Colorado National Monument.

Welcome back everyone. As our trip continued to unfold, Abby, Eyra, Edgar, Karla, Christopher and I were on our way to Saddlehorn Campground which is located in Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction/ Fruita. Before I booked our camping sites I wanted to experience unique destinations as well as new camping spots. So what did I do? I googled the sh*t out of everything, I googled close to 30 sites and I checked online reviews to avoid potential crappy campsites (I actually did this for all of our locations), but for Saddlehorn, I did find the top 5 best camping spots of the area. My next step was to obtain the data from TripAdvisor, read the feedback from previous campers and found the most popular spots in the area. I have to say, the camping spots that we booked had a killer view of Grand Junction and Fruita and the view looked even more majestic during the night. If you guys ever have the chance to book sites 42 and 43, do it! You will not be disappointed. The only downside was that if you have small children, you must keep a constant eye on them since the locations of the campsites are literally next to a 100-foot drop, well…. maybe more now that I think about it.

Our drive wasn’t too bad but it seemed that a storm was definitely following us so we decided to stop at Beaver Creek and get some grub. We went to an amazing restaurant… no not really! It was just Subway and sat on the restaurant’s outside patio and watched as the storm went by. The funny thing was that even though we were in the mountains, the weather stayed relatively warm. I have done this drive with Abby numerous times when we headed to California but I can’t recall the last time we did it, but I honestly don’t remember going through 4 tunnels! Did CDOT add a bunch of new tunnels and why? One of the things we miss about Colorado besides the mountains is the dry weather, our town of Pella which is located in Iowa is really humid during the Spring and Summer and at times it can be suffocating. It’s so bad that one of my dogs took a leak on the concrete driveway and it stayed there for 3 days until I washed it off and even then, the water I used to clean up the dog urine stayed on my driveway for an additional couple of days. I kid you not! My point is this, all Eyra wanted to do was to run around the Subway restaurant and Abby didn’t allow that so she stepped outside with Eyra to burn some energy off. Since the Subway restaurant that we went to was attached to a hotel, we noticed a couple of employees watering the hotel’s hanging plants. As Eyra followed the water puddles around, we heard one of the employees say “Man, this humidity is killing me. I feel like I can hardly breathe!”. Abby and I just looked at each other and started laughing, the hotel employee looked at us as if we were crazy but in reality we thought he was the crazy one since it wasn’t humid at all. Maybe we have finally become acclimated to Pella’s weather.

As we arrived to the Saddlehorn Campground the drive was beautiful. Pretty much the entire drive up to the campground is steep switch backs as you gain elevation. The campground sits on top of a mesa so we shouldn’t have been surprised. If you (the reader) are one of those people who will not go potty in public restrooms or vault toilets (aka hole in the ground toilets) then you are in luck with these restrooms because they are awesome and super clean (and even have flushing toilets!!!!). I know the ladies in our group didn’t mind them. Once we set up camp the weather was brutally warm, we have hit low 90’s and in a blink of an eye some mean gnats appeared out of nowhere. The worst part of these little devils was that they weren’t even bothered by our bug repellant! That is the only thing I did not like about this campground. Even worse, they bit Eyra everywhere; ankles, arms, cheeks, but mostly her scalp! Eyra was the most delicious of all because no one else got destroyed by the vicious gnats.

We tried to make the best of it and we busted out even more food to snack on. Out came the goat cheese and raspberry jelly with crackers, Gouda cheese, camembert cheese, brie and manchego. Yeah, I have always had a thing for cheese and now I think I have given the cheese bug to both Abby and Eyra since we tend to eat it on a daily basis, but the cheese-marathon was short lived by Edgar and I since we decided to walk to the visitor center and find a couple of trails to hike or find the nearest scenic views. Oh buddie! We found an amazing canyon right next to the visitor center and we couldn’t wait to tell the ladies about it. The visitor center was not far at all (it was maybe .4 miles from our campsite) and the scenery was incredible and so peaceful (but still really hot). We decided to walk back to the campsite to get the girls and Christopher and show them what Edgar and I had found. I swear… it’s like the girl’s minds and ours connected since they were ready to hike by the time we got there. To top it off, Abby had used our camping shower for the first time, and it was so convenient that everyone that night including myself used the camping shower. It’s easy to use and it warms up quickly by using the sun.

On our walk we noticed a small amphitheater, lots of lizards, cactus, hares and there was hardly any people at the campground. it was like our own private area. Eyra has never met a stranger, she chatted with Karla for a while and later she would run straight to Christopher but she always wanted to hold hands with Edgar for some weird reason.

During our walk, all we did was admire the beauty of this place and we all let nature and our eyes do the work as we all soaked in the beautiful sunset near Saddlehorn’s canyon. I feel that even my camera can’t do it justice on how awesome and majestic this place truly is. That being said, I want to do the same and let you admire these photos below and you (the reader) can be the judge.

The sunset really brings in different colors to the area.

I told you! This place is badass!

The more places I go, the more I encounter people who ask me if carrying Eyra is a hassle, or they ask me how heavy she is or if I ever get tired of carrying such a big pack on my back. Yeah Eyra is heavy! But is Eyra a hassle? Nonsense! I enjoy every moment with her on my back, I want to enjoy every moment with my little girl and I want her to know when she grows older that we never left her behind, not even for the most fun of vacations. Besides, Eyra is helping me with backpacking training. Pacific Crest Trail, here I come!!

We finished the night by snuggling in the hot tent until Eyra fell asleep. We were beat! The downside to the desert is the nights… we fell asleep dripping in sweat, and woke up about halfway through the night freezing cold! Aside for the drastic temperature change, we slept very well and mosquito free (we were ninja’s getting in the tent without letting a mosquito in). Edgar made us eggs and French toast the next morning before we packed up and headed to our next location! Our next location in  my opinion was the coolest camping site I have ever been on. Stay tuned to hear where we adventured to next!

To be continued…


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