A long weekend wandering


"I took off for a weekend last month just to try and recall the whole year..."

I had been having a real craptastic time with work and some other stuff, so my wife told me I needed some solitude. It's cool that she knows me so well. Of course, I agreed with her, so on Thursday, I loaded my Jeep after work and bailed west. Crossing Western Kansas with the hood pointed west; I began my adventure. I knew I didn't have much time, but I was after quality instead of quantity with this trip.

I stopped in Hays, Kansas, to fill my cooler and top off with gas, and then it was back on the highway. I stopped in Limon, Colorado, and slept in the drivers' seat for a few hours in a closed IHOP parking lot. After about two and a half fitful hours of sleep, I grabbed a cup of coffee at Love's and looked through the atlas to try and find a destination. Hmmmmm, Westcliffe looks cool. I pulled into Westcliffe around three am and found a trailhead to sleep for a few more hours.

I woke up at sunrise, filled my camelback up, grabbed some Clif bars, and a light layer. After doing some stretching, I started hiking. It was amazing watching the sunrise across the valley and not seeing another soul for hours. I hiked for about an hour then just sat and enjoyed some companionable solitude as I snacked on a Clif bar and sipped some water. Once my soul was replenished with the solace of solitude, I began my trek back to the Jeep. When I reached the jeep, I was wondering where I should go next. Medano pass was not too far, so off I went. I drove for a while, but I was alone, with no recovery gear and no plans either. So after some cruising, I turned around and went back to Westcliffe for some coffee.

I eventually ended up in Leadville after exploring every forest service road I could and trying to string as many together so I could avoid the highway as often as possible. I was in search of an outdoor store because I had left my headlamp on my workbench where I had set it so I would not forget it. I stopped in Leadville Outdoors and was fixed right up. I asked the clerk where I could have the best burger in town. At this point, it's around two pm, and I am starving. The Tennesse Pass Cafe right across the street was the recommendation I got from the crew at the shop.

That was an amazing burger, and it was exactly what I needed. I topped off the meal with a scoop of huckleberry ice cream and then sat looking at the atlas and frecampsites.net. Once again the journey was underway. I scouted and drove many backroads trying to find a suitable spot for my tent. After a few hours of cruising, I ended up north of Vail. Hmmm. I wasn't planning on going that far north. Oh well. I found a road out of town to the north and drove it all the way to the end at a gated ranch. No luck with a campsite at all. I turned around and headed out of the valley.

When I got to the top of the road, I took a side road and drove that for about another twenty minutes. My drive paid off with an amazing site facing across the valley to the east. I was able to talk to my wife and girls before I went to bed. Waking up in that almost purple predawn light is always my favorite. The weather was slightly cool, a bit of a breeze and clear skies. I sat in my chair with a cup of instant coffee and just enjoyed the moment. No phones, no Facebook, no boss... just companionable solitude. I am not sure how long I sat there just enjoying the lack of manmade sensory input.

More to come...


Well-known member
you are an inspiration finsUp..... reading yer post was like being there..... and inspiration to "just do it" !!
ps, a few pics would seal it


Great getaway write up.

Just so you know you can practically drive a Subaru over Medano pass now. The east side is just a rough graded dirt road. Once into the park you will do a few creek crossings, but this time of year it's barely running. Air down for the sand and look out for the crowds when you get to the dunes.