Melissa K.
Nucla, CO
Joined June 2017
Always exploring, nothing beats sleeping in a tent in the middle of no where.
Ranger Review: Red Ledge at Lake Farm County Park

Campground Review:

Lake Farm County Park is in a really cool location. It's just 5 miles from downtown Madison, which on a Saturday morning is a fabulous bike ride. There are trails right through the campground that are on Madison's trail system. There is a daily fee for the trails but I think it was $5 for the day. The annual pass was pretty inexpensive as well if I remember correctly. The park definitely fills up being so close to downtown, people camp there just so they can ride their bikes to the farmers market. The sites are relatively well groomed, mine was a bit shaggy as they were mowing when I was there and didn't want to bother me, which I appreciate because we have had tent lines cut with mowers that have gotten too close. My site was also considerably dirty. It was well marked that it was a smoke free site but there were cigarette butts everywhere and trash as well. That was disappointing.  I got in fairly early on a Thursday and there were only a few sites left. I had difficulty at first figuring out how to register as the office was closed but as I was trying to navigate the sign and instructions the host came over and cleared it up for me. I got registered for a couple days and set up camp. Shortly after I noticed that the camper next to me had a car from Colorado, where I'm from and it appeared to be a single lady also setting up a tent. This made me happy and we walked the park and chatted at our sites. The area we were in did not have fire rings. This was very disappointing. Other sites had fire rings but ours did not. One of the first things I noticed while in my site was that it was overrun with mosquitos. I know there has been a lot of rain in many places but it made it incredibly hard to enjoy the area.

There are showers, free of charge and flush toilets with running water sinks. So that part was quite comfortable. They even had a dishwashing station which was also super useful since I did not have a campfire. They had a water bottle filling station near the bubbler. Which was nice as well. Overall, the campground has nice amenities, you can even buy campfire wood from the camp host. There was an air filling station as well as a tiny little library. There was a playground as well for the kids. 

I decided that Saturday morning was a good time to hit the trail and head to farmers market. It's a pretty easy ride until you get right up to the square, then there was a big hill to bike up but overall the trail was very easy. I wished I had more energy to bike more while I was there. I would go back to this campground just to hit the trails. They went in about three different directions. I picked up a lovely Amish made apple pie while I was at farmers market and that was quite enjoyable for dessert that night.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time- today I am testing the Women's Free Rein Parka from Red Ledge. There a bunch of cool features in this rain parka that make it a nice jacket to keep on hand in any situation. It has two large armpit zippers that help with ventilation when it's warm out but wet. It has two large pockets in the normal location with a smaller pocket with some elastic inside one of those front pockets. I'm assuming the little one is to keep keys or ID from getting lost in the large hand pockets. It has adjustable velcro on the sleeves to keep that tight and water free. The hood has an interesting design. I found you have to unzip the front a bit to put the hood up as it's a bit of a tight fit but once it's up it's not tight at all. It is designed so you can turn  your head without ending up inside the hood and that feature works well. On top of the zipper going down the front there is also a velcro enclosure so that you know you're going to keep water from getting in. I did notice that if I am out with the hood down and it's raining, the water goes right down the neck. But, if it's raining, just put the hood up. It's form fitting, which I normally don't like but this one is quite comfortable. The fabric is pretty rigid at first, I'm hoping that will loosen up as time goes on. I also found that it is more comfortable with a long sleeve shirt underneath. The material feels weird on the skin otherwise. I also used it just as a coat while out, it didn't rain much while I was camping but it helped to keep me a little warmer as I neglected to bring a sweatshirt. I imaging it would also be a great windbreaker in a pinch. I look forward to keeping this in my camping arsenal.

Ranger Review: Outdoor Element at Lake Kegonsa State Park

Campground Review: 

Lake Kegonsa is located in Stoughten, slightly off the beaten path. As long as you have a state sticker or are a resident, the cost of the campground is $27. A little steep, especially since you really can't enjoy being outside due to the mosquitos. However, if you can build up enough mosquito spray and get extra adventurous, there are tons of trails, all well groomed, meandering through woods, prairies and even down by the lake. Maybe take a map along, as I did get lost while geocaching. There are several geocaches in the park, which adds a little fun, but they are in the woods, and the mosquitos are oblivious to the bug spray!  I managed to find a few caches before calling it quits and retreating back to my campsite. Realizing I was fighting a loosing battle with the mosquitos, I retreated to my tent where it was quite comfortable to nap. The park did not seem full, nor do I think it filled up. I think many of the locals know the bugs are bad and leave it for those of us from out of state to get eaten alive. There were plenty of nature sounds and the park really is beautiful! The roads are narrow, but surrounded by trees. You can't beat the views at this place, really spectacular. There were free showers, flush toilets and running water in the bathrooms. This was nice, however, the mosquitos were in there too!  While I was lost, I found some magnificent group sites, they were huge, many had covered picnic areas and a communal park in the area that had volleyball and horseshoes. There were vault toilets in those areas. They weren't far from the groomed paths either so a walk around was easily accessible. I also noticed that once the snow flies, they appear to keep those trails groomed for cross country skiing. At that point I don't think you can walk on them anymore though. It was really pretty quiet outside of nature sounds, so that is definitely appreciated. This was a short overnight for me to avoid a much longer drive after a late night but with as pretty as it is, I'm not sure I'll go back. The mosquitos are just too much.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time- today I am testing products from Outdoor Element. This was a fun company to shop with. I wanted to try out several of their items and some of the items that compliment their firebiner as well. So I took along the firebiner, the Hero Clip, the Packrat AK for Firebiner, Fiber Light tinder, Spartan Fire tinder, as well as Tinder Quik. Everything except the Hero Clip goes hand in hand with the Firebiner. So lets start with that Hero Clip, first off, I threw it in my bags for a long trip and it proved it's value on the very first day. Similar to a caribiner, it has so many uses, but it has a tad bit of an advantage. You can fold out an additional hook and that really is a great selling point. I used to hook my water bottle to my luggage, which was fabulous since my hands were very full. I also went to a public restroom that didn't have bag hooks, oh no, not the gross floor. Well, Hero Clip came to the rescue. Just throw that hook over the door and your bag can stay clean above the floor. It also worked great for hanging my bath items while showering. The uses are endless and it definitely proved it's worth! 

