Category Archives: Hiking

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!

 

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!

 

 

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!

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

Mount Falcon – Castle Trail hike

Memorial day finally arrived, so it was time to get this hiking thing/season, and off on a bang!

Sadly the weekend was icky until monday, when it was finally not 40% chance of rain and 50-60 degrees – it was 75-80 degrees and bright sunshine!

Castle Trail Hike – Mount Falcon

Length: 6-8 miles depending the route

Difficulty: Strenuous – it’s up, straight up. The turkey trout side is a less steep option, but also a little longer. We took that on the way out… it sure seemed like forever!

Time: 3 hours.

Rating: A good hike in the off season, no shade. Although all the wild flowers were gorgeous! Can get crowded with bikes and people. The view of Denver and red rocks were fabulous!

Note: Parking is small, so go early or go late!

Here is another option to make the hike shorter and less strenuous, and all the trail descriptions are here.

Imagine this trail iamge being a full circle, as if i didn’t forget to turn on my tracking until 1/2 a mile in!

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Heading off to get our hike on:

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Panoramic view near the top! Such a great view!

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Amazing views of Red Rocks!

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Some of the wild flowers!

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Cute couple at the top!

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Back to the parking lot – tuckered, hot, but accomplished!

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Meyers Homestead Trail

First hike of the season for 2014!

The easier hike in Walker Ranch!

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I’ve had this hike in my list for a while. But due to the lack of shade and multitude of mountain bikes it kept getting pushed off. This April was nice enough to grab a couple gal pals and head out and see what there was to see! We took the pups and they did just fine!

IMG_7485There were elk near the path – as in a few hundred feet away – and even that far they were huge looking!!

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We got to the “summit” pretty quick. Not too much of an elevation gain which was great!IMG_7499

View from the summit was nice!

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Verdict:

A nice hike, out of the prime hiking time!

And the ranger tweets the conditions too!

 

Dowdy Lake Camping Trip

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This was our final “booked” campground of the summer. I had a campsite i wanted. I put a reminder in my calendar to get up at 6am to make sure i could get this site. You can book 6 months to the day, before you want to go. I got up at 6am, clicked the book campsite button. Bam – too early. You can’t book until 10am. Say what? Where the heck was the fine print… sigh. Fine. Set another alarm for 9:58am…  I’m in the middle of making treats for the pups, hands all gooey…  no matter… click the book campsite button… Bam – site already booked…. WHAT?????

I yelled a smidge loud, so loud that hubby heard me in the garage thru the floor and closed door.

Grumble… 4 letter words…  what’s a girl to do?

Make lemonade…  I booked Saturday and Sunday night and took Monday off! Dang it – i shall have this campsite!!!

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<—— #25, right on the corner, on the water…

 

 

 

The site was right on the water.

It all worked out great – we had a “going away” part for a friend friday night, slept in, and heading up north for a long weekend of relaxing!

Sigh of beauty, sigh of relaxing!

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We had our new tent arrive in time for this trip. After our last even of spending an inordinate amount of time in a cramped space, we decided to branch out and get a 6 person, yup i said 6, 2 room, with a front porch tend! OH yeah! Luckily i read the reviews and there were other couples with 1 or 2 dogs that bought the tent for the same reason we did! Room for your stuff, room for the 6 foot tall hubby to be able to stand up!

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Definitely a much heavier tent – 40 pounds – and a longer set up time. 20 minutes, possibly longer, we didnt’ time it! But we did it! I also had a special pad/carpet for the floor – cushy for the feet and to keep dirt and pressure off the tent floor!

It worked great! Little trouble rolling it back up, but i did it, and we’ll see what it looks like the next trip!

After that it was time for some relaxing and a jaunt around this amazing lake at our door step!

The next morning we awoke to an amazing orange sunrise, and some amazingly loud children, the same annoying children that screamed and hollered for most of our stay on Saturday (i was tempted to let them hear a little screaming of my own after dark – wink wink, nod nod – but we did not!)

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After a couple of cups of coffee, some more relaxing, some wildlife viewing (there we 3 sets of deer that meandered around the camp sites, in the water, and across in the woods – even some babies) we headed out to do another loop around the lake! So pretty, and a nice jaunt!

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We got back in time for lunch – well an early lunch, but we had worked up an appetite!

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The boys had too!

 

We enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing, reading, napping, running away from the rain drops, more napping…  It was heaven!

