Our cabin property is part of the Crystal Lakes property owners association (POA). We are responsible for guests to be aware of the POA rules and we are responsible for any violation of these rules (we may be fined, have certain privileges revoked, etc.). This web page serves as a place to provide some additional details related to staying at the cabin for family and friends. We also post a “cheat sheet” on the refrigerator that contains an abbreviated list of the basics along with some contact information, etc. that we do not post on this publicly accessible web page.
When you arrive
- Get guest pass from the Crystal Lakes Road & Recreation Office
- Turn on the water pump breaker switch
- Unplug the interior monitoring camera
While you are here
- Check fire restrictions before using the fire pit (and only use the designated fire pit for fires)
- Only drain/flush septic safe items
- Do not fish without a Crystal Lakes pass and do not use ATVs on property or private roads
- Bring in any “loose” patio furniture from the front deck when not in use to prevent wind damage
- Always supervise children (there are many dangers on the property and in the area)
Before you leave
- Bring in or secure any “loose” patio furniture from the front deck to prevent wind damage
- Remove any perishables you added to the refrigerator (to prevent rotting and related smells)
- Remove trash from cabin
- Take trash bags home or to the Crystal Lakes trash compactor – get code from Chris or Laurie
- Unplug the coffee maker and other counter appliances
- Ensure all the dials on the oven and cooktop are set to the off position
- Turn off the water pump breaker switch
- Unplug any portable electrical heaters that were used
- Set the kitchen thermostat to “comfort zone”
- Turn off the two baseboard heaters (in downstairs bedroom and bathroom)
- Close and lock all the windows and close all the blinds
- Lock deck slider doors using the wood stoppers
- Lock the cabin door to the kitchen (knob and deadbolt)
- Lock the shed door
Guest pass: You will need a POA guest pass before driving on Crystal Lakes private roads. We will need to give you a signed and dated guest permission form before you head up. Then you will need to go into the POA office with the permission form to get a window sticker (office is closed Sunday and Monday, check office hours for other days).
You will be driving on dirt roads: If you have the choice between a lower clearance and higher clearance vehicle, bring the higher clearance vehicle. The roads directly to the cabin are usually “OK”, but you will not want to drive on some roads with a low clearance vehicle if you plan to drive around.
Setup directions app before heading up: Get the address from Chris or Laurie (we’re avoiding posting it online). Put the address into the map app in your vehicle or phone for directions before driving up. You will lose cell phone service for most of the trip.
Drive the speed limit on POA roads: drive the posted speed limit on POA roads. The roads are patrolled by security personnel and Larimer Country sheriff units, and monitored by neighbors. There are also people walking on the roads, ATVs and other vehicles to watch out for, wildlife, and occasional hazards (e.g. fallen trees, potholes, rocks, washouts, rocks, etc.). Drive slow and enjoy the scenery.
Get guest keys and vehicle pass prior to departing: There are three keys to the cabin. You will need to get guest keys from us prior to leaving. One goes to the front door (knob and deadbolt keys). The deadbolt lock is currently very tight (needs work). To lock/unlock the deadbolt from outside with the key, pull door handle toward the closed position while turning the key. To lock/unlock the deadbolt from inside with the lock lever, push door toward the closed position while turning the lever. The additional two keys go to the shed (padlock and shed door handle). Guests will probably not need the shed keys for anything (be aware that there are dangerous items in the shed that children should not have access to, so leave it locked). The key to the shed padlock also goes to the kayak lock-up chain at the lake. Do not lock your keys in the cabin!
Turn on the water pump breaker switch: This is the switch marked “Pump” in the electric panel next to the front door. Ensure it is turned on when you arrive.
Unplug the interior monitoring camera: This is next to the front sliding doors (upper left corner).
Things to know before and during your stay
Do not invite other guests without permission: Do not invite other people that we have not discussed being at the cabin. It is important for us to know who is staying at the cabin for numerous reasons (POA rules, liability, ensuring everyone knows the rules, etc.)
Do not make excessive noise or create similar nuisances for neighbors: Normal activities, including playing music outside during reasonable hours is fine, but we do have neighbors and would like to be considerate. On a related note, if our neighbors or guests of neighbors are being a nuisance, please avoid engaging them directly. Start by contacting us and/or the POA admin office (970-881-2250). You can also call the Larimer County Sherriff for illegal activity (970-416-1985), or 911 for emergencies. Please be aware that cell phone service does not always work (more on this later).
