Our return to Base Camp @ Grand Lake has been off to an odd start for the 2020 season. First, Elk Creek Campground opened a week later than usual due to COVID. Second, the campground feels a little bit like a ghost town due to COVID restrictions, which fortunately continue to lighten with each passing week. Third, we had some unexpected surprises when we opened up our place this season, resulting in more work to get it ready. Fourth, Stella had surgery, and the recovery period takes her out of rigorous activity for a little over two weeks. Normally, we would have already been out paddling around in the “Big Mango,” or on our SUP’s on one of the many nearby lakes. However, we have yet to get out on the water this season.
But, not all has been lost. We had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend, and we had returned to one of our favorite hikes, the Monarch Lake loop. The weather was picture perfect, and the trail was not too crowded. In our typical fashion, we began the trek in a clockwise direction around the lake, taking our time to look at everything. The runoff from the winter snowmelt had made a few of the sections along the trail quite muddy, but nothing that would deter anyone from being able to continue. The Monarch Lake Loop never gets old, and is absolutely one of our favorite treks, year-round.
We were also able to get back into Rocky Mountain National Park, and up to Milner Pass. Similar to our trek around Monarch Lake, we had enjoyed the drive into the park. We were fortunate enough to see a few cow elk herds, a group of bull elk, and quite a few moose. Over the past few years, it seems as though the Kawuneeche Valley has become host to four distinct elk herds (just a personal observation).
Additionally, I was finally able to finish up a project that I had started a while ago: Base Camp @ Grand Lake decals for the truck! See the photo for the finished product – it looks really great! So, what is in store for the remainder of the summer? We hope to be kayaking and paddle boarding as much as possible, along with a couple of longer distance day hikes, mountain biking in Winter Park, and a three-day overnight camping adventure with my buddy, Dave. Plus, we have a long trip planned in late August to other mountainous locations in the U.S. where we plan to kayak, SUP, bike, and hike like crazy! I cannot spill the beans at this time, but not to worry, we will write all about it and share amazing photos of everything.
Lastly, we are getting closer to being able to make Grand Lake our year-round residence. We are actively working with a realtor to find some land, we have pinpointed the house we want to build, and we have assembled a budget with estimated costs of everything. Now, we just have to wait until the right piece of land pops up, and hopefully everything will fall into place thereafter. We will keep you posted.