Here comes the next hunk of time for my August 2022 travels

Day 11

After 2 long and successful days of travel, hiking, climbing, and geocaching, it was time to get a hotel for the night. The night skies are not cooperating. There was no reason to stay the night in the middle of nowhere Colorado, when the skies are going to be cloudy and not clear for the New Moon. We stayed the night in Colorado Springs. We had an amazing Thai dinner and then a leisurely morning. The next thing we had to do was be in Estes Park by nighttime for a rafting trip tomorrow. We made our way north through Colorado, stopping by Pikes Peak on the way. We were able to drive all the way up, spend a ton of time at the top, and enjoy watching the weather change and scare everyone about 3 times in an hour. One of my most memorable finds ever is going to be at the peak of Pikes. It was a traditional in the rocks, just off the walking path. Wifey and I spent about 20 minutes with no luck. It had just been found earlier in the day too! After some time, I think I was ready to give up. Next thing I know, a lady asks if she was in our way. I told her no, we were looking for a geocache. She got very excited, yelled for her kids to hurry up and get back here, and the next thing I know, about a dozen strangers are looking for this geocache. Most knew about geocaching, others were friends of theirs just aimlessly looking in rocks. It was truly hysterical, and an amazing reminder of how much fun it is being a human and interacting with strangers. That is a skill that has not been exercised as regularly lately…for some reason. It still took a long time, I bet we were there for an hour, finally a young man yelled, “I found a geocache!” High fives were given all around, and a bunch of pictures.

On the drive down we stopped at the halfway picnic area and had leftover Thai dinner for Thai lunch. Thanks to our campervan for keeping lunch refrigerated until needed. And thanks to Colorado for the most spectacular picnic spot in the world!

From Pike’s we made the drive to Estes Park, where we will bed down for the next few nights. What a great drive. The skies were amazing, ever changing, and so dramatic. Saw lightning bolts in one direction, and perfect blue skies in the other. I love this world and this lucky life I get to live.

During that drive we also stopped at Buffalo Bill’s alleged grave, and a few other interesting places that presented themselves.


Day 12

Today was all about rafting. Nothing geocaching to report at all. We booked a half day rafting with an outfit I have used in the past. This time we did a very mild section of the Cache La Poudre River. OK, I guess I did do something Cache related today. Forget everything I said before this.

We had a blast. The weather was perfect. The water could have been a lot higher, but it is that time of year, running out of snow. Nobody went overboard, there were not water fights. It was far from boring, but there was also not nautically themed drama, like I am accustomed.

We had a great dinner at the Owls, and I found a geocache near there.


Day 13

Today was the final of 3 Via Ferratas during this road trip. This was on private land near Estes Park. It was on some fantastic looking youth camp. The kind of thing I can only have dreamt to participate in, as an awful child. It was by far the most challenging. Much more rock climbing than traversing. Wifey did great on it, and all 3. I am so proud of her. After that I drove out for a letterbox I attempt in the dark last night and failed. Easy peasy today when the sun is shining. Someone in my group wanted to nap, so I cruised the town. I did 1 ½ adventure labs. I walked all over the lake areas. I went from end to end of this town for all the geo-related items. I do not think there is a more inefficient way then the route I made today. I had a great time. After all that, we finished with a fun meal at Dunravens, which is where I drove from to pick up my dinner date. Like I said, lots of rerouting and inefficient travel today.


Day 14

Probably not much of a reporting day. Today is the day that Wifey flies home on an airplane from Denver. After that I will head a bit further east, and then work my way all the way back west.

After the Denver airport drop off, which went smooth but very sad, it was time to continue and see what I can get into on my own. I started by going a bit out of my way back east, to grab the Kansas oldest geocache. I found a few others in between, but mainly focused on getting from place to place. I have a packed agenda of things I want to do. And I don’t know how long this fairytale is actually going to last. (I still don’t)

After the old one, it was time to head north to Western South Dakota for that old one.

My first day driving alone it was through the sweltering heat of Eastern Colorado. I appreciate all the kind folks and farmers that afford me the privilege to eat whenever I feel like it.

I made sure to stop by Carhenge, since it was directly in my route. What a wild place that is. I think my favorite thing about people, is just how crazy they can be.