Check fire restrictions: In the summer Larimer County often restricts outdoor fires. We have a firepit that you can use if fires are not restricted. There is plenty of wood at the cabin, so you do not need to bring any. Only use the metal firepit in the designated area. For warmth, there is also a wood stove in the cabin. For cooking, there is a propane grill on the deck and a full kitchen in the cabin (with cooktop and oven).
Bring food and water: Bring up what you plan to eat and drink during your trip. Bring back what you did not eat or drink. We are on a well system and have tested and drank the water, but drink at your own risk. There are a couple stores and restaurants nearby, but hours and supplies are limited. If you think you will go to local businesses, check hours, etc. ahead of time. You are welcome to use the refrigerator, but please do not leave anything in the fridge when you leave (so that we do not have items going bad that we have to clean out later).
Only drain/flush septic safe items: We are on a septic system. That means do not flush anything down the toilet that is not human waste or toilette paper that is safe for septic systems (any of the toilette paper we provide is septic safe). Also do not flush any chemicals that you may have brought with you down the toilette or any sink drain.
Do not store or dispose food outside: We have bears and other wild animals that we should not be attracting. Do not dispose of food waste anywhere except the trashcan in the cabin so as not to attract wild animals.
Look for blue arrows if you get lost: If you ever get lost on Crystal lakes roads, there are blue arrows at each intersection. Follow these blue arrows. They lead back to the “major” road.
Know our filing and lot number: You may be asked by the POA office or security which “filing and lot” the cabin is. This is written on the guest permission form (we are not posting it on this public website).
Let us know if you get stopped or if there are any issues: When people report things and/or you get stopped by security, we get in trouble. Let us know if you are ever stopped, fined, or end up passing along our info. We will need to follow up with the POA and it will be much better for us if we are proactive about any incidences.
Be aware of dogs and wild animals when you walk or bike on roads: Please be aware there are large dogs that might leave their properties and harass you (we have had several incidences). We also have bears and mountain lions in the area. Moose have been known to injure and even kill people, so leave the moose alone.
We have little to no cell phone service: As mentioned, do not expect to have cell phone service during the trip. Once you are at the cabin, T-Mobile and Verizon phones might work for you “sometimes”. Don’t assume that you will always have good cell service because you happened to have good cell service one time. We have been told AT&T phones sometimes work at our cabin. Cell service (especially for Internet) frequently does not work at all, even where it “should”; especially on summer weekends when everybody is trying to use the same cell towers. Midweek service seems to be better.
We have limited Wi-Fi/Internet, no TV, and some DVDs/Blu-rays: We have limited Internet service based on a T-Mobile/cell-based modem (which often stops working). The wifi information is posted on the refrigerator. Feel free to use any DVDs/Blu-rays that we have at the cabin. We have no TV service (we are working on adding an exterior antenna that will have limited channels). AM/FM radio stations are very limited (and we do not leave a radio at the cabin).
The power frequently goes out: When the power goes out, the water pump goes out as well, and things like the toilet and shower stop working. To use the toilette, there may be some emergency jugs of water to fill to toilette tank reservoir.
Do not fish without a pass and do not bring ATVs: Do not fish the lakes and ponds without purchasing a guest fishing pass. The POA is rabid about this and has fishing police wandering the lakes to hand-out fines (that come back to us). Do not bring ATVs or any other non-highway-licensed motorized vehicle to drive on the property or the private POA roads. We do not have these kinds of vehicles, therefore we are not familiar with all the rules – which involves a lot of additional work getting permission and passes from the POA.
Do not leave exterior lights on overnight: Do not leave the lights on the front deck on overnight. We have a “dark skies” policy. The driveway light and porch light are on motion sensors connected to two switches in the kitchen.
We get a lot of strong wind: We have incredibly strong winds here. Do not leave anything outside that might blow away. Bring in or secure any “loose” patio furniture from the front deck when you are not using the furniture. There are a couple chairs we move between the cabin and front deck as needed. The other furniture is secured to the deck rail to avoid furniture being blown into the sliding glass doors.
Security cameras: We have three exterior security cameras and one interior. Unplug the interior security camera during your stay.
Beds/blankets: We have several beds at the cabin and extra blankets, sheets, etc. under the beds upstairs.
Washer & Dryer: You are welcome to use the washer and dryer. If you do use the washer, be sure to use the dryer too (we do not want to show up to a smelly cabin because somebody forgot a load was left in the washer). Laundry soap is in the storage area under the stairs – accessed from the kitchen area.
If you tent camp, just use one tent: If you plan on setting up a tent, please be aware that only one tent can be setup per POA rules. There is a flat spot setup for tents near the fire pit (look for the little path off the firepit area).
