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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.

Thank you!

6 Jun

Yesterday I was sitting at work in conference call hell, which often leads to me playing games on my phone (Shhhhh). When  my phone kinda started blowing up with wordpress notifications.   Needless to say I didn’t get much game playing done and thank goodness no one asked me any questions on my calls because I had to know what was going on.

I was shocked and really honored to read all the nice things Mandie at GirlyCamping said about my humble little blog!  It has really impacted my traffic and I am excited to meet the new followers I got as a result!

I wanted to give a big thank you to Mandie for the honor of being part of your list of top blogs for hiking/camping!  I have to tell you that I have always really enjoyed your blog with how you describe your adventures and all the beautiful pictures you take!  Your blog makes me want to go to California and explore all the places you visit!  Plus you give great camping advice with a nice amount of humor!

THANK YOU MANDIE!!!!!!

Spruce Mountain Trail (open space), Larkspur Colorado 5/26/13

30 May
The view at the top of Spruce Mountain and the South end of the front range

The view at the top of Spruce Mountain and the South end of the front range

Spruce Mountain Trail> Spruce Mountain Loop> Access Road> Spruce Mountain Trailhead

Starting Elevation: 7127Ft.

Highest Elevation: 7568, for 550 feet elevation gain, but there is some up and down to if you do the loop I think you get closer to 650 ft

Trip Length: Officially 5.5 miles and that is about what my fitbit said too

Trail Uses: Multiuse; hiker, biker and horses

Pets: Dogs allowed on Leash and we did see a sheriff come by at least once to check.

Fees: None

Degree of Difficulty:  Easy to slightly moderate

Bathrooms:  One well used port-o-potty, keep your own Tp handy it was already out at 11:30AM on a Sunday.

View of the North part of the Front Range from the top

View of the North part of the Front Range from the top

The best part of a long weekend is being able to get in 2 hikes.  We were introduced to this hike by my good friend Karin and her husband Doug a few years ago, we went in early spring which was good because there was no one there but not so good in that it was insanely windy and so we avoided the top loop.  What a shame that we did because it was spectacular in its almost complete view of the front range and amazing on Sunday.

Let’s talk trail, it is pretty easy to find this trail head and the parking lot has a big beautiful  entry sign into the parking lot which is decent size but busy!

Parking Lot

Parking Lot

Trail map at the start

Trail map at the start

Trail sign 1

The trail signage is really good here, we did the Spruce Mountain trail which is the route to the left and up from this first marker.   It is s nice short climb to the first trial break and there are a bunch scenic views with benches to enjoy them on.  It is also a nice place to catch your breath.

to the mountain top

to the mountain top

The walk up was mostly covered in pine and spruce with this nice sandy trail consistency with solidness beneath it.  It smelled great and was lovely just in general.

Trail Conditions on the way up.

Trail Conditions on the way up.

When we got to the top  there is was the trail continuing to the right and this huge viewing area to the left and it looked like it made a loop in and out of rocks and trees with benches and lots of opportunities to enjoy the views of the South Front range with some sense of privacy.  This place must get pretty busy and there was a nice crowd here on Sunday but not too bad.

view in this outcropping

view in this outcropping. Thats Pikes Peak with snow.

Cool Tree

Cool Tree

Somehow we got back on the trail with missing how we did it so I will make the guess it is pretty easy to do. We came around to another view-point on the opposite side of the Mountain top so our views were all of the north Front Range and then we got to the next trail break which gave the option of the Mountain top loop or the service road.  We opted for the Loop on such a beautiful day with enough wind to keep us comfortable.  Here are a series of pictures showing the transition to the loop.

after the Northern viewpoint

after the Northern viewpoint

Mt top loop 2mountain top loop

After we went around this corner it was like a museum walking past view points with one spectacular view after the next.  It was also being enjoyed by lots of people so we kept going.

