Category Archives: Hiking

Mount Grayrock

This hike has been on the list for about 7 or 8 years!

Mt Grayrock is up off the poudre river, west of ft collins. It was in my loop hike book that we got shortly after we arrived colorado.

We attempted it this summer – but the temps in the poudre river area are about the same as denver, so august…  not amazing for starting a hike around 8am.  By 2 miles in, i was out of water and the boys laid down and said no more, and the hubby was ready to file for divorce…

Next up – enter Suman – I tapped her after returning home to hit this up in october – she was game!

The day finally arrived, a high of 55, overcast, ok let’s go!

Suman brought me a “Standard Bagel” from Rosenburgs! I ate half on the jaunt to the trail head!

After that we headed up, up, up and up! The sun was out, but I still had 3 layers on with 1 more in the backpack for the top.

The beginning follows the river and the sides of the trail reach in for you. They say there is poison ivy, so keep those ankles covered!

It was interesting to see the hillsides decimated by beetle kill. We imaged what the colors would have been like for fall if they were all still standing.

We continued up enjoying getting peaks of the hills in all directions. We had yet to see greyrock mt…

Finally we reached some manner of top and also found the wind we had heard blasting through the trees and valleys…. Brrr! For me i had not thought to bring a hat or gloves (also they are packed in storage, so i wouldn’t have ad them any way!) But my wonder woman buff was good enough to cover my ears!

As we meandered over the top we finally got a view of GrayRock and the meadow between us.

The views continued to be stunning!

We eventually got to the “base” of the summit. Then it got really hard. Ugh!

The trail was basically just giant boulders… up and up.

Then the trail was just not really there and you had to take care to watch for the next cairn or sometimes a mini hiker sign..

Then we watched the snow come for us! We thought it disappears and then the next time we looked it had us completely surrounded! On we went…

Final destination – the summit – totally worth it! The hidden lake was beautiful.

I scrambled to just below the top – the wind was too intense for me to risk the top (yup – chicken!)

 Notice my hair blowing sideways…

The views back out toward the hills and ft collins were fabulous! You could see where the sun was and the clouds stopped!

Then it was time to escape the freezing winds and get down to the car! Of course, then the sun came out and the clouds went away – Grayrock looked much more spectacular!

Longest part of the hike – i’m sure of it! My feet were boycotting – all the walking on rocks were just too much for them – but there were still miles to go!

In the end we did the loop including the summit in 6 hours. We rewarded ourselves with a margaritas and some mexican food!

Fabulous day, amazing view, great hiking buddy! Super glad we made it – no need to do that again!

 

 

 

Camping on the Poudre

Yup – it looks french, but here in Colorado we call it – the “Pooder”

Whatever you call it, it’s a great river that runs from the rockies out toward Fort Collins and Beyond.

We have camped at different places over the years and this year I decided to get us closer to a hike I wanted – Gray Mountain. So I picked a spot that had just a few spots and a walk in site to use our new fold up cart! It was early august and our official last camping for the season.

This thing was amazing! We watched families take about 85 trips back and forth to their cars, we took, maybe 4! Woot! And putting away things at the end of the day – food smells etc – was def easier too!

We got to our campsite early enough, and got everything set up and had time to relax and enjoy my new fav beverage cherry rum and coke!

The view was toward the rest room, but if you overlooked that, being in a canyon was pretty cool. We couldn’t really the see the river, but we were close enough to hear the roar and relax.

The camp hosts stopped by, they were located 5 miles the other direction down the road, and that is where the camp fire wood was. And they were kind enough to let us know that this camp ground was known to have rattle snakes. WTF? So i spent a bit of time watching the boys on their tethers and being worried about them finding one! Arg!

Our dinner was another attempt at the “pizza roll”. It was slightly more successful but still not a keeper as far as camping cuisine goes. This time it did not stick to the foil, but it also was raw in the middle and burned on the outside. Boo.

I like the idea, but think pocket pies or calzones are going to be more successful!

Next day was an attempt to climb Mt Greylock. It was not successful. I always forget how hot that valley is. I (probably not we) shall return in the fall and do a successful summit!

Pro tip:

There is a parking lot across the road, but you can also park on the road in a pullout that puts you on the same side of the road as the beginning of the hike.

There  is a switchback early on that can be missed and you can end up scrambling to find the trail, when you think you lost the trail, you probably did! Look behind you!

After that failure, we took the rest of the day to relax, enjoy the campsite, rest and read!

 

The final day hubby finally got his camping pancakes. I hate pancakes because they are so messy, but i was reminded we have 2 furry roombas to take care of the plates prior to packing them!

The morning was a little lazy and slow, but eventually we did as winston wanted and left the dirt and grime behind and headed on home!

