The Ups and Downs of Vacation: Cruising to Colorado – Day Four and Five

The overwhelming beauty of the Molas Lake Campground didn’t hit us until the next morning after we had arrived. The sky was cloudy and foggy, but it didn’t diminish the amazing mountain views.

(Click on the following days to read more of my “Cruising to Colorado” series. Blog post: Day One, Day Two, Day Three)

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Molas Lake

Below is a rundown on Molas Lake Campground:

  • Close to Silverton
  • Elevation of 10,515 feet (very high elevation for a campground)
  • Stocked lake, perfect for fishing
  • Clean showers (they do require tokens, $5/token, and it is timed!)
  • Vault restrooms
  • No swimming in the lake, but we saw several people on canoes/kayaks
  • Camp store features several useful camping items
  • Firewood is available to buy at the campground
  • Spacious, private spots
  • Pet friendly!
  • Campsites include fire ring and picnic table

 

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View of Molas Lake from our campsite

Cody and I were pretty shocked at how cold it got during the night. We packed for Oklahoma camping weather, not true Colorado camping! That is the fun of camping though. You live and you learn. Every trip Cody and I have taken, we continually learn new things to remember for the next trip.

We were excited for the new day, especially since it was also our anniversary. We had plans to enjoy the day in Silverton and explore some trails. Before we made the short trip to town, we cooked up a delicious breakfast on our Coleman stove.

It had rained during the night so our wood had gotten too wet to bother with starting a fire; always come prepared with a camp stove for backup! Crispy bacon, fried eggs and buttery toast was on the menu and it hit the spot. Pair that with my French press coffee, once again, and I was ready for the day.

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The trip from the campground to Silverton was a relatively short 10 minute trip. You wind around curvy roads and suddenly the quaint mining town appears before your eyes, nestled below in a valley surrounded by mountains.

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Driving through the charming town of Silverton brought back memories from when I visited the town as a kid. My family and I took the train from Durango to Silverton, visiting the town briefly. Of course, many things had changed during the 10 years since I had been there.

Silverton has an array of stores and restaurants. There are two main areas that get the most interest–the main road driving through the town and the area of town located near the railroad drop off. We tried to explore all of the town, including driving around to look at people’s pleasant homes and the interesting historical buildings.

The gift stores are nice and Cody did end up buying an off-road trail guide, which I highly recommend! This book breaks up Colorado trails into several areas and rates them on difficulty. Each trail is described in detail and features pictures of the trail being talked about.

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One of my favorite stores we visited just so happened to be a coffee shop. Café Mobius makes great coffee! I visited both days we were in Silverton. Even their ice cream was delicious after sampling Cody’s chocolate ice cream. The people were friendly and the interior of the café was very inviting and cozy.

We took a road leading outside of town to some small trails and explored for a couple of hours. It was neat seeing a glimpse of the backcountry of Colorado. Nature looks untouched after you leave the town limits. We saw abandoned mining buildings that had sadly fallen apart. I loved being able to imagine the history that happened in this area.

Coming back into town we ate lunch at Handlebar’s Food and Saloon. This place was packed! The walls were decked with memorabilia and plenty of animals. We both ordered cheeseburgers with fries and were very happy with our choice! The portion sizes were substantial and we left feeling satisfied.

After returning to camp, we decided to set out our tent and came to find out the rain fly was not in the bag! This is when ingenuity comes into play. We had a couple tarps so we taped the tarps to the rods on the tent and hoped for the best. We made chili on our Dutch oven and enjoyed the rest of the night together.

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Our little oasis


Waking up in the tent the next morning, we quickly realized we would need to buy an extra blanket somewhere–it was SO cold during the nights! Today would prove to be a test for the truck. It was not in a great mood when Cody started it.

A very sweet and helpful man camping near us, came over and offered Cody some seafoam to put in the truck. He also offered to pick something up for us since he and his wife were going to town that day. Like I’ve mentioned before, you can meet the most helpful people on vacation, specifically while camping!

We decided to head back into Durango so Cody could try and figure out what the problem was, plus they had an AutoZone and an O’Reilly’s. Most of the day was spent in Durango while Cody tried different things.

On a side note, a delicious deli, Three Peaks Deli & Grill, was conveniently located next door to the O’Reilly’s in Durango, so when it was midafternoon we walked over and our spirits lifted while we enjoyed their tasty, flavorful sandwiches.

Whatever Cody did during the day helped the truck some. We were both stressed about it and contemplated cutting the trip short and going back home. But, eventually we both realized we had made it this far and we needed to enjoy the trip as much as we could! Looking back on that now, I’m incredibly happy we stayed. Some of our best memories happened in the following days.

Later that afternoon, we headed back to Silverton. We stopped at Molas Pass and reveled in the jaw-dropping views. It was really humbling to take a step back and realize we had come this far and not to take this time for granted.

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Molas Pass, elevation 10,910 ft

We drove the short distance to Little Molas Lake and walked to the edge of the lake. The campsite near Little Molas Lake is primitive, but the views are just as stunning as Molas Lake views. Little Molas Lake is more private than Molas Lake, making you feel as if you are the only one occupying the space surrounding you.

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Little Molas Lake

Since that evening was our last at Molas Lake Campground, we wanted to go all-out, so we attempted making Dutch oven pizza. The first battle was getting the fire started, quite a feat since it had been fairly damp during our stay. I left the flame-starting to Cody, while I found little fallen twigs to add to the fire. Eventually, whatever voodoo Cody did worked because a fire had steadily grew.

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Fire is blazing-pizza time!

I started preparing the pizza; making the dough first by using prepared pizza crust and adding in water and some extras like parmesan, oregano, garlic and basil. As I was prepping everything, I was talking to Cody who was on the other side of the fire. All of a sudden, a small fireball (I’m being serious!!) shot out of the fire and hit me directly on my sweatpants!

Needless to say, I freaked out. Cody told me to drop them and down went my pants! I pulled them back up and the flame was still going, so down they went again! Thankfully, the second time I pulled the sweatpants back up the flame was gone, leaving a small burnt hole in my favorite sweats.

The entire debacle was hilarious afterward, especially because out of all the directions a flame would shoot it would naturally come right toward me. Plus, to sprinkle a little more humor into the story, two young boys had been on a hill facing our campsite so I’m sure they got an eyeful and witnessed something they wouldn’t forget anytime soon!

After we had calmed down from the fire fiasco, I finished making the pizza and the Dutch oven was placed onto the fire grate and topped with searing charcoal. Patiently yet hungrily, we waited for the finished product. The key is not to open the Dutch oven after you’ve put the lid on. You don’t want any of the heat escaping.

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Our patience paid off, our pizza was one of the best things we ate during the entire trip! It was thick with a crunchy crust, gooey cheese and flavorful meat toppings. It was the perfect end to a crazy day–sitting around a fire with Cody, eating a delicious campfire meal and soaking in all of the adventures we had been on in such a short amount of time. I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anyone else.

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Dutch oven pizza

 

One thought on “The Ups and Downs of Vacation: Cruising to Colorado – Day Four and Five

  1. Pingback: Adventures on the Alpine Loop: Cruising to Colorado – Day Six | A Walk in the Park

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