Sylvan Lake is Burning

When the news that the area around Sylvan Lake is burning my fantasy of returning to the highlands of Colorado was reignited.

I’ve been to the Vail area many times. A few times with the Company and a few times with family. My last visit was in June of 2015. On that trip, even though family was there at the same time, I built into the itinerary time to explore on my own. That is the day I tried to hike to Whitney Lake, drove the back roads for a few miles and drank beer in Leadville. In all the trips I’ve made to that area, I’ve hardly explored the back country via road or trail. Usually, the exploration is catered by tourist companies or hired guides. Usually, most of the ‘adventure’ is a few miles from I-70.

So, I’ve never been to Sylvan Lake State Park. Actually, I never heard of it until the news that it was on fire came across the headline ticker. On Google maps it seems like the perfect area to camp in a van dwelling camper, practice my photography skills, hike a trail, enjoy the mountain air and maybe draw a face or a body.

But now it burns.

I should make an effort to drive to Colorado again. Maybe car dwell at the Sylvan State Park. Hopefully it will stop burning by the time I get out there. But, as is my method of operation, I usually plan a detailed trip yet not take the time off work to take the trip. Ugh.

Screen shot of the Sylvan Lake State Park area.

Fear of Boredom on Vacation ?

I am watching too many Van Dwelling videos on You Tube. While watching this type of video, I get worked up and excited about van dwelling on my own.

Then I stumbled on this video.

I have done my fair share of camping with a pull behind tent camper. So, I have some experience ‘camping’. Of course, this always included the wives and kids. I don’t know if this compares with ‘van dwelling’ by definition. Probably not.

I have spent a few nights backpacking. Most of those episodes where solo. Backpacking is probably closer to van dwelling as it is minimal in nature whereas the pull-behind-tent-camper is not minimal. It could be but it wasn’t in my experience.

I have this romantic notion of van dwelling, believing it to be free of distress and full of adventure. Most of the van dwelling videos I watch portray that impression. And that’s ok. I want to watch the fun stuff, the exciting stuff, the cute girls, the food, the campfires, the people.

But I can’t imagine van dwelling is all glamour all the time. Certainly there are dull moments, moments that are not fun. Certainly there are moments that are scary.

While watching the number of van dwelling videos that I do, I wonder if these people get bored. I ask, how can you get bored while van dwelling, camping in these wonderful parks and camp grounds, hiking these unique trails and taking awesome photo and video.

I think about driving to North Dakota. I outline all the places I want to see. I imagine all the awesome photos I can take, the fun I can experience. Certainly I can’t be bored on vacation. Yet, the fear of boredom on vacation sort of pulls back my enthusiasm for a North Dakota vacation, even a van dwelling life.

Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.
Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.

My 2021 Indiana State Park Pass

I bought a 2021 Indiana State Park Pass. It cost $50. In my pedantic thinking, I will need to visit an Indiana state part at least 8 times in 2021 to recover the $50 cost. Assuming, of course, the average entrance fee is $7 for In-State Residents. Out of State people are given a $2 penalty.

An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O
An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O.

If I gather enough energy and motivation and exceed the required 8 visit quota, then the average cost of each visit declines. So, I am therefore motivated to exceed the required 8 visit quota.

At one time in my recent life, I vowed to hike every marked trail in every Indiana state park. I bought an Indiana State Park Pass at that time. In my excitement, I drove two hours south to Spring Mill State Park. Due to my perpetual out-of-shape condition I could not hike every marked trail in that park. I realized I would need to visit the same park several times to hike every trail. And, in my pedantic thinking, expenses, costs, time requirements increased exponentially and I gave up on that quest.

Maybe I will pick up that quest again. Maybe this time I will understand that fulfilling such an epic quest might not be achieved in a single year under the purchase of a single Indiana State Park pass.

If you are interested, this page lists all the entrance fees for Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties.

Camping Tent

I would like to go camping in 2021.

My last camping experience was a single night in 2018 at the South Shore campground in Trinidad State Park in Trinidad, Colorado.

If I go camping one or two nights in 2021, I believe I will be happy. I probably will camp at an Indiana State Park. That is, unless I gather up the courage venture out of state. I usually try to take a week’s vacation for a long drive somewhere out of state. However, I did not take a vacation in 2019 or 2020. Maybe I will in 2021. I had two vacations planned in 2020. However, Covid and unexpected surgeries took priority over vacationing that year.

I would camp in a tent. The same tent shown in the photo below. This tent is a backpacking tent I bought in the mid 1990’s when I was an active backpacker. I probably slept in this tent a dozen times (more or less) in the back country of Indiana in the twenty five years I’ve owned this tent.

Camping with Nikki.
Camping the Brown County KOA with Nikki. Photo taken in 2000 by Dave O with a Nikon N6006. Negative scanned by Kodak Photo CD technology at the time.