Use the fire pit responsibly: You are welcome to use the fire pit area. Keep the fire small and just use dry wood meant for the firepit. Kids use this firepit to roast marshmallows, so do not burn anything gross, with chemicals, etc. Just clean, dry wood. Fires must be supervised (do not start a fire and then leave). People regularly get fined by the POA for unattended fires.
Do not trespass on neighbor property: Our property is marked by a barb-wire fence; however, fencing is missing in various places. From the fence posts it should be obvious where the property lines are. Out of respect for our neighbors, please do not wander onto their property. Also, be careful around the barbed wire fencing.
You may hear shooting: We are near national forest lands where people hunt and shoot for target practice. You may hear guns firing “in the distance”. Anything that sounds “too close” (within a few hundred yards) should be reported to the Larimer County Sheriff’s department.
Leave cast iron cooking ware alone unless you’re certain you know what you’re doing: Leave the iron pans alone unless you know how to cook with cast iron (these are the black heavy metal pans, etc.). Cast iron does not get washed with water (unless somebody messes up, and then there is a re-seasoning process that is a pain to deal with).
Do not use the Kayaks unless we have gone over everything with you: We will need to show you where these are if you would like to borrow a kayak. Paddles and life vests are kept at the cabin. Two kayaks are in the boat house at Crystal Lake. The kayaks that are stored might change. Currently there’s a full-size 13’ sit on top kayak and a very small kid-size kayak. These are stored in the top rack and require some nimbleness (to climb up into the rack) and some strength to get the kayaks down and put them back up. That is why we will need to go over kayak stuff with you separately if you plan to borrow one. You can not put your own kayak in the POA lakes without “boat registration” (check with us and/or the POA admin office if you would like more info on bringing your own kayaks).
Be careful with the woodstove: The doors are tricky to open, but you should not need to force anything. Forcing the doors may damage the woodstove. Leave the doors closed, except to start the fire and add wood (i.e., avoid burning down the cabin by having sparks pop out from an open fire).
Supervise children at all times: If you bring children (or adults that require supervision), please be aware that there are numerous hazards. The property is lined with barbed wire, and there is loose barbed wire in various places. There is a pond. Do not fall in it and drown. There are underground beehives. Do not kick them. If you trip on one, run very fast. There are piles of boards with nails in them from various ongoing demolition and repair projects. Do not climb on any of these piles. As mentioned before, there are various wild animals you probably do not want to encounter as well. If you require medical assistance, the closest hospitals are in Fort Collins.
Do not use firearms: Just in case this one is not obvious, we have close neighbors and it is not legal or appropriate to use firearms on the cabin property, anywhere in the POA (Crystal Lakes Roads), and the surrounding national forest within a couple miles at least. If you plan to hunt or target practice, verify where it is safe and legal to do so with the National Forest Service and/or other authorities.
Remove unsecured furniture and other items from deck: We get strong, sudden winds that will blow furniture into the sliding glass doors. If you are unsure about something, just bring it inside.
Remove trash and recyclables: Take trash bag(s) home or drive up to the trash compactor. The trash compactor sometimes fills up on busy weekends and you will need a code to use it. The code changes periodically (ask for it before your trip). When the trash compactor fills up, you will need to bring trash back with you. Do not throw anything in the trash compactor that is not allowed. There is a sign at the trash compactor advising you of what is not allowed. There are security cameras that are actively monitored since there have been many recent incidences with items causing damage to the trash compactor. When this happens, it is very expensive.
Unplug the coffee maker and other counter appliances: ensure the coffee maker is unplugged.
Ensure the cooktop and over are off: Ensure all the dials on the oven/cooktop are set to off.
Throw any sheets and blankets you used in the hamper and/or washing machine: You do not need to wash/dry sheets before you leave but having them in the hamper or washing machine lets us know they have been used so we can wash them. If you do use the washing machine, do not leave a wet load in the washing machine. Please transfer the load to the dryer and start the dryer before leaving if you have a wet load in the washer.
Turn off the interior lights: Leave the two switches on that control the driveway and porch lights. These go to motion sensor lights that should automatically turn off after a few minutes (and will only come on at night, when there is motion detected). Turn off all the interior lights and the exterior lights for the deck.
Turn off the fan located over the stairs: The switch to the fan is to the right of the fireplace.
Turn off the water pump breaker switch: This is the switch marked “Pump” in the electric panel next to the front door. Ensure it is turned off when you leave (but never turn this off if the washer is running).
