Camping in Colorado

My daughter happy to finally be in Colorado after a very long car ride.

Well it took me the whole week, but I finally managed to make it through all my Colorado vacation photos so that I could share a handful of my favorites with you all today.

Our trip started with a 14 hour drive in two parts (broken by a stay at a very questionable motel). Thank goodness for an air-conditioned car and the yummy snack foods we had packed to keep us going! After all those hours on the road (and my little sister asking “are we there yet” about a zillion times — no joke), we couldn’t have been more delighted when the mountains of Colorado finally appeared in the distance. As soon as we turned off the main road and headed towards our campground I had my Mom stop the car so that I could get out and take this panoramic shot of the gorgeous scenery:

Colorado panorama / photo by Ez Pudewa

Click the image for a larger view (will open in a pop-up window).

An abandoned schoolhouse down another stretch of road.

Once at the campground we were eager to get set up. Unfortunately after pulling up to our reserved site, we immediately discovered that the ground was swarming with biting red ants (ouch…so painful). That’s also about the same time that I began to feel the effects of elevation sickness (something I had no idea existed until that moment). For the next two hours I nauseously dozed in and out of consciousness as my Mom drove around inspecting every last remaining campsite to see if any of them fared better in the venomous ant department than our original one. At last we settled on a spot at the far end of the campground, set up our tents, and got ourselves settled in for the evening.

The next day was a whole lot more fun and relaxing (other than the water that made us feel not so great).

Yum…noodles for breakfast! My littlest sister, Mom, and daughter.

I honestly can’t remember what we did all day long, but I did capture a few photos of an adorable hummingbird who was certain that the clothespins my mom had strung up on a wash line were filled with nectar.

It was equal parts sweet and sad to see it working so hard to extract a meal out of the hard plastic. At one point it even laid down on the rope to rest (I have never seen a bird do that before)!

Then on Thursday (my Mom’s birthday) we had an adventure-filled day: white water rafting in the morning (ridiculously fun) and then a trip to a nearby hot spring afterwards. The whole day was blissful until we arrived back to our campsite that night and discovered that my Mom’s enormous food cooler was gone (the thing is at least 4 feet long and with food weighed around 100 pounds). It seemed that somebody had stolen it in our absence…that is until we came across my little cooler with it’s handle ripped off and 2 huge puncture marks through the hard plastic top. Yes…we had been visited by a bear!!! I couldn’t shove my daughter in the car fast enough, and we all drove over to report the incident to the owners of the campground. It turns out they knew there was a bear around and had been chasing it through the park in broad daylight when they saw it grab my Mom’s cooler rip it open and then run off. So the good news is that we got the cooler back. The bad news is that this is what it looked like:

Mind you this is just one quick grab and bite from the bear’s claws and mouth (the long lines near my fingers are each from one claw – to the right of my hand is where it bit through the plastic)! There was no way were were about to stay in our tents that night. Thankfully there was a teeny-tiny empty cabin available, so we stayed there Thursday night. The next morning we went back to our campsite to pack our remaining things up and discovered this:

I have no idea if this was from the same bear or a different one (we heard that there was also a mother bear and her two cubs in the area as well), but I didn’t really care to wait around and find out. We said our farewells to the campground and decided to spend our last night in relative tranquility at a nearby rental cabin. It turned out to be the loveliest place possible…with nature (not the scary type) all around us, a babbling brook to stroll beside, and ample opportunity to snap a few final vacation photos.

And my favorite photo of all:My wonderful daughter in the most exquisite evening light.

So there you have it. We had a great trip filled with all sorts of memorable moments, however I learned that I’m not as tough as I used to be (or at least imagine that I was). I mean I can paddle a raft through rapids (I didn’t even flinch when my fingernail got ripped off mid-paddle) and can set up a tent easy-peezy…but at the nibble of malicious bugs or hint of a hungry bear I want out. I guess there’s a reason why my blog is called “Creature Comforts” after all! Oh, and my mom did love her surprise S’mores Kit! Yay!

All photos taken by Ez Pudewa (me).

