The Brighter Writer


Mountain Park, Colorado: Part 1

So I woke up on Wednesday around 5:30AM, bright and early, so excited I could have peed my pajamas. It was my 32nd birthday, we were going to the Rockies, and I finally got to bust out all the new gear we had bought to make it the best camping trip ever.

Me to Jason in a tiny little whisper in his ear: "Psssst. Baby? Are you awake?... Pssst. It's my birthday!"

Jason to Me in a tiny little whisper back: "Yes Baby, and it's going to be your last if you don't shut the hell up..."

Before I even got out of bed I was showered with homemade gifts, a new book from my favorite author Tom Robbins, Star Wars paraphernalia, and a giant breakfast burrito complete with 2-year-old "Happy Birthday to youuuuuuu" singing. What a perfect morning it had been. I was beaming from ear to ear. I absolutely love birthdays.

After Kalynn woke up from her nap, it was time to pack up the car and get the hell out of Dodge (Fort Collins).

We had driven up Highway 14 a few weeks prior and made note of all the stops we wanted to make on the way back up. One of them was this insanely gorgeous bridge that I am positively crazy about:

Bridge over Cache La Poudre River, Highway 14. Roosevelt National Forest. #ColorfulColorado

And tunnels, I mean, they're just cool in general.

Poudre Canyon Tunnel, Highway 14 riding next to the Cache La Poudre River in Roosevelt National Forest #ColorfulColorado

We made it!

Mountain Park Recreation Area, Roosevelt National Forest on Highway 14. #ColorfulColorado

First things first: set up camp! My dad and step mom gave us this monstrosity of a two roomed palace. Easy to assemble, easy to be comfortable in!

This is my "don't even think about eating more sugar" look. This is Kalynn's "as soon as you turn your head I'm going to do it anyway" look. The marshmallows were just the beginning of her defiant attitude throughout the trip (as we were soon to find out).

Birthday beer in my favorite Clash t-shirt. I'm a happy camper! Literally

Next stop: setting up the fire pit!

From my months of camping in California, I've learned how to build and keep a fire going pretty well. My personal technique is twisting up pine cones inside of newspaper. (Adding a few sprigs of sage keeps mosquitoes stay away as well!)

I also filled up an egg carton with dryer lint, covered the lint with wax, and made these little individual fire starters. The lint keeps the wax going sort of like a wick in a candle and they burn for quite a while. They're perfect for putting at the bottom of your kindling.

Camping Firestarters with egg carton, dryer lint and wax

Kalynn finally learned all the joys of roasted marshmallows. She's now a devoted fan. Despite the sugar high, she was really excited to go to sleep in the tent and actually asked to go in early. We stuck to our routine of reading three books and made sure her sleeping quarters resembled her normal bed with the same blanket and pillow cases, and she made herself right at home!

Meanwhile, Mommy and Daddy sat around the fire drinking celebratory birthday cake shots, and made scary faces with the new lantern.

All in all, day one was pretty fantastic. There were no melt downs from Jason trying to put up the tent, there were no melt downs from Kalynn about sleeping in it. I thoroughly enjoyed the hour drive up the mountains; Guacamole enjoyed getting out of the house and being with her family.

All seemed peaceful.

But then day two rolled around...

stay tuned.