We made two road trips to Colorado in June 2020, both to the Arkansas River Valley.  The first was a three night car camp (tent camping) in the Leadville area, followed by a two night truck camp (sleeping in the truck) around Salida and Buena Vista.  Usually we don't get up to Colorado until July to let the mountain snows melt, but with the opening up of businesses from the Covid-19 shutdowns starting June 1st, we had to get out of town to the high country!

Leadville June 7-10

One might call this "glamping" because we stayed at the private Sugar Loafin' campground outside of Leadville.  Heated restroom buildings with showers!  Nice to have with the colder temperatures (elevation is 10,000 ft here).  We ate dinner in Buena Vista on the way up and had an excellent meal at the Tennessee Pass Cafe in Leadville another night.  We did cook one dinner at the campsite!  This camping thing is rough...

The weather was great for hiking, but we did get a couple of inches of snow Monday night as a cold front blew through.  Our hike plans included a couple of high mountain lakes, but we couldn't reach them due to too much snow/high streams.  So we did some lower elevation trails, still with great scenery and many beaver ponds.  On the way home, we detoured up to Cottonwood Pass (still lots of snow) and did a short hike to keep the muscles loose.

Salida and Buena Vista June 21-23

For truck camping, we pick trailheads that have restrooms.   More civilized that way!  Great meal at the Boathouse Cantina in Salida on Sunday with Arkansas River views, fun watching the river traffic.  Another good meal the next night at the Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista (table in the street!).  Weather was nice early each day, but the monsoon season seems to be starting up, clouding over somewhat after the noon hour, though not much rain.

Managed to attain our lake goals this trip.  Tunnel Lake is right off the Continental Divide Trail over 12,000 feet high.  The trail follows an old railroad grade for quite a ways.  Lots of snow banks, several of which we could not bypass.  Visited the St Elmo "ghost town" afterwards, lots of chipmunks and hummingbirds around the General Store. The second hike was to Lost Lake.  Gorgeous lake in a high country cirque with a small island.  There were a couple of really swampy/marshy areas that took some care to find ways to cross without soaking our boots!

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