Now, on to the fun with fire. I was bikepacking and didn't have a lot of space so I threw in my firebiner with my bike lock key attached, along with three of their tinders and the little storage container for more tinder and the extra Ferro Rods. All of it took up very little space, even the tin with the Fiber Light really didn't bother me space wise and that particular tinder is a handy one. My wood was wet, it had been raining for three days and I only had what was available. The Fiber Light started easily with the spark that the firebiner threw off and burned for a good bit, allowing the wet wood to catch. I wasn't expecting a long enough burn for it to actually catch. Later I got some dry wood and did a little video showing the three tinders and how well they caught. I found that the Tinder Quik and the Fiber Light were the best two. I was actually unable to get the Spartan Fire to catch. That one boasts a nice compact tinder that you can keep in  your pocket in case of emergency and I expect it would work great with a match, as it appears to be a paper coated in wax, which I have had good experience with before, but the spark that the Firebiner threw was just not enough in my case. The Tinder Quik is really simple, you just pull apart the fibers and light, it catches pretty good and has a pretty good length of burn. But like I said before, the Fiber Light seemed to be the hero. It lit pretty easily (although in my video it appears not to, there was a bigger chunk that was interfering with my spark, once moved, it lit pretty easy) and burned the longest of the three, with Spartan fire not catching at all.

Ok, the firebiner is a really cool little gadget. It has features like a small knife, perfect for fishing and retying your lures on, it has a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a couple spots to attach your keys and lastly that wonderful ferro rod with a wheel to spark it. No need to find a rock to bang it on, it sparks like a lighter, there isn't any fuel so it doesn't stay lit but it throws a spark. This little guy, which is smaller then most caribiners and lighter too, is perfect to throw in to your camping bag or survival kit. Don't forget some of the tinder to take along so that you have something to get a fire going.

Ranger Review: Liquid IV at Uravan Ball Park

Campground Review: 

We wanted to give this campground another shot and we are glad we did. I decided to ride my bike to the campground to give a go of a little tour training. So I rolled in early afternoon and I only saw one other camper. It was otherwise very empty which meant pick of sites was available. The entire campground is free and it used to be an old ball park back in the day. I decided to set up camp in a different spot this time, right on the river, which is flowing really fast right now. It's been a bit more developed since our last stay. Almost every site either has trees as shade or a shade shelter. Which is nice because it does get hot. Even though we had a cool evening, the afternoon sun was lovely! 

Our tent was still very wet from our previous nights stay someplace else so the sun did quick work to dry off the fly. While our site was shaded, there was still sun to be had if you wanted the warmth or maybe a little vitamin D. I also set our tent up in the sun to let it warm up a little and to ensure it was dry for our evenings stay, which it was. 

Right off our site were some little stairs that led right down to the river, so I imagine if you wanted to launch a boat from there you certainly could. But you may want to anchor it down first as the river is moving so fast, I imagine you boat could be gone before you know it! There was a lovely bench that was carved out of a tree, nice little addition to the view of the river. You could sit and enjoy the scenery. Most sites had some sort of a bench that allowed you to sit and watch the river, I imagine if you wanted to fish from them you could do that too.

Overall, our second stay, about a year later, was a better visit and we enjoyed it a lot more. This one is worth checking out.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - today I am testing Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier. So I've always been a little skeptical of these types of products as an athlete. We get pitched a lot of different products that are supposed to improve our performance or reduce recovery time or make you more flexible. I've heard it all. Liquid I.V. says that drinking one bottle of water with this in it is the same as drinking three bottles of water. This sounds amazing, especially for my son who struggles to drink a single bottle of water and gets horribly sick when dehydrated. First things first, taste, I got the multi pack which had three flavors and the only flavor I really couldn't get down was the lemon lime. The others both tasted great and were easy to drink. I did find that I prefer them in 20 oz of water rather then 16 oz. I like the flavor better a little more diluted. So except for the lemon lime, taste gets a thumbs up. Ease of use, the packages can be a little tricky. They do have a perforated edge to help get them open but it only goes halfway and I've had a few troubles getting the rest off, so I just pull out my pocket knife to get the job done. The package is the perfect size to pour in to the water bottle without making a mess. As far as the hydration side, I think I'd have to do a more lengthy test with it, which often involves a blind taste test, which would be tricky due to flavor. I know my headache I had after biking went away fairly quickly, for now I'll chalk it up to the Liquid I.V. I put in. I have not been able to get my son to finish a bottle of it yet to really see if it improves his issues or not. Nutritionally, there's a bit of sugar, which probably contributes to the taste, although it states there aren't any artificial sweeteners in it. There is actually a considerably larger amount of sodium in it but when exerting energy in the heat, you often need sodium to help replenish what's been lost. It isn't' something you would want to drink just as a drink, but should work great when exercising. I look forward to more testing with Liquid I.V. to really see if the technology works.

Cool little spot!

We have stopped here before but didn't really see any sites, except one that was tucked back by a tree that had a note on it saying "don't camp under this tree". The tree was, well, dead. That tree appears to be gone now but the site remains. We were set to take this small little site thinking, this really isn't much to write home about. But my boys had to use the restroom and they ran off, only to come back to say, there's a cool spot over here! So, we did some exploring.

We found a site right behind the bathrooms, to some that is unappealing but with small children, it's perfect. When you hike back in to the woods you find a picnic table, a grill and a fire ring. It had plenty of space when you went in to the clearing for a tent and was right on the river. The river is moving super fast right now so be careful with dogs and small children. The bathrooms were relatively clean, they could have been swept out but for a free campground that is not frequented often, it was pretty clean. Well stocked with toilet paper too. With the river so high, the toilets did look like they were taking on water but nothing too worrisome. It appeared that most of the sites were kind of a hike back to. We didn't get a ton of exploring in because the weather was a little sketchy. There is also a boat launch right there. Parking for the walk in sites is close by. It's actually a fun little spot. I know last year when we camped up stream there was a bear siting by this campground so beware of bear country. My kids ran around with sticks playing with imaginary friends and trying to beat "levels". So it was entertaining. It had rained pretty good so all of the wood that was around was very wet but we did manage to get a fire going and it was welcomed for the evening. 

We tested out a recipe that I've been wanting to see how it did on a small cook stove and once we got it dialed in, turned out really good. They are tortilla pizzas. We brought pizza sauce, packaged salmon and pizza cheese, along with tortillas. It took a while for them to cook, a good 5-8 minutes each and if you were on your own, this would work out just fine. But there were three of us so dinner took a while. But they tasted amazing and with a little more fine tuning (smaller tortilla to fit in my backpacking pans) and I should be able to take these on my bike tour, with dehydrated pizza sauce and shelf stable cheese of course.

This was a fun little campground and we look forward to returning in warmer weather, we woke to ice on our tent, we slept quite well and it didn't feel that cold when we stepped out but our tent was frozen. Definitely check out this little free campground along the river.

