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Fort Collins: Fermented Paradise and Laundry

This post jumps back to our late spring trip out west.  Leaving the Vedauwoo Recreation area between Laramie and Cheyenne, we backtracked and drove southeast to Fort Collins, Colorado. We had several reasons for making Fort Collins our destination. First, Julia has an optometry school friend who resides there.  Her husband is a lawyer.    And they both like to hike and drink good beer, so lots of things to talk about after not seeing each other for a number of years.  Second, after a week without hookups, we needed to resupply, shower, do laundry, dump tanks,  and plan our next journey into the mountains. We checked into Boyd Lake State Park for a two day mid-week stay.   All of Colorado State Parks are expensive for camping and charge an additional $10 each day for non-residents. At Boyd Lake, sites are tight. Coin showers with out-of-order change machines.  No firewood for sale. On the plus side, the on-site laundry facilities were excellent.  Also, it was very convenient to use

Night and Day

Julia is reading “The End of Night” by Paul Bogard, which is described as a hymn to vanished darkness. Between the full moon at Bryce, light pollution at rv parks, and cloudy nights, she hasn’t had much success in viewing the Milky Way.After leaving Moab, we went to Dead Horse State Park, which is about 45 minutes west of Moab and next to Canyonlands National Park.

This area is supposed to be a great spot for looking at darkness.  Unfortunately, even though it was clear for most of the day, clouds moved in at sunset, leaving no stars to be seen.  Then when Julia got up before sunrise, the half-moon spoiled the view.

Fortunately, the trails and daytime sights at Dead Horse State Park made up for the lack of true darkness. We hiked the East and West Rim Trails, along with a few shorter side trails.

This morning, we were off to points south.  My plan was to take Julia to Navajo National Monument, but she opted for someplace new.  We ended up at Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation.  We were going to stay at the View Campground, but no dogs were allowed.  Instead, we went to Goulding’s Campground.  Julia appreciated the hot showers and electrical hookups.  It’s been getting colder, and my $15 ceramic heater has been keeping us toasty when we have electric.  Solar doesn’t work for producing heat–at least not my 100 watt suitcase solar kit.

I had low expectations for Monument Valley, especially after the $20 entrance fee, but it was a very beautiful place.  We drove part of the gravel loop road before deciding that was enough potholes for one day.  Then we hiked the Wildcat Trail (about 4 miles looping around West Mitten). Despite the crowded parking lot and visitors’ center, we saw only a couple of hikers past the first mile.  It turned into a great afternoon.

Julia has one more chance for dark skies before we return to Vegas for her very early morning flight on Sunday.  We have no reservations but will making our way west.


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