Definitely an interesting camp site. Not sure if we would want to be close to the water, people tended to stop at this camp ground even though the signs said no day use, they would meander through the camp sites closer to the water, and either hang out or meander back. We liked where we were, we had shade and close enough to the rest room and our car!

Kilimanjaro Feasibility Weekend

Suman and I have decided that  2020 will be the year that we hike Kilimanjaro

To determine if we can actually accomplish this great feat, we had decided to do a couple hikes at altitude in one weekend. Based on work, sick dogs and more… we only accomplished 1 hike, but we had fun.

This one was St James Peak. You start on St Mary’s Glacier and keep going.

Pro tip – just bring yak trax or some manner or snow walking geer, totally worth it for the way down. We didn’t do it and snap, that was terrible!

  

After we reached the end of the galcier, we thought it was a straight shot…  Instructions seemsed ok.

“Though the trail disappears once over the road, a number of trail markers about 75 yards away – clearly visible in the open tundra – will connect you back to it.”

Alas, we went the wrong direction, never reach a peak, but did get in our miles, our altitude and some quality time together. Next time, we shall do better!

  

 

Cow Creek South 4th Annual Camping Trip

There was shift in participants this year, some of the original crew and some new attendees!

A great time was had mostly by all!

We seem to have been remiss in taking photos, but we have a couple!

The campground seems to be getting popular and it was hard to get our double site, but we did ok with just half! Filled it with 10 people and 4 tents!

The boy are getting better at relaxing on our drives to camping.

Although paco seems to think he really should be the navigator!

We arrived friday just in time to set up the tent and then hide inside while it poured!

The rest of the crew arrived between 6 and dark. We enjoyed the fire and some mac n cheese on the campfire!

The next day our friends Pam and Mike cooked up some bacon, sausage and eggs! Omg delicous!

Next up we all went on our separate adventures! Some went fishing, we went hiking, and a couple others enjoyed the quiet at the campground without everyone!

Hiking – Angler Mountain

We let the pregnant participant choose the hike so that she would feel comfortable! I know she did tons better than myself and winston!

As the hike started, it pitched up hill quite fast, we did get into some trees and the first couple miles does have plaques for the types of plants and trees. We anticipate this portion of the trail getting overtaken by all the new construction, and that the trail head will be further up.

Once you pass through the forest you arrive at a gigantic power plant and then any idea of having shade disappears! It got a bit toasty for myself as well as winston. So he enjoyed a less strenuous hike, and i added some to mine! But i did find that putting him into the baby bjorn sideways works way better and he falls over less!

It was a wonderful view, we just started a smidge to late, so i’d suggest getting an earlier start on a hot day for anyone choosing this hike. Also the top is kind of less climactic, so perhaps a bit more research to find a better place to stop “at the top”.

After we got back the boys enjoy some well deserved rest in their tent!

Sunday we got a little lazy, and then slowly broke camp and headed back to civilization! After another wonderful breakfast cooked by Mike!

Another great year! Less mosquitos this year! And our special less bad spray worked great!

Paco and mom hike Maxwell Falls

The sunday before the 4th, i decided I needed to get outdoors and enjoy the day, but it had to be early, so we didn’t die in the heat!

I got up/woke up around 6 and left winston to sleep with Dad while Paco and I snuck off to hike Maxwell Falls.  This is a hike we are familiar with because it is close to denver, shaded for most of the trail, has water (river and the falls) and just around 4 miles. More specifics on the hike are here in a previous post.

Paco loves the car and dirt, winston loves sleeping and the couch, so really it was no brainer on who to take out that morning!

We got out there early enough to be the second car in the parking lot! So we knew we would have the trail to ourselves for at least a little bit!

Paco got to scare a “herd” of deer, and he was pretty pumped from that!

We picked a different way back and I am pretty sure it was up hill the entire way, but we got some new and fun sights!

It was a really great morning, enjoying the sights, so many wild flowers!

It was great way to kick off our sunday! Paco said he had a great time!

 

Camping at Lake Granby

One of things i do when picking camping locations is to find some place we have not ventured to or somewhere where the hike i want it would be a 2 hour or more drive to get there and then back.

This time it was the fact that we have never been up the 40 past Berthoud Pass. So i found a camp site, at the end of a lake and booked it!

It was a long and windy drive over the pass… winston and I were a little green!

Then apple maps brought us to the wrong location and with no signal to really figure out where we needed to be, so that was a fun marriage test…

Finally we found where we needed to be and set up camp, all before 5pm!

The views were pretty amazing, the restroom was close, but not close enough for people to meander through our site, and we could see the sun set! It was a great site! We also decided that even though we didn’t overlook the water, it was better, as the we were slightly down an incline and protected from the wind! Win win!

Saturday brought a chilly morning, as the sun didn’t crest the campsite until 7 or 8am. So that was kind of a treat! We relaxed and enjoyed the day as i didn’t have an exact hike on deck!

