Enjoy the great outdoors
By Jim Kilpatrick
My family and I have lived in many different states as I served in the U.S. Army for seven years. But since my ﬁrst visit to Colorado my heart’s desire was to settle down here. We have lived in different locations in the state of Colorado for more than thirty years. Those years have given us the opportunity to explore this great state from the Four
Being close to nature must be in my blood. I really like all different types of activities that take us outside and enable us to experience new places, things, and people. I was born in Western North Carolina and my strongest passion is ﬂ y- ﬁshing. It is not because I don’t like other ways of ﬁshing, but I picked up a ﬂ y rod 40 years ago and it just became part of me. Fly-ﬁshing has taken me all over America to awesome places in order to catch some of the most beautiful ﬁsh you could imagine. My adventures have led me to want to share ﬂ y-ﬁshing with others. At one point I became a ﬂ y-ﬁshing instructor and guide. I remain an avid native trout hunter.
When a friend from the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor asked if I would be willing to write a column about the great outdoors I jumped at this opportunity. In this
I’ll include occasionally what I call a “Check This Out” hint which will include seasonal places and activities you can go in that area I am writing about. In this, I hope to challenge you to think outside the box and go try new things. When you get out to experience the beautiful scenery and try some different things out, one of the added bonuses is meeting new people and sharing stories with each other.
In 1974 we took a vacation with another couple and their children from Lawton, Ok., to Rocky Mountain National Park. We were young with an 18-month-old and we tent camped for our ﬁrst time in Colorado. Early that morning, there were clear blue skies and a limited forecast of good weather all day. So, we spent the day traveling over Trail Ridge Road to the west side of the park. It was our ﬁrst time to see snow lingering in June and drive up 12,183 feet in elevation.
We were incredulous at a massive bull elk in velvet at Poudre Lake and several bighorns on the rock outcrops at Milner Pass. Such amazing sights for these young Easterners. The day passed with the occasional dark cloud, but we saw no rain on the west side of the park. Toward late afternoon we arrived back in camp at Glacier Basin Campground. While we were gone a heavy isolated downpour created havoc in the campground. The
Here we were two young families with small children and all our clothing and bedding were soaked. Some other campers nearby came over to tell us of the freak ﬂood that came through and then offered to help us. With their kind help, we got everything out of the tents, rung out, and hung up on ropes strung between trees. I cannot remember how we made it through that night, but these kind people offered to help us with dinner and made sure we could start the wet camp stove and lantern before they left. That is a great example of what’s right with mankind. Most campers are great people.
I encourage you to drive up Trail Ridge Road, especially if you have not. We ﬁnd most drivers are patient with the slower drivers on it. There are many pullovers to stop and let drivers pass, take a breath, and take in the vistas. A friend from England visited with us and remarked that the road looked like it could be in the Alps. I’ve never been there, but I proudly say it rivals the Alps. One easy short venture off Trail Ridge on the west side is an exit to Lake Irene trailhead. It is less than one mile from the parking lot, an easy walk, and there are picnic tables around this serene mountain lake. It is partially handicap accessible. Many people just pass that one by. Check it out.
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