After much deliberation, we decided to head out toward Mt. Shavano in the Salida/Monarch Pass area for some much needed Labor Day camping. I took a half day on Thursday and after picking William up from school, we got a jump start on the long, holiday weekend. It’s Russian roulette as Linnea calls it regarding how busy the campgrounds will be, and we were anxious if there would be any open sites. Following the 3 hr. drive, we made it to the small Forest Service campground and got a prime site with the North Fork of the South Arkansas river flowing right behind it. We couldn’t believe our luck, and it was the perfect base camp for the kids. It was quieter Thursday evening than I expected and the campground didn’t fill up until about 4 pm on Friday. We spent most of our first day exploring around camp, playing lots of baseball in the nearby group site, finding beaver ponds, fishing, splashing around in the creek, exploring nearby waterfalls, and the boys favorite, roasting marshmallows. The area has tons to offer from 14ers, hiking, mountain-biking to fishing, and we spent a good chunk of time focusing on the latter. Saturday, we headed up Monarch Pass to Boss Lake, a catch and release reservoir stocked with Colorado greenback cutthroats. After a mile on a rough four wheel drive road, we made the near one mile steep hike up to the lake. The fishing was great and many hits off dry flys. William is getting surprisingly good at fly-fishing and Joshua is working up through the ranks on the spin rod. After the outing we took in some ice-cream back at Monarch Pass. On Sunday, we stuck closer to the campground and headed up the four wheel drive road to North Fork reservoir, just past the old Shavano town-site. It was another amazing destination and the reservoir was teaming with hungry rainbows. We had good luck again, this time the prize fish off a big royal wolf dry fly. Later that evening, we headed into Salida to play around in the Arkansas river. Both boys had fun wading and watching the tubers and a few rafters go by. We caught the start of a jazz concert in the park before heading back to the campground. For Labor day, we had a relaxing morning around the campground before packing up. Our final stop was at Hecla Junction for more relaxation and fishing on the Arkansas before making our back to Denver later afternoon. Lots of rafters coming out of Brown’s canyon had the boys full attention. Of course five days of camping with two boys 3 and under, a pregnant lady, and one crazy dog doesn’t come without it bumps, bruises, and surprises. William managed an impressive elbow scrape from a bike wipe out, Joshua split his lip trying out William’s bike, William snagged Maddy through the flesh with a fly hook, Linnea sliced her hand open hiking around a lake, somehow we managed to set-up and took down in heavy rain even though it was sunny literally the whole rest of the time, and despite Linnea’s heavy snoring we all tried our best to get some sleep!
- Golden Gate Canyon State Park Camping
- Fall Baseball