The Brighter Writer





SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012

It's Almost That Time Of Year Again!



My birthday is coming up on August 8th.

I'm not one of those people who lets this day slide by without anyone noticing. I usually make sure people remember, I request balloons, I make cupcakes, I basically throw myself my own little party. I grew up spoiled, and as far as my birthday is concerned, I remain that way.

When I was younger, we flew to California for visits to Disneyland or drove to Denver to visit Casa Bonita. At 18, I was given tickets to see Sting front and center. I was taken to New York City for my 21st birthday, got tickets to see Stevie Nicks in Las Vegas for my 22nd birthday, and stayed on Catalina Island for my 25th. Last year for my 31st, I got to cross off an item from my bucket list when I hiked to the top of Mount Lee to the historic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.

My point?

I don't really have one. I'm totally on a bragging spree here.

Anyway, so this year, I really really really want to explore more of Colorado. With the High Park Fire destroying 87,000 acres of our surrounding forest, I figured throwing a little cash towards our local economy couldn't hurt. I've heard it's going to take an estimated $24 million to restore our area, especially the Poudre Canyon where the fire was the most aggressive. (The Poudre Canyon starts at the North point of Rocky Mountain National Park where it descends from the Continental Divide.)



SO.

We'll be camping in the great Colorado Rockies to ring in my 32nd year on this gorgeous planet! I haven't been camping in the Rockies since I was a teenager visiting Mary's Lake in Estes Park and I'm so excited I could pee. I chose Mountain Park Campground right up the Poudre Canyon Highway 14 just 9 miles past the Mishawaka Amphitheater in Roosevelt National Forest. The highway follows the Cache Le Poudre River with all of its twists and turns through the mountains, so even though it's a short 45 minute drive from the headquarters in Fort Collins, I know it promises to be a gorgeous one.



This morning we made the drive so I could check out what it is we're in for exactly. I wanted to preview our campsite, see the burn damage, and how bad the water quality was from the soot in the Cache La Poudre.

The drive was just as gorgeous as I had hoped!





You could definitely see the path of the High Park Fire on the tops of almost every single mountain. Trees were now just charred stumps.





The trees that were still standing were dry as bones and look like they had been singed from the heat even if the fire hadn't taken them over.



Every single driveway that we passed had written appreciation for the Larimer County Fire Department, volunteers, and Red Cross workers.



We even passed some white water rafters on the way up; a great sign that the water quality was back to normal!





So we had to stop and play in it just a little bit. Of course.



The soot mostly stayed on the banks and left the water clear as crystal.





There are still fire restriction signs every where you turn. However, they are now allowing personal campfires as long as they are built in designated fire pits and in listed campgrounds.









Now, as I'm about to head into work for a closing shift (2AM), just to turn around 6 hours later for my open shift (8AM), I'm still dreaming of today's little day trip to Mountain Park. My body may be pouring Jack and Cokes, but my brain is already on vacation!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and if you're in town, come see me!