination, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This place was fantastic! The views of the mountain were spectacular from everywhere in the town. Gazing upon the mountain and seeing all of the ski and snowboard runs gave me an itch to come back this winter and snowboard as much as possible. I ventured around to find available camping spots and decided to try out Dry Lake Campground. Not the best idea. The road out to this campground was so bumpy that much of my equipment in the back of the van fell out, along with a few of the drawers. Luckily nothing was damaged but this led to an extreme amount of bungee cords stretched all over to secure everything a bit more properly. Along with the bumpy road, I arrived at the campground to find every site taken.
As much of a disappointment as this was, I was able to find another campground just outside of town called Meadows Campground. Upon arrival I was actually excited that Dry Lake Campground was full because this place was much better. All the sites were very spaced out which offered much desired privacy. Along with great location, the campground recently had to cut down a lot of the trees around the sites which allowed for free firewood, as long as you had an ax to chop it up. The night got cold but made for a pleasant slumber tucked away in my sleeping bag. Discover campgrounds near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Steamboat Springs is a great family destination. This mountain town is popular for skiing, snowboarding, biking, relaxing hot springs, paddle sports, fishing, waterfalls, hiking, and backpacking.
Day 41: Rest Day in Steamboat Springs
I realized two things when I woke up this morning. I am a day ahead of schedule, and I have a lot of video work to do. Our videographer, Mike, is out of town and out of service, which left me in charge of getting a couple video edits finished. With all of this on my plate, I decided to stay an extra day in Steamboat Springs. After making myself some breakfast at camp, I headed into town to do some work.
When I got into town I decided to check their downtown area out to see what they had to offer. Let me tell you, they had a lot! Restaurants, sports stores, clothing, massage therapists, candy stores, toy stores, coffee shops, bars, you name it! Downtown Steamboat Springs is a one stop shopping area. By the time I was done checking the place out, it was lunch time. I stopped at Beaujo’s Pizza to get a quick bite to eat, and I then headed over to the local bar, Barleys Craft and Draft. They had over 30 beers on tap and excellent information on each one. I settled for their citrus double IPA and was far from disappointed. Now that I had food in my stomach and a beer at my table, it was time to get cracking. I stayed at the bar for close to five hours working on videos. (I only had two beers as to not distract me from my work.)
Once I finished what I could, I headed back to Meadows campground and decided I wanted to try a new site for the night. Once I got all set up and went outside, I looked at the ground and noticed something. Bear fur. Everywhere. My site was covered in it and I didn’t notice until I finished setting everything up. I checked to see if I had the bear spray and realized it was in Woody’s bike bag… back in Spearfish. Needless to say, I stayed in the camper all night and only went out to use the restroom.
Day 42: Steamboat Springs to Craig
Back on the road to do more shooting. I left Steamboat Springs around 9 to head out towards Craig, Colorado. It was unfortunate to have to leave Steamboat Springs, but the show must go on. I drove around and photographed as many campgrounds as I could before showing up at Craig. I still had a little bit of work I needed to get done, so I sat down at McDonalds for their wifi and started going at it. By the time I decided I had done enough, it was close to 6pm, which means I was at McDonald’s for nearly 4 hours… not my ideal day, but it had to be done.
I decided to stay at Elkhead Reservoir State Park in Bears Ears Campground. This location was very nice. Every site has a table with an awning over it and a campfire pit and the whole campground is right next to Elkhead Reservoir. By the time I was finished, it was already dark out. Just before I went to close the doors of the van, I looked up. The stars were fantastic. They were shining so bright and twinkling as if they were dancing along the milky way. Being a photographer, the camera had to come out. I spent a good hour and a half trying to get the perfect shot to showcase the stars along with the van and I was very pleased as to what I came up with. All in all, it was a successful day of shooting. Discover campgrounds near Craig, Colorado.
Craig is a popular destination for elk hunting, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and boating. Dinosaur National Monument, Routt National Forest, and Yampa River State Park, and Sand Wash Basin (home to wild mustangs) are all great family destinations in the area.
We have partnered with Big City Mountaineers to raise $5,000 to give the gift of camping to under-resourced youth. If you would like to help us reach our goal and support this amazing non-profit, you can donate here. Thanks for your continued support! Follow the campaign at ridewithwoody.com