Boating on the lakes, makes locals stay in Grand County |

Boating on the lakes, makes locals stay in Grand County

Entrance to Grand Bay on Lake Granby. Photo by Monika Conger.

One of the benefits of Three Lakes country is many locals spend summer weekends with their family and friends in a floating community – stringing boats together on their favorite lake.

Troy Nelson and Mindy Everhart take their family members boating most summer weekends.

“You go out on the water and see people out there that you end up camping near, and share a campfire,” Nelson said.

An added benefit is seeing people you work with on a professional basis, and relaxing together on the water, he said.

The social aspect is great but it’s also a great way to find peace and quiet and lay in the sun. Boating on the lakes can also become a mobile office.

“You can work out there, too,” he said.

Since summer started early this year, more people are taking to the water. The best boating and camping is on Lake Granby, because it’s bigger and there are more available places to camp, Nelson said.

“We load up on Friday, and stay all weekend. Sometimes we park the boat and get food. We’ll be out there this weekend.”

On Lake Granby campers don’t have to pay to camp but do need to purchase an ANRA pass for parking.

Nelson has lived in Grand County for most of his life and has figured out how to recreate well. His wife Mindy has lived in Grand Lake for 15 years, and they spend summer weekends with their children boating on the lakes.

“There will be a ton of people out there on Lake Granby. It’s nice to spread out and then it doesn’t feel crowded. In town there’s may be a lot of people, but get out on the lake and it doesn’t feel nearly as crowded.

Other locals who knows how to take advantage of the summer are Sam Conger and his family. They have already been out on the water several times this year.

“We have about 100 days of summer, and if you don’t use them, they go by fast,” Conger said.

His family weekends are spent much like Nelson and Everhart’s – on the water every weekend with other friends, sometimes as many as 35 people.

“We tie up, and if we need additional sleep space, we pitch a tent. We play horseshoes, have a bonfire, the kids jumping off rocks, and we play beach games.”

With an early ice melt, water temperatures may be a bit warmer than this time last year. Temperatures are hovering in the high 40s on Lake Granby.

Conger’s two boys, Cameron, 9, and Lucas, 6, will swim in Lake Granby this weekend, “I guarantee it,” he said.

“Kids are more anxious to jump in. They can’t be next to the water and not be in it.”

They will be hiking, running around, jumping into the water off the rocks, doing what they can all weekend, he said. The kids may wear dry or wetsuits.

“The water temperatures will warm up in August to 68 or 70 degrees, then summer is over.”

Wake boarding is another activity the Conger family enjoys on the lakes.

“You want to do it before the winds pick up. In the colder temperatures we wear a wetsuit.”

If the winds do pick up they will opt to sail or kite board. The wind has to be just right for kite boarding, he said.

“The challenge with kite boarding is it’s temperamental. You need one directional wind, and up here they tend to swirl with the mountains. Gusts are hard to manage. A couple hours of good, semi-consistent, one-dimensional wind, and some boat support is needed.”

The Congers also surf the wake behind their boat. It requires no ropes, they just surf the artificial wave.”

“If it wasn’t for the lakes some of us wouldn’t live here,” said Conger. “It’s the one thing that makes Grand County more attractive than the rest of Colorado.”

One of the local marinas on Lake Granby, Grand Elk Marina, has been busy getting ready ahead of schedule. Matt Brown is the marina’s manager and is looking forward to summer’s launch: Memorial Day weekend.

“The ice was off early, which was good for us,” said Brown.

“There was a larger time-line for getting things set up at marina. We are 100 percent ready for this weekend and anticipate great weather and a busy lake,” he said.

The fishing has been good and the fishermen are out, he said. The hardy sailors have been out, those who like early season and the unpredictability of weather.

He believes the water temperatures are hovering around 48 to 50 degrees; however, “it’s an arbitrary number, you go down in the water a foot and it’s pretty cold.”

“Lake Granby is a hidden gem, a treasure for all of us. There is a little bit of something for everyone out there.”

Brown is also a musician and will be playing every Saturday at Mackinaws at 6:30 p.m. This Saturday is the kick off.

“Every Saturday we have a good time. People come off the lake and tell their adventure stories. I play original music (bluegrass and singer/song writer) and seafaring tunes. It’s a great place to look out on the lake.”

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