Ranger Review: Eclipse All Sun Sleeves at Bedrock Recreation Site

Campground Review:

What a cool little campground. If for no other reason but the people you will meet! We drove to Bedrock, which is a tiny little town nestled between two other tiny little towns. There is a cute little store there run by a gentleman from New York! He is really friendly and very upbeat. You turn at his little store and drive down a dirt road to get to this little campground. When we were driving in we could see this giant wall of rain, the most bizarre thing we've seen in a while. But once we turned down the little road, the rain had turned to just a light sprinkle. The drive was easy even though it was dirt and once you get to the recreation area, you realize it is a put in/take out for rafters. We tried to stay here a few days earlier and there were over 100 vehicles and the four spots for camping were taken. This time though, there were maybe 40 cars and every campsite was open. There are four cabanas, each with a grill, no fire pit, and each with a picnic table. This site is incredibly overgrown. Our options for tent placement were in the mud due to rain or on really high weeds. It would have been great to have a weed whacker to knock down the weeds but we don't carry one of those with us. We set up on the weeds, which added a little extra cushion. Slowly other campers came in by raft. Very friendly group! We talked about the rapids they had endured, previous bike tours that they have done and other such adventures. Although it rained through the night, we woke to an amazing morning. Cool at first but once we got in the sun, it was fabulous! There was an older gentleman with his dog that came through and told us about all the trails, fossils and petrified wood in the area. There is a trail that goes back a bit and except for the family of cougars found there a while back, is pretty much wildlife free. He commented that there aren't much for rattlesnakes, only seen one in the last 10 years, lots of bull snakes though and they kill the rattlesnakes. He said he walked through the campground every day with his dog and it's normally empty but they opened the spillway, which brought rafters to the river. We didn't have time to take the hikes but they sound very interesting, 3 miles about is what he said it was. We will hit that up on a return trip. We knew there wouldn't be any fire pits from our first attempt so we stocked up on freeze dried food and food easy to make over a small backpacking cookstove. It worked out quite well and our tent was almost dry when we packed it up. There are two port a potties, they were quite clean and well stocked on toilet paper and even had hand sanitizer! This is a cool spot, with things to do and cover in the event of rain. It's worth a visit!

Product Review:

As a ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, today I am testing Eclipse All Sun Sleeves, as a red head I burn super easy! These were appealing because I can put these on for a lighter form of protection. No slimy cream or heavy shirts, only sleeves, they cover your arms and your arms only. They are moisture wicking and cooling. Plus, the sun protection never washes out! It was cool when the day started but by 9 am it was hot and I could shed some layers, but while playing ball with my boys, I didn't want to endure a sunburn. So, the sleeves went on. They are unisex and ambidextrous.  So no need to figure out which side it needs to go on. They cover your hands as well, which is nice as that was where my last sun burn was. They go on easy and feel good once on. I did get a slight pinch up near the top where the labeling is. I also found that they did slip a little as I played. Not enough to not use them but enough to notice that if I didn't notice, I could get a slight burn on the back of my arm between my shirt and where the sleeves had slipped. They also take up hardly any room at all, which is nice for people like me who plan to bike tour. I can throw them in my frame pack with out worry of taking up space for something else. They will be the perfect addition. They have several colors and sizes to choose from, I ordered the large and they fit well. Definitely check out Eclipse products!

Dispersed Camping on the other side of the lake

So Buckeye has a few spots to camp. There is the reservable set of sites just after the picnic area, then the group area and if you drive past the group area you can get to an area of dispersed camping. The dispersed is free, has a fire pit and a spot to park. There are trees all around and the views are much better in the dispersed area. You get a great look at the mountains that are on the other side. The Utah boarder is with in walking distance, and is barely marked, that was kind of funny.

So, if you pay to camp it's $10 a night. They have picnic tables, the free sites do not have picnic tables. However, there are two vault toilets over in the dispersed area and when we got there they were incredibly clean, well stocked and had air fresheners to keep smells down. The sites aren't all very level but were still suitable for our needs and many others needs. Almost all the dispersed sites were taken by the end of the night. In fact a group of 12-15 bicycle tourists came in and set up camp. They really spread out in the two sites that were available next to us. Unfortunately they were a bit loud, walked around in towels and made the restroom disgusting.  So much so we walked to the farther restroom for the rest of our stay. That was unfortunate. 

It was incredibly windy while we were there the first day. So much so we walked in to the woods to get out of the wind. The sun was quite warm but the wind made it cold. The second the sun went down the temps dropped drastically! We sat by the fire for a bit and then headed to our tent for the night. It got insanely cold overnight and really made us cut our stay short. We really couldn't imagine another night in the cold. There wasn't any snow but it was cold. By morning the wind had stopped all together and the lake was just glass. Made for some great photos. 

This lake was almost completely empty last year with the drought. This year though, with all the snow there is plenty of water, if not too much. It looked flooded in places. We are not sure about fish but we could see something jumping so there is hope that some fish survived the drought and maybe they will stock it. It looked like it would be fun to take a canoe out and fish. The cyclists bathed in the lake when they came in and our dog loved swimming in it. It was his first experience swimming. He's just 11 months old.

This would be a great spot to bike. In fact I biked back out of the park. It's hilly and rocky the whole way down. About a mile and a half of incline and about 5 miles of decline. I think top speed I hit was about 31 mph. I did have to push my bike for some of the uphills. It was fun and I could see doing the ride again.

It's a great spot and worth a stop and we will return when it is warmer! As tent campers, it got just a little too chilly.

Simply Amazing and FREE!

This is a true gem. I imagine it gets busy in the summer. It was already pretty busy this weekend and it's still early. There are six campsites total in the designated campground. There are plenty of others along the way, just this area has the toilet.

The drive in is a little rough. The road is narrow and it drops off in places but the views are spectacular. It follows the Gunnison River and once the view opens up, it really is magnificent. We came in after dinner time and got to the campground. At that time there were two of the six available. The campground sits in a little grove of Cottonwood trees so there is shade to be had and it is right on the river. There is a little boating dock right there too. A handicap accessible pier for fishing, although this weekend it hosted a wedding, albeit small, it was still there. Very quiet little event, I slept through it. They pulled out before dinner even.

I think two of the six campsites had a shade shelter in the site. Those were quite nice. But even with out a shade shelter they all had picnic tables, nice heavy concrete tables, and fire pits. I think the site closest to the pier lacked in shade but the rest were pretty well shaded.

We had to go back to Cedaredge for a sporting event and decided to go back for a second night. We were so glad we did. There is a trail called Cool Rock Trail and it was a nice trail. Hot for sure, so take plenty of water and if you are hiking with a pup, bring water for them too, they will need it! I think our 10 month old lab puppy drank a good three bottles on his own. If you are in to geocaching, there are about 5 or so from trailhead to about 1 mile to mile and half in. The terrain wasn't too hard, our five year old son and 14 year old pug both handled it just fine.

There are other hiking trails too but that is the only one we did. Also for the geocaching campers, there is one in the campground itself. So that was another fun activity for my kids. There was lots of space in the campground. We could have easily played ball or frisbee and not bothered anyone. The toilet was well stocked and pretty clean. It is just a pit toilet but it's better then nothing.

There aren't any hosts or anyone really moderating anything so if you get a discourteous neighbor, no one is really going to stop them. Most of ours were good, we had one a couple sites down that played music and chopped wood through out the evening and mornings. Lots and lots of wood. Dogs are often off leashes, well at least while we were there. I'm not sure anyone used a leash except us.