I learned a lot about all kinds of different trails. The Postal Pony Trail, The Book of Mormon Trail, the Pioneer Trail, and of course the Oregon Trail Trail. Lots of people used this area for travel cross country. Yeah, duh, I am doing it right now. Of course this is the path they took. It is blacktop all the way.

I continued north, eventually picking a town to sleep for a few hours, near the SD/KS border.

I intend to be out and moving tomorrow before the sun, so that I can watch it come up, in all it’s glory. WOW is tomorrow an unrealistic day!!

A few more diary entries for the Summer Carnival 2022

This is all very outdated by this point. It is also nothing more than a (mostly) copy and paste of my Geocaching logs. But who cares.

Day 6
Today was an all-day drive from Cheyenne Wyoming to Telluride Colorado. It can be done in 7 hours. We were moving from 6am til 10pm. That is more than 7 hours. Lots of fun in between! Driving most of the length of Colorado was a blast. We stopped at a bunch of cool spots for pictures. We rode the lift to the top of Monarch Pass. We stopped for a few awesome geocaches, including the Cache Across America, and the oldest in Colorado, Terryall. Having an all-wheel drive adventure van kicks ass for this stuff.

Day 7
Today was our first of 3 via Ferratas on this trip through Colorado. Today we climbed around in Ouray. First time I have been to this town. So close to Telluride, yet still somehow so far away. What an amazing set up they have there. We started early, were done by lunch, and had lunch at the Ouray brewery, great burgers. After that we bopped around town for a while, did the adventure lab, ran into a guy with the same van as me, except way better, then finally head back to home base in Telluride.
The Ouray Via Ferrata would end up being the easiest of the 3 for me. It was still technical. But it was very much like a lot of rock scrambling and climbing I have done against everyones better judgement.

Day 8
Today started wonderfully with a round of frisbees at the course in Telluride Mountain Village. It was only a few minutes walk from where we are laying our heads for a few evenings. Now that is a frisbee golf course of ups and downs like I have never experienced. I think the greatest part for me was also a bit surreal. I have spent more time on this Telluride mountain, snowboarding in the winter, than hours I have spent contemplating the meaning of life. 1 winter I spent 4 weeks here. I have always said that we needed to come back in the summer. Finally, it happened! Walking around on these slopes that I came zooming down countless times gave me such a smile.
After the fun round of frisbees, it was time to ride the gondola down to town for lunch. We ate at the BBQ spot right at the bottom. After that we strolled around town for a couple hours, enjoying the perfect weather before the storms would come and ruin everything. I found a few geocaches that I either neglected in winters past, or were new since my last visit.

Day 9
Today was the 2nd of 3 Via Ferratas we planned this trip. Telluride was today’s location to climb around on the mountain side. This is definitely my new favorite of the ones we have done. The views from the wall alongside Bridal Veil Falls were indescribable. The pictures of us on the mountain side look photoshopped. I could not believe that after we started the trek, that is when I decided to open the Geocaching application on my telephone. A cache only .3 from here? And the title is Via Ferrata? Oh boy, this could be my new favorite geocache of all times! We made it to the spot after the Main Attraction. I knew we would not search for too long. And we did not need to. Our guide, Coop, spotted a pile of rocks. I moved in for a closer look, and BAM! A geocaching log dating back to 2016, with only a handful of signatures on it. I explained to the guide that the Venn diagram of geocachers and people who do Via Ferratas is me, and these other 20 people that have found this particular geocache. The rains held off until the second we got to the parking lot. I could not have planned it better if I was asked.
We left Telluride with an entire day of driving planned. We were going to end up in the southeast of CO, somewhere near the old “geocache”. We drove through Ouray, Silverton, Durango, and kept going south-ish. We ended up sleeping at a sketch campground somewhere on the highway. I missed all the great pull-offs. This left us 2 hours from the old Geocache.

