Author Archives: nwilker

Loch Lake Trail – RMNP

It rained and was icky all week – so we knew hiking normal trails was out, but since the snow still was pretty high in Rocky Mountain National Park we decided to head there with our micro-spikes!

The parking angels shined on us and we got one of the last 4 spots in the parking lot. We had multiple different forecasts depending which app we chose, so I had to borrow a jacket from Suman, and it was windy in the parking lot!

We started off and pretty soon we had to pop on our microspikes. Those helped alot

The trail was well packed most of the time, a bit of an elevation gain along the way. We eventually dropped our heavy layer and kept on trucking. Up past Alberta falls and to the lake. There was definitely a big push to get the final leg to the lake, but it was worth it.

Makes one feel special to be able to live in such an amazing place!

Fun and scary was butt sliding down the hill – definitely left some of the hard part off the knees!


5.7 miles (both our electronic devices said much longer, closer to 7)

Elevation gain – 1072 – starting elevation 9000

Winter conditions was fine with micro spikes

Lake was beautiful, parking could be terrible

Mt Falcon

We have done this hike a few times and it’s definitely a butt kicker and a strenuous up hill adventure!

Generally I pick turkey trot to go up just to avoid the bikes! Lucky for me it was a rather chilly day, well it started out that way, overcast and chilly and everything that was mud was ice.

Turkey trot is a nice uphill, up up up! When you meet up with the castle trail, keep on truckin up to the castle. When you get to the pavillion, go left to the castle, right to another ruin.

It was a nice solo hike i got to have, early morning, coffee in hand and huffin and puffin all the way!


6.7 miles, 1600 ft elevation gain

Great views, wonderful history

Pro tip: parking can be tight, go early, or on off days

Red Rocks Trail – Matthew Winters Park

This is a nice, close to Denver hike! Parking lot is decent but can still fill up quickly.

Very little, as in no shade. Plan accordingly

5.8 miles ( or more if you forget to stop once you hit red rocks amphitheater)

1100 foot elevation gain.

Suman and I decided to try this trail on a post snow saturday! We waited till about 10am for the sun to come out and clear the ice from the roads and then headed out to enjoy the views of denver sprinkled in white.

The parking lot was pretty bare, which was great, we put on our spikes and headed out!

The trail has some nice options for looping to not always repeat what you did.

We enjoyed the views of denver, of red rocks and we got some mileage on our boots! I learned that I will throw away the socks I used and only go with full wool for hiking and skip the inserts!

The hike was interesting in the snow as some of the paths were not clear, but you can’t really get lost here! Next time we will add on and do the full loop across on dinosaur ridge!

By the time we returned most of the paths were pure red mud, so bring something to put your boots in if you go when it is wet!

Mt Galbraith

This trail has been in and out of my life since I first moved to Colorado. As I learn more about the area, the views and terrain seems to change and mean more each time!

The parking is quite limited, so the best times is weekdays or early, really early. Or really off season, but in Colorado that is a trick, isn’t it.

There is very little shade, so plan accordingly.

I have done the trail left and right at the lolly pop. Left seems to have a bit more of a heart pumping assent, but both are fine.

Pro tip: The “top” can be tricky. If you are not taking a trail to the top, do not expect to reach the tippy top. If you are going counter clockwise, when you reach a point where you climb over some rocks and see an up trail and a down trail – you missed the rock steps to descend!

Verdict: Great after work hike! Or mid winter!

Mt Sanitas

Close to home, kick your butt with a 1200 foot elevation gain in under a mile

Mt Sanitas

I’ve done this trail many times over the years! The latest was this morning to get our uphill incline action in preparation for Kilimanjaro!

Pro tip – if it’s nice at all, parking will be a pain.

You can park prior,near the church, or after when the edge parking after you enter sunshine canyon.

It’s a great hike and the strenuous part really makes you remember how your lungs work!

Barr Lake

We are prepping for next year and our climb of kilimanjaro! That means, hiking, miles, feet on the move.

We decided to take a jaunt around Barr Lake

Hubby and I had done this trail on bikes, and they scared us with threats of goat heads everywhere!

We came for the miles and didn’t realize how cold it could be. It was sunny in denver, but not up there!

It was a beautiful walk, the lake was gorgeous! The only draw back was not being able to do the full circle with a pet. The far end is an animal preserve and dogs are not allowed

It took us about 4 hours, which seems silly since it’s a flat walk. We talked and enjoyed each other’s company and the quiet.

The gals enjoying the lake


Great for mileage, great off season! Don’t go at high sun!

South Beach Diet – I tried it!

I had been gaining weight and pretending to be doing all the right things to get it off to no avail. Then we decided to remodel the kitchen which led to an even less ability to cook and eat the best kind of meals. At my annual exam I was complaining about my plight and my dr suggested south beach, so i decided to give it a go. Below was my plan…

The reviews i saw lead me to be wary of how the food would be. So i went into it with lowered hopes. Sadly I also didn’t have a scale to see improvements, but i do have my pants and my rings to help me with that!

