Devil’s Head Fire Lookout

 

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Length: We ended up at 3.34 with some of the zin offshoot

Difficulty: It’s definitely up and you’ll be sweating, but it’s only 1.5 to the top, you can do it!.

Time: we did it in about and hour and a half with some stops to check out the top, snacks at the zinn off shoot and other lovely places on the way up and down

Rating: Nice hike! Definitely gets crowded! We were at the trail head by 9am and were the 3rd car there, by the time we left the top there was no parking left, cars were in the woods, and the trail was very crowded on the way back down!

I’ve had this hike on my to-do for a bit, especially since it is rated as a, if you live in the front range you should definitely hike this. I got a lovely group of gals to join me on the jaunt up and was especially excited about the 143 stairs at the top!

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The views along the way were so amazing! Lots of land and buttes and trees and mountains as far as the eye can see!

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The mid way point has a sign, but i swear it seemed alot further from there than to there!

 

Meatballs Stroganoff – crockpot

Found this in “everyday low-carb slow cooker cookbook” – right – who knew such a thing existed – yeah for public libraries!

IT is listed as an appetizer but i went with calling it dinner – made about 6 servings with a bag of the no yolk egg noodles.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbl dried minced onions
  • 1 can mushrooms (original called for 10 ounces fresh chopped)
  • 2 pounds meat balls – frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, room temp (i used lite and it was fine)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (original called for 1/4tsp – really, why bother with that little!)

Preparation:

  1. Add first 6 ingredients (pepper through mushrooms) to the crock pot, mix will. (turned the crock pot on and let the mixture make the bouillon cubes melt and moosh) Add the meatballs stir (since they are frozen, stirring it does no damage)
  2. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir to coat meatballs 1 or 2 times during cooking.
  3. Just before serving, add sour cream and hot sauce.

Verdict: So much better than expected! Tasty, flavorful, very filling with a bag of no yolk egg noodles. (that part also makes no long no carb…) This bad boy will definitely make the rotation – bag o meatballs from costco, makes it super easy! I would probably do 1.5 lb or less so there is more sauce to meatball ratio, but i’m also only feeding 2 people, this could easily feed a big family! Or do as originally suggested and make it an appetizer and skip the noodles!

Mt Flora

I’ve had this hike on my to-do list for years! The main worry was about it being too hot with very little shade. Finally I convinced some friends that this would be a great hike!

Length: My GPS said 7, book says 6.3

Difficulty: Heck it’s hard! All up, you start at 10k feet and are climbing steadily till 13,900 feet.

Time: we did it in under 3 hours!! There were storms threatening on the way up, and then lightening on the way down, so we were cruising in both directions!

Rating: Tough, but a really pretty hike. Lots to see, cooler than Denver, so even a 90 degree day in Denver is only 60-70 up there! Bring layers, you will get hot, then cold, then hot, then cold!

To start the hike, park in the Berthed Pass Parking lot – use the rest room at the far end, start the hike on the other end by the service gate. There will be no marker. But you will see signs for the continental divide trail. You will cruise up some windy switchbacks, on a wide service road. Eventually you will come to a sign!

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Keep on climbing and climbing and climbing. There will be some amazing views to left/west, and down to route 40, to right/east and the mountain ranges around you! Just keep on trucking up…

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When we finally go to the top, it was kinda hard to tell you were there. First because we ended up “in” the clouds

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Second was because it’s a pretty flat summit. There will be a circular rock thingy on your left, but you will probably only notice the pile of rocks ahead to your right, but just turn around and it will be more obvious Inside that round area is the bottle with the signature paper for the summit list! Woot!

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Definitely not a hike for the feint of heart, but enjoyable, doable and beautiful!

 

 

Fresh Salsa

I’ve always thought fresh made salsa was silly – what’s wrong with pace….

Then we finally had a year when we had too many tomatoes to eat before they went bad!!

I started here, and i think the secret ingredient is cumin!

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Ingredients:

  • 5-6 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 slices of red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1-2 tsp dried cilantro  (fresh if you have it…  i never do)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Preparation:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor
  • Pulse till consistency desired 5-8 times
  • Let sit overnight in fridge to allow flavors to blend

 

 

 

easy crockpot sriracha honey meatballs

So, the hubby sent me this recipe, for wings… Hubby doesn’t like chicken on the bone (although i love them), so i figured, hey, let’s try this with meatballs!

Pretty tasty!

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Easy Crockpot Sriracha Honey Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds frozen meatballs
  • 1/2 cup sriracha sauce (Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, the one with the rooster on the package)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • juice of one lime (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

In a 4 quart slow cooker on low add sriracha sauce, butter, honey and lime juice.  Stir to combine.  Add meatballs.  Stir until wings are well coated. 

