This weekend there was a big hype about the solar storm that would cause beautiful auroras visible from northern parts of the U.S. up into Canada. Since we haven’t had great star-gazing conditions since we have been in Colorado, we decided to go out to see this. We checked the map for viewing conditions and, luckily the storm was going to be visible in northern Colorado. So Friday night, we loaded up the puppies and all of our camping and set out to northern Colorado for an Adventure in a Backpack (or car).
We got to the area where we wanted to camp at about 9:00 that night, so it was difficult to discern where we needed to go. We didn't really have much of a plan (imagine that!), so we just drove around until we found a good campsite. We ended up somewhere in Arapaho National Forest, near Rustic, CO (side-note: I would love to live in a place called “Rustic!”). We set up in the dark, but since we were car camping, we at least were able to use the light from the headlights to get the tent set up.
Even though we were there specifically to see stars, it was also 20 degrees, so we started a fire. Luckily, the fire didn’t deter from the beautiful stars. It was the clearest night we have seen this summer, and the stars were out by the millions. We sat with the puppies curled up by the fire and enjoyed the scenery. The prime viewing time was said to be between midnight and 3 am, so we waited and waited!
Unfortunately, by 1 am we were incredibly tired and there was no sign of the aurora. Cold and tired, we turned in. We didn't get many pictures of the stars (due to wanting to save camera battery for the aurora because we thought we had misplaced the backup battery).
The next morning we slept in until about 9 and then got up to see what our campsite actually looked like in the daylight! Although not the prettiest location we have camped at, it was very peaceful and open. The area appeared to have been affected by the great beetle infestation, and there were many dead trees as well as trees that the park rangers had cut down. Even with this destruction, it was a great place.
We spent all day gathering firewood, napping, building a huge fire, and exploring around our campsite. It was a rough day, obviously! The pups enjoyed exploring, napping, and chasing a ball. Pyros all of a sudden learned to play fetch (she has never succeeded at fetch prior to this trip)! And Sparta was determined to catch a chipmunk. He did not succeed.
That night was cold, but not quite as cold as Friday night, thank goodness! We had a hot fire going, so that made it much nicer. We roasted bratwursts and marshmallows and had a great time. We turned in around midnight and slept soundly.
Sunday morning we got up and had our coffee before cleaning up the campsite and heading out toward home. We had to be back in time for the Broncos game, of course! We finished off the weekend with some hot wings at our favorite local bar and watching the Broncos take down the Chiefs in a down-to-the-wire battle, then heading home and watching football in our basement cave just hanging out together.