Western Colorado

Trailer at the Rabbit Canyon Campsite

After Utah, we headed north in search of cooler days and nights and we found an amazing spot to call home in western Colorado. We spent almost a week in Mack and enjoyed the isolation and amazing sunsets.

Sunset over Rabbit Valley in Mack, CO
Sunset over Rabbit Valley in Mack, CO

After sunset, every insect within a 10-mile radius was attracted to the lights in our trailer, which both cats thoroughly enjoyed. They are ferocious hunters! Lumpy and Catalina both sat in front of the large window trying to catch bugs on the other side. I'm not sure what types of moths are in Mack, CO, but they were not like any moth I'd ever seen before – large, bright green mutants. They would walk across the glass teasing Lumpy as she tried with all her might to catch them with her little pee-paws. The joke was on the swarm of insects taunting poor, sweet Lumpy. We saw something huge fly by the window that was five times the size of the moths and quickly realized they were bats. Every few minutes we would see one dive bomb through the smorgasbord of bugs our lights had created. The bats were like, “Thanks for the snacks, stupid.” They must have gained their wisdom from the honey badger.

Sunset over Rabbit Valley in Mack, CO

Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park wasn't too far away, so we made our way there, hoping one of the few spots that could accommodate a travel trailer were free. With boondocking, nothing is guaranteed, so you should always have a plan A, B, and C! Unfortunately, there weren't any available spots, so we headed back to plan B in Montrose, CO. Again, we were pretty much alone, other than a handful of ATVers. It was windy and it was a parking lot, but it was exactly what we needed – a place to stay that was safe and had good cell signal. Since it was still hot, we didn't want to use the oven or stove top and make it even hotter inside, so Bryan got to work doing what he loves – grilling! One of our favorite meals that is quick, makes almost no mess, and is so fresh and delicious is chicken with sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and a generous drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When we don't feel like meal planning, that is our go to!

Bryan grilling outside our trailer in Mack, CO

Our first night there we watched another amazing sunset while feasting on grilled chicken and washing it down with some Cabernet. Lumpy even convinced us to let her come outside and watch the sunset. And then she launched herself off the chair and immediately lost those privileges.

Shelly and Lumpy Space Princess sitting outside our trailer in Mack, CO

What do you think the cats are doing?

After work the next day, we took a trip into the South Rim of Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. It was too hot to leave the cats and most of the trails along Black Canyon Scenic Drive are short hikes to an overlook, so they came to the park with us. I would like to take a minute to describe just how weird Catalina can be. She loves her carrier and one of her usual positions is head cocked straight up. It in no way seems comfortable, but she loves laying like that.

Catalina Wine Mixer sleeping in her carrier

We are very lucky that they get along 99% of the time and they are truly amazing travelers, but sometimes in the truck, tempers flare. On the way into the park, Lumpy was perched up on her seat and Catalina had the nerve to walk on her and then lay down with her butt right in Lumpy's face.

Catalina Wine Mixer and Lumpy Space Princess

Lumpy was not impressed.

Lumpy Space Princess with evil eye

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

This park is absolutely beautiful! The South Rim has a 14-mile scenic drive with multiple short trails with lookout points viewing different parts of the canyon, so the cats slept in the air-conditioned truck while we took in the beauty of the steep cliffs that the Gunnison River carved out over two million years. As we looked down at the river thousands of feet below, we could actually hear the water raging through the canyon…until we couldn't.

Black Canyon from behind the visitor center
Painted Wall in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Cedar Point in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Love is in the air…and bushes…and trees

All the bushes and trees we walked by had snapping, clicking noises coming out of them and the eerie sound echoed throughout the canyon. We had stumbled upon cicada season and they were everywhere. The cicadas that live in Colorado usually have a much shorter life cycle (2-5 years) compared to the cicadas in the Northeast (13-17 years), so they don't have quite as dramatic of an eruption, where billions to trillions of cicadas come out of the ground with one purpose – to mate. Apparently the annual cicadas are not as loud as the cicadas who have been waiting 17 years to procreate! The males clap their wings against their abdomens or the branch they are on and if a female likes his love song, she will return his song with her wings. Not wanting to interrupt this giant orgy, we took one last look at the Gunnison River below and made our way back to a much quieter truck, where Lumpy and Catalina were fast asleep.