Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Camp #F (... Or #6 If You Prefer)

The sign directing me to my campsite.
Yesterday I went on my first camping trip of the year.  I decided to get one in early to make up for not having one last November.  I went to what appears to be my favorite place to camp since I've already camped there twice before: Hitchcock Nature Center.  The actual reason is that it's close by and convenient.

My first camp was at Hitchcock on the Westridge trail.  Last night's camp was at another campsite along the same trail.  The views are similar with unobstructed views to the west.  All of Hitchcock's campsites include a sand pad for pitching your tent and a metal fire pit/grill.  The only thing missing is a comfortable place to sit.  Both the sand pit and fire pit have logs surrounding them but they can be uncomfortably low to the ground.  I prefer Preparation Canyon's picnic tables.  I guess I'm spoiled.

The tent went up first.  It was a bit breezy but nothing I couldn't handle.  I did have to dig into the sand to find firm dirt to push my tent stakes into.  I had the same issue my first camp.

After the tent came a little wandering around to see what was nearby.  There is a game trail that takes you to a nice view point.   The sun was reflecting off of water standing in farm fields - pretty.   As the sun went down, despite the distance, you could hear the chirping of frogs in the water.  Turkeys and a lone woodpecker finished nature's symphony that night.

I made dinner - Spaghetti.  I'm still using my original gas canister in my camp stove.  This is my fifth meal (I skipped a hot meal on my fourth camp).  I hope to get at least six meals out of the canister.  Since I don't drink coffee and am planning to limit myself to one hot meal per day on multi-day camping trips, one canister should be enough for both Rocky Mountain National Park and the Appalachian Trail (where I will stop in town once every six days or so) ... though I will most likely carry an extra canister anyway.

The Sunset.
The sun started going down and I started collecting firewood and kindling.  There was a lot of wood around left there either by the Hitchcock folks or other campers.  I used one vaseline soaked cotton ball to get the fire started.  It was one of the easiest fires I've ever started.  I'll have to buy a flint and steal to see if I can get a fire started that way.  They say the vaseline soaked cotton ball is very good at catching a spark.  Maybe for my next camping trip.

My campsite in the setting sun.
I spent the rest of the evening tending the fire and reading.  The stars came out but there was a high altitude haze that kept them dull.  It started to chill so I got in my sleeping bag early and read a little in my tent before falling asleep.  It hit the low 40s overnight.  I started out too warm - I think I overdressed for the night with long john bottoms and a fleece jacket.  In the wee hours of the morning I was dressed just fine.  Snug like a bug in a rug.  (I did find a tick on me earlier before I went to bed but I left it out in the cold.)  I did discover that an over-inflated air pad will end up giving me an aching back.  I need to remember to let out a little air to soften it up a bit.

My next camp will be sometime in May.  I think it may be a return to Indian Cave.

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