My Last Hikes of 2013

28 Dec

Ok my goal with this post is to catch up on my back log of hikes that I did in December, it was both busy and slow hiking wise by my choice.

Best view facing West on Green mountain

Best view facing West on Green mountain

We actually started out so strong and got a 3rd hike in 4 days done on 12/1/13.  We hit Green Mountain in Lakewood CO ( hike details here)and just enjoyed a nice quick 4 mile hike to get a good stretch of our legs after the nice hike we had the day before.  It was super nice outside and the trail was pretty busy> which I think is normal for the weekend.  I have started to notice something bizarre about this parking lot… the bikers, and there are a lot of them, totally don’t care about getting hit by the cars coming in/going out of the parking lot or hitting the hikers/joggers that are trying to make their way to and from the trail. They just ride around the parking oblivious to anyone else using the park. It’s completely annoying, especially when you are trying to pull out but one strange biker just keeps doing little loops right behind your car…. or get into a spot while one zooms in front of you.  Outside of parking lot stress, the hike itself was lovely!

Close up of Evans on Green Mt.

Close up of Evans on Green Mt.

Best view East

Best view East at Green Mountain


The best view West At Green Mt.

That first week of December was almost record cold in Colorado and on Saturday 12/7 the high was a hopeful 4 degrees.  Knowing that I would get limited  opportunity to hike this month, we bundled up and went somewhere close but challenging – Mt. Falcon.  We had received some snow a few days before with all the freezing temperatures and knew that the window to hike comfortably with sun was limited.  We actually started at 10AM and took a little over 4 hours to just go the normal 8.5 miles up and down the Castle view trail.  The snow and cold really impacted our usual pace.  It was so cold in fact that at one point( even though we would clear our water tubes after every drink) we had to melt our tubes with my freaky hot hands…. don’t ask I barely passed pie making in culinary school because of them(one of those blessings/curse things).  We had almost the whole trail to ourselves with some cheeky deer for company .  There was about a foot of snow on the trail in the beginning and it got deeper as we went higher, which is where we actually saw the most people, like 6 total…all day. There were a couple of people snowshoeing, something I haven’t done yet and I was fascinated but also a little confused because the snow didn’t seem all that deep.  I am so renting some soon so I can try it out!  Overall it was a tough day to hike but still felt great getting out, even if it did take me a day or so to warm back up.

Looking icy cold when we start at Mt. Falcon - my car said it was -2

Looking icy cold when we start at Mt. Falcon – my car said it was -2

Yep cold

Yep cold

In the shade on the way up and I am bundled

In the shade on the way up and I am bundled

Climbing up in the cold and beauty

Climbing up in the cold and beauty

Good Company on the trail

Good Company on the trail

I am both frosted and melting the ice in my water tube with my freaky hot hands

I am both frosted and melting the ice in my water tube with my freaky hot hands


My birthday gift to myself was a new tattoo… so I planned on taking the day off before I got said tattoo to get my last hike in for a couple of weeks.  I got to hike solo for the first time ever and I have to say I didn’t hate it.  It was interesting to see how I drove myself without anyone else around motivating or inspiring me.   I went to my favorite standby Deer creek canyon( hike details here) I didn’t go as fast as I might have other times but I wasn’t a slacker either, I just did 6.8 miles in around 2.5 hours.  The day was beautiful but the snow and ice were annoying, fortunately I did have traction devices for my shoes(even though it took me 20 minutes to get them on without my usual assistance) that helped me keep a nice pace.  I also just had a great attitude, I mean what a better way to start a long weekend then hiking?  Oh and my new tattoo…. AWESOME!!!  I mean seriously my tattoo artist rocks!  If you find yourself in Colorado and want an excellent tattoo see Piotr at Godspeed he is amazing!!! The other huge impact to my attitude…. the night before my girlfriends surprised me and whisked me away in a limo for a night on the town to celebrate my 40th birthday.  It really brought things in perspective for me and just helped me appreciate the wonderful life I have.  Thank you Ladies, you have made my 40th year in life start out better than perfect!!!

