Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lake Isabel Recreation Area

I arrived at Lake Isabel Rec Area 10 days ago.  I was supposed to report to Bear Lake on the 17th but I got a call just before I left Rowe informing me that the campground was snowed in, as was the 5 mile dirt road leading in to it. Sooo – they said I would help out at Lake Isabel. It was my lucky day – I was given a site with electricity and it was most welcome as the weather was very cold at night. (And just plain cold by day :- ) )

My frozen picnic table
 I had the day to settle in and then I attended training on Thurs. The morning was provided by the forest service and we learned about bears and fire restrictions and who to call for what (is it a sheriff problem or a forest service problem).  This would have been a moot point for me in that I would not have any cell service at Bear Lake.  The afternoon was spent learning about campground rules and all the paperwork we need to file. Friday I spent the day working at one of the gates.

My temporary home
Did you know that bears have very bad hearing and eyesight but can detect an odor 7 miles away?  We learned a lot about bears. And then I saw one running across the road about 7 miles north of the campground, when I was returning from my day off on Tues.

Fri. night I got to chase the ambulance that was transporting one of the work campers to Pueblo CO.  I must admit when we hit the highway and I was doing 90 – I decided that they were just going to have to win the race. And so when I got to Pueblo I followed the first sign I saw for a hospital. It was the wrong one. So I  just went into the ER and asked for directions. Luckily, they were very helpful and I got to Parkview quite easily.

Lake Isabel
I stayed with my friend until midnight when some test results revealed that she might be having a heart attack and they decided to admit her. It was a long, interesting day. I got back to the campground around 1:30 am and was happy to fall in bed. Saturday I filled in as a campground host and  the managers began to discuss what they might need to do as they were now short a second host.

Sunday morning, I learned that the staff has a tradition of going out to breakfast at 8 and then reporting for work at nine. It is a congenial bunch and I enjoyed my pancakes. I also learned that they wanted me to switch assignments from Bear Lake to Lake Isabel.

I spent the day mulling it over and then decided that I would. There were tradeoffs. Here I can get to a town with Laundromat, library and cell service in 30 mins.; at Bear Lake I can get to a paved road in 20 mins. And here my manager has a landline, and my father and sister can get a hold of me quickly in case of emergency.  I also thought that I might be better off working with colleagues available and within walkie talkie reach for my first job as a host (especially after the need for an ambulance, Fri night). And I can still go up to Bear Lake for the beauty on my days off.  The downside of my choice is two days off instead of three per week and a more hectic location.

So far I have seen deer every morning and evening, one fox, a wild turkey and a bear and heard lots of humming birds. The campground is at 8,300 feet. I am camped along a rushing creek and the aspen are starting to leaf. What’s not to like.

Tomorrow, I begin life as the campground host at St. Charles campground in Lake Isabel Rec Area.

(Lake Isabel is in the San Isabel National forest, in Colorado. Exit Rte 25 at Colorado City and follow  rte 165 north for about 30 mins.)

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