Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Colorado !!

It is a rare year that I don't take a camping trip somewhere, but last year was one such year.   Princess was very elderly and just not up to a big trip.  So Scarlett and Zak had never been camping - until three weeks ago when we went to Colorado.    As luck would have it, our first night out was a stormy one in Western Nebraska, and Scarlett wasn't so sure she liked sleeping in the tent with all the thunder and lightning going on.   During a lull between storms, I took her to the car and she felt much safer there.   I let her sleep in the car the next two nights and then coaxed her back to the tent.  I spread an old sleeping bag out next to my air mattress and she and Zak were quite comfortable there.

My brother Tim joined us and we spent four days at Moraine Campground near Estes Park,  followed by four days in Coloardo Springs.   Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a large herd of elk.   From the safety of the car, it was fun to see Scarlett's and Zak's reaction to them (wide eyed stares and lots of barking!)   The next morning Scarlett and I were snuggling in my sleeping bag and Tim had taken Zak out for a short walk.   They were just outside the tent when a large bull sauntered over the ridge into our campsite.   He took one look at Zak and charged.     Zak initially jumped back; then mustered up all of his protective courage and charged back!   Thankfully, Tim had hold of his leash, pulled him away and the elk ran off.    But that was more excitement than I needed that early in the morning!

Moraine Park - Rocky Mt National Park

Scarlett and Zak are mesmerized
by the chipmunks. 

Colorado, like much of the nation, has had a cold, wet Spring,  and the Trail Ridge Road, which takes you well above tree-line to over 13,000 feet,  had just opened a few days earlier.    We enjoyed a beautiful day, crossing the VERY snowy mountains (over ten feet deep in places!) and down to Grand Lake.  This picture of Scarlett and Zak watching the chipmunks is virtually identical to one I took of Princess and Dee Dee in the very same spot in 2006.  

Playing at Lake Grandby
We flirted with bad weather for much of our trip, but were fortunate to have the sun shining at the most important times, such as when we came upon this meadow just East of Grand Lake. It is one of my favorite spots in the Rockies. The dogs enjoyed playing in the lake and were unphased by the frigid temperature of the water. 

Grand Lake Meadow

Estes Park Dog Park
We really enjoyed the town of Estes Park and even took in a jazz festival there one afternoon.   It is definitely a tourist-friendly city, with many store owners allowing dogs into their shops and/or setting bowls of drinking water out for them.   Both Estes Park and Colorado Springs have wonderful dog parks with watering holes for cooling off.

Bear Creek Dog Park
Colorado Springs
The national parks don't allow dogs on the hiking trails, so Tim and I had to stagger our hiking or do it early in the morning or late afternoon, when it was cool enough to leave the dogs in the car.   Colorado Springs, however, has a number of parks with trails that are dog-friendly, including Garden of the Gods.   It was hot the day we were there, so we cooled off with a swim in the afternoon and then came back for a lovely evening stroll.

Garden of the Gods

 I have many wonderful memories of camping with Princess and Dee Dee over the years, and now I can begin making new memories with Scarlett and Zak.   They were great travelers.  Zak is making good progress on overcoming his car anxiety.  They had a great time, but were very happy to get home! 

Pikes Peak