Greg and I spent 8 days camping, hiking, and fishing in Leadville, Colorado. It was super fun and very hard to come back. We were so lucky to have some of Greg’s family in town too. Here are some of my favorite stories and pictures from the trip.
We started out the trip on Friday and stayed the night in Des Moines with Ellen and Adam. Saturday, we drove all day, finally to arrive in Leadville that night. We stayed at a hostel in town and were welcomed with Jambalaya, and corn on the cob. On Sunday, we set up camp at Lake Turquoise and then went fishing in the afternoon. After we had been fishing for an hour or so with no fish yet, I decided to reel in and cast my line again. Suddenly, as I started to reel in, I realized I had caught a fish! Turns out it was a pretty little rainbow trout!
A little while after that, we saw a DNR warden walking toward us on the shore. He came over and asked us for our fishing licenses. We had purchased them online before the trip and saved them as screen shots on our phones. Conveniently, the official licenses were being sent in the mail and the printed temporaries had been left in a plastic bag back home in Madison. In any case, we had valid licenses, so he said it was fine if he wrote down our names and birth dates and called in to validate our licenses. While he was talking with us, Greg had set down his fishing pole. Suddenly the warden said,
"Oh! Looks like you caught a fish there!"
Thanks to the warden checking our licenses, Greg missed that sneaky fish. After the warden left, we kept fishing and then Greg caught a brown trout. We think. Or maybe it was a cutthroat.
After we were done fishing, we drove back to our campsite. On the way, we saw the DNR warden in his truck and waved hello from our car. To our surprise, he recognized us, quickly turned his truck around, and turned his lights on to pull us over! We got out of the car and he asked us when we had bought our fishing licenses. We told him we bought them last week and they were valid for 5 days, starting that day. He wasn’t mad, but seemed to think we had lied. He asked when we arrived in Colorado and we said yesterday. As it turns out, the person who he’d called to validate our licenses had told him the wrong dates. Everything was fine but it sure made me a little nervous. It was also funny how he threw his co-worker under the bus, saying, “he didn’t seem too sharp anyway”.
That night, we decided to eat pizza from High Mountain Pies. Best restaurant in Leadville. We had a small pizza, half Tuscan Sun, half San Luis. We were so hungry, we ate the whole thing!
On Monday, we decided to go for a hike in the mountains to Windsor Lake, thanks to advice from Aunt Vicki. We drove to the trailhead and started hiking. Since there’s been so much snow this year in Colorado, the stream coming down the mountain was like a small river and there were many large patches of snow covering the trail. The trail wasn’t really marked; we just followed the worn path. There were a few times where we thought we should have crossed the stream, but I’m pretty sure if we had tried to cross, we would have been swept away with the raging water. Later on, we came across an old abandoned mining town on the trail - Douglas City. It’s hard to imagine people lived in tiny log homes up the side of a mountain a hundred or so years ago. Plus, it appeared there was snow up there just about all year long!
That night, we made hobo dinners. Potatoes, ground turkey, peppers, carrots, onions, oil, salt, and pepper. Combine in foil. Throw in fire. Dinner complete.
Tuesday, we canoed with some of the Koch family at Twin Lakes in Leadville. We canoed the lake and stopped for lunch at Interlaken, an old lakeside resort when the train used to go through that area.
On Wednesday, we hiked with both Koch families to St. Kevin’s Lake in the mountains. It was a long drive up to the trailhead, over a narrow, road with lots of potholes and steep inclines. Luckily, Uncle Tim is an expert off-road mini-van driver. When we reached the lake, we could see part of it was still frozen. We ate our lunch on the rocks, watched Greg and Uncle John fish, and Uncle Tim and Joe slide down the snow on the other side of the lake. I spent most of the 2 hours basking in the sun (with my hat and sunscreen on, of course.)
Snowball fights on the way down:
After the hike, we enjoyed great pizza from High Mountain Pies with the whole group. We also had some rain that forced us to finish eating inside. However, after that, we were lucky to see a double rainbow in the sky. < Insert “double rainbow” jokes here >
The best is yet to come. Colorado Part 2 coming soon.