Most of the time, scanning Google Earth is relaxing and fun but not very telling of an actual place on the real earth. Whether it be the undulating Rocky Mountains or even your own neighborhood there is no way to get the feel of a space until you actually set foot on its soil. This is exactly what makes our adventures in dispersed camping over the many years very chancy and always a tad stressful.
The Geneva Creek area is only about 90 minutes from Denver which makes it susceptible to being full of obnoxious campers, like ourselves. But with school started and a distinct chill in the air, we improved our odds in finding a first-come first-serve site that would do for the weekend. As usual, we took a wrong turn as we were miles from cell service, yet we drove until the dirt road through the brilliant gold hues of Autumn found us in an area with plenty of pull-offs. The nice little shady spot we settled on was near perfect. Flat, grassy, and with a sturdy fire pit that MH obviously was going to modify to her liking. Firewood was in abundance and we set to making our weekend home.
Folks drove by somewhat often in search of a campsite and ogled our tent with comments like, “You guys must have a ton of kids!” or the high school teenagers in their beater old trucks, rubbernecking our direction, “Dude, that’s badass” to his buddy in the passenger seat, while girlfriend in the center stared straight ahead rolling her eyes.
The girls went to work immediately creating a riding arena and pathways for their imaginary horses. Nature gets their creative juices flowing like nothing else in the world. On Saturday, we started walking up the road to what we thought would lead to Shelf Lake, therefore flyrod was packed. The walk was long and uphill the whole way. More great campsites were discovered along the way which we took note of for possible future excursions.
The views got better the higher we went and the cool air filled our lungs. The colors at tree line were amazing, with neon yellows, burnt oranges and greens in a thousand hues. We could see on an adjacent mountain a grove of ancient bristle cone pines that had been there since the fall of the Roman Empire 1,500 years ago. Yes, I Googled that.
That evening we relaxed and glassed the mountains for wildlife. Hattie took an interest in shooting Phyllis’s BB gun so I showed her the basics of gun safety while her short little arms tried to reach the trigger. Maybe a couple more years and she’ll be blasting targets with the other two. Pearl shot her bow which put MH and I in the mood for some competition. She recently bought a new re-curve bow and it’s slick as snot. Not to mention deadly accurate. I lost repeatedly which really chaps my ass. The scores weren’t even close as I remember. Luckily, I have a great wife who will make sure and remind me of the losses until our next outing.
Our oldest helped me cut some marshmallow sticks and wanted to sharpen one with my pocket knife. She handled it well and with safety. Then she went into carving stir sticks for our adult beverages. Guess we do mix a lot of drinks at camp. Soon enough there was a good amount of blood pouring out of her hand. “A true whittler has scars,” said Momma.
Although the hike was strenuous, the bow shooting not in my favor, and a fair amount of blood drawn, we had an excellent last trip of the season. Food was immaculate and “always better in the mountains,” as our girls say. We returned to town by way of Guanalla Pass which climbs extremely high well above timber line and then back down into Georgetown. What a drive. The colors were beyond spectacular and we weren’t the only ones ogling the beauty. Many cars and motorcycles parked on the sides of the road the whole way up trying to get the perfect picture to post on Instagram in hopes of many “Likes”.
We ate lunch in Georgetown, filthy and hungry, then cruised back into Denver just as we had left it. We planned on camping the next weekend as well but events and an Arctic snow storm kept us next to the fireplace. Another wonderful season in the mountains. Another winter spending time planning our next trip in the spring. It seems it can’t get here fast enough.
Directions: Take 285 to Grant, Colorado. Turn up Guanella Pass Road. Look for Geneva Creek Campground signs on the left (1038) and turn left. After that, just follow the road and look for your spot. Enjoy.