I've got to admit, as much as I love the mountains, it was kind of a relief to head down into flat land for a bit. For one thing, we were overdue for warmer weather after the frosty Rocky Mountain temps. And for another, motorhomes and narrow, winding mountain roads can be a scary combination, especially for a nervous Nelly like me. I am actually more comfortable on my bicycle than when surrounded by tons of metal; go figure!
Our next stop couldn't have been more different from the Rocky Mountains. We were in Crow Valley Campground in the Pawnee National Grassland in northern Colorado, near the very tiny town of Briggsdale, 35 miles east of Fort Collins and 25 miles northeast of Greeley in Weld County.
If you haven't heard of Pawnee National Grassland, you're not the only one. We hadn't either, until we noticed it on the map, and the mileage worked out for a visit. This area is an internationally known birding area, and although we didn't do a whole lot of dedicated bird-watching, we still saw and heard a variety of birds during our several days here.
The campground is small with as many double and group sites as singles. It's billed as a “family” campground, though in mid-September, was mostly just couples and singles. Most of the sites are reservable with a few walk-in only. We waited too late to reserve as you have to book four days ahead, but did nab an unreserved site when we arrived on a Wednesday, as all the single-sized non-reservable sites were already taken. We were surprised at this as it rarely happens when we arrive at a campground mid-week.
Friday was the busiest night in the campground with no free sites by mid-afternoon and at least a couple rigs driving through that had to leave without a site. I felt bad for them as there weren't other campgrounds particularly close -- I guess that explains why this place was so full.
This is a rustic campground with pit toilets, no hookups, no showers, and the closest drinking water spigot was at an educational site a short walk outside the campground. But it was a deal: we paid just $6/night (half price!) with Barry’s National Park Senior Pass.
Our site was just lovely, with shade trees, good separation from other sites, and nice views out the back to the grasslands.
This was quite a different view than in the Rockies!
We saw a lot of Pronghorns on our ride.
And some cool old farm scenery.
There's a driveable birding tour as part of the recreation area, but it was unpaved, so we didn't venture down. We did get to hike a nice trail from the campground, though, and there were plenty of birds to be seen there.
More pronghorns. Their white butts are kinda cute, no?
There was an exhibit of old farm equipment right outside the campground loop. It was a bit neglected, as you can tell from the windmill.
Here's the hiking trail I mentioned. There are actually several in the recreation area, but this one was the nicest. It's called the Trail of the Mourning Dove. We didn't see any doves, but we did see other birds, including lots of Townsend's Solitaires, a new one for our life lists!
Fall foliage was spotty here, nothing like what we'd seen in the high mountains.
Next up we leave beautiful Colorado and add another state to Pearl's map!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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