The box arrived and dang if it wasn’t huge! 2 weeks worth of frozen food and dried food is a big box. Actually I just read that perhaps it was 4 weeks, things are a little murky there…  But there is plenty of food, or at least i can make it work.

Below i’ve got a run down of what I ate, what i thought, and most pictures of what everything look like compared to the packaging!

Day 1

The first meal I started with was breakfast! “Just add eggs” Ham and cheese scramble. Interesting way to get the meal put together. But the time was a bit long and made it rubbery, but all in all good. Yeah for the first meal being tasty!

The second meal was listed as DIY. Ugh – pretty stressful to have the second meal be on my own when i’m just getting used to this new plan. 

So i went with a riata (greek yogurt, chopped cucumbers, cumin and coriander), 2 hearts of palm, baggie of cherry tomatoes, 2 ounces of turkey.

Afternoon snack was Dark Chocolate Nut bar – not amazing, but it did the job.

Dinner was Texas style chili sauce with meat. Again, another meal for the win! I cooked up some cauliflower rice to use as a base and that was phenomenal! Day 1 under my belt and looking good! 

The lack of carbs was bit rough, but I knew i could do it!

The giant box that get you think is great, but then you finally get the list with the fine print! You need to add your lean proteins and veggies on your own! So i got a buckets of greek yogurt, already peeled hard boiled eggs (yup, i cheated, but without a kitchen, this was just easier) a tub of tukey, a container of roast beef, 3 different kinds of cheese sticks, a container of cottage cheese, some salsa, a container of spinach, some cherry tomatoes, mini peppers, bottles of hearts of palm, tuna and canned chicken, and english cucumbers…  seems like a long list to supplemental items for an expensive box of food eh? But i guess getting some fresh in vs everything in a box…

Day 2

Day 2 let’s rock this thing! The menu listed a snack for mid morning snack, and another for lunch. I’m a big fan of chewing, so i figured this was not going to work for me.

I decided to switch breakfast and lunch! So I started with the Chocolate Caramel Shake. A shaker bottle with water and a smidge of ice, made it nice and creamy! I ended up skipping the mid morning shake and did a couple of hard boiled eggs!

Lunch which was switched for breakfast and was the Florentine Omelet. Again not exactly like the picture but not terrible! Slap Your Mama spice mix can fix everything! I added the breakfast lean protein – another riata – greek yogurt, cucumbers and spices, and some pumpkin seeds for my healthy fat!

To get my veggies in – I went with bell peppers, tomatoes and some hearts of palm!

Next up dinner – it was listed as DIY but I figured i’d trade a weekend dinner for this so I could have more flexibility with the hubby! So I went with Broccoli and Cheese stuffed chicken breast. I call it a chicken ball based on what it looks like out of the package!

I added a salad to get more veggies and make my meal look less pitiful!

The hardest part was no sugar after a meal. I like a little sweet, but I guess that is the point of the reboot, eh? Gotta hate things that make sense. Without being home I didn’t have a teapot, cause i think have a berry herb tea might have gone a long way to make things a bit more pleasant.

Day 3

Day 3, I hit the gym every day, but today seemed super hard and tiring! This lack of carb thing was killing me!

Breakfast was “Just add Eggs” Tuscan Scramble. I tried a bit less time and it was pretty good, but still a little tough. Definitely a neat way to learn you can cook eggs in the microwave with success!

Lunch was another chicken ball – artichoke stuff this time. I cooked it a bit too much, hence the tiny size! “Microwaves power differ!”

I added a serving of cottage cheese with cucumbers and salsa – yup weird, but i like it!

Snack was supposed to be another chocolate nut bar, but I went with hard boiled eggs and some turkey! I know, i live large. Definitely not a sustainable type of diet, but could be done once in a while at a work/home setting.

Dinner was Roasted Turkey – good lord was that terrible. I could mostly swallow it, but ugh. Added another salad for more veggies! Yup trying to get my 5 veggies a day!

Day 4

Day 4 – Half way through the first week. Still pretty tired in the mornings when I climb the 5 flights to the office for fun…  

Breakfast was a bar…  Again not a fan of bars for meal, but hey, let’s give it a chance and I know i also get a lean protein too! Yeah for hard boiled eggs.

Lunch was another bar. I looked amazing…  alas… gross. I had to throw it away. So I went through the rest of things in my lunch bad instead – roastbeef and a cheddar cheese stick and some hearts of palm. 

Snacks were some peppers and some deli ham (it was from last week and I was starving so i finished if off!) Meals as bars don’t work for me, it works for the hubby and other, so you gotta do what works for you.

Dinner was Chicken Primavera and it was pretty good! Yeah, finally a good meal today! Added on a spinach and pepper salad! Using red wine vinegar instead of balsamic, definitely a different taste than i am used to.

Day 5

Day 5 – the last work day! It was another DIY meal,so i decided to go with a shake and some hard boiled eggs. I tried the vanilla this time and it was just as tasty as the chocolate.

