Tenting in the central Colorado Rockies. Kind of sounds like it might be fun, right?? An Rver getting back to the basics, seeing the back country, going places I couldn’t take my RV .. revisiting the girl scout within? That was the plan for our 3 day excursion., Within the first few hours I knew things just weren’t going to go as planned. First I was a little disappointed in the area where we were going to spend Day 1, so I moved on to Day 2 activities, which went a quicker than expected. The area that I had wanted to spend Night 2 in was closed off which forced me to keep driving over a gravel road further than I wanted to find a place to stay. After 6 tries at dispersed sites, I found a spot in a state park campground around 7:30 pm. I got the tent up and settled just before dark after dousing myself with mosquito spray. It was a nice evening but when I was making one of my last trips to the potty I noticed that there were some dark clouds over to the west and opted to put the rain fly on the tent in case we got a light shower.
As night fell the true adventure began...
9:30 - Convince Dog it is safe to go through the door of the tent while trying to wave away the mosquitos that were also trying to enter the tent. Apparently the waving confused Dog.
9:35 - Decide to read the trail books for the area.
9:42 - Bored since I can only drive a few of them and decide to call it a night, spend 2 minutes trying to blow out the candle lantern.
9:44 - Realize I can hear every word the girls in the campsite below me are saying and wonder when they are going to go to bed.
10:30 - They go to bed
11:00 - The folks at the Campsite in the middle of the campground have apparently started a game and are having quite a good time. I wonder why there is no camp host here to tell them to be quiet. Begin to ponder the differences between campgrounds and RV parks. Conclude I like RV parks and dispersed camping much better than campgrounds.
12:00 - As the hooping and hollering continues .. louder by the minute, I resist the temptation to threaten ‘going postal’ on them. The thought of them then wondering if I am really a psycho woman or not makes me smile .. I wonder about the deviousness of my thoughts ..
1:10 - They go to bed or are at least quiet. Ahhh.. sleep finally!
1:12 - The first flashes of lightening appear. Dog notices and begins to pant slightly.
1:20 - Distant thunder starts. Dog moves to lay next to me.
1:27 - A light rain starts. The pitter patter on the roof makes me feel like I have to pitter. The late nighters begin whooping and hollering yet again as the rain starts. I am guessing they didn’t have their rain fly on.
1:43 - 3 loud bellows from some kind of animal not too far away, have Dog & I sitting up looking at each other.
1:57 - A huge crack of thunder sends Dog into the moderate panting stage. I remember that I brought melatonin for her for just such a time as this. I realize that it isn’t going to do much good for her in the car where I left it. The rain picks up.
2:05 - I get Dog to lay down but she decides that ‘spooning’ is necessary. I think something is just not right with this situation and wonder what possessed me to think tenting was a good idea.
2:45 - Storm intensifies. Dog decides spooning no longer meets her needs and tries to lay on me! I _really_ need to pitter.
3:05 - Had apparently dozed off (I like storms), but was awoken with Dog whiskers on my face. I sit straight up, find the flash light & attempt to comfort Dog. I figurethe flashlight beam will detract from the lightening. It just highlights the walls of the tent blowing in and out. Dog is panting and salivating so much I am afraid she will have a heart attack. I consider a run for the car but am not sure this would be better. I do my best doggie psychologist impersonation and speak in happy, calm tones to Dog to try and comfort her. I,again, wonder about my mental health.
3:50 - One of my rainfly tent pegs comes loose which makes for more noise. I have a flash of sitting in a leaking tent on a mountain top with my brother many years ago and grab the flashlight to double check that I have no leaks. I find that water has indeed made it under the tent floor. The only wet spot in the tent is the spot below my 3/4 sleeping pad and thus the whole bottom of my sleeping bag is wet.
4:05 - Thunder moves off and a gentle rain continues. Dog goes back to the spooning.
6:00 - I am jarred out of my dream by an alarm! An alarm .. this is just beyond belief! Its my phone telling me the battery is dead. I had no signal, but was relying on it to tell me how little sleep I was getting since I don’t have a watch. Nice of it to wake me up and tell me it was off the job.
7:ish - The gals who went to bed early are now up and allowing their dog to bark. The rain has stopped. Dog is up as soon as I sit up .. I figure 'what the hell' at this point I will get up and take care of that ‘pitter’ matter and regroup with some tea. The dog continues to bark.
8:ish - I get out my trusty one burner stove to make tea. It engulfs itself in flames. I get the gas turned off and the base continues to burn. I attempt it again and the same thing happens though the base continues to flame even with the gas off. I pitch the stove after emptying the gas into the fire pit and almost blowing myself up.
With no means to make tea or my lovely freeze dried ham and eggs, I sit at the picnic table, looking at my soaked tent and ask myself why in the heck I paid $10 for this experience. I got nothing .. I consider leaving a note on the tent that whoever wants to take it down can have it, but decide to head 20+ miles up the road to find breakfast and tea first. Of course, the one restaurant in that town is not open. Twelve more miles to the next town before I finally score my tea. I sit on a deck with my tea, watching hummingbirds fight over the feeders after a fabulous breakfast, dazed from the blur of the past 24 hours and ponder the credit card ‘memories are priceless’ commercials. I decide that next time I'll spend $20 more and make my memories at Motel 6.