This really is a great place to slip in to for a night or two. Go check it out!

Truly primitive camping - BLM - Dispersed Camping

This place is a true gem if you are all about primitive. There are no amenities, unless you get in the very first site as you come in. That one has a picnic table. Beyond that you are on your own for where you sit.

I wasn't sure I was going to find a spot, as this is BLM land, you can camp anywhere. I try to pick spots that resemble a location other people have stayed at so that I am a little nicer to the environment. I saw three spots that looked like they have been slightly developed. The first one just as you come in and that is the one with the picnic table. It was quite large and probably could accommodate some slightly larger vehicles. There was a truck with a topper on hit when we drove in. The second site we saw, also occupied was fairly large. Another truck with a topper was in that one, they looked like they may have been set up for hunting. Then we found our spot, along the creek, it wasn't very big, but had two established fire pits. There were lots of cattle up that way. Now, we did drive beyond this point as well and found the road narrowed pretty good and there weren't too many spots to even turn around. We have a larger truck so we had to choose wisely where we would turn around. I believe if you continue down the road you get to Moab, however, I have seen pictures that appear to have a much larger river crossing so maybe research before going up there.

We arrived, set up camp and then were greeted by the lady and her pup from the very first site. She was really friendly, passing through recreationally. It was nice to chat for a few and then move on to dinner. Temps were about 55 when we arrived and we work to about 42 degrees. It felt cold overnight but not intolerable. We put our tent behind our truck, well next to it, there were a ton of cattle and I just felt like tucking it in a bit. We had our own camp chairs and firewood so we made a fire to warm up, then used our jetboil to boil water for our mountain house meals. My boys loved the area, they loved seeing the cows, even though we have plenty where we live. They loved the space to run around without really bothering anyone else. The fire pit was surrounded by rocks so they enjoyed hanging out by the fire on the rocks as well. It was chilly, which is why we started the fire, to warm up.

It gets really really dark out there, you are surrounded on all sides by rock faces so there really isn't any light pollution. Which is nice for a peaceful night. There also wasn't any noise pollution. We couldn't hear any cars, only cows, so I guess there was a little noise pollution but of the natural variety. If you don't like cows, maybe don't go, it's open range there. But cars are really what I dislike while sleeping and we did not hear a single one. We may have heard an elk calling back to the cows but we were still in our tent so can't be too sure.

Now, there are no bathrooms, so you want to be responsible with your personal needs. We took along a Travel John and it worked really well, our first time using one but made those needs simpler where there was nothing, now if you have no problem peeing in the woods, you'll be just fine.

Overall, it's peaceful, scenic and a nice place to set up camp and enjoy nature's surroundings.

Ranger review of Morsel Spork at Palisade Basecamp

Campground Review

I only stayed for an overnight but I did make a reservation, although they were not full. They do close at 6pm (the office does) so late entry doesn't work unless you have made a reservation. I found my map and site info in a mailbox at the office entry. I chose to stay in the section along the river. All the way in the very last site, I think it was site 9. When I got to my site, there weren't very many other campers but I was quickly greeted by a man in a golf cart. Turns out he was the camp host. He was really coming down to view the sunset, which was very nice, but he also chatted with me for a bit.

The site itself was quite small. It was a good thing I had a very small tent. I spent a bit of time just trying to decide where I'd put it due to signs stating no camping beyond a certain point. The camp host kind of sorted it out with me. But I have a tiny two man tent and it was the perfect size for it. There was a picnic table, what appeared to be a brand new firing (this campground is new) and an electric outlet. Of course, there was also the fabulous view of the Colorado River just about 200 feet away. The bathrooms were up the ridge, although there was a porta potty just at the end of the riverfront sites. The bathrooms were pretty extravagant. Heated, flush toilets, free showers, running water sinks, mirrors galore. There were also family restrooms, I did not explore those. Laundry facilities were also onsite. Along with greenhouses, gardens, a swimming pool and a hot tub. What looked like an area to have a gathering with a grill. There was a trail that went around the park too. Up until recently the Colorado River has been too low to fish but I imagine fishing is about to get better now that it's really flowing.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - today I am testing Morsel Sporks. I went with the XL Morsel Sporks because we do a lot of eating out of a bag when we are in fire bans, which is often. This trip was no exception, except we are not in a fire ban. At first glance, these sporks seem really durable. Which is good, camping can be rough on utensils. I noted the spoon on one end and the rubber edge for getting every last bit, also the fork with the knife like edge on it. I did use the knife like edge to cut ham and it worked fairly well, not as well as an actual knife but that can be expected. The meals I had this trip made more use of the spoon then the fork. I had a chowder for dinner, which I transferred to a bowl due to the bag it came in being too narrow to really use the morsel spork. The other meal was granola and that package was perfect for the morsel spork. I didn't have any trouble with the spoon for mixing or eating. It held a good amount of food. The spork fit in my mouth well, I have a small mouth and sometimes if a utensil is too big it can be difficult to get in my mouth, but this fit well. They were so simple to clean too. I was using just a jetboil and was able to get my morsel sporks completely clean. Food didn't get stuck anywhere. Another feature that may become useful is the hole on the end of the fork that I could use to attach my spork to my bike while I travel. They are dishwasher safe and BPA free so I am confidant that I can add these sporks to my camping routine.

Plenty of Amenities

I'm going to start off with this isn't our kind of camping but if you love amenities when you camp, this is the place to be. We arrived early in the morning (wasn't even sure we would be able to check in) but they they said we could get checked in and told us where the other members of our party were at in the park. The office staff was extremely friendly and eager to tell us all about the park. They even had Easter candy and eggs in the office and outside the door for the kiddos. They directed us to our site which was located just behind the teepees. The site was small but it had electricity and a water spicket right behind it. The site was all gravel, even the tent pad but there was a lovely patch of grass behind us that we were directed to put nothing on.

Some of the amenities: There were heated bathrooms with flush toilets, running water sinks and showers. Music played in the bathroom 24/7. There were laundry facilities as well and on the side of the building a dish washing station. You could wash your dishes in a sink with hot water! There's a pool (it wasn't open yet) and for a short little walk, a 3 acre dog park. It was so nice for our dogs to get out and run. Beyond that was a trail that went around a lake and on the other side was a playground, much nicer then the campgrounds which seems a bit outdated. The park wasn't very clean though. There were also several geocaches with in walking distance of the campground.

Shortly after we arrived and checked out the dog park, we began prepping and smoking our spiral ham. It was Easter weekend after all, what better then Easter dinner. Shortly after we put some beans in a dutch oven and smoked those as well. Everyone sat and ate a nice Easter dinner (we all came together from three sites). Shortly after we had our first of three egg hunts in the overflow area of the campground. There weren't any campers down there so the kids had plenty of space to hunt and run. The campground in general wasn't very full, it is still early. We followed up our first egg hunt with birthday celebrations for our youngest who turned 5! Cake and gifts and family. We waited for dark and then had our second Easter egg hunt with glow stick eggs! Shortly after everyone retired and it got cold at night. It had to have been in the 30's. There was a lot of light in the campground. Everytime I peered out of my sleeping bag it felt like morning even though it was the middle of the night. That was not all that appealing to me. You could also hear the highway. The campground itself was quiet but the highway could be heard.

