Deer Mountain, RMNP Estes Park CO, Hiked 7/19/14

21 Nov

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Starting Elevation:  8930 Ft

Highest Elevation:  10,013 Ft ( A total Elevation gain of almost 1100 Ft)

Trail Length: 6 miles – it took us 3ish hours but we did spend a lot of time on the summit.

Trail Uses:  Hiker & Horses ( but no horses allowed on the Summit spur)

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate

Bathrooms:  There are bathrooms at the visitors centers there was nothing near the trail head

Pets:  No this is Rocky Mountain National Park and no Dogs allowed

Deer Mountain trail sign

I am so sorry at how long I have been away.  I will have to catch you all up soon, I can tell you that I have had just a few breaks in hiking but have been mostly hiking every weekend.  I want to get out those new trials I did while away and then one big summary of some amazing days out on the trails between then and now.  First Deer Mountain!

Wow it has been a long time since I hiked this one, I almost forgot what it was like!  I did it the weekend after I had company in town so I wanted something that challenged me but was not too much, because when my company was here we had done 3 tough hikes in just 5 days.  I was wiped when we hit this trail.

This hike was exactly what I needed as it has great views all the way up of the mountains that make up Rocky Mountain National Park. But there was this weird haze in the air we hoped would burn off but only ended up getting worse.  We speculated that it was from that horrible fire in California this summer.

The trail head is right off Trail Ridge Road and there is literally a little bit of a wide shoulder for maybe 6 cars to park.  You can park along the road in some places near here, but get there early if you want a parking spot at any of them.  There are also shuttle parking lots at the various gates and you can take a shuttle to so many places in the park so you don’t have to worry about finding parking.

We got there around 7:30 and just barley nabbed a spot.

We got there around 7:30 and just barely nabbed a spot.

The trail starts out super wide and very well maintained, the whole trial was very well maintained and we even talked to a couple of Park rangers we passed while hiking.

Start of the trail

Start of the trail

First trail marker

After a decent climb, while the stellar views just started opening up all around us we got the Switchback part.  Sadly the haze in the air made it hard to get any really great pictures.  I actually gave up taking them because there was no depth but we stopped a lot just to ohhhhh and ahhhh.  It doesn’t take too long to start the switchbacks up the to flat before the summit.

The views were everywhere

The views were everywhere

Starting up the switchbacks

Starting up the switchbacks

Then towards the end of the switch backs

Then towards the end of the switch backs

There were a lot of switch backs on this one and it was a strange struggle that day.  I am not sure if it was the altitude or exhaustion from the few days before with my guests in town, but it took me time to get up this part.  I would not say it is particularly hard but that day for me it was.

Once we turned the corner of the last switchbacks we reached a nice flat that felt like it went on forever but was probably more like a quarter of mile maybe half a mile before the final summit climb.  The summit climb sign made us want to come back and do the rest of the trail back to Estes just to see what is was like.

The summit climb Summit climb conditions

It was just a short steep climb to the summit, and then WOW!  Such an amazing payoff so quickly!

The Summit

The Summit

I will tell you we hung up there as long as we could before more people started showing up.  I think we got a solid 25 minutes up there just to take it all in.  It was lovely.  The hike back down was crowded…. and it was just around 10AM.  I cannot imagine what kind of traffic this trail gets throughout every summer day, but I can tell you I was glad we got there early and had it mostly to ourselves.

If you ever find yourself in Rocky Mountain National Park and you want a great view payout without a ton of effort this is the hike for you.  Of course there are so many great trails in the park but I really liked how this one was both a nice work out with great payout.  There were views in every direction and of the almost the whole park. After the directions will the be the few goodish pictures I took while at the top.

Directions:    The Deer Ridge Junction Trailhead is located 3.05 miles west of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station along Trail Ridge Road (Highway 36). The trailhead is located on the north side of the road at the Trail Ridge Road – Highway 34 split. There is no designated lot, but roadside parking is permitted. Parking is limited.

View of Estes Park from the Summit.

View of Estes Park from the Summit.

View looking south towards Long's Peak

View looking south towards Long’s Peak

The view West-ish

The view West-ish

Looking North was a little obstructed

Looking North was a little obstructed

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Beginning again – Weigh in Day +9LBS ( 50lbs down 40 Lbs left to go)

9 Aug

So this is the first time I have really weighed in – in months. I have to say I was surprised it wasn’t more, which makes it about a pound a month.

