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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

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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

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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

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A Thanksgiving Hike – Roxborough State Park, hiked 11/28/13

16 Dec
View from Carpenters peak facing north

View from Carpenters peak facing north

Work has been so crazy and with such craziness means not going home to Chicago for Thanksgiving.  I also don’t get the Friday after Thanksgiving off so no crazy Thanksgiving party or over indulging for us!  I decided that a morning hike would make the day perfect with a nice dinner to follow.   I also thought something easier would allow us to hike twice over the fast approaching weekend.

View from Carpenters Peak facing West.

View from Carpenters Peak facing West.

With just one day off, I wanted to stay close to home so that I could relax and cook the rest of the day.  We also bought an annual state park pass a few days before and so wanted to start getting our moneys worth.  We went to Roxborough state Park and hit 2 trails, Caprenters peak ( Hike details here) and the South rim hike ( Hike Details here) to get a nice quick 8.7 mile hike.  We finished in just under 3 hours and were surprised at how many people had the same idea as us.  Leave it to Coloradans to make sure they keep Thanksgiving healthy!

The day was completely perfect with a little snow on the trail and the sun shining bright.  We were lucky enough to see these 3 beauties right on the side of the trail, it was pretty special!

3 deer just on the side of the trail.

3 deer just on the side of the trail.

I will never tire of this park, every time we are there regardless of the weather it is stunning!  This particular day was no different… if you haven’t found your way out there yet, check it out, totally worth the $7 day fee!

View from the South Rim Hike

View from the South Rim Hike

View From Carpenters Peak East.

View From Carpenters Peak East.

 

 

Green Mountain – Lakewood CO Girlfriend Hike #4 11/17/13

2 Dec

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Rooney Road > To Green Mt Summit trail

Starting Elevation: 6061 ft

HIghest Elevation: 6804 ft ( 900 Ft Total elevation gain)

Trail Length: I thought 4 miles but we came up short at the summit and then went long…. so we got in 5 miles.

Trail Uses: Hiker and biker

Degree Of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, although I have heard the Rooney Road start point is a considered a hell climb I don’t think it is that bad.

Bathrooms: Yes: at the parking lot

Pets:  Yes on leash only

Fees:  None

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View of Denver from the summit of Green Mountain

I have come across meet up hikes a lot while researching for hikes we might attempt.  A few months ago I realized I needed to spread out, meet new people and learn more about hikes in Colorado.   So I signed up for Meet up… have you ever seen meet up or taken part of an event by them?  I am strangely curious.

There is one group that is a hiking after work group and I thought, why not?  I also asked my girlfriend Lisa if she wanted to try meet up and to submit for this hike….. we both got in.  Come hiking evening, Lisa had a lot going against her and didn’t make it very far, while I went on to finish with lots of curiosity about what this trail looked like during the day.  On the way home we were chatting about the hike and she really wanted to beat it, since we had a girls hike coming up I figured why not.

I usually try to pick easy hikes and this hike is at its core easy, what is hard is that initial climb but the rest of the park is relatively easy.  The trails are very well planned out, wide and have VERY high usage.

On this day, the forecast was for 40-60 mile an hour winds during our hike.  I seriously considered canceling….. but I really super love these hikes with my girlfriends and I  wanted to give Lisa that chance to beat this hike, plus sometimes the weather forecast is off.  So instead I texted them all late Saturday night to say prepare for crazy winds.

We got tot the trailhead at 7:30…. with NO wind (stupid forecasters) .  This trail is really popular and that morning was no different, but we still had the freedom to move at our own pace.  Our goal was to finish and not worry about time, my company was amazing!  They hadn’t exactly worked up to a 700-800 foot elevation gain in just a mile but they were troopers every step of the way.  We made our way up the beginning to come up to the most amazing views of the front range and Denver itself.  The view is always the best part of any hike… oh and I am always looking to gain more converts to my love of hiking…. good views SUPER help with that.

trail 1 trail 2 going to the summit

Karin and Lisa did awesome!  I promised them that we would summit and had own since I knew the  summit was more than they had prepared for, what i didn’t expect was for them to want to do more.  I was thrilled!

