After the RTR was abruptly ended I needed to decide where I was going to spend the rest of the summer. I could just stay put in the area around Flagstaff for the rest of the summer but that seemed like a very bad idea! I was notorious with the Rangers in the Coconino NF so staying there seemed like begging for trouble! Even worse, June was a truly exceptionally hot month in Flagstaff, probably the hottest I can ever remember, which meant that it was time for me to be thinking about moving to higher ground to get out of the heat. While it’s possible to get up to 9000 feet in Arizona, I strongly prefer to be in Colorado at that elevation.
Colorado is such an extremely mountainous state that camping near a city at 10,000 feet with a good Verizon signal is actually very easy to do, and of all the places to do that my two favorites are Leadville, CO and Steamboat Springs CO. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I spent more than a month at the two of them last fall on my way home back to Arizona from my summer travels through the Rocky Mountains. But because they are two of my favorite places, I’m always ready to go back!
This year my good friend Randy and his intentional community he calls the “Band of Boondockers” was there and I’m always glad to hang with him and his exceptional group of friends, so I spent about 10 days with them. and had a truly wonderful time!! I’m not really a big group guy but I went over every evening and sat around the fire with them and tremendously enjoyed the conversations–they even put up with my truly radical ideas!! You can learn more about their group in this post Randy put up on his blog: http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/2016/07/no-ordinary-conversation-shaping-culture.html
It’s so amazing to camp at 10,000 feet! The temperatures never got over 75 degrees and the nights were cool enough to require an extra blanket–getting down to the 30s was common, so the temperatures were ideal as far as I was concerned! But one of Randy’s group had lived in Mexico for over 20 years and Leadville was uncomfortably cold for her, so after their 14 days were up, they left for lower elevations down by Salida CO. It’s more like 7-8000 feet above sea-level there which is cool but not as cold at night.
Many of us also noticed breathing problems with the thin air at 10,000 feet–myself included. I had been a campground host here in 2008 and even after spending 6 months in the area I still would wake up grasping for breath at night if my breathing got too shallow and slow. It isn’t enough of a problem to keep me from coming back, but the older you get the worse it gets and the more scared you are each time it happens!
By then I had been there for 1o days and it was time to move on anyway. I was generally working my way toward Jackson, Wyoming so a very logical next stop was at Steamboat Springs, so the day they left for Salida, I broke camp and left for there. I’ll tell you about that camp in my next blog post.
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