Fat and in pain

Fat and in pain

I can tell though that I have lost a lot of the climbing muscles in my legs which makes me think it may just be 9LBs on the scale but the damage is worse because of the muscle loss.

I would like to say this was a better week for me health wise but it was actually worse.  I had a crazy stressful week at work, worked long hours and squeezed in a workout at least once a day, sometimes twice but no weights.  I didn’t track my food like I wanted to and I am sure I went over my allotted calories every day.

Plus I drank alcohol almost every night, just one drink a night but still I normally don’t drink during the week. But post hike it is always a celebration.

Oh well, I have to start somewhere….

My new goal will be to lose 40 lbs by next July 4th.

The hike I did today was a repeater but it is way out my ability right now.  I am thrilled I made it all the way… and I have summit fever again….I love Colorado.

On Twins sisters

On Twins sisters

There is so much to see just here and I haven’t even started to think about all those other states and countries I have hiking envy over…I am looking at you Rob P My favorite Uk Backpacker!  SO that means I need to get over myself and move forward…..slowly this is me getting over myself….

Get out there and hike, life is way too short!

 

Chief Mountain (11,700) & Squaw Mountain ( 11,398) Evergreen CO Hiked 7/6/14

8 Aug

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Starting Elevation: 11,000Ft

Highest Elevation: 11,700 Ft ( total elevation gain was around 1800 ft.)

Trail Length: Officially I thought 4.8 miles…8.7 miles later I am pretty sure the book was wrong

Trial uses:  Hiker, biker & Horses some portions are a 4×4 road

Degree of difficulty:  Moderate

Bathrooms:  None

Pets: Yes – Although on the path to Squaw Mtn there is a gun range of sorts so keep them on leash.

view 2

I won’t lie, I originally picked this as an easy hike to do on a 2 hike weekend.   My Colorado Mountain Club book says it is just 4.8 miles round trip, with a total of 1800 feet of elevation gain.  But not only was the round trip distance wrong, so was where the trail was supposed to be.  When I got back to the car I had to look at the book to make sure it said round trip.   It didn’t help that we picked up the trail at the wrong place too.  We saw a trail like entrance across from the wrong pull off and just went with it after driving back and forth a couple of times on 103.   It turned out this is the fire access road to both mountains any way but it did add 2 miles to our trip, which means had we found the original entrance it still would have been almost 7 miles around trip.  I am not sure what has changed in the last 4-5 years but I am pretty sure Squaw mountain didn’t move in that amount of time.

Fire Access Road we started out on

Fire Access Road we started out on

The day itself couldn’t have been more perfect and honestly we didn’t mind the extra mileage as it kinda took us away from the crowds.  FYI the Chief Mountain portion is high volume and for very good reason.  It is a bit of climb in just a mile and half( if you hit the correct starting point) since we started a bit higher and further away, our climb was spaced out a bit.  But for a 3 mile hike( 4.5 miles if you start where we did), you cannot beat the views.

The views from the fire road

The views from the fire road

Once you get to the actual Chief Mtn trail, the trail itself is steep but not too steep and you have some coverage in the trees but that is mostly in the first half of mile.  Then it starts to open up. For us, the first mile was on an old fire road so while we were lucky with shade on the way up because of how early we started, then the impending storm on our way back we didn’t have to deal with too much sun that first mile either.

Ahh Here is Chief mountain Trail.

Ahh Here is Chief mountain Trail.

After that though it was all in the sun to the summit.   And oh my the views!

The right way to hike up Easy to follow Above the tree line

Getting to the summit was a little but of a scramble but nothing terrible, it was 360 degree views and as I was looking over at Squaw I was really starting to doubt it what just 1.5 miles to that summit.

The view of Squaw from Chief

The view of Squaw from Chief

Me climbing down the Scraamble

Me climbing down the Scramble

One view from Chief looking towards Evans

One view from Chief looking towards Evans

We got down Chief fast even with all the people coming up and us giving way.  Once we got back to the fire road, we went to our right to get to Squaw.

Back on the fire road to Squaw

Back on the fire road to Squaw

Squaw Mt. Access Road

Squaw Mt. Access Road

The fire road dead ends right into the Squaw mountain access road which is 4×4 in some places.  It was kinda not exciting AND there was some type of gun range not too far up where 5 or 6 people were having lots of target practice.  For this reason alone I probably couldn’t recommend you ever bring dogs up this path unless they are trained to be ok around gun fire.

