At Hipcamp, we have the privilege of hearing stories and seeing photos from epic camping trips all day long. Our Hipcamper of the Week series gives us the excuse to learn more about the campers, weekend warriors, surfers, environmentalists—you name it—who make up our amazing Hipcamp Community. Hearing all of your stories—and getting to share them—is something we look forward to every week.
This week: Chelsea S. is a repeat Hipcamper and frequent face on the our website and social feeds—just one of the perks of being best friends with a Hipcamp Field Scout! Chelsea is one badass lady, who never says no to an adventure. If you didn’t see her epic snowshoe-in hut trip on our Instagram last week, check out our Story Highlights. Learn more about Chelsea and how she channels her “inner badass woman” while living and exploring in Colorado. Share your adventures with #Hipcamp to be next.
As a friend of Field Scout Maegen Leake you’re pretty much famous at Hipcamp! How many Hipcamp trips have you gone on so far?
I always joke with Maeg that I’m just trying to ride her coattails! I’ve gone on 4 or 5 Hipcamp’s with her.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had at a Hipcamp?
Every Hipcamp feels memorable because they are all so unique so it’s really tough to pick just one! Glacier Mountain Camp was pretty wonderful though. We camped in September making it one of the last trips you could wear shorts during the day. The drive up to the site was pretty aggressive and luckily we had Maeg’s 4WD vehicle. The dogs, per usual, were anxiously pacing in the backseat and sticking their heads out the window just waiting for us to stop the car and let them run free. Once we made it to our site, we opened the car doors and the dogs went wild. It’s so important to me to find a campsite where my Carol can just be a dog and run, sniff, and dig and Glacier Mountain Camp was that. The views were stunning. You could see several peaks and mountain ranges. Maeg and I were the first to arrive at the site and she cracked open her beer, I poured some boxed wine into my mug, and we peacefully enjoyed the sun setting in the west. Our friends arrived after dark and like most camping trips, we stayed up late around the campfire passing around a flask and laughing so hard our cheeks hurt.
Glacier Mountain Camp was memorable because we were the only campsite in sight and since the flask never stopped making its way around the fire, we could laugh without the worry of disturbing other people. But since we were so alone at 11,600 feet, when we went to bed, all you could hear was the rustling of the trees. And all you could see were thousands of illuminating stars. It was the perfect trip to end the summer camping season.
How did you and Maegen become adventure buddies?
Maegen is one of the few friends I have where our first time meeting feels more like a story a married couple tells their children. I’ll spare all the soppy details but we both met at an Ugly Sweater Christmas party thrown by mutual friends shortly after we moved to Denver. As newbies, we were both itching for friends. We instantly connected at the party because we were the most outrageous looking girls there. As most love stories go (or at least ours), we spent the whole night cracking each other up. My jokes were obviously funnier but that’s neither here nor there.
Maeg and I will try anything “twice” with little to no explanation which makes us the best adventure buddies. Maegen has a much better grasp of the outdoors since she’s a Yooper from Michigan so I rely on her expertise of the wild. I love adventure and trying new things so I just say “yes” to whatever Maeg plans. It also helps we have high-energy dogs who are best buds always looking for adventure too.
What do you love most about living in Colorado?
When I was younger, I lived in Boulder, CO, and Nederland, CO for a few years. It’s where I got my quirkiness and interest in the outdoors. I spent hours in the woods playing make-believe in our backyard and hiking around the valley not far from our house. My mom is originally from Nebraska so when my parents got divorced, we moved there. Nebraska was great because I was still able to keep my tomboy spirit alive but I knew at some point I’d move back to Colorado. Shortly after I graduated college, I was laid off from one of my first big girl jobs! I was so embarrassed but also saw it as a chance for me to make the “big move.” Cliche but, I haven’t looked back since. Moving back to Colorado has helped me reconnect with my inner badass woman. I’ve hiked more miles, camped in more woods, and stood at the top of more peaks than I ever would’ve thought possible 10 years ago. Colorado is full of so many “staycations” that you can drive for 2 hours and see a completely different landscape.
What are some of your other hobbies?
I am all about living a balanced life. Camping and hiking and skiing are so much fun but also cozying up on the couch with my boyfriend is great. Oh yea, I have a boyfriend who is not named Maegen. ? We both love to read so on a snowy or rainy day, we’ll just lay in bed and read for hours. I am a big fan of music so I love going to concerts and seeing my favorite artists perform. There are also a ton of great bars and restaurants in Denver so nothing beats posting up on a patio in the summer with a bunch of friends and spending the whole day eating and drinking. Since dating my boyfriend, I’ve become quite the cook so I’m always looking for a new vegetarian recipe to make.
Do you remember your first-ever camping trip?
My first memories of camping are vastly different from my camping trips now. My mom is where I got my adventurous spirit and we always went on family road trips in our RV. Our camping was more glamping as we had all the amenities in the RV. My mom is a huge history buff so one summer after she read up about Lewis & Clark’s expedition to the west, we followed the trail from Nebraska all the way to Oregon. I was just hitting puberty so my sass was at an all-time high. My older brother had football camps that summer so he was able to avoid the month-long adventure in the RV with my mom, younger brother, and me. We stayed at KOA campgrounds in Colorado, Utah, and California before finally making it to the coast of Oregon and stopping at every historical landmark in between. At the time, I was miserable but looking back it was a blast. I’d love to do a similar road trip but instead of KOA campgrounds, see what Hipcamp has!
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for people who have never gone camping, but are interested in trying?
Before I moved to Colorado, my camping consisted of setting up a tent outside of our RV. If it was too hot or too cold, I’d sleep on the floor of the RV. An actual toilet was only a few feet away and I could always wash my hands in the sink if I got dirt on them. My advice to newbie campers is to have an open mind. Be ready to get dirty and not always have toilet paper to wipe. Camping is an adventure and if you open yourself up to the unexpected, you’ll never be disappointed. I’ve never had a camping trip where everything went smoothly. My boyfriend and I planned to camp in Santa Fe in May and they unexpectedly got dumped with over a foot of snow so we were forced to sleep in the car. Despite the tight spaces, we had the best time.
Describe your dream camping trip.
My dream camping trip consists of three things: A remote spot where my dog Carol can run free and we don’t have to worry about neighbors. Spectacular views where you’re surrounded by trees and mountains. And a cool mountain town close-by. I love checking out what the locals do and mountain towns are full of quirky people.
What’s one thing you never forget to bring on a camping trip?
I never forget to bring Benadryl on a camping trip. Random, I know. Mosquitoes love me so I am constantly getting bit no matter how much repellent I put on. Benadryl knocks me out after a few mugs of boxed wine but I wake up itch-free so it’s a win-win! I get a good nights rest and I’m not swollen and itchy with bug bites.
Do you have any adventures on your bucket list for 2018?
2018 is going to be full of so many more, Colorado Staycations. Maeg and I are trying to plan some road trips where we stay at several Hipcamps throughout Colorado and surrounding states. I also plan to learn how to pack more efficiently so I can go on more backpacking trips. There are so many remote and scenic places if you’re willing to hike in! I haven’t explored a lot of Southern Colorado so I’m sure that’s where y’all can find me this summer and fall!
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