Happy 239th Birthday America!
After a long night working the Zac Brown Band concert at Coors Field the night before and barely functioning on nearly 4 hours of sleep, I had made the decision to celebrate the country’s Independence Day by taking in a hike with friends.
Crater Lakes of which there are 5 of them are 3 miles in from the East Portal Trailhead at the Moffat Tunnel. The trail is moderate in elevation gain until about the last mile or so, then it becomes a little more steep and challenging.
We stopped at the first lake had lunch and made our way back down the trail. Next time I hope to see all five lakes.
The first of the Crater Lakes.
On the trail
Plenty of snow fields still left
First time back on a trail of any kind since February. This was my first visit to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, my 5th state park here in CO out of 43 state parks. We made our way to Windy Peak via the Burro Trail. According to the trail signage, the Burro Trail is a 4.5 mile loop and at the junction of where the Windy Peak trail meets the Burro trail it is .7 miles to the top. So all together 5.9 miles in total or if you work in accounting as I do, you always round up if it’s in your favor, so let’s call it 6 miles total. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife website rates the Burro trail as difficult and I would have to disagree slightly and say it’s more moderate to difficult overall.
Looking out from Windy Peak summit
There are one or two sections within the loop where the Burro trail is very steep. Also most of the last .7 of a mile up to Windy Peak is pretty steep as well. When you return from Windy Peak at the junction of the Burro trail, you can go back the way you came or you can continue on the loop.
It was a gorgeous day and much hotter than expected overall but it was a great hike and one I definitely needed.
Pardon me while I do a little bit of catching up!
Ahh yes Copper Mountain! For me this is back to the place where my love for skiing all started! It has been a few years since I’d been back here and it was a perfect day to be back at Copper Mountain while of course playing hooky from the office in the middle of the week.
I had downloaded Copper’s Sherpa app the night before with hopes of giving it a try, but that didnt happen as I had wanted, so I will have to try it another time. Nothing to do with the app itself, more to do with my equipmentI was able to try out another app I have been wanting to use, called Snowciety. It’s of course a social app. Snowciety tracks your runs and give you important data, such as top speed, average speed, vertical elevation and distance. You can post comments and share your stats with your Snowciety friends or even share on facebook and other social media platforms. You can even see where your friends are on the mountain. I’ll try to post a screenshot or two later of it if I can.
The pics taken here I took with my phone, so they arent the greatest captures but for the purpose of sharing them with you guys here on the blog they do the job. It was one of those bluebird days at Copper this day as you can see in the pictures. Great weather, short lift lines and not having to work each made for an awesome day on the slopes. Unfortunate for me it was the only time this past season that I was able to get some skiing in. Hopefully that will change for the better in the season ahead.
Last Saturday was just what the doctor ordered! I had not been on a trail in a very long time and I had to do something about that as the daily stresses of life had caught up to me for some time. The plan was made earlier in the week to drive back out to Staunton State Park to hit a new trail for me, Mason Creek Trail. The weather was mid 40s, a little windy and clear blue skies. The main objective was to get outdoors and let the outdoors take over.
Mason Creek Trail is a 4.5 mile hike with an elevation gain of nearly 1300 feet (8180-9440 ft). Along the way you encounter dense forests, open meadows and groves of aspens all along Mason Creek. You do cross over Mason Creek several times but it’s nothing to fear. This is a small creek At the end of the 4.5 miles is what’s left of an early 20th century saw mill. As with most trails in Staunton here you can pick up two other trails, the Old Mill trail and the Borderline trail to extend your hike and explore other areas of the park or you can go back down the Mason Creek trail.
aspens and a blue sky
Old saw mill
crossing over Mason Creek
As you can see in some of the pics above there is a decent amount of snow on most of the trail and a lot of ice, which meant I finally got the chance to use my Yaktrax and I loved the grip and stability they provided on the ice.
I’ve not been on a trail in nearly 8 weeks and out of the gym for the last 3 weeks and having worked the last few number of weekends and dealing with the stresses of life I knew this weekend that I had to get out on a trail somewhere now that I had the free time to do so! I didnt want to go too far from home and I didnt want to do too long of a trail, so I stayed local and made my way to Boulder and hiked the Mt. Sanitas Trail.
I work in Boulder and I’ve always heard of the Mt. Sanitas trail and have never taken it on until today. I made the decision last night to go check it out for myself. Mt. Sanitas trail is 1.8 miles one way with an elevation gain of 1243 feet. So it is indeed a workout in such a short length of a trail. This was ideal! A lower body workout and a chance to regain my lung capacity in just a couple of hours time. I decided to do this hike out and back. I could have done the loop and come back down via the Mt. Sanitas Valley trail, but I didnt want to go too easy on myself coming back down, nor did I want to cheat myself out of a half mile of hiking. I mean, who does that? The loop would have given me 3.1 miles, out and back on the same trail would be 3.6 miles.