Day 10
I started driving about 4:30am heading toward the old Geocache, we had about 2 hours to get there. Somehow yesterday we drove all afternoon, but did not make much ground. I arrived at the campground (which was my original planned ending point last night), just before sunrise. I put on my headlamp, but never actually needed it. I found the cache on the walk out, and then the 2000 one at the vista. The entire walk I was socked in by clouds. I could not see too far, but I knew that view would be amazing. I stood there for about 2 minutes, a giant wind came through, pushed everything away, and left me with a gorgeous, post sunrise view. I got a fantastic picture. I assume the lord had to fart, and farted in my general direction to move the clouds. Then a quick jog back to our CAMperVAN. Back on the road again, next destination, Great Sand Dunes NP. WOW! What an insane place. It makes zero sense to be in the middle of Colorado. We spent a few hours there. I made my way around the area, reading signs, and climbing on sand dunes. I wanted to make the trek out for the EC that was far away, and I did. It was tougher than I expected. I saw a recent DNF from someone I know from home. I assumed that meant that all the Dunes blew away? Or someone stole them? A DNF on an EC…now I get it. So worth the trek. The view from the top of the dunes is spectacular. I can’t believe how far they go on for. So glad we made time to visit here.
After GSDNP, we head north to CO Springs. There was no reason to stick around down there, the clouds and storms are going to be all night, and there will be no night sky to photograph. So, into COSP, for a few to-do’s and a hotel and shower for the night. First was the zoo, to get breathed on by a giraffe. Bad breath, honestly almost knocked me out. Then over to Pauls Stash for the 2000 geocache. Wow, the GSDNP EC, and Paul’s Stash on the same day. The time spent in that canyon near Paul’s was mesmerizing. I got rained on the entire time, mostly drizzle, lots of thunder. I got the 2000 Stash, 1 puzzle, a traditional and hopefully and EC during that grueling 1.5 uphill miles. I didn’t walk a lot of miles today, but I did walk a lot of elevation.
These past 2 days have been 2 of the best in my medium-lengthed life.

Tennessee Smokies & Horsin’ Around in Kentucky

We packed up all our stuff for my wife’s first getaway in my campervan. We started in Lexington Kentucky for some fancy horse dancing event that she loves. It was the Kentucky 3-day 5-star event. A real equestrians dream. In my house we call it Rolex not Rolex. After that went to spend some time in the Smokies.

Day one was spent getting to Western Maryland where we spent the night in a very quiet rest area. A couple of gentlemen in the car next to us were there all night also. I don’t think their wives would have been happy.

Day two was a leisurely morning getting up, followed by driving most of the day to Lexington Kentucky. We made the usual pitstops for tinkling and geocaching. Travel days are great days to fill in calendar dates with unusual types of hides. Throughout the trip I was able to check off question marks and multis during all travel days.

Once we arrived in Lexington the real horsing around fun began. We spent Saturday and Sunday watching horsie jumpers at the horse park. I had much more fun than I imagined. What a fun and unique experience I was lucky enough to experience. In between horse jumpings, I found a bunch of nearby caches. This was definitely a 5-Star weekend for The Kid!

On Monday after the horse event, we climbed all over the Via Ferrata in Kentucky. That is 3 that we have done in the US, with hopes to one day do all the Via Ferrata’s in the US. It was amazing, and definitely the most difficult of the 3 we have done. We spent the night in Compton before heading to Tennessee for a week in the Smokies.

While in Tennessee we did all the perfect tourist stuff. We saw 2 of the shows, ate at the famous places, spent a day in Dollywood, and spent a bunch of time in Smoky National Park. I spent 2 nights in the park in my campervan, taking night time and sunrise pictures, while my wife stayed at the Dollywood hotel. Lucky girl.

One day we spent driving Cades Cove, and it was amazing! The weather was perfect, and we had 3 different bear spottings. I was finally able to use the widow’s peak on my adventure van for photography purposes! It was a dream come true.

There are a bunch of pictures in a photo album if you click somewhere around HERE.

You’re not going to believe what my wife did

Recently we went to the mountains of West Virginia to a place called Nelson Rock. Nelson Rock is set up like an outdoor adventure park where hiking meets rock climbing. It is a feature made popular in WWII by the Italians in the Dolomites called a Via Ferrata. It is a series of steel cables, ladders, and fixed anchors around a mountain that allow human beings to climb around ‘easier’. It was amazing, the best thing I have ever done. It is a perfect combination of doing something that feels risky or adventurous while still remaining completely safe…that is if you are not afraid to look down into the abyss. I can’t wait to do it again and again. More than anything, I can’t believe my wife did this! I am so proud of her.
While we were down in West Virginia we also visited Seneca Rock. Someplace I have wanted to go for a long time, but found it hard to drive 5 hours 1-way for a short walk up Seneca Rock. We were only 20 minutes away and also checked out Seneca Rock. It was great, especially the rock scramble after the path to the top.
Here are some pictures if you are interested.