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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Fall camping in style


Fall is one of my favorite seasons in Colorado for a reason that I can sum up in two words – golden aspens. There is something magical about seeing my favorite mountains carpeted in yellow leaves. Although the Golden Leaf Half Marathon was not my most enjoyable race ever this year I still got to camp in the midst of the changing leaves in Aspen this past weekend, which was a huge win.

On Friday night Graham and I cruised up Castle Creek Road in the dark and found a campsite by oh 10 p.m. I wish I could say this wasn’t typical for us but we have definitely done some late night campsite picking in our day! Anyway, the Golden Leaf was on Saturday morning so we didn’t worry too much about finding more than just a flat place to throw our tent for one night. After the misery of the Golden Leaf was over on Saturday and I had sufficiently drowned my running woes in french fries Graham and I headed back up Castle Creek Road to find a campsite for the rest of the weekend.


We found an awesome campsite around 10,700 feet that was nestled in the woods off the road and right by a creek. Graham is well stocked with all camping supplies ever, so we had a pretty swanky camp with complete with a hammock, collapsable table, and a huge canopy that we affectionately nicknamed “The Pagoda”. Of course Cooper was a huge help gathering firewood while we were setting up camp.

photoOh hey Cooper. Thanks buddy!

We had a lazy Saturday afternoon setting up camp and cooking dinner. I was glad we were by a creek because that gave me a chance to clean up after running. Who needs a shower when you have cold mountain water and Camp Suds?

For dinner we made pasta with italian sausage and vodka sauce with additional fresh veggies. It was delicious! I definitely eat better while camping than in real life. I was exhausted (probably from waking up early and running a half marathon?), and we headed to bed around 9 p.m. Got to love going to bed at grandma time in the mountains!

It absolutely poured rain on the tent all night, and in the morning I was worried that we were going to have to take down all the camping gear in cold September rain. Luckily the rain cleared eventually and we were excited to find that what had been rain for us had materialized in the form of snow 800 feet above us. The mountains tops had a dusting of snow which looked beautiful against the backdrop of the half golden aspens.

noname-1Our campsite? Meh it was kind of pretty.


Awesome shot by Graham.

noname-4Half golden, all beautiful.

noname-3Snow and aspens, does it get better?


Reusing extra italian sausage from the night before (genius) we had scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese, potatoes with green peppers and onions and sausage for breakfast.


The clouds looked kind of questionable above the surrounding mountains so we worked on taking down camp following breakfast. We almost made it and got everything down but the Pagoda before the rain.

After packing up camp Graham and I were not quite ready to leave the area just yet. We headed further up the 4WD road, and the rain seemingly cleared. We parked the truck and decided to hoof it up the road. It was still cloudy but the clouds just made the surrounding mountains look mystical.

noname-6Hiking with my boys.


Engulfed in the clouds.

noname-7We started feeling some raindrops and figured our luck was running out so we headed back to the car. It was kind of just in the nick of time as it started hailing on the drive down the road.

aspen2Hail while driving through this tunnel o’ aspens

Reluctantly we headed down Castle Creek Road back towards civilization, and a great weekend in the mountains came to an end. Hail, snow and rain, all in one day! That’s fall camping in Colorado for you – gorgeous scenery and unpredictable weather.

Speaking of snow you know what the very best part about golden aspen season is? Winter is just around the corner…!


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

2 thoughts on “Fall camping in style

  1. Beautiful photos. And you know what? You seem so incredibly happy lately 🙂

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