Clicking a pic can make you dizzy at this altitude
My boondocking spot at a national forest campground near Tincup Colorado
I Left Denver this morning about 9 o'clock and got to a place to spend the night by 1 o'clock [that's 1300 hrs. for The Old Fat Man]. I'm spending the night in Tincup Colorado at a national forest campground. I'm only gonna be here for one night, just wanting to take a few pictures of the old buildings in Tincup before they all fall down.
The roads were more crowded than normal but not so much that it was a problem. But I am amazed at how many people are still camping and hiking in the mountains. Virtually every trailhead that I drive past was packed with cars. When I stopped at the top of Cottonwood pass to take a picture the parking area was so full of cars I almost didn't stop. I don't think I've ever seen more than three or four cars there at one time before in all the years I've been coming here. And I got the last available camping spot at the national forest campground I'm staying in, and like I said I got here at 1 o'clock.
I got out of bed this morning at about 7:30 to a brisk 31° temperature. Since that's what it was in the camper with me not using any heat. I'm assuming it was in the high 20s outside. I was camping at about 10,000 feet so chilly temperatures at night are to be expected.
I drove to downtown Tincup as early as possible to beat the rush hour traffic... Joking of course, there is no rush hour, there is no traffic, and there's barely a town. There was a guy walking his dog down the street that I had to drive around but other than that I didn't see anyone. I took a few pictures, walked around a little bit, took a few deep breaths of cold fresh mountain air, got lightheaded, thought I was going to pass out, and staggered back to the truck.
Before I started this trip it looked to me like I wasn't going to have a problem camping wherever I wanted to, and now I'm somewhat concerned. But there's national forest all around the places I'm going so I can always pull off on a dirt road and boondock if I have to.
From Tincup I drove to near Montrose Colorado and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison national Park where I plan to spend a night or two depending on how crowded it is. So far everything's been pretty busy, lots of RVs, bunches of people, campgrounds and camping areas looking full. I expected the area around Tincup to be pretty much devoid of people and RVs because it normally is except on holidays, but I was dead wrong! Boondocking areas in the national forest that I was familiar with were packed with people to the point where it was hard to find a spot to camp. I hope this is just temporary and will blow over when the Bat flu does, but so far living without reservations has been iffy at best.
The forest fires in Colorado have made Denver somewhat smoky the last week or so and as you can tell by my pictures it's pretty hazy up in the mountains also. Hopefully by the time I get down south near Silverton Colorado smoke won't be a problem.
Buena Vista Colorado. These mountains should be crystal clear but the smoke from the Glenwood Canyon fire gives them that hazy look.
9000 feet and climbing. I'm starting to feel better with every foot of elevation.
The twisty two-lane blacktop coming up the Eastern side of Cottonwood Pass
I'm at the top of Cottonwood pass a little over 12,000 feet elevation. You should be able see mountains stretching off into the distance forever but the smoke has obscured them.
This is the little bridge you have to cross to get into tin cup, the road department has shored it up considerably. When I first started coming to Tincup this bridge was so flimsy I used two fear crossing it on my motorcycle.
The Tincup suburbs. A few people have summer houses here but there's only a handful of hardy folk that stay here during the winter. If it's getting down into the 20s at night in August already imagine what it is in January and February.
It's tough to stay in business in Tincup when you have to compete with Walmart.
This little Tincup cabin is not actually very old, it was built in the 1940s by the father of a guy I used to work with, and he inherited it when his father passed away. He would invite me and my family to go there for a weekend and we would all ride our dirt bikes around the mountains surrounding Tincup and visit the old mines above timberline.
There was no electricity, no running water, and the local Squirrels would do their best to fill up the cabin rooms with pinecones during the winter months. But we would hook up a car battery to the two 12 volt light bulbs in the cabin. We brought our own water, and there was an outhouse out back. We would shovel out the pinecones, and about two nights there was about all any of us could stand. But I still have some great memories.