Make shift gun range empty on our way down

Make shift gun range empty on our way down

Just up and around the corner from it, there is a gate closing off the road from motor vehicles.  There is also a small parking area if you have rented out the old fire watch tower for the night.  I have to tell you as a storm was starting to role in, I was thinking how cool it would be to rent out that Fire tower for a night or 2 and enjoy some rocky mountain weather.

Some details on renting the old Fire tower

Some details on renting the old Fire tower

The road closes to motorized vehicles from here

The road closes to motorized vehicles from here

Eventually we got to the top of Squaw and were decidedly underwhelmed… not by the views but by all the industrial towers we went up and around them to see the views but saw the weather coming in and so headed back down. It took us 3.5 miles from the top of Chief to get to the top of Squaw.

Fire Watch tower We should have turned around here

Fire Watch tower We should have turned around here

Mostly what is on the top of Squaw

Mostly what is on the top of Squaw

Here comes the weather

Here comes the weather

I will tell you that I will only ever do Chief again and have done it once since we did this back in July.  I will now always take visitors here because seriously the views are amazing.  I never need to see Squaw again unless I decide to rent out the old fire tower.  We didn’t bring our good camera with us because we didn’t have high expectations but once we got up to the top of Chief I was so sad that we didn’t!  After the directions will be a few of the good pictures we managed to capture before weather moved in.

Directions:  From Denver Take I70 west to Evergreen Parkway (Exit 252), go about 3 miles to Squaw Pass Road ( 103). Take it up approximately 12 miles.  When you pass Echo Mountain Ski area look for the next pull off the real trailhead is right there.

View from Squaw

View Chief Mtn from Squaw Mtn

View Chief Mtn from Squaw Mtn It the one on the right

View form Squaw3 View from Squaw 2 Me on Squaw 2 View from Squaw

 

Still Hiking, just not so healthy……

1 Aug

It has been 8 months since I have been on track for the healthy part of this blog…. the hiking has finally started to suffer as a result. I am not sure how it happened other than me consciously deciding to not be healthy.  For about half that time, I have managed to ignore how far off the rails I have gone.

Nugget

Not only have I been struggling with being healthy I have been less than forthcoming about my struggles as if they will just disappear.  And not just with you but with everyone in my life.

So this is my confession, I have fallen far off the healthy bandwagon.  I have been way outside my daily calorie intake.  I have had a considerable cut back on my exercising.  I have been eating my emotions.

I have been trying hard to find inspiration, the last few hikes we have done I was sweaty, overheated and strangely struggling with my breath.  I know I have gained back weight but I am not sure how much at this point as I have been avoiding scales for months.

I have to find balance again in my life in terms of how to control my bad eating habits. I have been trying to figure out where is the best place to start ….again.

I am confessing here because I can’t pretend it is not happening anymore I need to be up front about it all.  I am going to get back to my Lose It! app and tracking my daily calories in and out.  I am also going to venture to get rid of my cheat day which sadly turned into my cheat 3 days….I apparently can no longer be at home without a guardian or having my hands tied behind my back to avoid shoveling food in my face.

I have been going to some of my favorite blogs for motivation, but I have to tell you Nancy over at My year of Sweat always makes me think through my issues a little more in-depth then I am normally willing to do  because she is so good at identifying all of her issues, stumbling points and triumphs.  Over the last year she has become my “live a better life” superhero.  If you don’t know Nancy, please check out her blog it is awesome -> just like her!!!

I am still hiking every weekend and I have been getting in as many days as I can, I have 2 new hikes I need to write-up that I did weeks ago and of course I have done a bunch of repeaters.

The rest of my summer I am going to focus on getting get back into the shape I was last fall.  I really want to do Grays and Torreys (14ers) before the summer ends.  I still want to try to backpack, but to be honest I may not get to it until next summer.

I will start listing my weigh-ins  again weekly.

Thanks for being patient with me and thanks for helping me get back on the healthy track.

Now get out there and hike, I know I will be hiking this weekend!

Herman Gulch Trail #98 to Herman Lake, Bakerville CO hiked 6/28/14 & 7/4/14

4 Jul

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Starting Elevation: 10,340

Highest Elevation:  12,000 is where the Lake is at.  We had a total elevation gain of  around 1800ft

Trail Length:  8 miles officially, we made it about 7 miles on 6/28 and the full 8 today.