Lisa, Karin and Levi( Karin crazy adorable dog) were super troopers in wanting to push themselves a little further to see more and work harder that morning. I said I am totally willing to push when they say the word so we headed over to the tower further down the path.  It was a great morning I could see the summit lust in their eyes, it happens when those views are perfect like there were that day.  The nice thing about getting a taste of summit lust, is it makes you want to see more.  We were talking about harder hikes in the future for more amazing views…. I think I am getting them hooked, yay me more hiking buddies!!!

LEVI!!!!

LEVI!!!!

I have come to appreciate this hike for how close it is to home and how easy it is to get too.  I am looking forward to getting more people there to feed their summit lust.

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Belcher Hill Trail(repeater Hike)- White Ranch Park, Golden Co Hiked 11/10/13

22 Nov

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I was thrilled 2 weeks ago when my friend Tricia from California was in town for a wedding.  That meant I got to spend all of Saturday with her just laughing and drinking…. not so great for my goals but super really good for  my psyche!  We had soo much fun!

Ever dedicated to hiking, I pulled myself out of bed on Sunday to hike, even a little hung over because I can’t miss hiking on my weekends anymore, that next week just doesn’t feel right!  Even worse now, I don’t feel right – but worse meaning really good and awesome.

White Ranch park was really hard hit in the floods we had jut 2 months ago….it has been mostly closed and had just reopened a few trails not too long ago Belcher Hill  (Hike details here) being one those.  We took advantage of that reopening and headed out there that Sunday morning!

The day was just spectacular 68, sunny and no wind what so ever.  It is one of those days where you want to be outside all day long doing whatever makes you happy. Fortunately that was exactly what I was doing, hiking and being happy.

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The trail itself was still rough from the floods with lots of debris, mostly rocks and pebbles pushed down, adding a new  dimension to the trail and some dry debris sliding.  There was also a lot of deep grooves from rushing water that changed the degree of pitch in some places, forcing a lot of the bikers to walk with their bikes.  I also added to the challenge by trying out a smaller hiking shoe size, my feet have gotten a little smaller as I have lost weight and my toes are paying the price so I figured it was worth a shot to go down a half of size.  On the way back down my right foot felt the best it had in 8 months…. my left the worst.  The result of my experiment…. I started one size on my left foot and a smaller size on my right, my feet have been feeling awesome!

Despite the toe thing, the hike was just wonderful there were lots of people out enjoying our mild weather.

Sorry for the delay on posts.  I am hiking every weekend no matter what, last weekend I even got 2 hikes in and both mostly new.   Work has just been super intense and when I am not working late or getting some more work done at home, I am squeezing in exercise where ever I can.  I won’t lie, sticking to eating well has been hard as I am a serious stress eater currently under immense stress, I have really good days and really bad days but my weight hasn’t changed too much.  I swear I will get back on track with telling you all about it again soon!!

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Mt. Falcon, Morrison CO (repeater) hiked 11/3/13

16 Nov
views on the way up.

views on the way up.

I had great expectations for that this second hike of my 3 day weekend on Saturday…. like climb Mt. Everest expectations….. What I got was not so great.

*** WARNING FEMALE ISSUES WILL BE DISCUSSED****There are just days that are not meant to be…. I have been off the pill for 2 years, I can tell you 15 years ago, before I got on the pill, each month was a juggle of time and advil… and it was bad, like throw up once a month can’t get out of bed bad.  But like so many before me, we figure it out and live our lives.  I think the blessing has been, that for the past 2 years off the pill I have never reverted back to those dark days until this particular morning….at approximately 2:30 am.  At first I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening and got in the car and drove to our designated trail head. It was a crazy beautiful drive and the day was unspeakably beautiful, I knew this was the day for the hike I had planned.

