Category Archives: PacoAndWinston

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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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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Doggie mini muffins

Found this recipe for more cakes for the pups! I changed it up a little, like i don’t have brown rice flour and i don’t frost cupcakes for my pups… They don’t know the difference and I was making mini muffins

Mini pup-cakes!

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup  peanut butter
  • Banana
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash the banana in a large bowl. Add the skim milk, 1 cup of the peanut butter, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, honey, eggs and vanilla and mix together until well combined. Combine the flours, baking powder and baking soda and mix well or sift together. Slowly add into the wet ingredients until blended.
  2. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake or muffin cases. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cupcakes have risen and spring back when pressed with a fingertip. Insert a knife into one of the pupcakes; if it comes out clean, they’re done. Remove the tray from the oven and let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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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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.