I made it safely back to Denver today and landed feet first into a heat wave. Leaving the mountains where 70s were the high and coming down to Denver where it was 100° has been difficult to take, but the opportunity for good food and a comfortable bed made the transition a little easier.
Since I closed up the trailer when I left, it was to say the very least, extremely hot inside when I returned. Arctic Fox is well known for their insulation, which is a good thing until you want to change the inside from hot to cold or vice versa, then all that insulation holds the heat and it takes a long time to cool it off, so my first night back was not the most comfortable night I've spent in the Arctic Fox.
I learned a lot on this first real minivacation but I haven't had time yet for thoughts and ideas to coalesce in my mind because I've been so busy catching up with all the stuff that went on with my sales on GunBroker while I was cut off from the rest of the world. I had emails to answer, a gun to ship out this morning, and another one tomorrow. But when everything gets back to normal again I'll be able to talk more about the the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat while living in a tent in the great outdoors.
The National forest campground on Taylor Lake I stayed at for one night. it was eight dollars a night with my geezer pass
Tincup Colorado Main Street, no stoplights, no stop signs, just a handful of very friendly people that make you feel welcome.
Tuesday morning I left mirror Lake and drove back to Tincup on the horrendous rock filled jeep trail euphemistically known as a road and had breakfast at the only restaurant in Tincup. I should've made my own breakfast but between the mosquitoes and me being too lazy to find all of my cooking stuff I figured I needed a taste of civilization and some real food.
Last night was not nearly as cold as the night before so I got a much better night's sleep. I have no way of proving it was less cold but there was no ice on the tent or anywhere else so I figured there was a warming trend and my minivacation was going to become more comfortable.
I visited the cemetery in Tincup which is an interesting place as cemeteries go. there are very old graves and very new graves all mixed together in a cemetery with the prettiest view I've ever seen. if you have to rest someplace for all eternity the Tincup cemetery is the place to be.
I moved all my camping paraphernalia to a national forest campsite next to Taylor Lake 7 or 8 miles from Tincup and will spend the last night of my minivacation surrounded by the beautiful mountains that encircle this place.
I'll be heading out of here in the morning and going back to my daughter's house. It will be great to get a shower again and having meals instead of snacks are something I'm really looking forward too. And even though I'm getting used to the cot and the sleeping bag their still just a pretend bed and nothing like the real thing.
I've learned a lot from this three night minivacation but it's going to take some time for me to put it all together in my mind. but one thing I've learned for sure is that the difficulties of living in a tent, even for a short period of time, are magnified as you get older. Minor inconveniences become major, chilly nights become really cold, 10,000 feet of altitude feels like 12,000 feet. And getting out of a cot on a cold morning will remind you very quickly that you're not 23 years old anymore.
log cabins in Tincup Colorado
old outbuilding in Tincup Colorado
the only restaurant in Tincup
Tincup Colorado house
view from the Tincup cemetery. a view for all eternity.
these folks put a beautiful wrought iron fence around their loved one, and then used a wooden headstone which is completely illegible.
My campsite at mirror Lake just outside of Tincup Colorado. You can't tell from this picture but I was wearing a coat when I took it.
The drive to Tincup the back way through Gunnison was a long one. It wouldn't be long for normal people but I'm not used to driving more than a 100 miles a day on an interstate highway so driving 200 miles of mostly mountain driving was very tiring.
I made a lot of stops along the way in an effort to trick my body into thinking it was a shorter drive, so I ended up getting to Mirror Lake, which is 3 or 4 miles past Tincup, about an hour before sundown.
When I came up here I was wondering whether or not I would be able to breathe at timberline, and the answer is.... Sort of. I'm not passing out or nothing like that but I am lightheaded and walking up and down hills like I used to is out of the question, I get tired just walking the hundred feet down to Mirror Lake. I know some of that would go away after a week or two but when I lived at 9000 feet I could come to Tincup and walk around just like I was at home. but it looks like now I'm either not spending enough time in the mountains or I'm to geezerly to breathe at 10 or 11,000 feet.... Looks like I need to spend more time in the mountains.
To say the road from Tincup to Mirror Lake was in poor condition would be an epic understatement. It was absolutely horrendous. I hadn't been on that road for a few years and it was always kind of bad, but it has deteriorated to the point that if I can get out of here without busting a couple tires I will never use the road again.
I don't know how cold it got last night, because I didn't have a thermometer, but there was ice on the outside of the tent this morning, and I had trouble sleeping because I was kind of chilly. My Wiggys sleeping bag is rated at 0°, but I'm a cold sleeper and need as many covers as I can get. I think the main problem last night was I didn't have enough insulation between me and the cot and cots are naturally cold because cold air can circulate underneath them. So tonight I'm going to put more insulation under my sleeping bag and hope that helps.
The Tincup area is just as beautiful as I remember it. Anytime you're high in the mountains its pretty, but Tincup is a special place and its scenic in ways you only see at timberline and high mountain passes. Long ago when Pres. Teddy Roosevelt was visiting Cripple Creek Colorado he said that the scenic beauty of the area bankrupted the English language. That statement was true then and it's true now. But the Tincup area goes a little further and imprints images into your mind that can't be forgotten or equaled but must be renewed every chance you get.
there's Open Range even in the mountains and the same rules apply, the cows have the right-of-way.
This plaque has been at mirror Lake for as long as I've been going there.
Mirror Lake. when the wind is perfectly calm there's a perfect reflection of the mountains and the forest in the lake, hence the name