When I pulled up to the trail head all I could think was, I can’t take any more Advil without throwing up and I can’t walk without any more advil….. It was decided right then,  as the most spectacular pinks lit up the sky and mountains all around, this hike was not happening….*** DONE WITH FEMALE ISSUES DISCUSSION******

I spent that day in bed and woke on Sunday hungry for a hike and that is how I found myself on Mt. Falcon ( hike details here).

I love November on the front range…one of the best kept secrets is that Denver is crazy mild while the mountains get hammered all winter long, Mt. Falcon was perfect for the hiking that Sunday. It was sunny warm and exhilarating as we flew up the mountain.  We started later than we normally do, so it was much more crowded than we are used too.

I left late and was breaking in new hiking shoes but we still made great time.  We did 10-ish miles with 2100ft+ elevation gain in just 3 hours, it felt so good.  Well mostly good, it was also an interesting and perfect day to be out on the trail.  Sundays aren’t a regular occurrence anymore and the people out with us were a great variety.  I could do without the smokers though…….

The views were amazing, the hike invigorating and my spirits up…. Love hiking!

Denver from the tower

Denver from the tower

Carpenters Peak (Repeater) Hiked 11/1/13

10 Nov

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Sometimes we need to just stop and take stock….. you know > what is important and what brings happiness, that kind of stock.

I had a day that I could take off and I thought why not take it-  try to recenter myself after a really super tough couple of weeks, while knowing I have a really tough couple of months/years ahead of me…. So what does a crazy hike lover like myself do when she plans out a 3 day weekend?  She  hikes ….and so I did.

Friday morning I woke up when I woke up and then headed over to Roxborough state park, not for a super hard hike(because I drank too much the night before) but because it is beautiful ….all year round and nothing feels better than a little bit of beautiful when things are tough.  I decided that I wanted a great hike up Carpenters Peak ( hike details here).

As I pulled into the parking lot, these 4 lovely older women were just finishing up their hike for the day.  They were graceful, healthy and just plain happy.  I am guessing here, but I think they were in their 60’s they moved and looked amazing, like I want to look like that >amazing.  I was incredibly nosey( as I always am) and overheard that this was just one of many hikes they had enjoyed just that week, I was crazy jealous.  How do I get there to hiking through out the weekdays and planning other activities around my hikes with my hiking buddies/groups.  It was a revelation.

The hike itself was perfect, it was cool and when it got too hot it we were rewarded with some snow to cool us down.  We had it to ourselves almost to the top and then on the way down we just crossed paths with a few other hikers….the benefits of taking off a weekday to hike.

I say it too much…but I love it here! To be able to drive just 30 minutes and get views like this, well spectacular…. I am a lucky girl!

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Deer Creek Canyon, Littleton CO for like the millionth time. Hiked 10/13/13

24 Oct

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I will say the weekend when my bestie was here went too fast but it was a really wonderful  48 hour visit.  It is amazing the effect your best friend can have in such a short period of time.  It was so hard seeing her go and I am not typically a very emotional person, but  I cried the whole way home from the airport.  I think it also had a lot to do with my new reality…..

When I had left to take her to the airport early that morning I had not slept a wink the night before and decided no hike for this weekend, but on the way home I started to feel so bad that I knew just getting out on the trail would help me turn it around at least a little.

We packed up quickly and headed out to Deer Creek.  It was around 10AM when we started, and the parking lot was surprisingly  empty for a late Sunday morning.  I will tell you that I was also a little hung over, not so much because I drank too much but because I drank and got like 15 minutes of sleep the night before.

I just wanted to get in some exercise with beautiful views to clear my head and get a better perspective on life, this hike was perfect for that.   We got in almost 9 miles with around 1700 total feet of elevation gain and we did it in record time at 2.5 hours.   It really felt good to do so much in such a short period of time.   The big shocker was how few people were out there with us, the day couldn’t have been more perfect for hiking this trail and so few people were enjoying it there.  I hope they were enjoying it on another trail!

As always this trail is my favorite go to when time is short but a hike is necessary and this day was no different.   Love you Deer Creek Canyon!