After a long, cold winter and over two months working on my newly acquired 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia camper van, I finally got out camping in it over the past 3 weekends with Richele and the dogs. First, we attempted a trip to Moab over the weekend of 5/16-18, but we wound up just hanging around the Colorado River between No Name, CO and Glenwood Springs, CO. Although the van was really slow over the high mountain passes on I-70, the real reason we wound up staying was that it was so much easier to go for a long, 10 mile run along the path on the Colorado River on Saturday and then kayak the same stretch (Grizzly Creek to Two Rivers Park) on Sunday. With such beautiful weather and surroundings, we really didn’t feel the need to move on to Moab and as a bonus we got to soak in nice, backcountry hot springs near Glenwood. The first weekend of camping in the van showed that it was definitely well suited to the 2 of us plus our 3 dogs and 2 kayaks and associated gear! Although our steath camping in the No Name rest stop on Friday night was pretty neat, I’ve gotta say there are other places I would rather be than smack between I-70, freight trains, and idling 18 wheelers!
The next weekend (5/23-25) we headed off to camp and play for Memorial Weekend with friends near Buena Vista, CO. Richele and I kayaked the cold water of the Arkansas River along the stretch known as the Milk Run on Saturday and then headed up to Buena Vista to check out some of the top kayakers in the world compete in the 1st Annual Buena Vista Pro Rodeo (that’s kayak rodeo). We got to seek Eric Jackson (my hero), but unfortunately he wasn’t competing. However, his 14 year old son, Dane, did finish second and looked absolutely spectular on the water. Inspired by the pros, I decided to get in the water and try my hand at the new play waves in BV which were a lot of fun. Afterwards, we camped with friends on National Forest land near Brown’s Creek trailhead and then went for a hike from the trailhead on Sunday up to the Colorado Trail. I really wanted to take it easy on Sunday and head back early, because early Monday morning I ran in the Bolder Boulder for my 4th time. I’m happy to say that after training with FastForward Sports all spring that I ran a personal best time of 53 minutes!
And now that brings us to last weekend, 5/31-6/1. Once again, we loaded up the van with our kayaks and the dogs, but we headed North this time to the Poudre River west of Fort Collins, CO to kayak with Colorado Whitewater Association for their annual Poudre River weekend (which just happened to be where Richele and I met last year!). We kayaked the Filter Run stretch with a friendly beginner group on Saturday, hung out in the Mountain Park group campground with our kayaking friends that night, and the kayaked a beautiful Class II/III stretch on the upper Poudre called Sleeping Elephant.
It’s been a busy 3 weeks of camping, kayaking, and figuring out the Westfalia, and there will be plenty more of all them this summer! Until my next report, check out a few photos and a map from all these recent adventures…