The Wanderings of Steve and Diana travel blog

Brainard Lake view from our campsite.

Brainard Lake

Long Lake on one of the hiking trails in the Brainard Rec....

Long Lake hike

Eclectic town of Ward. We are about 5 miles away.

Ward -- the town streets are lined with old junk cars. This...


We were hired to be camp hosts for the Pawnee Campground in the Brainard Recreation Area outside of Boulder while we were camped at Redstone. Thousand Trails Management contracts with the National Forest Service to manage their campgrounds in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. There are 55 campgrounds in Colorado. The Brainard Recreation Area and the Pawnee Campground are the biggest money makers for Thousand Trails in Colorado. There is a $9 fee to enter the area and then you pay camping fees of $17 per night on top of that. The campground is only a couple hundred yards from the lake and there are numerous hiking trails in the area. We were told that there would be another host couple and they would pay each of us for 30 hours per week. When we arrived the week after the 4th of July we were told that we would be the only host couple and they would pay us for 40 hours each per week.

Needless to say, this has been a lot of work. There are 55 campsites, half of which can be reserved online. The campground typically fills up by noon on Wednesday through the weekend. We have to post reservations, collect fees, provide management reports, clean 6 restrooms, haul firewood in the back of the pickup, clean campsites and resolve disputes. We are supposed to have Monday and Tuesday off, but we still end up doing a lot of work on those days. Right now the golf cart is kaput and we have to do a lot of walking to patrol the campground. So far the only incident we had was a suicidal drunk that we had to call the Sheriff for. The area is very remote and cell phones don’t work here. There are no land lines so Thousand Trails finally purchased a satellite phone for emergencies, which was a big relief. In order to get cell service and internet connections I go to a cute coffee house in Nederland, about 20 miles from here.

As far as the fishing goes, Steve couldn’t ask for anything better. He walks a couple hundred yards to fish in Brainard Lake which is fed by mountain streams. There are about 5 other lakes within 2-3 miles. We are eating brookies about twice a week, have several in the freezer and are at the point of giving away the fish.

This campground is at 10,500 feet elevation. The weather here is quite a bit cooler than we like. As a matter of fact, for the past three days it has been foggy, misty, rainy and temperatures in the highs of 45. We are both desert rats and this is way too cold for summer weather. As far as I know, the campground closes after Labor Day weekend. I’m sure it will be snowing by then and we will be more than eager to beat feet south! We keep telling ourselves that this is ‘an experience.’ The altitude and the remoteness are the most troublesome, but we both enjoy camp hosting and will probably do it again.



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