August 1st – This morning I had a another one of my epic dreams involving one of my children. In this dream Levar and I are kids together. KIDS TOGETHER! We are either brothers or best friends. We’re 11 or 12 years old and in Colorado, visiting a dude ranch like I used to do in real life with my parent growing up. We’re playing in the forest. One of us throws a rock that hits the roof of a cabin. Two guys come out of the cabin, jump on their horses and chase us – then I wake up. How awesome to have the experience of childhood with my child. If only it could be so!
August 3rd – I left the house in Garland at 6 a.m. bound for Colorado. I drove as far as Santa Fe to a not-so-Quality Inn.
August 4th – Up at 5 a.m. and breakfast at IHOP. Fantastic sunrise. I headed out for the campground in Colorado. Passed through Durango at 10 a.m. North on US Highway 550, over two mountain passes to finally land at South Mineral Campground in the San Juan National Forest.
When I arrived, I asked the host, Pandora, for a site. She gave me site #6 – the last one available! It was really open, no trees – but she thought to move me to site #9 the next day, which was nestled in the forest with great privacy. It started raining when I was setting up our old REI tent, and, guess what – it leaks! I spent most of the afternoon in the tent due to the rain.
In the evening I went into the small old mining town of Silverton, Colorado, elevation 9,318 feet, to the “Brown Bear” cafe. The waitress recommended the French Onion soup as a vegetarian option. I also had the onion rings. She commented that I must really like onions! I also visited the fascinating Silverton Mining museum.
August 5th – I moved to site #9 as soon as it opened up and set up the old North Face tent, hoping for the best. It was a bright sunny day so no leakage concerns. I walked one mile up the jeep road leading away from the campground to see how acclimated I was and I did fine. I turned around though because I had forgotten to bring sunscreen.
August 6th – Rain from noon until 8 p.m. The North Face tent leaked even worse than the REI tent. I spent my time inside the tent trying to keep dry by dodging leaks. I was feeling bored and disconnected. Waiting for my usual mountain high but it wasn’t coming yet. Impatiently waiting for Veronica to arrive!
August 7th – Nicer weather, so I hiked one mile up the Ice Lakes trail as a conditioning hike and once again, I did fine.
August 8th – Veronica’s arrival day! Today I drove into Montrose, Colorado to buy a new tent, before picking Veronica up at the small local airport. I ended up buying a Marmot Tungsten 2 person tent. Turns out this is the same tent that Veronica and Michael have, although they have the 3-person tent. Veronica’s small plane arrived at 2:30 p.m. So happy to see her – I teared up!
Next we went food shopping together at the Natural Grocer in Montrose. We ate a fantastic buffet lunch at Guru’s Himilayan Restaurant. It was most excellent, with excellent vegetarian dishes. I reached out to B. and D., friends from our campground hosting days at nearby Ridgway State Park, but couldn’t connect with them just yet. We stopped off at Bear Creek Falls on our drive back to the campground, along the famous Million Dollar Highway.
Veronica was commenting on the awesome colors and scale and majesty of the mountains. We soon arrived back at our site and got both Marmot tents set up. Finally, a tent that is guaranteed not to leak! We had a couple of beers together and watched the moon come out as a crescent over the mountains and the stars were incredible. We both slept well – comfy and dry!