The Professor Goes West//Day 20//Camping Safety

Day 20—Friday, June 8, 2018

We ate a nice hot breakfast in the hotel before our eight-hour drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was nice to be on I-70 again and see all of the buttes, canyons, and the San Rafael Reef. We came back into Colorado and drove through the canyon road I-70 runs along until we turned off towards Granby, Colorado. We then took the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our van made it over the pass without incident—unlike my family 20 years ago.

At the top we parked to climb a stair to the top of the tundra. It was a very breezy spot and had giant rocks for climbing which the kids took advantage of. We had a spectacular view from the top. T hopped down each step—one-by-one—all the way back to the car. We then savored the mountain top views with their snow-streaked peaks, and I remembered my fondness for Long’s Peak from all those years ago.

We went into Estes Park for dinner at a place called “You Need Pie!” where we all loved the shaved Brussel sprouts with bacon and onions. The kids loved the mac and cheese, and the professor and I were not super into our pot pie and Rueben. We had dessert first in the form of 2 huge chocolate shakes.

We rolled into the campsite a little before 8 PM and began our final tent pitching of the trip. We then got ready for bed and laid down about 10 PM with the promise of sleeping in.

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Today is the last day I will talk about our camping prep and supplies. There are just a few odds and ends.

First, we made a point to travel with three one-gallon jugs of water which we refilled everywhere we slept, either campsite, hotel, or friend’s house. This was helpful for when the kids needed a water-bottle refill and gave us peace of mind when we were driving through the desert for hundreds of miles. Did I mention we each had our own water bottle in the car plus a couple of extra for hiking?

Second, we had a great hiking backpack which used to carry shared Nalgene water bottles for hikes, bug spray, sunscreen, and a first aid kit including a snake bite kit. We did not bring bear spray, but that is also a good safety option to have.

Third, permethrin. If you have been following my blog or social media accounts you might know that I got Lyme disease last summer. I did not get it on our camping trip. I got it in Minnesota off to the side of the path in a wooded, grassy park near the Mississippi River—just across the river from St. Paul. The day I got it all my family was wearing permethrin sprayed hiking shoes. My hiking boots fell apart in Rocky Mountain National Park—which is why I was not wearing them. I got bit by a tick, they did not. Permethrin is an insecticide that you spray on your clothes and shoes while you are not wearing them. Let it dry entirely. It will last for 40 days and through 6 or so wash cycles.

Be safe. Be smart. Use the bear boxes when they are provided. Keep interesting smells out of your tent. All will be well.

Happy Camping!

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