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Mt. Falcon (repeater), Morrison CO hiked 5/10/14

16 May
Red Rocks from the trail

Red Rocks from the trail

This past weekend I had a meeting I had to attend  at 11AM on Saturday and to be honest I figured we would just hike on Sunday.  Then this wicked storm was predicted to hit on Sunday, it started out not being so bad and moved to a couple of feet in the mountains several inches on the Front Range.  Given this impending weather wrinkle we decided to get the best bang for our late start buck by hitting something close but challenging, yay Mt. Falcon ( Hike Details here)!  Unfortunately the weather forecast continued to change dramatically even between Friday and Saturday morning, so our day of beautiful sunshine turned into breaks between rain during our hiking window.   The worst rain shower actually hit before we started hiking when we first pulled up, nothing like a rain storm to make you question if you should go or not.  We decided we had enough gear to risk it and fortunately the rest of the hike ended up being pretty tame weather wise.

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The best part of the hike was the flowers, they were everywhere and just lovely!  It was also obvious that Jefferson County had some trail work done on the bottom half of the trail to repair damage from the floods last fall, it was all leveled out at the bottom of Turkey trot and then nicely packed as it wound up to the trail break with Castle view.  The volunteers did a great job fixing it up!

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Because of the rain, this normally high traffic trail was decidedly pretty empty on Saturday which was a nice change.  We also were coming down late enough in the afternoon that we could hear music from Red Rocks  coming over to the trail, it was kinda cool.

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I keep forgetting how fickle May is for high altitude hiking, all the snow that hit on Sunday is still lingering as low as 7ooo ft.  Plus the mountains have been getting hit once a day with snow/rain since Sunday and I don’t know if I have mentioned it yet, but I am kinda done with the snow!  I know we have been trudging around in it for months, but spring snow is different you can’t float on it in snowshoes and  you are guaranteed postholing anytime after 10AM when the sun starts really to ramp up.  I am not a fan of postholing.

I am struggling to find a hike for tomorrow and praying that inspiration hits me sometime tonight!  Wish me luck!

I hope where ever you are, you find time to get out and hike soon!

These lovely ladies were just a few feet away from us on our way down

These lovely ladies were just a few feet away from us on our way down

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My top 5 Easy hikes

27 Apr

Aaron is always telling me I need to rank my favorite hikes by difficulty level and then a few weeks ago Jessica over at HungryGems asked me to do the same thing.  I have been thinking about it a lot these past weeks and decided they are both right.

Here is my top 5 easy hikes that I have done so far:

5.  Fountain Valley Trail:  It is the shortest trail in Roxborough State Park and takes you around the feet of the beautiful red rocks in this park.  It has almost no elevation gain but striking views.

4.  Waterton Canyon:  This trail is a road used by Denver water but open to the public for hiking and biking because the Canyon is lovely.  You can also challenge yourself by determining how far you want to hike from 1 to 12.6 miles.  Plus there is always a good chance you can catch some long horn sheep in the Canyon.

3.  South Rim Trail:  This trail is a short 3 mile hike with a nice initial climb and then the views of Roxborough State Park take over everything.  It shows off the beauty of the park in a way none of the other trails do.  Plus you get the whole Front Range and Denver to ooohhhh and ahhh at.

2.  Rawhide Trail – White Ranch Park:  This trail has it all, beautiful views of Denver & Golden, a great forest trek and then on the West side the cascading mountains of Golden.

1. Spruce Mountain:  This is my favorite Easy hike we have done so far.  It is easy to get to, it has expansive views of the entire front range from Pikes peak to Longs Peak.  There is  an initial short climb and then the trail weaves along ridge beautifully set up like an outdoor museum where you step off the trail to viewing like areas.  I like to use it as a  good way to get visitors who will be hiking during their visit to give them a taste of Colorado’s beauty.  Plus it helps to get them active at altitude so going higher will be easier.

Weigh in 1/17/14 No Change

18 Jan

So this sucks… not because there is no change but because well…. I did GREAT this week.  I mean seriously great!  I worked out and stayed within my calories every day.

The down side, I had events… I had my hair cut and colored( no washing for at least 24 hrs,, which means no hard sweaty working out for at least that long ,oh and I sweat like a crazy person at the drop of a hat). but I did other  stuff that caused no sweating…. which was tricky.

I had too much fun out with my favorite lovely lady, Carrie, to celebrate how awesome she is another year older…

Oh and I was on track to lose…. until Thursday at 5PM when nature intervened.

