Misadventures in Colorado Camping Make Great Memories – MAKE HOME #LetsCamp #VamosCamping

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with REI. All opinions are my own.

You can make all the plans in the world for your camping adventure and still have some bumps in the road. How do you overcome them when you are away from home, away from your bed, and away from your everyday comforts? At the risk of sounding over-simplistic, you simply make home where you are.

My family set out on our grandest outdoor adventure yet – camping in the Colorado mountains. We made all our plans and set out for the long road trip from Texas to Colorado and brought my mom along. We met my brother in Denver and then rearranged some luggage in our car; picked up some groceries; packed up his car and headed out to the mountains.

Mt. Princeton - Outdoor Camping in Colorado - Que Means What


Outdoor Camping in Colorado Agenda

Our agenda looked something like this:

Day 1: Set up camp; go hiking; have dinner; play games; go to sleep
Day 2: Start the morning with a white water rafting adventure; have lunch in town; head back to camp for exploring; games and dinner
Day 3: Early morning hike; breakfast; tear down camp; head home

This plan was adventurous but still included plenty of time to just hang out and relax at our campsite. We were all looking forward to creating our own outdoor camping home for three days.

Pero, Queridos, you can guess that that’s not exactly how it happened.

Buffalo Campground Pike National Forest Camping

Misadventures in Outdoor Camping

The campsite that we thought we booked wasn’t the right one. There’s a difference between Buffalo Campground and Buffalo Springs Campground. We booked Buffalo Campground but drove to Buffalo Springs Campground. Our early morning white water rafting adventure was booked because of the proximity to Buffalo Springs Campground. Buffalo Campground was too far away to be able to make the white water rafting adventure by 8 a.m. the next morning. So, we had to find another campsite quickly that was close enough to the white water rafting place. Luckily, we found a nearby campsite that still had room for us. While we enjoyed the proximity to the white water rafting in Buena Vista, CO, we decided to only stay for one night. So, it was a quick camp set up with only the absolute necessities. And because of the delay in finding a new campsite, there wasn’t much time for hiking or exploring on Day 1.

We cooked hamburgers for dinner that night. We made a few s’mores and turned in early because due to our early morning white water rafting appointment. Plus, we had to leave time to tear down camp. Overnight had its own surprise too when we discovered we had a hole in our air mattress. Day 1 officially was not going as planned.

Camping in Colorado Pike National Forest - Que Means What

Day 2 was all about the white water rafting. We were all newbies except for my brother. He is a pro. Lucky for the rest of us, it was adventurous and safe. We had a blast and vowed that we would return! When that adventure was complete, we headed toward the originally booked campsite.

We spent more time on the road than we anticipated on Day 2 but it was worth the drive. The scenic drive was amazing. My boys oohed and aahed from the back seat. We all watched in amazement our GPS revealed our elevation climbing over 10,000 feet. We took so many photos from our passenger seats. Colorado is so beautiful it’s easy to forget that you aren’t on your original schedule. You simply take in the beauty.

Once we arrived at the Buffalo Campground, we were finally able set up our real campsite. My brother, my mom, my boys and I began to explore the area. We found a calming creek nearby and the boys got to splash around in the water. We met other explorers who shared about their long hikes for the day.

My husband stayed behind to begin the fire to cook dinner. We cooked our hot dogs and chicken fajitas – two comfort foods of ours. But because some of the people in my party (not to be mentioned in this blog post) were extremely concerned about bear sightings in the area, the food was quickly packed away not to leave out anything edible. Honestly, I’m glad that someone was super attentive to that because I, personally, was so enamored with the pine trees and stillness of the outdoors that I might not have done an excellent job in that area.

At the end of the night, we were all together and that’s what made home. We played cards by lantern light and that made home. We read Pinocchio on our Kindle inside our tent and that made home. I snuggled with my boys in our tent and that really made everything feel like home.

Make Home in Colorado

Day 3 started out with a delicious breakfast that my brother cooked for all of us. We did have our cafecito. It was just what I needed to join mi familia on one last exploring hike before we drove back to Denver. The boys looked for stones and pine cones. They were excited to climb boulders and just run around and explore. That brisk morning hike was the perfect wrap up to our camping adventure.

Morning Hike in Pike National Forest - Que Means What

Here’s what I learned: home is where love is. Period. Everything we did that week was out of love – love for each other, love for the outdoors, love for adventure. Love.

It wasn’t the coffee, the blankets, or the music. It was each other. We made home outdoors because we were together.

I drag my boys across the country to experience adventure, to see mountains, to learn hands-on because I love them. Honestly, Naldo’s words about his daughter being better off the earlier that she learned how to make home wherever she is stayed with me. This adventurous trip and misadventures were the perfect examples of that. Our familia made home where we were together and we are better because of it.

Family Camping in Pike National Forest - Que Means What

Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

Original content creator for ¿Qué Means What? Texas Latina mom blogger celebrating culture in education, entertainment and family life.

14 Responses

  1. I love the beautiful mountains of Colorado. The clean, fresh air and the cool crisp nights are my favorite. It looks like you had a fantastic time.

  2. Monica says:

    What a fun story. I’m so glad you made it to the whitewater trip. I would have been in tears to miss that. There are very few things I will camp out for and the whitewater trips are at the top of that list. I’m with you – every time I travel I have a wonderful time but there is no place like home and my own bed!

    • Melanie Mendez-Gonzales says:

      Yes, Monica! There was no way that I was going to miss that. Stay tuned for that video coming soon 🙂

  3. I love going camping but haven’t had a chance to go in years!
    We used to tent all the time when we were kids and had many grand adventures. They were some ofthe best times we had growing up!

  4. Cristine says:

    Sounds like lots of memories despite the missteps. I will never go camping. I can’t rough it. But I’m sure my kids wish that I would.

  5. Erlene A says:

    Sounds like you made the best of the first day, even with the mishap. I agree, that you can make things work when you’re with family.

    • Melanie Mendez-Gonzales says:

      Thanks, Erlene! We did make the best of it. Really, we wouldn’t have had such a great view of Mt. Princeton if we hadn’t had our mishap.

  6. wow your photos are amazing and looks like the scenery alone would be worth a trip there. It is somewhere I have never been but looks gorgeous!

    • Melanie Mendez-Gonzales says:

      Thanks so much, Laura! The scenery made me fall in love with Colorado, for sure. If you ever have the chance, I strongly suggest it.

  7. Milena says:

    The best times together don’t follow a plan. I’m sure when you were in it you felt some stress, but look how great things turned out!

    • Melanie Mendez-Gonzales says:

      So true, Milena! I’m actually not a big planner but I wanted this trip to be perfect. Turns out that it was despite the plans I tried to make.

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