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  1. Victoria Bennett Beyer / / Reply

    What an exciting trip! And what a crazy souvenir your mom has from the bear!

    When we first moved to Wyoming just the idea of bears kept me up when we were camping, so we quickly invested in a little pop-up camper that sets in the back of the pickup. And it made all the difference – I could finally sleep and enjoy camping out West! You guys were so brave to try the tent and so lucky to find a cabin!

  2. Linsi / / Reply

    What an amazing adventure! Thanks for sharing and your pictures are gorgeous. I can't believe those shots of the hummingbird, simply adorable. It sounds like you had the perfect camping experience (including the bear, what a great story).

  3. Casey / / Reply

    The hummingbird photos are absolutely beautiful! I love the one of him laying on the closeline. How sweet.
    On the other hand, your bear story is horrifying! I'm glad you got out of there and found a nice cabin to stay in, instead!

  4. Susan / / Reply

    Wow — what a story! You'll never forget it, that's for sure. But I'm glad you are all safe and sound. I too love the hummingbird photos — amazing!

  5. Kristen / / Reply

    Great pictures! Colorado's my home state…glad you had such fun. That hummingbird resting is amazing. And I can't believe what the bear did to your cooler!

  6. Ez / / Reply

    Thanks guys! Yes, it really was a memorable trip and I'd definitely do it again in a heartbeat…only next time it'll be cabin camping all the way. ;-) Have a wonderful weekend! xo Ez

  7. jan / / Reply

    wow – what an adventure! such nice pics! hope you're enjoying your summer!

  8. Annika / / Reply

    What an adventure! And, a hint of a bear?! More like an almost close encounter. That cooler looks a fine state! I really like last picture, of your daughter, with the rays of sunshine streaming around her.

  9. Briel K. / / Reply

    Wow! I'm glad that you guys weren't around for the bear incident. It's a great story to tell though!

    That poor little hummingbird. I would have felt bad for it too.

    The last photo of your daughter is quite lovely! I love sun flares. :)

  10. Carolyn / / Reply

    Oh my goodness. So much packed into a few days! Yes, I definitely vote for the cabin-type trip next time. The hummingbird story/picture is just about the sweetest thing ever. Poor little guy.
    Wonderful story – thank you for sharing.

  11. Danyelle / / Reply

    Your camping trip to Colorado looks so beautiful, EZ! And maybe a little scary too. I don't blame you for wanting to sleep in a cabin after the bear incident. I would have been heading for the nearest hotel! Your photography always inspires me. xo.

  12. Steph Bond Hutkin / / Reply

    Love all these pics from your trip! So great to be able to transplant myself for a moment to another continent, another season. And you're right – the light was truly beautiful in the last pic of your daughter. Nice capture :)

  13. Katie / / Reply

    Your trip sounds equal parts terrifying and fun! I'll be honest, I probably would've been running farther than a cabin if I'd heard that there was a bear chased around camp. Your photos are so gorgeous, though–the hummingbird especially. Lovely!

  14. Whitney @ Whisker Graphics / / Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your vacation, the challenges and the delights. The bear details. Scary! The hummingbird story. Awe inspiring! Your photos are wonderful and I loved seeing the hummingbird laying down. Who knew!? I agree, cabin camping is the way to go!

  15. Vicki / / Reply

    I can't even express how much I love your photos. Your eye is exquisite. I love these… xoxo

  16. Laura Gaskill / / Reply

    WOW, Ez! I hope my camping trip this weekend isn't half so eventful as yours, lol! A BEAR?? Oh my. Sounds like you all handled yourselves perfectly bravely, and it will make a fine family story to be retold countless times in years to come…from the safety of a nice cozy living room, no doubt! xoxo Laura

  17. Meli (Blush + Jelly) / / Reply

    Whoa, red ants and hungry bears? That was one crazy camping trip. Glad you were able to find a cozier alternative and still enjoyed the trip. I love all the pictures, especially the panoramic picture and the school house.

  18. chattykathy / / Reply

    WOW! When i was young we had a similar event with a bear in Cook's Forest National Park in PA. He ripped into a metal Colman cooler like it was paper!

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