Looking Northeast over the front range. The Mt Sanitas Valley Trail and the East Ridge Trail are below
Almost at the summit
Looking out over the city of Boulder from the summit
This is a hike that you will not do alone by any means. Everyone in Boulder hikes or runs here, many taking the easier routes, the Sanitas Valley trail or the East Ridge Trail. Get there early if you can!
It was a nice day today and much needed for myself to get outdoors. My sanity has been restored.
This day was certainly a gorgeous day for a hike in the high country, especially with temps in the city reaching the mid 90s. A short drive west on I-70 to exit 218 and an immediate right onto a dirt road is parking for the Herman Gulch Trailhead. This is a very popular trail to say the least. Mostly because it’s really easy to get to from Denver or anywhere in the metro area, and because of the numerous wildflowers that can be found along the way.
The hike up to Herman Lake I would say is moderate to strenuous, but well worth it. There were people of all shapes and sizes take this trail. It’s always great to see a variety of people out enjoying nature and maybe even stepping outside of their comfort zones. I will later post more pics from this hike, bare with me as I’m playing catch up. Enjoy!
Continental Divide Trail signage
Herman Lake 3.75 miles ahead
Colorado state flower, the Columbine
Looking back down the trail
Lunch and rest on a gorgeous day
A look ahead
It’s been awhile since my last time on a trail and this hike and I wasnt at my best being a bit under the weather in New Mexico. This day’s hike was to Ouzel Lake, a 9.9 mile hike, but being that I work in the accounting field let’s just round up and say 10 miles. Just a warning, the direct way to Ouzel Lake isnt the way to go, we learned this the hard way along with several other hikers who had the same destination in mind. The bridge at Ouzel Falls is out from the flooding last September. Following the Wild Basin Trailhead, you can get as far as Ouzel Falls and if you’re adventurous enough, you can go around and up over the falls and try to pick up the trail from there. What we should have done was taken the trails leading to the camping sites earlier on the trail and we would’ve reached Ouzel Lake no problem. I was disappointed we didnt reach the lake, but I took a fall and injured my knee pretty bad, so coming back down the trail was probably the best idea. Here are just a few pics from that day using my camera phone. I still have others to upload from my Fuji camera. Hopefully I can do this soon. Enjoy!
In front of Ouzel Falls
Standing atop Ouzel Falls
Bridge is out…
This is a little late but I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I found my way back down to New Mexico for the long weekend to do some hiking. And New Mexico just like Colorado had see nothing but rain and severe weather all week long and the weekend would be no different in the Land of Enchantment. The initial plan was on that Sunday to hike to Williams Lake near the Taos Ski Valley but due to the rain that idea was shot as I had made a call to inquire about trail conditions. I was told that conditions were deep snow in and around Wheeler Peak starting about a quarter mile from the Williams Lake trailhead and that snowshoes would be the preferred option.
Well we didnt bring snowshoes, so instead still with the need to just get outside a nearby trail was chosen to get in a decent hike. Luckily there was sunshine Sunday morning with temps in the low 50s. Oeste Vista(Spanish for “West View”) Trail is a 2.6 mile loop in the village of Angel Fire is a good hike for anyone wanting to get outdoors and get a good views of Angel Fire, Monte Verde Lake and Wheeler Peak from a distance. Average elevation is around 8600. Personally the hike kicked my butt because I was feeling under the weather to start and I hadnt been on a trail in months. Either way I’m happy to have done this hike, it was challeging with lots of hills
Wheeler Peak as the storms begins to roll in
a look at Monte Verde Lake from the trail
a look back on part of the trail
2 of our friends in nature
Wheeler Peak, NM’s highest peak at 11367 feet seen from the trail
Needing to get outdoors, I decided to do something different and kill a few hours since I havent been on a trail for a few weeks. I went to hike and explore just outside of Denver at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. 15000 acres where wildlife are free to thrive just 20 minutes from downtown Denver. There are 10 miles of trails to hike, all of them easy hikes on dirt trails. In some areas some of the trails were washed away from the flooding rains from last September throughout the state, they are being repaired and there are new trails being constructed as well. The refuge offers free 2 hour bus tours with reservations. The bald eagle can be seen here and I was told the best time of year to see them is in the winter. Coyotes, deer and other animals all call the Arsenal home.
The Arsenal is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and is a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Majestic bison have a home here
Above Lake Mary looking east
Fishing bridge over Lake Mary
Looking east from Lake Mary
downtown Denver and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park from a trail (no zoom)
Here are a few photos from this past Sunday, skiing down at Monarch. Monarch is definitely one of my favorite places to ski. Of course there are a lot of places I have yet to go, but all in due time. Coming from Denver the drive is just under 3 hours an easy drive with lesser traffic than sitting on I-70 and it’s even that same way on the mountain. The lift lines move fast at Monarch, with plenty of trails and a vertical drop of 1162 feet.
Monarch has 800 skiable acres and sits in the Sawatch Range along the Continental Divide of the San Isabel National Forest.
Monarch also has 1000 acres of cat skiing available for experts who want a greater challenge. Click here for info, videos and photos on cat skiing from the Monarch website.