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.
32 thoughts on “Baker Loveland Trail #60, Bakerville CO Hiked 6/7/14”
Hi there! Have you considered going super light weight with your shoes? I’ve found the less “techy” my shoes are, the less they bother me. I broke free of the mentality that we “need” specific “hiking” shoes about 15 years ago when I had the SAME issues you had with hiking boots on a backpacking trip. Think silver-dollar-sized blisters on the back of my heels. I happened to pack an early version of chacos and finished off the last 3 days of a 5 day trip with just those and felt better than ever. I am overweight myself but even still I don’t feel the need for arch or ankle support at all, my ankles and feet have never been stronger. I figured we’re just out for a walk, happen to be in the woods, and the advertisers are the ones who’ve convinced us we need “protection.”
Hi Shannon which Chacos do you use? I assume you mean sandals but I could be wrong… I would love the details of the shoes that works best for you. Thank you so much for the suggestion I am totally going to seek them out.
Hi there! I think I used the OLD version of the Z1? So long ago that they’re probably not the same sandal. I now use the Vivobarefoot Women’s Breatho Trail Running shoe for hiking and backpacking, going on my 3rd pair! They say if you’re transitioning from a normal cushion-y shoe to more minimalist you should go slow and low-mileage at first, and I can attest that minimalist shoes seem to tax my calves quite a bit more, but I quickly got used to it. For running and walking on Denver sidewalks in the city I go for a lightly-cushioned but still arch-less shoe.
I also don’t worry about my shoes being waterproof, and actually just now go for really fast-drying/draining shoes paired with wool socks. I don’t even pack a pair of sandals/river-crossing/camp shoes. Andrew Skurka is a local long-distance hiking “celebrity” and he put out a book not long ago that you may find interesting. It’s on the topic of lightweight hiking/backpacking and he very clearly details out why no shoe is ever truly “waterproof.”
Wow so much great information here, thank you so much! You have given me a lot to try out!
Happy to help! I found a link to Andrew Skurka’s blog where he breaks down the “waterproof” myth, see below. He’s certainly a proponent of lightening up where it makes sense. As I continue to develop confidence in my skills and abilities the need to carry/wear heavier-duty and/or more “stuff” decreases. Which also helps us age in this sport better – less weight you carry, the less stress on your joints and the less chance of injury!
PS, I’m going out for my first “longer & higher” hike of the summer tomorrow morning, will go back through your archives to find a suitable trip. Hopefully one I haven’t done before! Just did a quick loop with the dogs in Ken Caryl this afternoon, just beating the thunderstorms!
Thank you again Shannon, I found what Andrew had to say very interesting. It has given me a lot to think about.
Which Chacos are your favorite?
Nice on beating the storms, it was a crazy day…. If you give me ideas on what you want to do I would be happy to suggest something! Please let me know any time if you want help on picking a hike!!! Have fun!
Hey Kathy – I actually don’t hike in Chacos any more, they have way too much arch support for my taste! I wear them around town some and boating/rafting – the Z1 is the version I’ve had since the beginning. They make them WAY lighter now too! Best of luck in your search!
I’ve had a similarly frustrating situation with Asic running shoes. Why do they feel the need to change things up….grrrr! Good luck finding new shoes. I hope your feet heal soon and work gets better 🙂
Thanks Ingrid! I mean really why change??? I have mission this weekend since I can’t hike!
First of all, I LOVE your moxie! At the very least, you are not a quitter. Second, I wear Vasque boots. I have a two pairs. A well-loved, broken-in pair and a pair of Vasque Bitterroot that I’m still unsure of. Just finished a four-day trek in the Smokies with the Bitterroot and truthfully only developed one blister on my right foot on the toe next to the little toe. I also have Chaco sandals that I often wear with wool socks. However, because I often hike in rain and thru low-water crossings, I like my feet to stay dry. And because I’m getting older, I enjoy the stability (and confidence) the Bitterroot give my ankles. On multi-day hikes, I coat my feet with Body Glide. The Body Glide gives a thin layer between my sock and my skin and helps with rub. Also, change your socks (and reapply the Body Glide) after five miles if your feet have been sweating. Always keep your feet dry. I have more tips if you like. You can email me at email@example.com.
