Rain pattering on the roof of the camper. Trickles of water merge into small streams and creeks and run down the streets of the campground. Clouds billowing over high craggy peaks that loom over us. Rivers raging over mountainsides, boulders, trees, and trails.
Our weekend of camping in Rocky Mountain National Park (RoMo) is a wet one.
The rain starts as we drive up the Big Thompson Canyon on Friday night, and it just keeps going throughout the night. Our friends arrived at the campsite a few hours before, and are sitting in the cab of their camper/truck waiting for us as we pull our rig into the site behind them.
We met Kyle and Briana in Thailand a year and a half ago. Mark and I were just starting to try to get pregnant at that time (and more successful than we realized), and they were on the first leg of their year-long around-the-world trip. In the last year, Kyle and Briana have climbed on four continents, bicycled through 50% of the countries in Europe, been caught in riots in Thailand, and toured dozens of climbing areas around the US while living out of their truck.
In the last year, Mark and I created a human being, and have managed to keep him alive so far. Its been a good year for all of us.
Back to this weekend, and we’re camping in our deluxe 18ft trailer, so it doesn’t matter that the rain is pouring down. We convince G to fall asleep, and then sit around the table telling stories and killing a Bota Box of Malbec as the rain continues through the night.
When we wake on Saturday morning, the air is chilly, the wind is howling, and the rocks are very wet. We decide against trying to climb, in favor of a low-altitude hike to see waterfalls during prime snow-melt season. The hike to Ouzel falls is 3 miles long (6 miles round-trip) and follows a VERY full St. Vrain river starting in the Wild Basin area of RoMo.
We stop for a lot of pictures on the way up. G naps on and off. This time, I remembered his hat, sunscreen, diapers, and bottles, but forgot to stick toys on the backpack for him. He gets a little bored after 2.5 miles, so I tie a carabiner to my hood drawstring and hang it from the backpack to entertain him. This works, but not as well as some face time with Dad next to the waterfall.
In the evening, we pile our dinner fixings together for a huge skillet of squash, sausage and couscous. Kyle and Briana rock out some great bluegrass tunes. G is fascinated by the banjo. My dehydration headache returns, and I crash with G in the trailer before dark. Mark, Kyle and Briana start up a (typically) heated game of Settlers of Katan, as the sun sets over the continental divide. Eventually, it starts to rain again.