Dispersed Camping – Meadow Creek

Dispersed camping is sometimes the best test of a marriage. Packing, meal prep, miles of rough roads with only the Colorado Gazetteer and hope to decide the boom or bust of a weekend in the wilderness can put an unnecessary strain on the bond between two typically easy going people. Add three restless girls and a car sick dog and you have a classic case of marital peril.

Sunset in the high country

Camping around Winter Park is spotty since our last bout of wildfires with some previously wonderful areas being turned to ash and others closed due to restoration. But I’m decidedly stubborn and have been known to take unnecessary risks to secure a camping spot, so we took one such risk on a couple forest roads that ended in almost jackknifing the trailer in abrupt turnaround situations.

An envious spot.

After a couple of disappointing dead ends, I saw a road up to Meadow Creek Reservoir that looked promising, but an area that would likely fill up fast due to its proximity to what looked like a popular weekend reservoir. We bounced up the road on a Thursday afternoon through puddles and potholes with butts clenched, snippy comments, and low expectations. Yet, luckily for the future of our union we found several vacant dispersed sites just waiting for us to create our makeshift home away from home.

Camp is Home.

Meadow Creek is a lazy little tailwater cascading over beaver dams with pocket water just begging for an elk hair caddis and a 3 weight. A cow moose paced the valley around our site all weekend as we kept a close eye on each other.

Keep your distance.

The site we ended up at was deep and had plenty of room for archery and exploration. The creek splashed just outside our tent flaps with a soothing white noise from mother earth.

Our four camping fanatics.

I filled up the hummingbird feeder with homemade sugar water on day one and by day three it was completely empty. Some of the little fighter jets buzzed startlingly close to our heads, some even venturing into the tent for a quick inspection.

Broad tailed hummingbirds draining the feeder.

The mosquitos attacked us now and then so a trip into Murdoch’s farm store in Fraser to buy a electric fly swatter tennis racquet made the fight a lot more entertaining. Of course I had to test it on myself and the loud zap on my finger made the girls double over with laughter and almost made me piss my pants.

Fighting the good fight!

The reservoir got crowded on Saturday but is a special place to paddle board and fish with a spectacular mountain range background. Supposedly there are Tiger Trout in this lake, but I couldn’t figure them out.

Meadow Creek Reservoir

The brook trout in Meadow Creek were plenty fun and I got spoiled catching them, almost resembling I knew what I was doing. By the end of every fishing outing my fly was completely chewed to pieces. And not just from the brambles I hooked it in.

Classic Brook Trout spots

To get there, head west on 83 right before Tabernash, CO and drive up 84 to the left towards the reservoir and start looking once you High Lonesome Trailhead parking pull off.

Published by willbarch78

I grew up in the middle of nowhere Texas. The nearest Walmart was a full two hours away. My family still runs a ranch back home that I grew up on, but at some point in my treasured youth I hung up the idea of becoming a cowboy, and pursued my passion for architecture. Today I still find myself trying to fit in to a life that has treated me with the average ups and downs one can expect after a certain number of years. My wife and I moved to Denver after attending Texas Tech School of Architecture in Lubbock as we needed a grade change from the Llano Estacado. We camp with our three growing girls all summer and into the fall while I write and create and fly fish to maintain sanity. Life is moving fast as our careers and children progress in all areas, so being outdoors with each other keeps us mostly grounded.

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