Yesterday, I decided to hop onto the Aurora e-bike and see what other campsites existed, and how they may relate to the Defiant’s peculiarities. The first time I came here, it was immediately before sunset and the pickin’s looked pretty limited. I had driven about a mile further than where I ultimately settled – where I am now – and almost had some excitement as darkness settled in. A trail branch I could use to back into and turn around with was slightly downhill and surprised me with deep sand and pea gravel. It took 4WD and considerable wheelspin to ease the 7,000-pound tub forward again. I considered myself fortunate to find a workable space at all.
Now, wandering the same trail in broad daylight, it didn’t seem like the same place at all, apart from the cozy familiarity of its brutal washboard surface. There are actually many, many campsites, several of which are fully adaptable to the Defiant’s needs. Accessibility or slope carve off quite a few of course, including one where some projecting granite shows the unmistakable polish of vehicle crossmembers and oil pans. Still, the overall quality of dispersed campsites here has a wow factor that is difficult to match. Few are those which lack either an embrace of large boulders, or a vista grand enough to restore the spirit. Or both. Add some ground clearance and trim off excessive overhang, and you have choices that boggle the mind. Wet weather may require 4WD, of course. Everything has a slope to some degree.
Oddly, I spotted not a single motorhome of any size. Possibly, it was pure luck. Possibly, there’s an intimidation factor along with the availability of the $10/night Veedauwoo camp near the I-80 exit. But there are several great sites that are conquerable by the obnoxiously picky Defiant, so I’m stumped on that one.
It turns out that the branch that I almost got stuck on leads to the parking area for a cross-country trail open to hiking, horses, and bicycles. Indeed, I passed a couple along the way there who were packing up their horses into their trailer after a day-long ride. I walked the Evelo past, but the lady told me that these two horses would not be spooked by a rider – though the horse they left at home would have been. There are many walking trails here, both on open ground and between boulders and slopes. I hope to hit one today. Anyway, that wheelspinning branch was hardly recognizable now, the only point of familiarity being that deep, loose sand mix at its intersection with the main trail.
No doubt about it, this place is a keeper. I can’t picture anyone becoming bored with it from repeated visits. Maybe, if you only ever stay in the Veedauwoo campground itself, but venturing outside it? No possible way. Biking down one branch after another, I pictured myself with a more normal rig and found myself saying, “Oh, I’d have to stay here…and this one, definitely…and this one would be superb! Look at that!” Over and over and over. There are easily over a dozen “absolute musts” for a more goat-like, high-clearance rig, and that’s only on a round trip of just over seven miles. This is a very big place.