Trail Uses: Hiker, Biker & Horses

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate to difficult Mostly because of elevation.

Fees: None

Bathroom: Yes in the parking lot

Pets:  Yes

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Being in that meadow behind Torrey’s(hike details here) last weekend made me want to keep seeing more amazing views.  I have had my eye on Herman Lake for a while, like 2 and half years kind of a while.  At first I was too nervous I couldn’t do it and then I was so focused on getting to a certain elevation each week that I kept skipping it.  I also know it is a really popular trail.  It is not overly long with a reasonable climb and astonishing views from almost every part of the hike.  Even starting at 7 AM, the parking lot was filling up fast and it is a big parking lot.   There are signs and a bathroom where the trail starts.

Parking lot Map Strating out

The first quarter-mile is a gentle climb to the T-section with a sign listing the trail options with an arrow.  Take the trail on the left.

Trail Sign

The next mile was much steeper and rockier, the best part was when the stream came up along side the trail because it totally drowned out the noise from I 70.  This is one of the steepest parts of the hike.

Nice and steep

Nice and steep

The stream is just to the left and it is high

The stream is just to the left

After this initial climb, you come out into this meadow and really if we made it no further than this point it would have been enough.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead

Looking behind

Looking behind

The next 1-2 miles is through sections of pine and then beautiful meadows.  It was pretty muddy from this point forward with much of the trail an actual stream itself.   Last Saturday the snow was quite the obstacle, this morning more like scenery.

Good and muddy

Good and muddy

second meadow

second meadow on 6/28

Views behind

Views behind

The sides were even amazing

The sides were even amazing

Not one bad spot

Not one bad spot

Trail is a stream

Trail is a stream

I loved breaking out of the pines to see views like this

I loved breaking out of the pines to see views like this

There were a couple of water crossings, some clearly are there normally some are only there when the snow is still crazy deep at the end of June.

water crossing

When we got to the last set of pines we started the final climb up to the lake, it gets steep here, actually the most steep section of the whole hike plus it close 12,000 feet above sea level so just breathing is a work out. Last Saturday the snow was to our knees but hard packed because so many people had gone before us.  We met up with a gentleman who had been to the lake and he said the snow around the lake was hit or miss, some places to your knees some places chest high.  We lost the trail in here but just kept following other footprints until we saw the trail again.  This morning a lot of that snow had melted. We still lost the trail but it was much easier to find again after some obstacles.

Thru the last set of pines Thats snow

The lake is supposed just half a mile from the last set of pines.  Unfortunately we didn’t make it on Saturday.  It turns out Aaron was working on a  decent inner ear infection and his head was to the about to explode point.  We had to turn around.

The lake is just up there

The lake is just up there

Views ahead when we turned around

Views ahead when we turned around

We could tell as we drove towards the hike Saturday morning that is had snowed in the mountains the night before.   Which is kind of surprising, but it made the hike extra muddy while also making everything in sight beautiful, like frosting.  I knew the trail would be crowded but I had no idea how popular it truly was, the nice thing is the path itself is mostly wide enough to pass easily so lots of people was no problem.

It turns out, I could not wait to get back and we went back this morning.  We cruised up and in, the trial was completely different that last weekend with probably a third of the snow and like a bazillion more flowers.  What a difference 6 days makes.  We were maybe a quarter of a mile from the final trail break before lake when we turned around last Saturday. This time we went left, it is not long to the lake and there was a super small pond on the way… it is not the lake.  Continue on Herman Lake is just ahead.

SIgn to the lake Trail to the lake

When we got to the lake, it was so rewarding. everywhere we looked it was spectacular.  There were still snow fields all over the place but getting around them were easy.  I kinda wish I we had seen it last weekend to have a good comparison.

Herman Lake

Herman Lake

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We could have been done in 3 hours both times but we actually hung around taking pictures at every turn, spending 5 hours on the trail last Saturday and just over 4 hours today.  It was’t enough, there so much to see.   If you are ever in this area and you can only do one hike, do this hike there is not one boring part.  The whole thing was a series of ohhhhinng and ahhhing.

After the directions will be a few of my favorite pictures.

Directions:  Take I70 West and just before the Eisenhower tunnel, exit at the un-named exit #218.  Turn right at the end of the ramp, you will see the sign for Herman Gulch.

