Category Archives: Hiking

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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Bear Peak Hike

 

 

Hike details:

Total mileage – 7.7 miles (6.2 on my iphone, 7.9 on my friends)

Trail Head is at the NCAR in boulder – great large parking lot, not shimmying your car off the side of the road

Level of effort – STRENOUS – yup, no kidding. And do not bring a dog!!! Seriously, there is very little shade, the rocks are hot and sharp – leave them at home!

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I’ve had this hike on my radar for a while – but since it was over 7 miles, depeding which book and website you read.

A girlfriend asked me to hike, her hubby bailed so that let my hubby of the hook. Due to bridge/I-70 I wanted to stick to this side of the Idaho Springs on a sunday! I talked her into this long hike!

This is a loop hike, but the first half is much longer than the down! Up to the summit is over 4 miles, just a little over 3 to get down!

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I found this hike in the “Hiking Colorao’s Front Range”

The first half is a bunch of switch-backs, then meandering, you go thru a multitude of climates, water, desert, fire recovery…IMG_5578

You start of seeing the flat irons – oh my goodness – so amazing, beautiful and cool!

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There are a couple splits in the trails, but this is by far one of the best marked trails i’ve been on in ages!

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Close to the top after you make the final turn back toward to top – you come across one of the results of the fires a couple years ago. It looks like a crazy halloween on the side of a mountain!

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Once you reach the top, if you can find it!! There is a quick u turn close to the top, you need to go around to a sign that indicates the top is to your right. Basically scrambling up some rocks – that are SUPER HOT!! – and hard to manage!

We got close enough to the top to call it good in our book!

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The views were AMAZING!!

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Then we had the HARD part – down, the down was basically a giant boulder staircase.

Big steps for us gals with little legs!

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This was the deal for about 1.5 miles…  The trail is hard to follow at the point, basically just keep going down… and down, and then down a little more.

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After that it was just a bunch of switch backs – y’know, like a million!

I definitely sweated my bootie off, but had a great time and am really proud of myself for doing it!

IT did take till Wednesday night for my thighs to return to normal and able to use stairs without looking like a fool!

Stanley Mountain Trail

6.5 mile hike – according to Hiking with Dogs in Colorad

Think it was more like 6.8

Time to hike: about 5 or 5.5 hours to complete

Strenuous – yup – but also not too bad when it was pretty level

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Joined a couple friends for a hike into the high mountains of colorado today!

Stanley Mountain Trail

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We were looking for a 13-er (as in not a 14 teener since those are too popular, but something hard and calorie burning!

We started at the Berthoud Pass Parking lot!

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Next it was up, up, and up!

 

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It was a good hike! 6.5 miles,  about 5 hours, and 2 wonderful friends!

We started out at the Berthos Pass parking lot – then crossed the street and headed up into the ether!

It was a great hike! Up and up and thru the switchbacks, across the ridge and finally to the top of Stanley Mountain!

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Rattlesnake Gulch Trail – Eldorado Springs Canyon

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

3.5 miles (Hiking Colorado’s Front Range Book – says 5.3, but that is from the first parking lot, not the trail head)

2 hours with lots of stops to see the burned down hotel from the 1900’s and the continental divide

$8 entry fee (Colorado State Parks)

Took the pups, and even starting before 9am, it was too hot for them, both boys ended up with blisters on their pads. So either bring booties or go on a cooler day with pups.

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Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

The last day of the long holiday weekend and I decided we should go out with a bang!

I have a terrible time finding hikes that fit the family criteria, as well as constructions drama, and the last day of a long weekend.

aka – less than 6 miles, preferable a loop, this side of idaho springs, and higher altitude since it was going to be 90 in denver. Good golly, there has got to be an app for that.

Last minute I found Eldorado Canyon – as advertized a 5.3 mile hike, and 45 minutes from denver, this side of the constructions! Done and done baby!

We skipped out of town by 8am, a quick stop at the bucks for a jolt of caffeine, and at the trailhead by 9am! Score!

We were definitely lucky, I think we got one of the last spots near the trail head.

Up and up and up we went!

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It was definitely a heart rate inducing climb, we were sweating up a storm by the first mile, hubby had to give up on his hat is was sweat soaked!!

It was amazing to see the canyon, lots of rock formations “on their side” reaching for the sky! And a pretty cool view out the canyon back toward civilization.

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We reached the “hotel” at 1.4 miles. It is always fun for us to see old “ruins” even if these were “only” from 1912!

There were shard of plates, melted glass and tons of little bits of brick dust where it was pulverized by fire and time. There was also a really cool old fireplace with a melted pot still inside that has stood the test of time! Definitely fun to see!

From there we continued up the trail to the continental divide overlook. I always say I can see the continental divide no matter where we are, so it was fun to not be lying!

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From there we continued around the look and got see a train tack from denver, and a real train come on thru! IMG_5478

Then it was all down hill all the way back to the car! We passed a number a groups and a number of kiddos not so thrilled to be hiking!

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By the time we left the park – around 11am, the rangers were enforcing parking and helping people park at the initial parking lot. So get there early!

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Our longest hike – ever!

Bergen Peak

7.7 miles, a stead climb to the top of the peak

(Best Hikes with Dogs book states 7.8 miles, Hiking Colorado’s Front Range book states 8.7)

Dogs did great.

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The wilker family headed out to do their “longest hike as a family ever”!