Next week will bet better in terms of weight loss.

The other killer challenge I have taken on… getting off diet coke, yep I am giving up pop.  This is crazy hard for me, I have seriously been drinking diet pop since I was 5 years old… the only time in my life I got spanked, opening a bottle of Tab when I was 5 or 6 before the party started( we only got pop on weekends and at parties in those days).  My last few cans of diet coke ran out on Thursday and I have had anxiety dreams for weeks about it, you know the end of the world and the only thing you want is a cold diet coke… or trade your husband for a diet coke to save your life(no way… um I mean sure or of course).  Do not offer any guests my diet coke ….I NEED THEM….. what is more important, diet coke or a healthy lifestyle(…. DIET COKE….) I mean a healthy lifestyle.  man I love diet coke…..

Crafty Diet Coke for making me so addicted….. my goal this week to only succumb 1 time a day to my evil monkey on my back, diet coke. Oh and actually lose weight.

Anywho…. another week awaits with aspartame deprived headaches and cold sweats( and hot sweats because I sweat like a dude), I am committed.

Get out and hike, life is too short!

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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Hells Hole Trail #53, Idaho Springs CO hiked 10/26/13

29 Oct

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Hell’s Hole Trail #53

Starting Elevation:  9600Ft

Highest Elevation: 11,578 Ft ( total Elevation gain was around 2200 ft.) Hells Hole is actually at 11,200 but we went past and above it.

Trail Length:  I read anywhere from 8-10 miles on the accounts of it I could find.  My fitbit was close to 10 miles round trip,  it too us 4.5- 5 hrs

Trail uses: Hiker, horses & snow shoe

Degree of DIfficulty:  Moderate to difficult, mostly because of altitude and length of trail.

Fees:  No fees, but there is a required permit to be filled out on the trail upon entering the Mt. Evans Wilderness

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking lot

Pets:  Yes on leash only

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A couple of things started coming together for this hike during the week….1 I am running out of new trails to hit through the 3 books I invested in 18 months ago, 2- I wanted to be above 10,000 feet this weekend and finally (and most importantly for selection this week) it needed a Halloween themed name.  When I started looking for hikes, I had found a bunch of places listing all the hikes in certain national forests and so I started looking for ones with spooky type names.  Hells Hole was perfect and close, now if only we had thought of bringing masks before we started hiking…. Did I ever mention what  a Halloween super freak I was?

Pre-Weight loss costume a few years ago

Pre-Weight loss costume a few years ago

We got up early even though I knew it meant a pretty cold start ( 24 degrees), I still wanted to start early because I hoped it meant having the trail mostly to ourselves and I can tell you it worked, we didn’t see anyone else until we were well on our way back to the car.

New Trail SIgn....nice but I really wanted the dilapidated one that said HEll's hell for the creep purpose

New Trail SIgn….nice but I really wanted the dilapidated one that said Hell’s hole for the creep factor

Needed some proof we were at Hell's Hole

Needed some proof we were at Hell’s Hole

Permit station and only place I saw the official trail name...too bad it isn't as ominous as the old sign

Permit station and only place I saw the official trail name…too bad it isn’t as ominous as the old sign

The trail starts out climbing through a beautiful aspen grove, which I have come to love as much without leaves as I do with.  I would say that this was by far the steepest climb of the entire hike and lasts for a solid mile.

the beginning isn't so bad

the beginning isn’t so bad

A little snowy as we leave the aspen grove.

A little snowy as we leave the aspen grove.

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There were some water crossings

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After the Aspen grove you officially enter Mt. Evans Wilderness

After the Aspen grove you officially enter Mt. Evans Wilderness

The next 2ish miles climbed through pines at a much milder grade and as the sun started to climb we warmed up a little while the mountains were starting to bask in it, creating a beautiful destination to hike towards. The snow on the ground became more consistent towards the end of the Aspen grove, through the pines it was even more persistent.  This brings me to  the other great thing about being the first on the trail, we get to enjoy the benefit of first tracks of the day.  Which meant no yaktrax or crampons needed for first tracks.   Going down was much harder because all that snow had started turning to ice with the other hikers now out on it and the sun starting to warm up everything.

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The final 1-1.5 miles we broke out of the trees and moved along the plateau towards Hells Hole when this stunning bristle cone pine grove presented itself.   Have you ever seen a Bristle cone pine? I am sure you have, they are those amazing trees that are both living and yet look like they have died in a spectacular display of color with twisted tortured limbs.