 

me with a view me in meadow fav5 fav6 rapids On the way down fav 2 fav4 fav1 Views ahead fav3

Grizzly Gulch, Bakerville CO Hiked 6/21/14

27 Jun
Torrey Peak

Torreys Peak

Starting Elevation: 9800 ft

Highest Elevation: 11,000Ft ish (we didn’t have our watch and I can find almost nothing on this trail.  I know the parking lot is at 9800 ft and I got 100 flights of stairs so 1000 ft total elevation gain)

Trail Length:  6 Miles from the parking lot right off the exit- 4 miles if you have 4 wheel drive and can go to the pull off a mile up the road.

Trail Uses:  Hiker, biker, 4 wheel drive cars, horses

Degree of Difficulty: Moderate but only if you have to climb the road from the parking lot – if you drive up the road to the pull off easy

Fees: None

Bathrooms: None

Pets: Yes

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Taking 2 weeks off of hiking and exercise was killer for me. honestly by week 2 I was so antsy I snuck in a few walks and some elliptical just not in shoes with backs.   On my weekend off hiking I went to REI and met a shoe fitting guru.  Seriously he took a look at my heels, measured my foot and simultaneously started listing all the things that happen while I hike.  Like I have no flexibility at all in my feet and that I come down super hard when I walk or that my plantar fascia was screwed up.  Then he proceeded to go through all the different shoes and why they wouldn’t work.  He handed me a pair of Adidas trail runners in an awful mint green.  I super didn’t want to like them and at first I didn’t, I walked around and my feet were coming right out.  He switched up the laces and tied them a specific way > then they were HEAVEN… ugly heaven but heaven none the less.   He also found me a delightful boot, it too is strangely ugly but I think I am going to test them out this weekend before I commit.

Yes I am wearing purple socks with mint green trail runners.

Yes I am wearing purple socks with mint green trail runners.

I picked a hike that I had written down on one of my many lists of hikes I found on some random webpage, Grizzly Gulch at just 4 miles round trip with maybe 900 ft of total elevation gain.  I knew after 2 weeks of almost no exercise I needed to take it easy but I still wanted a view and supposedly this hike would take us to 11.300( I don’t think it did). But when I started to research the hike I could find almost nothing, the only thing I knew was it went to a meadow behind Torreys peak.  Then I found a few trip reports that said they couldn’t find the meadow.  I found pictures but no directions ….. any where. At like page 8 in a google search on my 5th combination of words I found a snowshoe with a hint of the two turns to look for.  I decided at 10 PM on Friday we would risk it.

From the parking lot

The start of the hike is along the road to Grays and Torreys which are 2- 14ers (Mountains 14,000 +ft above sea level) that are insanely popular.  If you have 4-wheel drive this hike could be just 4 miles, since I didn’t know where the trail break would be I figured if we couldn’t find it we could at least hike up to the trailhead for Grays and Torreys and get 8 miles in.

stevens gulch road View on the way up

At almost exactly 1 mile from the parking lot, we came to the first fork.  The sign for Gray’s Peak said stay straight and then there was a small parking lot with road heading off on the right.  We went right.  Taking the road for 2 miles of the hike is kind of challenging only because of all the trucks heading up to Grays & Torreys and the dust clouds they create, otherwise it is surprisingly beautiful.

Go right to Grizzly Gulch Road

Go Right at Grizzly Gulch Road almost exactly 1 mile up on Stevens Gulch Road

The view is great

Grizzly gulch road

The Grizzly Gulch Road/trail

From here the road/ trail gets much more rustic, we passed a few people camping long here and since I didn’t really know where the meadow was I went on guesses.  We passed one road going right then in just a quarter of a mile we came to what I was guessing would be my second right.  You come up to the fork, you will know it by 2 things. there are 2 old cabins on your left and what looks like another parking area than there is also 2 road signs, 189.1G & 189.1C…. Take 189.1C on the right and stay on it.

189.1C on the right

189.1C on the right

Go past the Cabins

The cabins are on the wrong road unless you want to go to an old abandoned mine

From here  it is not far and the trail has a ton of snow melt water on it.  At first it wasn’t bad

The snow melt isheavy

It wasn’t deep until we get to an impassable part.  For a second we thought about turning around, but the feet felt great and we had hardly gone anywhere so we took off our shoes deciding to cross.  For the record a knee-deep snowmelt streamed F@$#ing cold

I see the trail over there

See the trail over there

In theory it sounded  way easier than it actually was.