Lunch was another bar. Ugh. Still not my favorite and this one was again pretty unappealing. So again – to my lunchbag i go – cheese stick, turkey breast, cottage cheese with cucumber and salsa, tomatoes and then I still wasn’t full and went with the afternoon dark chocolate nut bar. Finally a little fuller.

Dinner… ugh, that was an exercise in unhappy feedings!

The list had chicken primavera, how can you go wrong with red sauce, cheese and chicken… oh god gross.. the oregano was over powering and inedible…  Next up, since i had extra meals, let’s try the sausage! A little better, but still not the most amazing thing, especially the peppers and onions, but I got it down! Along with a good salad!

Day 6

Saturday, the hardest day. We usually have a ritual to enjoy breakfast burritos. Obviously not on my list…  Hubby took paco (the smaller dog) for a ride to get a burrito for him.

Breakfast was another bar – toffee nut bar. Did not look as delicious as the burrito in my hubby’s hand, and I needed another protein shake to get out the door!

Lunch was slated to be DIY, but i did another chicken ball cut up into a nice big salad – Chicken stuffed with mushroom. Pretty tasty! Also did another round of roast beef with a cheese stick and some mustard.

Afternoon snack I went with a hardboiled egg (gotta say, those costco peeled are so easy!)

Dinner I repeated the Chicken Primavera. I also cooked up a couple cups of spinach and mixed it in. Saturday dinner for the win!

Day 7

Day 7 – the final day, we got this people!

I started with the Tropical coconut almond bar. It is something to eat, but not amazing. I was off to see a girl friend, so i packed a back with snacks and lunch items!

I got a big cup of earl gray, at my cottage cheese, tomatoes and salsa, and hard boiled eggs!

For my DIY dinner I decided to do a POKE bowl since hubby had been so good and supportive during the week. We checked all the ingredients to make sure we had picked a good meal for me! 

That is the wrap up of week 1, and i’m off the start week 2 in the morning. I got a sweet potato and frozen berry mix for this week! Going slow, and hoping to be successful again!

Straight Creek Trail

I’ve been wanting to do this hike for a while, because 1, you get to climb over the Eisenhower tunnel and 2 because of the wild flowers!

The mulitple different descriptions had a number of different nileages… turns out it actually is really about 4.9 vs 4.2 and if you do go all the way you get to see the Loveland Ski Lift and slopes!

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Time: 3 hours

Mileage: 4.9

Verdict: Definitely again, and next time bring a snack to enjoy at the top

The pups were a might tuckered, it does start at 11k and is about a 2200 foot elevation gain.

Winston eventaully said no more and demanded a ride in the baby bjorn!

The flowers! Oh the flowers, such a wonderful sight, one whole swath of Columbine and tons and tons of other that i couldn’t even name!

The trail starts off on the westbound side of the 70.

Pavement eventually moves into single track – and up you go!

The trails has lots to look at, and quickly loses the ability to hear the 70 for a good while.

The green grass, mountain tops and more!

After the first big turn the trail is a little less stressfull, but still up!

Since it was overcast it tricked us into thinking that is was not as hard as it was.

We made it the 2.2 mile mark thinking it was almost done… it was a bit more, Risa and I made it to the top but only stopped for just a smidge!

Definitely an amazing hike! Can’t wait to go back!



Sleepy Lion Trail

Sleepy Lion Trail

My friend suman is prepping for a Camino in Spain and needs to get in her miles every day and each weekend. On a recent weekend i joined her on this one – the Sleep Lion Trail .

Difficulty – easy

Time – 2hours – my friend like to take her time, enjoy the scenery, take breaks

Miles – 5.4

Rating – not again

Verdict: It was an interesting hike and close to home-ish.

Lots to sea, some shade.

This portion of the hike is dog off leash – alas – some people thing it’s ok to let their dogs run wild. Luckily my “kids” were not there or some random dog running up and getting all in their business would not have gone well.

You start off and end up on a fire road


Eventually you get to the sign, and pop off the main road.

Thus begins the off leash and if you have a sensitive animal the heart break…


Then we enter the trees, meander the trails, see the reservoir – basically the good part of the hike.


Near the end of the trail portion as it returns to the dirt road you get to see the power of the water!


Along the dirt road is the river and a fun water fall portion!

Toby enjoyed the adventure too!

Mount Galbraith Park

Decided to do a hike after work with a co-worker and wanted to escape the 100 degree day that was in Denver!

We found this one and as luck would have it, the clouds came in and brought the temps down to 85! Sounds crazy to think that was good, but it was!

I had done this one back in 2007 and the trail signage was terrible. This time, it was so much better!

We took the suggestion of go left at the split! We enjoyed the views, although there were a number that were of Golden and the Coors Plant – but it was still wonderful to me. Once you got on the backside it was all green and lush for as far as the eye could see!

We started at the parking lot at the Cedar Gulch Trail start and the the left circle of the Mount Galbraith trail. We did it in 2 hours, we took a couple breaks and we enjoyed getting our sweat on!