After an early dinner, what else are you going to do when you are having a relaxing vacation – but to eat! I took a stroll around the lake – solo – in the opposite direction – just to see it from a different angle. Boy was it beautiful, fun, relaxing, peaful… until i remembered…  the warning about the bear (there was one seen around the campground 2 days before we got there), and the kind people earlier in the day that said someone had seen a moose swimming in the lake just last week…  well crap… twilight…  when the animals come out to eat… so i whistled. And if you know me, i can’t whistle like a regular person, i can only whistle if i inhale… so i’m walking, fast, inhaling to whistel, so I’m hyperventilating, my eye site at twilight is pretty much garbage anyway – so everything looked like ears and a snout… But i made it, no animal sitings, no falling over from lack of oxygen, just a fabulous walk around the lake!

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All in all an amazing time! The point was to relax, i only had the 2.2 mile walk around the lake planned as our exercise, so the rest was just enjoying some downtime! Success!

 

P.S – tent was great, we slept pretty good (except i forgot my earplugs), boys enjoyed all the space, john enjoyed being able to put on his pants while standing upright, and it help up thru the rainstorm and some bit of wind!

St Mary’s Glacier

This little ditty has been on my “to do” list for years. But because of it’s length it was never “worth the drive”. It needed to be on the way home or on the way to somewhere… Finally – with MIL in town, I had a “reason” to do it! Woot!

Length: .75 miles (yup – 1.5 miles round trip)

Difficulty: Medium to Strenuous (due to mostly an uphill trek on rocks)

Time: under an hour (going slow to not kill MIL since we were at 9K feet)

Rating: Great hike! Wonderful place to bring a book, find a rock and enjoy your morning. afternoon.

Note: Parking lot prior to hike is large, parking lot after is closer but holds less cars. Both are $5. There are alot of people, dogs and kids, go early to avoid!

St. Mary’s Glacier

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According to the sign, 3/4 of a mile to the glacier. Unfortunately in Colorado – it really just looks like snow in August!

We trudged up the trail, stumbling over rocks, huffing and puffing with the altitude! IMG_5786 IMG_5813  IMG_5788

The views were amazing and the wind was whipping.

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Such a beautiful place, can’t wait to come back and enjoy a day, with a picnic and a book!

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We were pretty proud of claudia for huffing thru the hike and making it up the hillside!

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Ceran St Vrain Hike and Camping in Peaceful Valley

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Hike details:

Total mileage – 6ish miles (directions on where to turn were not clear, so we had a bit of extra steps)

Trail Head is at the Ceran St Vrain off of Overland

Level of effort – a nice walk in the woods – down to start, so therefore up to end if off. There is a bit of a climb near the end, and it gets warm.

I’ve been wanting to do this hike since I got my Front Range Hikes book! Finally! I booked a campsite at Peaceful Valley just 15-20 minutes up the road!

We left home friday, a little later than normal, but that was one of the reasons we started booking sites this summer, so we didn’t have to stress about having a campsite!

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We had gotten a growler of our favorite beer the night before and once the tent was set up and the fire started, we tasted each other for a fabulous weekend together!

 

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After dinner, it was time to try a new recipe mom and sent!

Replace the chocolate in a smore with a reces peanut butter cup!

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Sady the final result was less than stellar… Perhaps our peanut butter cups were too cold or since i’m pretty particular about how toasted my marshmellow is… maybe i didn’t get enough melting!

The next day we awoke to mr paco hurling up what littlw was in his tummy – so my easing into the day was shot. We decided to just get crackin and get to the trail! Good thing we did, because when we started it was completely deserted and wonderful, but on the way back down it was getting crowded!

The trail starts by crossing the famous river! Ceran St Vrain!

Then we meandered through the wood, seeing all the national forest campsites that were pretty amazing, but we were not interested in the effort to get all your stuff that far from the car!

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The route seemed pretty clear, the river was fabulous the boys enjoyed the walk, nice and cushy for their feet.

The wildflowers were everywhere, although the elusive rocky mountain orchid was not to be seen!IMG_5689

At one point we merged with a jeep road, and it turned a bit more rocky. Eventually we found the top and miller rock. It says there was a path around and a way to scramble to the top… we didnt’ really find it, but we did find a perch and an amazing view of the indian peaks wilderness!

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The way back down was a little confusing to us – basically go left, just go left!!  We weren’t sure and ended up meandering thru the woods trying to compare our route on the gps to the route in the book…  nearly impossible till you are done! So we did a bit of backtracking and then found our way down the hill!

We took a break when we reached the river again and the boys hopped in and enjoyed the cool water!

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It was a great hike, and we were really glad we did it early in solitude and much cooler than when we were leaving the hike!

Back at the campsite, after a bit of relaxing… the rain came in, and in and in… We put up our mesh sunshade… so it kept up mostly dry, but not as exciting or relaxing a nights as we had hoped. We gave up and got in the tent during a break in the clouds around 8pm! Party animals!

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The next day i took a little jaunt with the boys in between rain drops and enjoyed the area! Super pretty and beautiful – hopefully it we end up there again, we’ll have more dry time to enjoy the campsite!

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