Cook on low 3-4 hours then on high for 1-2 hours.

Verdict:

Tasty! Definitely a nice kick. Don’t let them cook too long or they get the strange over saturated kind of thing going on.

We also cut them into quarters and fried them up to add to our mac n cheese while camping! MMMMM!

 

Fountain Valley Trail – Roxborough Park

This hike has been a todo for a while. It was in my loop hike book.

IMG_8142Length: 3.24 miles,

Difficulty: Moderate/Easy – lots of ups and down, no shade

Time: Less than 2 hours (We had a hot little boy, so we had to stop and see if we could make him happier)

Rating: Good hike, close to home! More of a winter kingd of thing. There are a couple other hikes that i want to do, and hope to get to those in the cooler months!

This place can get pretty full – we went pretty late on a saturday in the summer, but still managed to grab a spot in the further lot.

NOTE: do not use the bathroom in that lot! Use the lovely bathroom in the visitors center!!

NOTE: DOGS are NOT allowed!

It is part of the Colorado State Park system, so having a friend with a a state park pass can be a savings! And they give you fruit snacks at the front gate!

We headed off from the lot, found the visitor center and good bathroom and decided to go counter clockwise. Makes it harder to see the signs and the harder part is near the end that way, but not undoable!

The views were great of the rock jutting out of the ground, the wild flowers were great and the over look is pretty cool. There is also an old home stead you can peak into.

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Again, i enjoyed myself and think it is a great option for the cooler months when the snow is in the foot hills, but it wont be here!

Peanut noodles with Edamame

Found this ditty in Real Simple and it’s been waiting to be made.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rice noodles
  • 2 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 cup corn

 

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the edamame during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, puree the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and ½ cup water in a blender until smooth.
  3. Toss the pasta with the corn, and peanut dressing in a large bowl.

Maxwell Falls Hike

Fourth of july – time to get out and explore colorado and get in a hike!

Maxwell Falls Hike

Length: 3.8 to 4 miles, depending on your gps

Difficulty: Moderate – lots of ups and down, but shaded

Time: Less than 2 hours (lots of stops for dog training and resting at the falls)

Rating: Good hike, close to home! Shaded so not terrible in 80 degrees, should try again in the fall, see the colors.

I had done this hike with a friend a few years ago, but never found the falls. This time i did a smidge more research, and knew hubby and the boys and I could find the falls!

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We got up at an acceptable time, got ready and headed out to evergreen. I got a little nervous when it was only 9am and 80 degrees on our way out of town…  When we reached Evergreen the temps dipped to 75… good think we were going into the woods!

We found street parking, not terrible – and ran across the street to the trail head! Careful of the sharp blink curve, and of note, no trash cans at the trail head, to pack in and out your poop. Thanks boys! (TMI – paco pooped twice and winston once – sigh!)

The trail was up and down and up and down and up and down! Not too terrible but definitely not flat! There were a couple stream crossing, and when we eventually got the falls, as you can see – nothing spectacular, but still fun and cute!

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Surprise Lake and Camping at Cow Creek

Last weekend – the last weekend prior to the 4th – which will now become an annual event, i got 2 fabulous campsites right on a reservoir and invited a bunch of different out doorsie people to join me/us!

Here is the campsite to the left

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To the right, and closer to the right, you can see the tree in both! Great place to be!

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We had found this camp site last year and decided to come again this year but get both the sites in what i call a “culdesac”

We had good times around the fire and enjoyed some serious relaxing and bonding time

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Saturday was a hike we had attempted last year and were thrwated by the mosquitos! this year we were prepared and so were the pups! We had deet they had puppy spray – lemongrass and catnip and they are on heart worm! Suprise lake! It’s a portion of a much longer hike (9.3) – we did the 2.6 each way one!

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It was the first time i had hiked with such a big crowd since girl scouts, but it was great!

Most of the time we were in the woods, mosquitos swarming, but not too too hot! Views were amazing and the columbines were gorgeous!

Hubby and another of the fellas say the hike was straight up hill… I thought it was ok!  ;)

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Definitely hope to do the whole 9.3 next year, or at least hike around Surprise Lake, it was so pretty!

Lessons learned:

  • The deflate portion of the air pump for the air mattress is amazing
  • We can put up our tent in super windy conditions
  • Being without cell signal can be an amazing thing

The boys turn 4

Has it really been that long? Are the boys really that old?

It seems like only yesterday that we brought them home with us!

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It’s been an eventful year, full of camping, hiking, and hanging around with mom and dad!

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