Sunday, August 1, 2010

Clear Creek Camping

My son got back from Chicago with his mother on Wednesday, so he only had a couple days to chill out before I grabbed him for backpacking.
I had loftier goals for this weekend, but I don't believe in pushing very hard when going with my son, or any other less-motivated people. We got a late, leisurely start, and the forecast came true - rain.
I had hoped to backpack north into the basin south of La Plata, but my son's allergies can get severe, and the rain had them flared full-blast, so we modified plans.

The rain didn't stop us from having a small fire. There were about three short breaks in the rain that allowed us to re-stoke the fire before retreating a short ways to our dry abode under a giant fir. We ate lots of jerky that we bought at a road-side stand on Climax. Elk, Salmon, and Buffalo. We each had an apple, and we finished with Jiffy-pop popcorn, which somehow came out perfect, even though the poor pan was a month old, and had been beat-up while packed. It's the simple, stupid things that make camping with kids fun.

We slept late. I guess my son got more sleep than I, since my broken arm always hurts when I lay down.

We were camped in this grove of trees.

The trip was worth it! The camping went smooth, and the views were breath-taking, in spite of not climbing above the valley.

The air was so clean!

This is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth!

I'm enjoying introducing my son to each of the most-awesome places. There are many more.

I have worried in the past that he might not appreciate the outdoors. It's not like you can force anyone to apprciate it. I used to think the only people who don't love the outdoors are people who never experienced it, but then I met several people who explained how and why they love cities and not the outdoors. I understand why they're the way they are. And they aren't wrong. I'm just not like that. In spite of being a computer nerd, my soul belongs to the boonies!

We were in luck! We found more strawberries than I have ever seen in the mountains. For the uninitiated, Colorado's forests are paved in strawberries. This is not something that you hear, generally. But anyone who bothers to look down will see, "Doesn't that look just like strawberry plants?" But you never see any strawberries.
Then, about 10 years ago, I found several pea-sized strawberries. Oh, the flavor was HUGE!! All the flavor of a full-sized strawberry packed into a berry the size of a pea.
Then again, a couple years ago, I found a few more.
But this batch was the most abundant I have ever seen. Unfortunately, they did not pack the punch of the first ones I had found - just normal flavor, but at least my son got to pick and eat wild strawberries in the mountain and appreciate how rare a treat that is.
These are the sort of simple little memories childhoods are paved with, and I hope I provide enough of them for my son. Computer games are fun, and texting, driving to the mall, hanging with friends, is all great, but there's no substitute for SMORES, wild strawberries, hikes, and stories around a campfire.

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