Climbing up Plymouth Creek Trail

Climbing up Plymouth Creek Trail in snow and ice

Awesome views at Deer creek

Awesome views at Deer creek

A poor selfie of myself on Deer creek

A poor selfie of myself on Deer creek

My Super Awesome new tattoo for turning 40

My Super Awesome new tattoo for turning 40

After 2 weeks of no hiking while my super awesome tattoo healed( so worth it), this morning I was anxious to get out and get some miles under my feet.  But not just that, I wanted to try out my new prize, a true backpack.  Yep my Christmas elves(or cats) picked out this bad boy for me…. them or the great staff at REI, it’s a toss-up.  Either way, my new challenge for 2014, outside of losing the rest of my weight, is to try for my first backpacking trip.   This morning we decided that NightHawk Trail at Hall Ranch ( hike details here) was a perfect place to get a feel for my new pack and it was an easier trail that had the challenge of distance if not total altitude gain.  I have to say the hike itself was pretty awesome with lots of deer all over the place as company, wearing the new pack not so much.  It was awkward and I hardly had anything more than water in it.  Apparently it is like learning to hike a whole different way, I swayed when I didn’t want to, my balance was off and my knees and hips were throwing around curses I haven’t used myself….. EVER.   At one point it felt like my ankles were hand cuffed!  I still love this trail and know I will do it again and again, maybe even when the sun it out one time since we have never had it as a hiking partner on this trail…. but now I am sitting here  with angry hips and knees  thinking about when I can get out again with my new pack.  Life it pretty awesome in Colorado!

View at the start of Hall Ranch with a little sun

View at the start of Hall Ranch with a little sun

Best non animal view of the day

Best non animal view of the day

What… you think I can't see you?

What… you think I can’t see you?

I totally see you!

I totally see you

The New Backpack.. EMpty and lame but with great hopes

The New Backpack.. Empty and lame but with great hopes

15 Responses to “My Last Hikes of 2013”

  1. marcopesce57 12/29/2013 at 6:56 am #

    Great hikes!

    FYI, Staunton has a series of five “First Day 2014 hikes” scheduled on Jan. They are all guided by park volunteers and start about every hour or two. Here is a link:

    Maybe we will see you out there!

    • hikingtohealthy 12/30/2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Ohh I will have to check those out!!! I would love to learn more about that park and nature in general. Thank you so much for the tip!!!

  2. nancytex2013 12/29/2013 at 10:23 am #

    First off, HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY!!! This will be a great year thanks to your great attitude! I can’t wait to hear about all your new accomplishments.

    Funny sidenote: I have the same flowers and 3 small butterflies tattooed on my butt. 🙂 The girl in yours is cute!

    Lastly: I am SO dreading training to hike with a real overnight backpack, but I know I need to in order to tackle some of my 2014 hiking challenges (to be listed in a future blog post!).

    Congrats again on a super successful year – and I’ll be here to cheer you on as you tackle 2014!

    • hikingtohealthy 12/30/2013 at 4:05 pm #

      Thank you Nancy!!! My attitude has been in the dumps for the last month but I am glad I have the looming new year to re-energize me and great blogs like yours! I am excited for my new year of goals!
      I am so glad to hear that you are going to be adventuring out into backpacking… I am crazy nervous and excited and worried … you know all that good stuff. It will be good to have another newbe out there with me!
      Congrats to you too on an amazing year of sweat!!! It has been inspiring following your journey!

      • nancytex2013 12/30/2013 at 4:09 pm #

        When I next make it out to Denver to visit my bestie I’m totally making a hiking date with you so I can cheer you on in person!

      • hikingtohealthy 12/30/2013 at 4:10 pm #

        I would LOVE that!!! Please do!

      • nancytex2013 12/30/2013 at 4:12 pm #

        You got it! 🙂

  3. runningwithsam 12/29/2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Great hikes and pictures! I love seeing deer out on the trails.

    • hikingtohealthy 12/30/2013 at 4:05 pm #

      That buck on Saturday’s hike was like 5 feet away from us… it was crazy! Thank you!

  4. coloradogeography 12/29/2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Congratulations on turning 40! Glad to see you’re going to keep working on attaining your goals — that’s character. Keep posting and Happy New Year!

    • hikingtohealthy 12/30/2013 at 4:08 pm #

      Thank you so much!! Happy New year to you too!!! I know I will need your advice in the next year as we take on new adventures!!!

  5. John M 12/30/2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Awesome deer photos! Happy birthday & best wishes for a great year ahead!

    • hikingtohealthy 01/07/2014 at 8:04 pm #

      Thank you so much John! Aaron is great at catching them so well! Hope you have a great new year as well!

  6. Russel Ray Photos 01/01/2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Happy new year and best wishes to you and yours for health and happiness in 2014 and beyond!

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