The next morning the kids woke up to their third egg hunt and their baskets from the Easter bunny and then another trip to the dog park. We opted to not eat breakfast here and hit up starbucks on the way home.

Overall, it's a nice park with plenty of amenities. If you don't want to be quite so rugged, this might be a great option.

Nice spot to bike

The campground was pretty crowded, but you wouldn’t have known it by the noise. Even though just about every site was occupied, it was still peaceful to camp. We found site 12 open and it was a nice roomy site with a long drive leading down to our picnic table, and beyond that there was a tent pad. The tent pad was very hard, we were unable to stake our tent in to the surface so we had to stake out beyond the pad. That ended up being ok because it rained the whole time and our tent stayed nice and dry inside.  It appeared that a good portion of the campground was being used for hunting base camp but some were there recreationally. The campground is not right on the lake, it’s a short walk over but from some sections you can see the lake. We did venture over to the lake and it was a pretty large lake, very scenic, mountains in view, people in kayaks and I imagine paddle boards as well, none this day though. We were excited to go and find a geocache on site and we weren’t disappointed. We also found a lovely caterpillar right by the geocache.

Another perk to coming out, mountain biking. Well, for us it was a cross between road and mountain, we stuck to the roads but they were dirt and washboard and had some pretty big rocks. But it was a wild 10 miles from Woods lake down to HWY 145 that goes up to Telluride. I took my 9 year old along the first run and he was terrified, although he handled it quite well. I enjoyed it so much, I did it again the next day. Except I continued from there through Placerville and all the way to within one mile of Norwood Hill. About 23 miles or so and it was a blast. Once you get to about the 8th or so mile, it turns to black top and it is paved the whole rest of the way. The 8 or so miles up to Woods lake is gravel/dirt/rock. There were plenty of trails that one could take as well and if you head towards Telluride, even more options. Even with the wet weather, it was a lot of fun!

Overall, the campground was comfortable, quiet, even at near full capacity. The restrooms were very clean, well stocked and had lights that came on at night! Bonus for no peeing in the dark. Time of year was a bit chilly, we stayed in September. But we also have a summer seasoned tent. The campground had an abundance of trash receptacles, all bear proof and they also had fresh water hydrants. It’s somewhat remote so having water available was a treat! Plenty of shade and the picnic table was nice. Would definitely visit Woods Lake again!

We revisit every time we drive through

Lake Maloney is on a big lake in North Platte, NE. We have stayed two or three times. Our first time staying put us in a bit of a pickle. We stayed the night at the campground and packed up to head out on our last leg of our trip only to find our truck was broken. We found a great shop only about 6 miles from the park and they let us use a car of theirs for the three days it took them to fix our truck.

The campground was very inexpensive, even for out of staters. It was $5 for the day and $8 for the overnight. This worked well for us. We were traveling cross country and being the last leg, we were nearing broke. The campground wasn't overly tidy. We also didn't see a camp host, at least one never checked on us to ensure we had paid and did what we were supposed to.

When you come in you can take the loop to the right, which is what we did to tent sites. It's all pretty much open and you pitch your tent where you please. If you want a picnic table and firepit, you have to be a bit more selective. If you were to go straight at entry, it loops around to the left where mostly RVers camp. Straight ahead is also the lake, it's a big lake and people get on it early when it's hot out. Everything to the left is a bit more modernized, flush toilets, pay showers, more developed. To the right there are old playground equipment (really old) and pit toilets, big grassy field and open space. There are a few shade trees to the right, more to the left.

Not all firepits have a cooking grate so you may want an alternative if this is how you cook. We use a camp tripod for cooking most frequently and did on this trip. Adding three days on to the end of our trip meant our food needed to be eaten as it was reaching the end of it's life. So we cooked it all up the last night we were there.

Our second trip over we utilized freeze dried food for travel to aid in keeping our food from spoiling. It worked well for us and we just made sure to find a picnic table to camp near. The weather did get really nasty this trip and with the lake, open fields and few trees, the lightening was pretty scary and we retreated to our truck to ride it out in the middle of the night. The sunsets are really nice over the lake.

This is a good spot to stop and we enjoyed our stay even though the length was not planned. It is for sure our go to when traveling east from Denver.

Mountains all around!

We loved antelope island. With one more day we could have accomplished our whole geocaching adventure.

Our start was a little rough, we were using a new tent, a very large 10 man tent to help accommodate our dogs and kids but it rained the first day with crazy winds and while we were in town shopping (it was raining after all) our fly lines pulled out and the tent partially collapsed, getting everything very wet inside. Thankfully, there was a laundromat not far away and we were able to dry everything.

We booked 3 nights at the park. The drive in is long and the bugs were really bad on the drive in but once we got past the marina, the bugs were gone. We didn't notice much for bugs the rest of the time we were there. There was a slew of other wildlife there. We saw bison regularly, we heard and saw coyotes a couple nights. We saw plenty of antelope. Our campsite was pretty good. We saw mountains in almost every direction. We had a couple spots where it was more hills then anything but beyond those were mountains. It was hazy for a lot of the time, with all the rain on the first day and cloudy for a lot of the rest of it but it did warm up a bit and hiking was comfortable. The island is covered in geocaches so we enjoyed that part of the stay for sure. Sight seeing was great too.

We were in camp site 18 in Bridger Bay. The site wasn't overly spacious. It was also very rocky. You could either get your tent stakes in to a very soft spot or you couldn't get them in at all. The restroom was a vault but it lacked a smell, was clean and well stocked. It did flood some when the heavy rains came. We were able to walk to many spots on the island. We took a trail that would have gone to the other side but we only went halfway. We didn't notice much of a smell from the water, just sort of smelled like the ocean. By the marina and the drive in it did smell though. Just not in our camp area or where we were hiking. Bison frequented the area, even came right through camp. All the picnic spots in the sites were concrete slabs. The fire ring was buried in the concrete. That was ok, the provided fire grate was hard to work and our tripod isn't designed for rings under the ground so that was a challenge too. There isn't any shade except the shade shelter. It was far away from the fire ring so make sure you bring chairs to sit around the fire.

There are pay showers available and flush toilets over at ladyfinger, where the beach is, as well as a little restaurant. Those bathrooms were heated and had running water.

Overall, I look forward to returning. Maybe when it's a tad warmer. The nights were super cold.