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I had started this hike with some girl friends a couple weeks ago, and because we started to late only got into it about 2.2 miles when we had to turn around! Boo.

Hubby convinced me that he really wouldn’t mind doing a hike listed at 8.7 miles as long as he knew it going in. So when we were deciding on our July 4th hike, I asked him if he’d be willing to try this one! He agreed! Suckaaah!

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We slept till we fell like sleeping – well till I felt like getting up, which was nearly 7:30 – woah!

We headed out of the house around 8:30 to try and find some breakfast burritos to nourish us on our hike… Alas our stand by was closed and our second choice (someplace we had never been, but was recommended) didn’t open until 11am, and who knew on a holiday. Sigh.

We arrived at the hike around 9:30 and of course the parking lot was already full. Grumble. We were able to get some street parking not too far down, and headed into the wilderness. Since I had experiences 2.2 miles of the hike, i knew what to expect and it was not bad, a steady climb, a million switchbacks and relatively cushiey ground for hubby in is low soul shoes, and the pups!

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There was shade off and on which was nice, since our hiking time took us through mid-day!

 

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The hike had a couple splits and definitely just kept going up. Hubby and the pups kept trucking and did great!

The view at the eventual top was great, and not just the hubby with a big smile!

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All in all we were glad we did it, but I ran out of water, which prompted the purchase of a go-lite bag with a 100 ounce bladder and a bigger pouch to carry all of our great – included the baby bjorn in case the pups get tired! It also was a very very long day! We left the house around 8:30 and didn’t get home till 3pm. Definitely not terrible, but also a long time to be putting 1 foot in front of the other!

It took up 2.5 hours to reach the summit, which according to our iphones was 3.5 miles.

Weekend at Cow Creek South Campground

This past weekend, the hubby, the boys and I spent out first family weekend out camping!

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This campground was on the Green River Resivour , I managed to book us a site right on the water, and oh was it pretty!

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The sites were huge! Next time we can bring a bunch of our friends with us! We saw the weather, it was a 50% chance of rain, but it was so warm! High 70’s even at night! We had a new toy with this trip – a queen blow up mattress. That was a very nice way to sleep vs our small tiny hiking mattresses.  They boys were pretty excited too!

But after we went to bed, the real fun began! The wind whipped up like no-bodies business, it snapped the pole of our shade, and nearly blew us, tent, sleeping bags, pups and all into the water!! We made it thru the night, but it seems that location was definitely storm ridden and a bit windy – so if you go – tie down your tent really well and don’t leave anything out!

The next day we attempted to do a hike..  But it turns out that this place was mosquito ridden. We didn’t think to bring spray with us on the hike, so after a bout a mile we gave up and went back to the campsite and enjoyed the afternoon relaxing – with the hillbillies that arrived in the campsite next door with their 6 ski doos, 10 friends, a motor boat, 3 dogs and other stuff… Eventually it all calmed down and we had a great afternoon and evening!

We definitely enjoyed the weekend, got in some good resting, some good together time!

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Herman Lake Trail

Today we did a fabulous family hike up in the mountains!

I recently got the Colorado Hikes with Dogs Books and decided to find an interesting one!

Books said 5.6 miles, 5-6 hours.

We found it to be 5.8 miles, 4 hours with a 20 minute stop at the lake to enjoy the scenery!

Herman Gulch Trail to Herman Lake

We took the pups – they did really good- in and out of the water, but definitely dirty when we got back to the car!

Definitely a must do, and we love it! We’ll be back again in the future to do it again!

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We started off in the woods and shortly got the split where there were about 10 different hike options! guess we’ll need to come back and try some other ones!

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The trail brought us thru all kinds of different environments – woods, desert, mountains, babbling brooks, water falls, and finally onto the lake – which in June was still frozen in parts! Crazy!!

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On our way back we saw some of the tiniest daisies ever! Hubby has a cool lens that works on our iphones, so i just had to try it out and show it here! Such a great shot, i say, with very little modesty!

 

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Hiking Hanging Lake Trail

I’ve had Hanging Lake trail on my list for a while and the planets aligned and some friends of ours and I

made it happen! We found a campsite about 40 minutes from the trail head (vs 2.5 hours from Denver!)

The campground was fabulous! No cell service, large campground – kinda weird, as in your tent will be next to your car and your fire…. But they were flat – woot! The idea of being disconnected was just heavenly!

Funny story about camping! I had a little bit of time to put stuff out for camping and then had to work on some other things and work away from the house the morning of our departure. I got home in time to finish up my bag and hop in the car. Hubby listed some things he put in the car, including our shade! Woohoo! As we near the 3.25 hour mark (camp ground is 3.5 hours), i say…  did you grab the tent? To which he replied… did you put it out? To which i shrug and think…  nope… Hubby considered turning around and returning to one of the small Colorado towns to obtain a tent, my thought went toward… we have a wagon, let’s sleep in there – since we had absolutely everything else, pads, bag, pillows and blankets…  So that is what we did! We did car camping the old fashioned way – we slept in the car!

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The hike up to Hanging Lake is definitely not easy, but it’s lovely! We were able to get to the trail head by 7:30 am, only the second car there! We got onto the trail early and were able to take our time on the hike, get excellent pictures without the masses that would be coming later and enjoy the solitude and beauty of the lake and the falls that created the lake in peace! It was an absolutely wonderful way to see this beautiful place!

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