Keep on hiking!
Ha! I don’t know if I would call it moxie ;p but thank you! I am picking up body glide this weekend, you are the second person to recommend it! I will check out Vasque – what is your well loved pair, is it also the bitterroot? I am also cheating out Chaco more closely… I will for sure email you, THANK YOU!!!!
Really it comes down to a personal preference. I read that when buying hiking shoes, try on every pair in the store regardless of price and you will know which shoe fits your foot the best.
I know, I wish I could say I am good at that but I am not. I have bought lots of pairs thinking they feel great only to get on the trail to discover misery. With this latest Keen I totally wen t on the REI persons recommendation and it was perfect. I can’ tell you how sad I am.
Oh, so sorry about all of this. No good tips for you, but sending sympathy your way!
I wore Vasque boots on the Camino. They were great. I have about 800 miles on them and they appear to be good for at least another 500. I had no blisters for the entire 500 miles. Sandy wore an Italian boot (sold at REI) called Zamberlan. They are a bit expensive, but we are talking about your feet. Nothing more important than happy feet. The boots are hand crafted beautifully. They were the only boot she was comfortable with. Folks walking the Camino recommended wearing boots 1/2 to 1 size larger than your normal show size as your feet swell when walking 12-20 miles a day.
Socks are also just as important. We wore wool RX model sock from Smartwool. We tested Wright, Wigwam and REI socks before choosing the RX. We also wore a thin outer sock to prevent slipping in the shoe box.
Also, we tried to learn as much as possible about blisters. I would say that Sandy became a quasi experts on treating them. She uses the sterile needle and thick thread method. It works great. We treated hot spots with several items as we carried every conceivble blister remedy possible. From New Zeland wool to silicone pads and toe caps. We treated our hot spots and lots of blistered peregrinos, none as bad as your poor feet sounded. We made a conscious effort to cut nails often and check our feet at least a couple of times per day. Remove socks, inspect, rub, place socks on the opposite feet, lace up and ready for more hiking.
On the stress side of things, the Camino gave me plenty of opportunity (38 days of hiking) to do a lot of thinking and also the opportunity to discuss things with folks from across the world. Easier said than done, but I am now committed to not letting people affect me in a negative way. I have come to learn that I control myself and I will not let others ruin my attitude or cause me grief. There are people who actually enjoy setting others off. Ignore them (if possible) or work toward removing them from your daily life. Life is too short to be angry or stressed.
So many great suggestions here! So are the smart wool socks actually called Rx? I saw a pair of zamberlains at the REI garage sale today but they weren’t my size, I was so sad what a great way to have tried them at a discount. I tried Vasques today as well and really liked them.
I have never even thought to try the thinner on top of the think sock! Aaron and I were talking about this all day! The other way around doesn’t work at all for me!
How did Sandy become such an expert… did she read a book or something? I need to do a vulcan mind meld with her so I can do a better job!
AS for your advice on stress, you are so right! I was so mad I let the situation ruin my whole weekend, the week wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I just need to remember your advice on those hard days! I am typically a pretty happy person and don’t let too much get me down. I need to hold on to that harder!
Thank you so much for all this!!! I am learning so much!
Oops, they are actually called Smart Wool PHD. I called them RX the whole time!
The “outer” sock was a supposed to be “other.” I do not know how that happened. My IPAD thinks on its own sometimes and my proofreading leaves a lot to be desired!! The “other” sock is worn first, then the PHD on top. Sorry for the confusion. :-).
Oh ahhh! Yeah auto correct sucks sometimes. Well that makes way more sense, we thought we had been doing it wrong! The 2 sock thing doesn’t work for me like at all – I have tried a bunch of times! But thank you!!!
Next time you guys come up to Staunton we can meet for about a half hour to talk about the Camino and foot care. We can show you what items we have in our blister kit and how to apply. No blisters required!
Hey Kathy, first off, I’m so sorry to hear about the shit you’re dealing with at work. Between that and the pain in your feet it’s no wonder you had a melt down. No shame in that. I hope the good cry helped you work through some of that anxiety.
