We decided we needed to get in one last family camping trip before winter set in. We also needed to get out in the new camper and see how it works for us. So we planned to leave Conifer around noon on Friday and head out to the Crow Valley Recreation Area at the Pawnee National Grasslands.
Well, in typical family fashion, we didnít get out of town until 2:30pm. Then we arrived at the rec area around 4:40pm only to find the gate closed. The website said it was open, but the gov hadnít made it out yet to open the gates in the aftermath of the shutdown. To top it off it was cold and windy. So we got to camp on the asphalt outside the locked gate, across from somebodyís house. The trailer worked out great. It was a little tight with 4 people and 2 dogs, but we were nice and cozy in there.
It was all well and fine, except that there are a lot of oil and gas wells in the area. That meant tanker trucks running up and down the highway almost continually. Delightful.
Saturday morning first thing we took a hike down into the rec area to check it out. It is actually really pretty down there. Lots of trees and grass and several vault toilets, picnic areas and campsites.
There was a pretty cool display of antique farm equipment with a windmill and a walking trail.
Saturday afternoon we took a drive through the national grasslands. I was hoping to scout some good primitive campsites. It was a bit difficult exploring with the camper behind and the potential for deep mud. We didnít get to cover as much ground as I wanted, and while we found a few nice spots, they were all very exposed. I was hoping to find some canyons or trees but we never did. More exploration will definitely be in order for that.
When we got back to Crow Valley they had opened the gate so we went in and took the best campsite. No one else had arrived to camp yet. We had a great night in a beautiful spot.
I really like the new camper. It sets up in about 30 seconds, is warm and everything actually works!