We may have had the best campsite in all of Curt Gowdy State Park. Out the front door, we had amazing lake views. From the dinette, we had views of grassy hills where we saw deer roaming every evening and heard coyotes howling at night. Sure, the wind kicked up at the top of the hill, but the views were worth it.
Finding campsites over weekends proved to be a challenge this summer. Even booking several months in advance, we have stretched our limits of boondocking and had multiple travel days in a row to make different reservations work. Because of how our plans unfolded, we arrived at Curt Gowdy State Park on a Thursday and stayed until Monday – 4 nights of no hookups in the heat of summer. And we made it work.
As soon as we arrived, the only word we heard from Bird was “lake,” so shortly after getting set up, she and I headed down to check it out while Will relaxed from the drive and started dinner. The shore was nice and sandy and had far fewer ants than we had encountered at previous lakes, so it was immediately much more comfortable and an obvious hit. All Bird needs is a bucket and some water, she will supply the rocks and sticks, and she will entertain herself for hours. Thankfully, she listens well and only wades in so far before stating “too deep” and turning back toward shore.
During our stay, we made many trips to the lake, both directly down from our campsite and also further around the lake. There was an awesome trail system, though primarily geared toward mountain bikers, all throughout the state park that we used to get to different areas of the lake. On one such outing, Bird helped Will reel in her first fish. And after she touched it, examined it closely, and watched it swim away, she promptly shouted “again.” If only it were that easy.
On one of the days during our stay, we made our way to Vedauwoo in Medicine Bow National Forest and walked among the rocks. Naturally, we took back roads through the National Forest to get there, which were amazing all on their own and were even more exciting when we saw 2 badgers run across the road. Daisy wanted nothing more to see those fellas up close, but when the second one looked back at us and showed us its beautiful and terrifying face, we continued on down the road, reassuring her that they were a little out of her league.
The rocks at Vedauwoo did not disappoint, but the temperatures were toasty, and we kept our hiking to a short loop. This is definitely a gem I was unfamiliar with and would love to explore further. The rocks are a granite conglomerate, making them nice and grippy and easy to climb over. This delighted Bird, and she scrambled over every rock she could, loving every minute.
We have been so lucky to experience wildflowers blooming all spring and summer everywhere we go, providing incredible color along all of the trails. The trails at the campground were no exception, and Bird and I had several walks among the wildflowers that were absolutely amazing. Watching her walk the trails, stopping to count the flowers or point out different colors as the summer sun casted the perfect glow on her was something I will never forget.
On our final night at the state park, we took a hike after dinner once the heat of the day finally passed. We left from the camper, which is always fun, and made our way about 4 miles along trails within the park. While the trails were a little rutted in places from all the mountain bikers, they were in decent condition, and it was a pretty easy hike (though still very warm). We walked along a canyon, saw some amazing views of the grassy hills we could see outside our window, and witnessed a large deer bound across the trail and down to the river below.
Even though the state park, especially the lake, and the campground were fairly busy all weekend, our spot was quiet and offered the perfect escape. We had amazing cell service, which meant I could get some work done, but no matter if I spend time working or if we relax the entire time, when we are boondocking, life just feels a little slower and simpler.
Boondocking also usually leads us to some pretty beautiful places, so maybe those feelings of rest and relaxation are simply due to the amazing views.