As you know I recently bought a new pair of Salomons which I took to Vegas and used to train for the GC rim to river. Those bastards have me the horrible blisters that raged on at GC a few days later. 😦
I used trail runners (new balance) for the GC hike because it was not a technical hike at all. Just very long and very steep grade, but a nice packed trail the entire route pretty much.
I tried on a gorgeous pair of Lowas when I bought the Salomons. I bought the latter because they were on sake and a great deal. In hindsight I should have spent the extra and bought the Lowas. They are considered the gold standard in waterproof hiking shoes these days I think. (And they felt like heaven on).
Good luck kicking this infection ASAP.
Thanks Nancy, shit at work sucks but I am more mad at myself for letting it invade my weekend retreat of hiking! I am usually so good at leaving work at work. It helps me to see what I have to work on once in a while!
I actually got a trail runner hybrid today – The show guy at REI was a miracle worker. I got my keens at REI and had a great consultation that day… Today the guy was crazy insightful. He said things I thought every time hiked in 2 minutes of looking at my feet and stance. The shoes he suggested were weird to me. When I tried one pair on I was like no way… then he did some trick with the laces and how to tie them and they were perfect! They are Adidas waterproof trail runners. I can’t want to test them out!
The antibiotics are killing me but my heals are million times better, not ready to hike but certainly happier! I have ants in my pants I want to hike so bad!
We need to hike or meet the next time you are out this way! I am certain we would laugh like crazy!
Thanks for all your support!
That is fascinating on how he was able to nail your needs based on feet/stance/questions. I hope those new hybrids do it for you. Will standby until your next hiking update. In the meantime I think I need to hit Sail (the REI-like store here in Canada) where I made the ill-fated decision to be the cheaper Salomon versus the Lowa. Unfortunately I can’t return the Salomons because I left them in Vegas. 😦
Heal up quick and hit those mountains. If I head out to DEN to visit with the Russian Princess I will definitively make plans to do some hiking with you. I would love that!
I’ve been thinking about shoes lately, too. (Thankfully not for the same reasons as you! No pain for me yet!) I normally hike in Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes, and haven’t had any problems out here in California (or in Maryland, where I used to live). But in September, I’m heading out to Colorado for a hike that starts near Leadville.
The hike leaders recommend “real” hiking shoes, and I’m trying to figure out whether I’ll actually need them. Especially since my last trip to REI was a bust when it came to “real” hiking shoes. I might just take my chances with the trail runners.
Now, go fight that infection!
Hi liseybee! I’ve hiked all over Colorado (including several 14ers and multi-night backpacks) for years in nothing more than trail runners. As mentioned above, for me I find simpler = better. And I go so light and simple that I haven’t had to “break in” my trail runners, ever, and I never get blisters either. Now, back when I wore waterpoof, heavy-leather hiking boots my feet were always a mess. I only carry blister stuff nowadays when I hike with someone else in heavy boots – because *they* will need it 🙂
Shannon, that is awesome news to hear! I think I will plan for just taking trail runners. I love them so!
Shannon is right! Do what works best for you!, if trail runners works for you every time wear those!!
What hike are you doing near Leadville? I would love the details! I haven’t hiked near there yet!!! It sounds like an event given you have hike leaders!
It’s a hiking retreat for people with cancer. We start near Leadville, and go up about 4 miles/1300 feet to a hut (Uncle Bud’s Hut), spend 2 nights, come back down. I can’t wait!
I’m flying in a couple of days early, and will probably spend one night in Denver and the next in Leadville, to try to avoid too many altitude problems.
That sounds lovely! I so want to try a hut hike but they get booked fast!
You are smart to acclimatize the way you are…. One other tip I learned after I moved here, drink at least 8 glasses a water a day, 3 days before you come here. If you already drink 8 glasses a days increase it a couple of glasses those 3 days. It will help you adjust better. Altitude issues struck in different ways, not sleeping is my least favorite and most common. Most people chalk it up to the bed not being comfortable but it is really the altitude.
My sister didn’t believe me at first but the next time she visited she followed my water advice and slept great the whole time. No altitude issues!
Oh and you keep kicking cancer’s ass!