It was a little chilly this morning but the sun was shining. The plan was to go over Rabbit Ears Pass and see if there was space available at Dumont Lake Campground. It was quite a climb up the pass and we had to take it slow but finally we saw the welcome sign for Dumont Lake Campground and Picnic Area.
The campground was about ½ mile off US 40 yet it felt a million miles away. We drove around analyzing all the sites and ended up at Site 2, a pull-thru site out in the meadow. Dark clouds covered the sun right as we made our way into the trailer and then; down pour! What a beautiful sight!
Tip: For State and National Park camping use www.Recreation.gov. They do not take last-minute or same-day reservations, however, you can put in a date and see if they have walk-up spaces available. I knew beforehand that there were four possible spots available at Dumont Lake..
The shower passed over and we were all getting our hiking shoes on and then it started raining lightly again. The kids were not really in the mood to hike so Troy urged me to go ahead and get some “communing with nature” time.
I ran into a Ranger named Rick who directed me to the Trail 1101 to view wildflowers and Dumont Lake. He did not steer me wrong. The wildflowers along this trail were amazing! The trail was very easy and flat (great for kids of all ages) and the best part, I was all alone on the trail. The rain ended and the sun came out. I was in my “happy place.” I took many pictures and stopped often to view the lake from different angles and to watch clouds gather over the mountain peaks. I had time to just be in the moment, breathe in the sights and sounds of nature. I committed it to memory for the next time things become stressful. As much as I could have kept walking, I knew Troy would be worried about me so I headed back to camp.
Once back to camp I convinced the family to hike a bit up Rabbit Ears Peak trail. They agreed since I told them we would only go as far as the “vast wildflower fields” promised in the Steamboat Springs Visitors Guide. At first, it didn’t look promising but after ½ mile the fields appeared. Everyone was amazed! From our stopping point we could see the Rabbit Ears formation. If we had continued on the trail for another 2 ½ miles we could have made it to the top. The sky turned threatening again so we turned back while thunder boomed from different directions.
Tip: After some research on the topic of lighting (in California, we don’t get much of it) I realized that our family has taken some risks. So what should you do when you are outdoors? Use the 30-30 rule when deciding if you need to take cover. When you see lightning, begin counting until you hear thunder. If the time is 30 seconds or less, it means the storm is within six miles and you should move to safety immediately. Even after the sun comes out, you should wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before heading back outside. Most importantly, DO NOT take shelter under trees! They are most likely the tallest thing around and more likely to be struck.
We made it back to camp without being rained on. In fact, the storm just skirted our location. The most amazing thing happened. Troy and I were sitting on our camp picnic table and we both saw a lightning bolt appear in blue sky. There were a few wispy clouds above but none of them looked like it could create a lightning bolt. (Now I know that this phenomenon is not that unusual and we should have been inside).
After my hiking adventures, I laid down to rest for a few minutes… OK, a half-hour, when Troy shook me awake to tell me that Drake had shot out the neighbor’s trailer window with his slingshot!
Lucky for us, the trailer owners were very understanding. Troy got to work to find some cardboard and duct tape to put over the window. Drake came in to the trailer in tears. I told him that the only thing he could do was to go apologize. I give him credit, he grabbed his wallet and pulled out all the money he had. He walked back over with his head held high, apologized and try to hand his money to the man. He told Drake to put it in his pocket and looked at me and said “I hope you won’t be too hard on him.” It was a life lesson for the family.
Brief showers came and went for the rest of the afternoon/evening so we ate our dinner indoors. Tomorrow we will be heading out of Colorado into Kansas. I sure am going to miss our RV Adventures here.