My Face Sums it up

My Face Sums it up

Seriously, it took all my tough girl genes to not start crying right about here, it was so cold.  I toughed it out, got to the other side and thought “I am not sure I can make it back over”.

From here we continued up the road past this lovely gentleman who was burning some fallen trees. At first I thought we went the wrong way and asked if it was ok that we hiked through, we were looking for Grizzly Gulch.  He was so nice, he is literally living in heaven with the most amazing scenery all around his home.  He let us hike through and told us we might find a bridge across the stream if we went along the stream little bit off the trail down on his property.

The Hardest Part

The Hardest Part

From here the trail was just a road that had some ups and downs but nothing like the first mile up.  The views were breath-taking, the stream and snow melt had transformed everything into this idealized hike and even with all the clouds it was perfect!  We had more fun enjoying all the views then we had in weeks!  The trail was still wet in places and we crossed the stream one more time but in just 1.5 miles we got to the meadow and it was amazing!!!

The Stream

The Stream

Getting closer to the Meadow

Getting closer to the Meadow

Second stream crossing

Second stream crossing

Way easier to cross

Way easier to cross and a view

The Meadow

The Meadow

I was so happy we found this elusive meadow, I honestly just stood there for almost a half an hour taking it all in.  We could have easily have gone on ….well sort of, the next river crossing is just to right of the fence in the picture above and it was like a 4 lane road wide.   My feet felt great but I didn’t want to push it in my new shoes, healing heels and really I didn’t want to feel that icy cold water again.   We took our time before turning around and heading back.   I know that we could have gone on and hiked to that ridge but for now I was satisfied with what we had seen!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Honestly the whole way back all we could talk about was how beautiful it all was and how happy we were that we found the meadow.  The other great part, we had almost the whole trail to ourselves.  The only time we saw other people were when we crawled out of the trees after finding a way to cross that uncrossable part… it was a fallen tree that was super stable in front of some wicked rapids.

Rapids where we found an out to taking our shoes off

Rapids where we found an out to taking our shoes off

This tree was heaven sent

This tree was heaven-sent

It was just maybe .2 miles to the road again….. it was also right off the road on the other side.

the path to avoid a water crossing

The way back from here was even better with weather coming in, sometimes dark clouds are as good as blue sky.  I honestly cannot wait to get back there again, this a gem that it seems like no one knows about or else takes a wrong turn too soon.  If I was honest with myself, no one hikes it because they are all hiking Grays and Torreys, but what a miss on their part because while summiting is awesome so is a really great meadow and this is an amazing meadow.

Directions:  Take I 70 to exit# 221 and go south, for the full 6 miles park in the lots there.  Otherwise drive up a mile to the road fork and park there for a 4 mile hike.

Looking back at Torreys

I couldn’t stop turning around and watching the sky change around Torreys

view on the way back

The view going back down Steven’s gulch road wasn’t bad either

me on the way up

Me on the way up Stevens Gulch road

bird

Cool Bird

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Baker Loveland Trail #60, Bakerville CO Hiked 6/7/14

13 Jun

good view

Starting Elevation: 9800

Highest Elevation 10,714 ( 900ft total elevation gain)Ft

Trail Length: 10 miles round trip

Trail uses:  Hiker, Biker, Snowshoeing, Crosscountry skiing

Degree of difficulty: Easy

Fees: None

Bathrooms: None

Pets: Yes

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My new Keens have not been kind, I am so sad because these bad boys have kept me hiking relatively pain-free for the past 2.5 years and this latest release of them have not been good.  Why do they have to change these things when they are perfect?  I could go from old pair to new pair with no problems the last 3 purchases.  After last weekends bizarrely blistered heels I decided to take it easy all week and only walked/exercised in shoes with no backs.  I know lots of people are not fans of Keens but they have been perfect for me until now. Because of the blister situation and the fact that Aaron was at sea level the just the week before this one, I picked an easy paved hike that took us above 10,000 ft but  for a 10 mile walk/hike.  It seemed like the perfect trade-off to me to help my feet. I really had targeted it for snowshoeing at some point but thought it might be a nice alternative for my current situation.

Looking up the paved road towards the trail head

Looking up the paved road towards the trail head

The trail is literally right off I70 at the Bakerville exit, to the right of the road that goes to the Grays and Torreys trailhead.   These are twin 14ers that I hope to climb this summer, they are incredibly popular but the road is 4 wheel drive so some people actually park where we did and hike up the road in addition to doing the hike up the mountains.  In the late summer it is so popular cars are parked all long the road down to this point, think super painful crowded. I was a little embarrassed to be doing this easy paved hike instead of something like Grays.

