Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Matchless Campground on Turquoise Lake near Leadville Colorado - VBlog #1

In late September, we went on a week-long van camping vacation. Our trip was a loop from our home in Los Alamos, NM through Colorado. First, it was up to Matchless Campground on Turquoise Lake near Leadville, Colorado. Next, we continued up to an area near Kremmling where we hiked to and soaked in a cool natural hot springs right on the Colorado River. We then went to Steamboat Springs and stayed a couple of nights at the amazing Strawberry Hot Springs resort. Next, we headed to the fabulous Colorado National Monument west of Grand Junction. Finally, we spent a night at Orvis Hot Springs and then trucked over the Million Dollar Highway to home.  It was another great trip.

We decided to try a video blog for this trip. Here is the first part: Matchless Campground. The video is a bit rough. I (Greg) have done video production in a former life, but I'm really rusty and need to get back into the workflow of it all....

The first part of our trip. Courtesy Google Maps.

The Golden Burro Cafe in Leadville, Colorado. 
Karen at the Golden Burro Cafe counter. Good service and food, but a little drafty.

Booths at the Golden Burro Cafe.
 We had a nice breakfast at the Golden Burro Cafe in Leadville, Colorado. The place is a little drafty so bring a sweater or a jacket, but the food and service are quite good.

Below are some of the sights from our walk in downtown Leadville.

The Moose is Loose!

We found Food Trucks here. (I wish Los Alamos had some.)

Really? Can I hire a Sherpa to carry it?

The bike shop here had mountain bikes in the window for six grand. We will walk, thank you very much. 

"Best Wild West Saloon in America" in historic Leaville, Colorado.
Beautiful Turquoise Lake near Leadville, Colorado at sundown.

The first night was stormy, windy and cold at Turquoise Lake. The weather was great after that.

Enjoying an easy dinner in the van.

More sights in Leadville. I guess this race is an actual thing!

10th Mountain Division training - painting.

Camp Hale (north of Leadville) is now a nice boondocking area, apparently.

Outside a place that serves low priced steak deals. We've heard from others that the steaks are delicious.

Overlooking Leadville from the historic mining area. Turquoise Lake in the background.

A 360 degree view.  You can more around in the Google Photosphere.  You can't really see it here, but there is an old train trip that leaves from downtown and takes you on a tour up a ways into the mountains. We want to return and take the train at some point. There is also a really nice paved bike path that circles the town and goes up into the mining area.

Mining area.

Abandoned Mine

Flat enough to boondock here: 39.238587, -106.237171.

Turquoise Lake

Monkey Love. The love graffiti was already there. 

An outstanding view!

The campgrounds on Turquoise Lake
After a nice breakfast at the Golden Burro in Leadville, we drove the van up to the old mining area. The roads are well maintained dirt roads. We had no trouble going up quite a ways to get great views. There is some good boondocking up in this area to the east of Leadville like the spot at: 39.238587, -106.237171.

Matchless Campground, normally in the summer months, has a fee ($20), but after Labor Day the company that runs the campground concession for the forest service lets folks camp for free until about Oct 2nd. (check before you go as the rules could change.) There was one open vault toilet in the upper camping lot. There are tables and fire grills in the upper lot. You can also RV in a lower lot that is just a big parking lot. Don't camp in the boat ramp lot as they lock the gate to that lot at about 7 pm and they get pissed if you are still in that lot when they close the gate. There was a guy working the boat ramp to inspect boats and spray them off if needed to remove nasty invasive water creatures. This CG is first-come first-served.  It's designed for big rigs and fishermen pulling boats, but you can camp here in most any type of setup or tent. It's popular for fishing.

We took a hike along the shore and to check out the campgrounds, which are nice.

We enjoyed our stay here and would return.

Next up: Radium Hot Springs and Mugrage Campground on the Colorado River.

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  1. Wow, that looks like an amazing loop... right up my alley.

  2. I think you did a great job on your first Vlog. We follow some folks via blogs and others via Vlogs. Vlogs are nice because you get to see and hear the actual people but then again I like reading what people write. Also with a blog as well done as yours there is so much useful information. I was going to make a comment on your video via YouTube but your comments are turned off, didn't know if you knew that or not. Love your Blog.

    1. Hi Ruth. Thank you so much for your comments. We plan to continue with both formats. We are still setting up our official YouTube channel. But, after hearing of problems others have encountered, we won't have comments on YouTube. We love feedback and chatting with folks either here on our blog, on Facebook or Instagram. Thanks again and happy adventures!

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