The view as we broke out of the trees

The view as we broke out of the trees

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Same spot but looking back towards the beginning

I have to say reaching this point was by far the best part of the whole hike, I mean I have seen one or two of these trees before on a hike but I have to tell you this was the biggest most stunning grove of them I have ever seen.  I spent an hour taking pictures after we made it to our break point just above Hells hole.

Thought this one looked like the tree of the dead

Thought this one looked like the tree of the dead

Me on the tree of the dead, although totally not dead

Me on the tree of the dead, although totally not dead

Lots of Bristle cone pines

Lots of Bristle cone pines

Hells hole was kind of pitiful, it was frozen over and really unremarkable but the bowl we were in with all the Bristle cone pines and the majestic mountains was what made the hike.  It was lovely from beginning to end and the perfect way to commemorate the weekend before Halloween!

Hell's Hole....not very hellish

Hell’s Hole….not very hellish

Once again we met great people on the trail….it was just before we were done when a super nice couple was asking about the trail and what we thought about where it went.   Before I knew it we were all talking about Chicago of all things and blogging and how incredibly awesome Colorado is, among other things!  Surprisingly James had found my blog while looking for hikes and recognized me from it, how wild is that!?! It was so nice meeting you James and Wendy you are both so inspiring!

Leave no trace is important, remember to always pack out what you brought in so everyone can enjoy the beauty like you did.

Leave no trace is important, remember to always pack out what you brought in so everyone can enjoy the beauty like you did.

After the directions will be some of my favorite pictures from the hike.

Directions: Take I70 west from Denver, take exit 240- highway 103 at Idaho Springs.  Go South on CO 103 from Idaho Springs, at the first Switchback go straight onto Clear Creek County #114 to its end at the West Chicago Creek Campground.  FYI the road is dirt but well maintained until maybe the last half mile but it was still in OK condition, it was no problem for my civic.

Me and the moon

Me and the moon

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Fun with snow

fun with reflection

Being artsy

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Try to find the moon

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Bristle cone pine and the moon

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A nice perspective

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To confess or not to confess…. The stress of the weigh in….UGH

10 Aug

I have been decidedly not talking about my weight loss journey and as you can probably guess, for all the bad reasons no one ever wants to talk about it. ….It is not going well.

I want to say that I have been hard-core, and kinda I have been but at the same time I know I am not doing my best.  Life happens, and this where I always end up failing.  I have spent the last month and half doing a million things outside of hiking, exercising and while my eating hasn’t been perfect, it doesn’t explain why I have gained so much weight back….  The truth is, I have gained back weight and then lost some of what I gained back.

For the past 2 weeks I have been focusing on not quitting, which I would normally do at this stage in pursuit of my goal weight.  And OMG, I am great at quitting when it comes to weight loss but I don’t want to quit, I really want to get healthy and I want to do and see more of Colorado while hiking like a crazy person!

The hardest part of being me is, I am truly addicted to food( really bad for you food) and unlike those addicted to substances, I can’t give up food since I need it to live  so I am just trying to manage.

I am in a managing stage.

It is not ideal but it is where I am at.

In the end, I had gained back 2.8 LBS and this week I lost .8 LBS which makes me only +2lbs. I am sort of ok with this.

While I fight my desire to quit, I have managed to plan a months worth of hikes to keep me motivated.

SInce I am not on a diet but a life change, I figure that this will always be my challenge in life and if I can’t figure out how to get through today, then how can I possibly hope to get through tomorrow?

This is my confession and my hope, I am 17 months into this journey and I am so much happier for everything I have seen and done in that time.  I am holding on to all those summits and spectacular views as motivation to Keep moving forward.

Our hike today was a great motivator and the hike I have planned for next week has butterflies in my stomach because I can’t wait to see it.

I am sorry and I am back on track…I swear!

 

Weigh in day 6/14/13 No Change….

15 Jun

I am OK with this no change.  It was a tough week in terms of staying on track so in and of itself, not gaining is a win.

Colorado has again been racked by wildfires and the devastation is staggering.  There is so much beauty here and seeing it lost in a matter of days is hard, it was hard for me to focus on our next hike or my diet thin king about all those who lost everything and all that was lost to us as a result.  I decided that my only goal this week was a no change.

Our hike today was AMAZING!!!!  It was also way harder than we thought it would be, well then I thought it would be since I do all the hike research and choosing.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but it was so taxing that we have decided that it will not be a 2 hike weekend after all.  Well the hike today and the fact that I barely slept all week due to the fall injuries from last weekend.