The start of the trail

The start of the trail

Baker Loveland Trail #60

Baker Loveland Trail #60

Our trail for the day goes along I70, but up in the pines to the Loveland ski resort parking lot so we only had views of I70 once or twice through the hike.  It was mostly the surrounding mountain tops and trees, which were lovely with the perfect blue sky.  It was even better knowing that everyone on the front range was getting clouds and rain all day!

The 1st of 2 budge crossings

The 1st of 2 budge crossings

One of 2 times we actually saw I70

One of 2 times we actually saw I70

The trail is very nicely maintained and seemed to be mostly used by bikers.  Outside of that, there was nothing special about it.  It filled a need and I think it would be better as a snowshoe or cross-country ski route, well and ideally biking but I don’t do that.

There were lots of snow melt stream and waterfalls along the path to drown out the traffic noise

There were lots of snow melt stream and waterfalls along the path to drown out the traffic noise

There was actually still a lot of snow along it and on it at times, which was surprising but kinda fun to watch the bikers try to deal with it.

Snow on the trail

Getting to Loveland ski resort was pretty anti-climatic as we came up at the end of the dirty parking lot right by a huge dumpster, close to the bend of I70 as cars are approaching the Eisenhower tunnel.

Turnaround point and Loveland Ski Resort

Turnaround point and Loveland Ski Resort

This was not a fun hike for me, not because the trail was paved or the views lacking, but because I was on the edge of an anxiety attack before I even got on the trail.  I have been trying to manage a difficult person/situation at work and that Friday night there was an email on my crackberry that just super stressed me out.  I am also so frustrated at my stupid feet and Keen for changing it up, after 2.5 years of constant hiking, I am suddenly at ground zero all over again. At just 3ish miles into the hike my feet were killing me and I literally melted down in a full-blown crying fit/tantrum.  I was so mad at my work situation and dreading Monday morning.  I was so mad at my feet and F#**ing Keen.  I was mad that the trail was paved(even though I knew that before going)….. there were lots of other irrelevant reasons I was mad…. fortunately only Aaron got to see me break down with snot all over my face, while I made pathetic sobs and snorts.  It was not a good moment.

The view a few minutes post melt down

The view a few minutes post melt down

I pretty much threw any sort of logic out the window at that point and just kept walking.  Not back to the car like I should have, but onward because I was going to finish this damn trail at any cost.  I am so stupid.

It took us 4 full hours to do a trail that should have only taken 2.5.  When I got back to the car my heels were REALLY bad.  I got home, I cleaned up and took the stupid shoes back to REI, where they told me they have been getting some rumblings about this release but nothing as bad as what I had done to myself.  The worst part, they have no suggestion on what to use other than Keen because their heel structure is exactly what I need  and there are no other women’s waterproof hiking shoes they know of that would be similar.

Totally cool stump that looks like an iron maiden

Totally cool stump that looks like an iron maiden

Unfortunately when Sunday came around, I could smell my blisters from like feet away.  Monday it was so bad I didn’t want to go into work where other people could smell me too.  Tuesday I made it to the Dr first thing, where they confirmed a decent infection had set in.   I love my Doctor, no lectures, no outward judgement on why I didn’t just turnaround, just straight up lets treat this and get you back hiking as soon as we can.  Outside the crazy amount of antibiotics I have to take for 10 days, she also said no cardio for a week or 2 and absolutely no hiking this weekend and possibly next.  I can’t really put on shoes if I wanted too anyway. Right now they itch so bad it is distracting, but no more smell or pain, so yay for antibiotics.

I am wondering if any of my female hiker buddies have chronic heels issues like I do can suggest a waterproof hiking shoe or boot that they love? I need a comfy heel box, Merrill is way too small for me and while I may give Salomon another shot, those have typically been bad all around for me.  I have never tried Lowe or Vasque….

The views were fantastic..my mind set not so much

The views were fantastic..my mind set not so much

Directions:  Take I70 West to the Bakerville exit #221, at the end of the exit ramp, turn left.  Immediately over the highway on the right will be a small parking lot and the trail head is just a little ways down the PAVED road on the right.  There is a large dirt area also used for parking on the side by an old fireplace as there are only 6 spots in the paved parking area.

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