Not remote but surrounded by scenery

This campground was an interesting little campground. When we looked at the listing to find it, it said there were four sites available and we were taking 10 people total. 7 high school students and 3 adults. We knew based off of the BLM site that we were allowed to have 10 people and two vehicles, we had just one big vehicle. No where on the BLM site does it say there is a tent limit, at least that we found. We did get hollered at by the camp host (another campground away) that we had too many tents. So, although the BLM site does not restrict tents, they say you can only have four. She also told us to use the group site at $25 plus $5 a head but that price is so far off that it's laughable.

Anyway, there are 9 sites in the main campground, priced at $20 a site. There are 4 group sites, they range from $130 a night to $250 a night. They can accommodate anywhere from 30 to 90 people per site and 10 vehicles per site. There are no hookups or electric at any of the sites. There are toilets at each of the campgrounds (individual and group). Our group said they were pretty smelly, I went up to the bathrooms that are at the bottom of Corona Arch and those were very clean, lacked a smell and had hand sanitizer in them. The doors were finicky and our students claimed they didn't lock so apparently they are too complicated for high school students.

We stayed in the individual (ten person capacity sties). The sites were clean, spacious and depending on the site you were in, shaded in spots. Some are right out by the highway and those are less desirable. We had a picnic table and a large fire pit.

This was a field trip for our high school kids so we were happy that there were things to do very close. Corona Arch is just across the street. It's about a mile and a half in, so 3 miles round trip. The beginning is really the roughest part. After the tracks, it flattens out a bit and it's mostly just flat rock. This hike allowed us to do a little geocaching, although we only found one of the two on the trail. The arch is magnificent! It's absolutely huge. There are a couple spots of the hike where you need to escape your comfort zone if you aren't fond of heights. There is a steel rope that you climb with foot holes and also a short ladder, maybe 6 feet tall. The rest is pretty smooth sailing. The kids enjoyed the echo at the arch.

Another spot, just about half a mile from the campground is another hike. It's a bit strange at first, you go through what looks like a drainage tunnel of sorts. You get through and I think we were supposed to take a trail up but we missed it and went the flat route towards our geocache. Saw some really nice water holes, not sure if you can swim in them but they seem pretty deep. The official trail is supposed to be 4 miles round trip, but we did not find that trail.

Of course the campground is right on the Colorado River and there are boat ramps at the group sites. The river seemed a bit low in these spots but we did not get in.

After preparing our food we were able to play some frisbee in the roadway for the campground. There wasn't a lot of vehicles that came through so they rarely had to move out of the way. They did a little ultimate as well. If they had had a football or baseball and glove, they could have enjoyed that too. The space was there. The terrain was a little rough but that didn't stop them. They had a blast.

The road in from Moab had petroglyphs and lots of climbers. Temps were about 70 during the day and cold at night, supposed to be 50 ish but it seemed cold. Day temps were almost too hot for the hiking but still tolerable.

Over all the campground was enjoyable and I would take a group back again.

First to Review
Ranger Review: Inno INH640 Aero Light 2 at Caddis Flats Campground

Campground Review

Caddis flats is located not too far from Placerville, and a short distance farther in the opposite direction from Norwood. It's along a scenic road that runs from Norwood out to Ridgeway with a turnoff at Placerville that heads out to Telluride. This is a small little campground that has 3 developed campsites with picnic tables and grills. One has a shelter of sorts as well. Two of the three sites are right out in the open, on their own little island of sorts between the road with in the campground. We didn't stay in one of these three developed sites though. We parked by the boat ramp and there was a small trail that led back to an area that had about 4 tent sleeping areas and two fire rings. Due to fire restrictions, the fire rings did not get used by us. It was very spacious and had great shade, along with the rumbling of the river, it was quite nice. We were able to mount our hammocks in the trees and sit comfortably, even if the site was without a picnic table. Our car was close enough that we didn't have to carry anything too far and we used most of our storage tubs as small tables. We cooked with our small camp stove and our jetboil and ate a lot of freeze dried meals from Mountain House Foods. We ended up sharing several meals so that everyone could have a little bit of everything.

The area was quiet and the stars were amazing. The pit toilets were very clean, well stocked with toilet paper and had little oder. There was a bit of traffic noise from the highway that runs through the area but it died down sometime after midnight. The river is right there in the campground and it is running pretty low right now, but still moving along quite nicely. The kids were able to play around with minimal risk while supervised. There was a note saying that the river had changed paths up a ways and impassable by a boat. You could hear the river babbling all night long.

We kept our food in our truck but a bear was sighted a few miles down the road so if you are camping without a vehicle, it may be a good idea to hang your food.

The kids enjoyed biking and it was a nice campground to relax at. There were some great spots for photography and if you are in to geocaching, there is a pretty cool one in this campground!

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - today I am testing the INH640 Aero Light 2 (4 bike) made by Inno. This rack boasts a 4 bike capacity, has a foot peddle to drop the rack down for easy access to the back of your vehicle. It has mounts that attach on the top of the rack as well as on the frame coming down below the seat post. The box arrived with everything from locking pins, adjustments for the hitch size, tools, straps and keys for the lock that is included with the rack.

While it says it holds 4 bikes, I just don't see how it is possible. We had three adult bikes on the rack and struggled to get them situated. With some adjusting we did get them on and they definitely were secure. Our older boys' bike did not fit, the distance between the top of his frame and the bottom was too narrow. But even if it had fit, I'm not sure we would have gotten it on, just not enough room. The feature of the lower frame secure point ended up being a little troublesome. We have water bottle carriers on our bike and we had to pull the bike on and off to make sure it situated correctly as we couldn't adjust with the bike on the rack already. It is insanely secure though, seems to be gentle on the bike frames. Once you get moving, it's a pretty easy install, it was a bit cumbersome at first.

I really like how the rack folds down when not in use to maintain a lower profile. With the included locking pin, you don't even have to worry that someone is going to walk off with your rack. I really like the little foot peddle that drops the rack so you can get in the back of your vehicle. It's the difference between completely unloading everything and just dropping, grabbing and continuing on. This rack will definitely make biking more accessible and should get us out on our bikes more often!

Some relief from the heat

So we chose this campground this time around because it has a lake that you can swim in. The temps were 100 degrees during the day and exhausting. With two small children and a week worth of camping planned, we decided the higher price of a state park was worth it for the convenience of the lake. Plus, we were working on a geocaching event and needed to add to our collection, and there are 13 in the park. Granted one you have to have a boat for so we weren't able to find that one but there are boats that you can rent so if you are really interested in grabbing that one, you can without too much trouble.