Close and lock all the windows and close all the blinds
Turn off the heaters: Unless instructed otherwise (e.g. winter trips where we keep some heaters on) turn off all electric heaters. This includes three built-in baseboard heaters (kitchen, bathroom, and downstairs bedroom), and any space heater you may have used. If/when temperatures are dropping below freezing, we will supply additional winter instructions.
Plug the interior security camera back in
Ensure deck slider doors are locked: Ensure the back slider is “locked” using the wood stopper that prevents it from being opened. There are two sliders. One of them should not have been opened in the first place, but both should be locked when you leave.
Make sure you have your vehicle keys before locking cabin
Lock the main door (from kitchen) on your way out: Ensure the cabin door to the kitchen is locked (knob and deadbolt).
Ensure the shed door is closed and locked
Walk-around the cabin as a last check: walk around the cabin at least once before leaving to ensure nothing has been left open, and nothing has been left outside that should not be there.
Attempt to setup directions app before heading back: Put your destination into google maps on your phone for directions before driving back if you need to. You will lose any cell phone service and Internet for most of the trip.
Return the guest keys
Let us know if there were any issues: Please let us know if there were any issues you encountered with the cabin so we can get those issues fixed. Also, let us know if you have any issues with the property, POA, etc.
Crystal Lakes POA rules: https://www.crystal-lakes.org/documents/governing-documents-and-policies/
Guest permission form: https://www.crystal-lakes.org/documents/forms/
Some info on restaurants: https://redfeatherlakes.net/area_services/dining/
Walking to Deadman Road
Walking east from the cabin, turn right on Tiny Bob Road, heading south. When you get to the end of Tiny Bob Road there will be a gate. You can go over or around the gate and you will be on national forest service land. The road is fire route 502 and leads into a national forest camping area. Continuing on route 502 south you will reach Deadman Road. The walk from the cabin to Deadman Road is a little over 20 minutes, a little over one mile, and mostly flat. This is an interesting place to explore the various trail offshoots. Heading west on Deadman Road you will arrive at the North Lone Pine Trailhead, but this is about a one hour walk from the cabin to the trailhead (you might prefer to drive to the trailhead, but you cannot drive from Tiny Bob Road).
Walking “around the block”
We call around shortest neighborhood loop walk “going around the block”. It’s about 1.6 miles and takes about a half hour. You can go either direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise), but it’s all up hill in either direction! 😉 Remember you are at 8700 feet above see level at the cabin. Here’s the clockwise route… Head west on Tesuque Trail, which will bend to the north and end at Chiricahua Circle (pronounced like “cheer a cow uh”). Turn right on Chiricahua Circle heading west. Turn right on Tiny Bob Road heading southwest. Turn right on Tesuque Trail heading east back to the cabin.
Other things to do
If you venture out in your vehicle, driving all of Tiny Bob Road is a pretty backwoods drive that goes through parts of Crystal Lakes and national forest land. You can park at Don Wexelman Park and take the trail across the road to a secluded pond. If you head up to the main area of Crystal Lakes and park at any of the pond parking lots, you can pick up a trail that goes along panhandle creek in either direction. You can also stop in at the basecamp office to look at the maps for other trails and things to do (same place where you take the signed visitor permit).
If you plan to drive to any of the trailheads (or lookout) on Deadman Road, Google maps will give you bad directions (taking you to roads that don’t exist or are gated). You’ll want to head back to 73C / Creedmore Lakes Road heading southeast and turn right onto 86 (Deadman Road) heading west. The turn is before the Potbelly Restaurant, so if you see the Potbelly Restaurant, you went too far. Deadman Road is closed during the winter (which is at least six months in Red Feather Lakes). The North Loan Pine Trail is a great trail to check out along this road. There are other trailheads, campsites, the Deadman lookout, etc. to check out along this route.
If you continue up 73C / Creedmore Lakes Road past Crystal Lakes, you can make it a loop drive back into the Red Feather Lakes main town area. Take 73C / Creedmore Lakes Road northwest toward and past the Crystal Lakes basecamp area. 73C / Creedmore Lakes Road will bend toward the northeast around the base camp (and becomes 180 instead of 73C at some point). When you see a sign for Lost Lake to the right, this is a good place to drive in, stop, and take a look at Lost Lake. Continuing east on Creedmore Lakes Road, the road will end at 19 / Prairie Divide Road. Turn right on 19 / Prairie Divide Road heading south. 19 / Prairie Divide Road becomes 179 / Prairie Divide Road at some point and takes you back to the main town area of Red Feather Lakes and back to 74e / Read Feather Lakes Road (turn right on Read Feather Lakes Road to head back toward Crystal Lakes). 74e / Read Feather Lakes Road turns into 73C / Creedmore Lakes Road.