We finally decided to get moving around 11am and do a lake hike! It was a pretty nice hike, more hills than expected but a nice 4 mile hike!

After that it was time for lunch and snacks and a nap and finally some time sitting by the lake…

 

And of course the boys were not interested in playing in the water, they wanted to sit with us with their dirty paws….  Oh monkies…

 

There was definitely some experimenting with recipes for using ones we generally do at home!

Friday was our new mac n cheese – we overdid the time in the fire… But still mostly edible!

Saturday was korean chicken with tater tots  packets in the coals!

     

 

Sunday was another lazy day, we waiting for the sun to crest the hill and warm up the tent before we started moving. Eventually winston was adamant that we leave this place and get on home!

 Poor little princess hates to be dirty!

It was a really nice site, decent size! Good location to the rest room, not surrounded by other sites, and a good view of the sunset! A would do again!

On the drive home, paco decided he needed to be the navigator! He stood on the center console for nearly an hour over the pass and back to the 70, then when traffic hit, he took a little rest!

Hiking and Camping in the National Grasslands

Pawnee Buttes – i found a page about this place in a book about best places to camp in Colorado. It was east, we never go east to camp, so figured why not try this place out.

I had originally gotten a campground reserved here 3 years ago in june. As we all know the hubby doesn’t like to potty anywhere but in a structure. Said structure can be over a hole in the ground, but it provides privacy. So i book most of our campsites between december and february for the summer. Unfortunately when things come up closer to… well, we’ll be camping..

That year hubby found out the WWDC ended the friday that we would have left to go camping. Since he puts on a separate conference in the same location, i figured he’d be tired. So i haraged a girlfriend to come with and we could do nature, no problem.

As time approached i received info from the camp host that the nearby reservoir had been too full so they released some water that flooded the campground, but they hoped it would dry up… hmmm…. The week prior we got another call that the water was somewhat receding but alas the standing water and drawn the mosquitos and that if we wished to cancel, we could do so with no reprise..  we did so!

Finally this was the year to try this place out! As the same girl friend and i were deciding on when we could camp (letting the hubby join in) we thought of this place! You can start camping in April cause it is towards Kansas and gets super hot faster than other locations.

Turns out it is only 1.5 hours from home to the campsite which is not actually in the grasslands but “close” (Crow Valley camp ground – on the left by briggsdale, buttes are in the middle)

As the years pass, we keep going bigger for camping! We upgraded to the family sleeping bag at christmas (thanks mom)! Queen sleeping bag on queen air mattress.

We als got a tent for the boys for christmas (thanks melissa), someplace they could go when the sun was out or they wanted a rest from the dirt. Paco immediately took to it after we set it up, in the house and was always in there, till we had to put it away, but winston wasn’t so sure. He’s not really a dirt kinda dog. But he did end up enjoying it while we spent the weekend camping!

 

Saturday was our day to hike the buttes! I was kind of excited, first hike of the season with an elevation gain of a mere 300 feet or so! Win!

It took 45 minutes on mostly terrible roads to get there,but we did it! Then it was off the explore nature

The trail is flat and pretty straight forward, there is a surprising bit of down to get into some of the valleys between, but not too terrible!

Suman took the lead with paco! He was raring to go! I was a bit concerned when i was chatting with the ranger and asking if there was anything particular i should look for and she said – “Watch out for snakes”. Oy. Thanks for that. We didn’t see any snakes – thank goodness, but i also kept the boys close!

We got out to almost the farthest butte when the boys decided the lack of shade and the nearly 3 miles one way was too much for their little selves! I knew we were probably getting into a pickles as they actually sat and asked for water along the way (winston generally refuses water – i provide them water by squeezing my camelback bite valve and they get a spray of water to partake)

We took it easy coming back, enjoyed the backside of the buttes and then took a break under a tree for a snack and some relaxing!

It’s a crazy landscape and such a weird thing to be out in the flat lands and then have pieces of land just jutt up and be there!

We almost made it back to the trail head before both boys completely boycotted and had to be carried back to the car! Of all the weekends to forget my baby bjorn… Turns out Winston had a cut in the middle of his paw, but i think paco being shorter was just tuckered out!

They and we relaxed the rest of the day, reading and enjoying the great campsite! Sunday was packed up, that was definitely a treat to try and figure out how to get the sleeping bag back into the sack… it took 2 of us! (Later at home, after letting it air out, i figure out the best way to stuff it in the sack was to unzip it all and stuff in in like a regular sleeping bag! Great way to start the camping season off!

Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

Spent a wonderful weekend with the hubby at Rocky Mountain National Park!

