We joined some friends and two other families at the Silver Dollar campground north of Turquoise Lake, just outside of Leadville for a two-night camping adventure. This was not only the boys first-ever camping experience, but it was also the first time that either Lara or I had “car camped” in 15 years. It was a learning experience for us all!
We crammed the car with all our gear early Friday afternoon and made the drive up to Leadville, which is at roughly 10,000 feet, with the hopes of escaping the record heat wave expected in Denver for the weekend. We were successful, although it was still in the mid-eighties, which is extremely hot at that altitude. Unfortunately, the weather predictions were a little off for the weekend, so we mostly had warm clothes for the boys. They ended up wearing the same shorts and t-shirts all three days. You can see just how dirty they are in some of the pictures.
The campground was surprisingly nice. The sites were fairly large, and tucked into some older pine trees, so you felt like you had a little bit of privacy. The amenities weren’t too luxurious, but at least there was a flushing toilet and drinking water available. We weren’t totally roughing it though. All of us had nice cushy air mattresses to sleep on inside our cavernous tent, and we dined on steak and BBQ chicken dinners from a shiny new Coleman camp stove.
The boys didn’t know quite what to think, but they were excited nonetheless. It took them a little while to figure out that there were still rules at the campsite. Once they got that down, we had a good old fashioned family camping weekend, complete with s’mores around the campfire. It didn’t occur to me that the boys had never seen a fire other than from a candle, let alone sleeping in a tent, or peeing in the woods!
I think the dirt was the star of the show. The camp sites were loaded with this fine, powdery black dust that coated and stuck to everything. In looking at the pictures of the boys, coal miners and chimney sweeps come to mind. They played with their trucks in the dirt, chased after bugs, and even spent a little time playing with the other kids.
They did alright sleeping in the tent. It helped that they were staying up almost 2 hours past their normal bedtime. With the long days this time of year, we had to wait until almost 9:00 just to get the fire started. Friday night they expressed a little concern over how dark it was when we put them to bed, but they cashed out after 15 minutes or so.
By Saturday night, they were exhausted. Alex crashed in Lara’s lap sitting around the fire. Even Evan said he was tired, and only complained mildly when we said it was bedtime. Sunday, they slept until 8:10. That’s easily an hour and a half later than normal. I guess exercise, excitement, and fresh air will do the trick.
Both boys were begging to go camping again on the ride home. We have another trip planned in 4 weeks. I think we’re all looking forward to it!