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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.