Us at the campsite

I traded a work trip on sunday for more of friday to play! We were able to hit the road by 10, 10:30 am! We arrived in Estes in time for lunch! Enjoy a great meal, a great temp, and a great view! Right on the river!

Great camp site

We headed into the park in time to check in and set up our tent! I had plans that we would pop over the Bear Lake area and get in a hike. Alas the crazy thunderstorms prevented that – so relaxing and beer at the campsite it was!

Beers at the site

We enjoyed the quiet and views, until….  Apparently national parks are now where large groups and families that cannot control themselves, their children or their talking volumes go…

We had a pretty great dinner – i recently discovered tater tots in foil on the fire! A-Mazing!

The next morning we headed for our hike – i had one in mind, but the ranger and the super crowded buses made me re-think my decision to a different on – Emerald Lake

The end

There were definitely a lot of people on the trail, but the views and the hike was wonderful!

I am still taking care with my knee, so i chose one with only 600 foot elevation gain, but goodness did it seem like more!

Lake Emerald Hike

Starting the hike!

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First Lake – Nymph Lake

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Then onto Dream Lake and the River that connects them!

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Finally onto Emerald Lake – a pretty pretty place to spend a little time sitting and enjoying nature – and all the rest of the people that were there as well!

The end

It took 1 hour up and less down! Took longer to take the bus from the camp ground, to the carpool lot, to the bus to Bear Lake. Definitely get up early and take a nap later!!

We enjoyed a great afternoon reading and relaxing, and snacking! So quiet when the annoying families are away for the day!

The other bummer on our campsite – i picked on that was uphill from the rest room. Like a kick your pants to return to the campsite after you pee!

But all in all our quiet time relaxing and not worrying about the monkeys was fabulous!

Reynolds Park Open Space – Eagles View Hike

It appears i have been remiss on documenting my hikes! Last year was a slow year and not many were done, but this year i hope to rectify that!

 

We celebrated the boys’ birthday in the normal fashion of a hike! I’ve had some knee issues and only have gotten in 1 hike so far this season, so we decided to go light on the mileage. Thought we were also going light on the elevation gain as well… but I don’t think so!

We had done this hike before, but I can’t remember which route we did. This time we decided to go right. Had I read some of the remarks on this site, i might have shifted the route a bit and skipped the hot and steep up hill part on Raven’s Roost.

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We took the

  • Right arm of the Elkhorn,
  • Right at the Raven’s roost intersection,
  • Right onto the Eagle’s View Trail,
  • connecting back at Oxen Drive – go right, and then the
  • second Elkhorn to return to the parking lot.

According to the comments on the other site, to avoid the steep, hot up hill, do this instead:

  • Left arm of Elkhorn
  • Right onto Oxen Draw
  • Right onto Raven’s Roost
  • Left onto Eagle’s View Trail
  • Reconnect at Oxen Draw and repeat your steps back to the car.

OR

  • Left arm of Elkhorn
  • Right onto Oxen Draw
  • Left onto Eagle’s View Trail
  • Right at Raven’s Roost
  • Reconnect at Oxen Draw and repeat your steps back to the car.

Length: For once, the book, and online matched the GPS! I was little worried when the Eagle’s View portion said 2.3 miles, but the other parts line up nicely

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Difficulty: I can say it’s isn’t easy, but i can’t say it’s super strenuous. We took our time, plodded up the uphills and made it to the view in about an hour.

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Time:We got a late start since I knew we were going to “altitude” and i didn’t want to rush the morning. We arrived at the parking lot around 10:15, and were on the trail by 10:30. Completed by 12:30.

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Rating:

I enjoyed this hike and it was a good 10-15 degrees cooler than it was in Denver, so that was a treat as well.  You definitely sweat it up, but the views are worth it!

The wildflowers were out in force and all that made me smile!

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There were also a ton of butterflies of all different kinds. It was great! Hubby tried to capture a mating ritual on film… but all you can see is little blurs…

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There is not real “top”, there is a ridge that you arrive at. From the right route, you arrive out of the trees to an amazing view, you continue to enjoy that view along the .25/.5 portion until you head back down into the trees!

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Boulder Lake Hike

Annual camping trip to cow creek south on green mountain reseviour! I needed a new hike for the group. I found this one – boulder lake hike. The info i had indicated a 800 foot elevation gain a 500 foot elevation loss. Sounds not too bad right? They lie. Even pro-trails was just so-so on the description.

Trail head (summer) definitely needed high clearance. Road is pretty rutted and large rocks abound! We finally made it, took us nearly an hour off the main road for that…

Trail head was right there, plenty of info.

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Off went and the sights eere pretty fabulous!

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The boys did very well! Ended up being longers and harder and hotter than anticipated, but they were troopers!

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The lake was beautiful! Definitely worth the treck up there! Alas once we turned around, i wasn’t so sure! Definitely a tough one!

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