Finally, we are home! Colorado—where we can see mountains in the distance. We are parked at Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg. After having our neighbors’ slides within 4 feet of ours in Garden City and LaJunta, we are enjoying a huge site screened by Pinion Pine and Cedar where we can’t see any RVs out of the living room or dining room windows. We were here back on February 28-March 1, on our way out of the state. Then the temperature overnight was 14 one night and 19 the next. This time, the high has been 91.
Lathrop has two lakes, so many people come here either to fish or water ski. Most of the campers are from Colorado, though a few are from Texas and other states. The park was full over the weekend, but has vacancies. It is a very quiet place.
We haven’t had a mountain trail to hike on for so long, we went out at 7:30 this morning to hike the 2-mile long Hogback Loop in the park. The cactus and other wildflowers were blooming and we had rocks to climb over. It was wonderful. Even Partner is grateful to be back on Colorado dirt in Colorado sun. We have been traveling all over North America the past few years. Our only stays in Colorado were on the way out of the state or back in. So we are really looking forward to 4 to 6 weeks of Colorado camping before we report to Kodachrome State Park in Utah in August.
We had planned to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim on our way to Utah. But last night I discovered that all the reservable sites in the campground there are full the days we would like to be there. So we have decided to go there the first week of October, when we leave Utah. That will give us even more time for Colorado camping and hiking.
The Santa Fe Trail and mountain men seem to come to life when you visit Bent’s Old Fort National Historic site outside of LaJunta. The reconstructed fort is really well done. We only went there because we had never been and we know we can always learn something from a National Park Service site. We were delighted to discover how interesting the self-guided tour was, reading the booklet carefully and examining each room in the fort. If you have ever read James Michener’s book, Centennial, you know most of the story of the fort, with a merchant from back east and a French trader forming a partnership to promote trade between Mexico, the Indians, and the United States. He closely patterned his story on William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain.
We were fascinated to see that windows and doors had weather stripping made from buffalo hides and most people at the fort slept on the floor on thin mats and the same hides--only the physician and clerk had beds or cots. How did they ever get a billiard table onto the second floor of an adobe fort? And the peacock was a surprise. We were told the Bents really did have a peacock.