When we arrived there were 4 sites available. There would have been more (we came in on a Monday) but their irrigation had flooded many of their sites. The camp host said "15 is high and dry" so we took site 15. We camp in a tent so dry is a must. On the upside, 15 has a water spicket in the site. That was nice, cold water available when ever with out walking to another location. The lake was also really near by. Just a short walk across the parking lot, a nice grassy area that had a playground and then the beach is right there. The lake didn't have a ton of boat traffic early in the week. We stayed two nights so we left Wednesday morning. The first night there were looming storms all around but nothing ever hit the park. We did the majority of our geocaching that day. While out walking in the desert (there are parts of the park that seem pretty remote, even though you are still in the park) we came across what we believe to be mountain lion scat. We learned while camping in Wisconsin all about predator scat and that it typically will contain bones and hair, this particular specimen had lots of hair and clearly looked to be feline. It was mentioned that it could also be bobcat. Either way, a larger cat of prey was in the park at some point, granted a good half mile from the campground.

So obviously there is the lake to enjoy but there are also many mountain bike trails. We walked a lot of those while geocaching. Some took us way up to some amazing 360 views. I certainly could not imagine biking up but the trail did indeed go up. There are also a couple different lakes in the park. High Line Lake is the main one but there is also Mack Lake (I think was the name of it). That lake did have people fishing but it is not a swimming lake and I'm not sure boats were allowed. The campground had some perks that we appreciated. There were flush toilets and they were relatively clean. There were also showers, granted you had to pay $1 for four minutes and every quarter after was another minute. They also were pretty clean. I don't think they get used a lot. The park claims that the fee is to help conserve water. There was a change machine on the wall outside the building so that you could change out those dollar bills for usable quarters.

The last night there we saw more looming storms around and while we were eating dinner the wind kicked up real bad, we packed up just in case and then before we knew it it was pouring and thunder and lightening. So that was interesting but it cleared up and we enjoyed a slightly cooler evening.

We also did not plan for a campfire as there have been fire bans all over the state for most of the summer. So when we arrived to find out fires were allowed, we were disappointed that our meals were all freeze dried. But, Mountain House does a good job with their freeze dried meals and we enjoyed spaghetti and chicken and potatoes over the course of the two nights. The Chicken and Mashed Potatoes had some mixed reviews but we prepared it just as the package instructed and it turned out just fine. I was apprehensive but it looked like chicken and it tasted like chicken and the texture was right. There were a few spots that may not have fully rehydrated with the water level in the package but that was user error. It could have used a little seasoning, as we do like our flavors but as is, it was not bad. It was nice to have a full chicken breast instead of just little chunks of meat here and there. The Spaghetti was spot on, it rehydrated amazingly and the textures and flavors were really good. We really enjoyed this one. I will definitely be taking more of this when we know we either need to save space, don't have refrigeration or can't have a fire. It was well worth the purchase. Over the course of the week we ate this one several times. We also had the Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast. This one has been a little hit or miss and because we only had one pouch for three of us we also cooked up some mashed potatoes and paired together were actually quite amazing. It stretched out the biscuits and gravy and added very little cost as small packets of instant potatoes run about 98 cents at walmart. One thing we really appreciated about Mountain House is that their cook times usually run 8-10 minutes. We tried another brand and the cook time on it was 15 to 20 minutes for every 5000 feet of elevation. So the meal we cooked up later in the week was supposed to take 30-40 minutes due to being at nearly 10,000 feet. So Mountain House has the cook times down and they are much more convenient.

Overall, our campsite was spacious, our neighbors were friendly and the lake was refreshing. Definitely will return in the dog days of summer.

Scenery and Peace and Quiet

So we ventured out to Crag Crest as it was not a campground we have stayed at before and we were sent out this way by the camp host at Ward Lake, where we have previously stayed. It is definitely remote. You take the turn at the visitors center on the Mesa and head towards Ward Lake, the road is paved, until you pass Ward Lake, you enter into an area that has a lot of cabins and summer enthusiasts. Signs like "caution, Adults at play" are prevalent. The road turns to gravel and you go through a small little town, if you can call it that. It has a small store and a restaurant. Keep going, at some point you'll hang a left (it's marked with signs) and go a little farther until you reach Crag Crest. The road up is a bit washed out and a smaller car with low clearance might struggle a little here. We drive a big truck so it was no issue for us. The road goes up a bit into a tiny campground. Maybe 8 sites. There are two restrooms for this tiny campground. Their fees were interesting. The campground stay is just $12, one of the lower priced campgrounds up there. But they had fees for parking and for day use. I'm not real sure how they enforce those since there is no camp host and no one really at all out there. But non the less, the fees keep the honest person honest. There is a trail that comes off the campground but it was closed for logging operations. I found that to be interesting. Another camper said he went up there even though it was closed and it was weird, a road had been built and lots of down trees. This did not create any additional noise, however. I wouldn't have even known there was a logging operation up there.

I dropped a star for the bathrooms. They were really quite gross. They weren't very clean and extremely smelly. The lower girls restroom looked as though a bear had tried to break in, the upper screen was pushed in. They were not full and had a trash bag present and plenty of toilet paper but they were just really extra stinky. Another camper mentioned that the lower bathrooms may be less clean due to trail use and 4 wheeler activity along with fishing activity but we didn't see much of any of that activity and did stroll up to the upper restrooms and they were worse then the lower. We had grown accustomed to the smell of the lower and just stuck with those.

We stayed 3 nights with the anticipation of the full lunar eclipse to view from a magnificent viewpoint. We did not see the eclipse, however, we were too tired to stay up but it would have been spectacular. We had a great view of the lake below and the sunsets were lovely. We did bring up some firewood this go around and it was nice to have as it did get quite chilly up there. While it was 100 degrees below it was maybe in the 70's up there. Nice in the sun, cool in the shade.

We were geocaching on this trip and there are a lot up here and many will take you to a pretty spectacular location. Some require a bit of hiking but some are right along the road. Non the less, you will see views like no other.

The campground on Wednesday had four campers including us. It was quiet and you really couldn't even tell that other campers were there. The next day, two left, leaving just the two of us. But by Friday night, the whole place filled up! It still was pretty peaceful but the campground filled with conversation Friday night. Every morning there was a strange buzzing, I was never able to identify the source but I heard it every morning. We also had some squirrels that were less then thrilled to have us there. They did a lot of yelling at us and occasionally ran up above us to throw things at us. Ticked off wildlife, kind of comical. The site was spacious, some had better parking then others, some had almost no parking. There is no running water there, no amenities other then the restrooms. It's also very remote, there is nothing out there. Granted if there was an emergency you probably could knock on any number of cabins a short distance up the road. They all had picnic tables and fire rings. They almost all had views as well. Some were tucked more back in the trees but even those had amazing views of the night sky. I can only imagine what this place looks like with out a moon. The full moon blew out our stars but I can only imagine.

We had planned for the week to eat freeze dried meals, we didn't find out fire bans were lifted until after we made our food decisions. So we ate a bit of Mountain House Turkey Dinner Casserole which has lots of pretty good bits in it, actual turkey and carrots and celery and stuffing, all things could be identified, the texture is appealing. It has a good flavor and isn't short on seasonings and my kids love it! Win Win. We also ate Spaghetti and Lasagna. Both of which were fabulous. Tasted and looked like they should, textures were good. My kids ate a lot of instant potatoes and pasta. Although everything was tasty, it was nice to head home to home cooked meals.

I included in the pictures a homemade oatmeal that we love. Here is the recipe and where we found it.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats (or use quick oats to cook faster)
  • ½ cup freeze dried bananas
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
  • dash of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients except water ahead of time into a sandwich size ziplock bag.
  2. When ready to eat, boil 1 cup water (it's fine to eyeball it), then add oatmeal mixture, reduce heat (if your stove allows), and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Or if you want to save fuel or can't simmer, just add oatmeal to boiling water, cover, and wait 5-10 minutes.
Convenient and the Showers are much needed!

We were on a five day road trip and this was our last day. So we were four days with out a shower and we needed them. Anyway, it's not far from the Flaming Gorge Dam. There were only two sites still available when we got there. They do take reservations so most sites were reserved. They also have it built to where there are single sites ($25) or double sites, which mean double fee ($50). There was one of each available. Thankfully, we were able to take the lower priced site. They have fire pits, nice ones in fact and picnic tables at every site. The doubles have two of everything (at least picnic tables, I can't remember on the fire pits). There are water spickets scattered around and a lot of vault toilets. You don't have to go far to find one. Up by the showers the toilets may have been flush. I didn't go in, the vaults were sufficient. They smelled from the outside but once inside it wasn't so bad. They were very clean. Plenty of toilet paper, which on a busy weekend can be an issue at most of these campgrounds. There is a host there as well. You can not see the reservoir from the campground but it's not far and it's pretty cool. The dam has a visitors center and if you enjoy geocaching, there is an earth cache there. The river coming out of the reservoir (I think it's the snake) is spectacular with the high walls and really blue water. The visitors center had a fish mount that was a fabulous 150 lb trout pulled out of the reservoir back in '88. It was a massive fish. So I imagine the fishing is good. I know I want to go back with a canoe and a fishing pole!

Back to the site. It was comfortable, the ground was pretty hard and it made it difficult to get tent stakes in, a lot of rock under the surface. Water was directly across from us and the toilets were just a site away. There was firewood available but when we got there it was $6 and when we showered it was $7. So, not even an hour after we arrived the price went up. The part I loved the most was the smells! I don't know what they were, if it was a sage or something different but it was fantastic! I wish I could share the smells with everyone I know.

I think if I went back I might explore other areas a bit but if you need a shower, this is the place to be. If you aren't camping there and still want a shower, it's $4 to take one. If you are camped there it's free.

Scenery, Wildlife and Peace!

I have to start off with, this is my all time favorite camp site, ever! I camped back in this campground years and years ago. The price has doubled since I last stayed there from $8 to $16 and there are many many free sites around but I am more then happy to pay the $16 for this site!

To get here you have to take the highway that goes between Buffalo and Ten Sleep. The turn off is Ten Sleep Drive, there is a resort of sorts there on the corner, you are only about 10 miles from Ten Sleep, so almost on the other side of the mountain from Buffalo. The road is all dirt and a bit wash board but it's in good condition. Slow going though, lots of dust. You'll drive a good 6 miles or so until you come to Deer Park Campground. I have seen big motor homes up here but the campground is really suited for tents, although two motor homes were parked there the night I was there. There are maybe 7 sites in this little campground.

They have made big improvements (maybe the reason for the higher price) to this campground. Years ago the toilets were awful. In fact, I wouldn't even use them, I'd rather drive down to Ten Sleep then set foot in those smelly vault toilets. But now, they are still vault toilets but they are clean, they don't smell, the building has been upgraded as well. There was plenty of toilet paper while we were there. They also have added a water pump that pumps fresh water. This is great, we were on day three of a five day road trip and the water was a welcomed bonus.

So, why do I like this site so much? It backs up to a marsh area and then a giant open meadow. It's a great place to see wildlife and enjoy the sun setting as well as some magnificent star gazing. The site is good sized (too small for a camper but plenty big for a tent). A lot of campgrounds you'll hear lots of traffic noise or people partying but it's quiet here! So quiet that my kids were probably making the most noise and I tried to keep them quiet as well. There is a creek that you can fish just across the road and it's doing quite well. If you know what your doing, I'm sure you can pull out some nice fish. Years ago, the creek was super low and we pulled out barely minnow sized fish (amazing we could even catch them) but now it's much higher and there are lots of eddies and big rocks for hiding places. I can imagine it would be fabulous. There is also a big lake another mile or so past this campground and the trout are eager there. We did catch nice fish there years ago. Didn't make it to the lake this year. There are photo opportunities around every turn. It is absolutely gorgeous!

I have never visited this area with out seeing a moose and this time did not disappoint! I woke up around 6 am and stepped out of my tent to see a nice bull moose out in that very meadow that is so scenic. He walked through and with in about 500 feet of our site and then just kept going. Beautiful creature.

I don't have any downsides, unless of course you get sick or injured. It is a ways back out. Even Ten Sleep is going to take you 30 minutes or so to get to with the slow moving dirt road out. While there we did have a small injury, my 4 year old fell in to a tree branch and cut his head, so make sure you bring a suitable first aid kit in case of small emergencies. I can't say enough about Green Goo products, which is what we put on his head after we cleaned it up. They are extremely reasonably priced and their natural products WORK! Totally worth adding to your first aid kit. This particular product (Green Goo First Aid) also helps with mosquito bites. We camped in many areas with mosquitos (here included) and I put a little First Aid ointment on them and they were gone by morning. Helps relieve the itching too.

I will always return to this site, hands down, my favorite place on earth!

Beautiful campground

We stopped here on our way through south Dakota headed back to Colorado. The staff were really friendly when we pulled in. Got us checked in right away, gave us directions to our site and sent us off. Thry also sell firewood for $5 a bundle. We are in tent site 4. There are only 4 strictly dedicated tent sites. you park across the street and walk a very short distance, maybe 200 feet to the site. The bathroom is in the parking lot along with a water source. The lake is on the other side of the parking lot. There is also a dumpster there in the parking lot.

The camp site is extremely spacious. plenty of room for tents if you have more then one. It's nice and mowed out with the bordering area still long providing an edge to the site. The four sites are clustered fairly close but the way it's landscaped, you won't see your neighbornuntil you step out to the path to your car. They all have fire rings with a grate to cook on. The picnic table has a nice shade canopy over top. The bathroom surprised me a little. most pit toilets are dark at night but this one has a light! it also has a trash can and hand sanitizer! it smells decent and it's very clean. it will quickly become BYTP but we are only here the one night so hopefully it won't run out. The lake is gorgous! it's a huge long lake and seems to be a favorite boat spot. water skis were abundant, which also meant it got pretty loud with boats buzzing, people partying and music blaring. this is why it lost a star. it was pretty loud up until probably 9 pm. The mosquitos are bad, bring bug spray!