Pikes Peak

We got this view of directly west from lower down but it was essentially the same:

along the plains

At the end of the loop we took the service road down, which is not a popular choice so we had it almost to ourselves.  The service road is ROUGH and steep with huge crevices and I am not really sure how they get any vehicle up there but I know they do…

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From the bottom of the service road we went right and through a gate and then it was exposed and relatively flat the rest of the way back to the parking lot.  It was a warm day and we were slathered in sun block, which was almost not enough.  Bring lots of water  and wear sunscreen, it took us about 2 hours to complete the whole trail and we were moving at a nice clip.  We did stop and take a lot of pictures in that 2 hours too so it is a great relaxing hike, lots of families and lots of all ages, tons of flowers.  I haven’t stopped talking about this hike all week and I know my friends are like enough already, but if you find yourself near Larkspur CO hit this trail!  After the directions will be some of our favorite pictures.

Directions:

13415 Spruce Mountain Road, Larkspur, CO
From I-25, take the Greenland Exit (167) to the west and travel ¼ mile west on Greenland Road and ½ mile south. Bypass the Greenland Trailhead and continue right on the main gravel road (Noe Road) over two sets of railroad tracks.  (If you have a horse trailer or very large vehicle, park at the Spruce meadows parking lot on your left and take the 2-mile trail to Spruce Mountain.)  Cars can continue another mile west to Spruce Mountain Road. Take a left and head south for about one mile to the parking area on your right. Remember, cars and light trucks only may park here.

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Ben Tyler Trail #606 – 3rd time is NOT the charm! 5/25/13

26 May
The best view from the top

The best view from the top

Ahh how we are gluttons for punishment!  This past week was another perfect, warm week in Denver and as a result we convinced ourselves that we would try Ben Tyler ( Hike Details here) this weekend in hopes the snow was manageable enough to make it to the top.  I cannot tell you how desperate I am getting to see the top of this hike and so the hike started out almost perfect plus we heard other hikers talk about the peak as if it was clear.  We started up the switchbacks pretty optimistic and as we took in the view around the 2nd or 3rd traverse we started to wonder….

Optimistic start....but I spy snow

Optimistic start….but I spy snow

We were making great time and so far the snow was nowhere to be seen even as we crossed the creek the first time:

2 weeks ago snow was all around this crossing

2 weeks ago snow was all around this crossing

When the trail turned into a creek on its own, we were pretty psyched because we were certain it meant the top was ours this time.  Not to mention that at this point 2 weeks ago we were almost up to our knees in snow.

This is actually the trail with our own little creek occasionally

This is actually the trail with our own little creek occasionally

We didn’t even see our first patch of snow until we got to the point we turned around just 2 weeks ago, we were crazy excited we were moving at a good pace seeing beautiful sites and reaching the end of the of the Aspen grove.  That meant we were getting really close to the last stretch of trail before the top.

When we first started, we were soundly passed by that group of hikers talking about conditions at the top.  It was probably about a mile after our turnaround point last time that we ran back into them….coming down….dejected, ugh! Their words, huge wall of snow blocking the trail about 20 minutes up the trail.  This group was lovely and gave great advice, one of the gentleman said he had never seen it this bad this late in the year and he had been hiking here for years!  We got to their turnaround point and did something I am completely against….we went off trail.   We didn’t get far but far enough to realize that we were chasing a dream at this point.  After a valiant effort we threw in the towel again, not before I took an epic fall that made the most beautiful colors on my calf and left butt cheek, mostly my left cheek.  When I slipped and fell on the rock hiding under the snow my leg actually went immediately numb for about 30 seconds, I knew it was a bad sign.  It kept waking me up last night when I tried turning over but didn’t stop our hike today so I will chalk it up to just a bad fall with a deep tissue bruise as a result.

The best part of Colorado this time of the year was that it was in the 50’s the whole time and we were in shorts, shorts and gators eventually but mostly shorts.  I am becoming more sure every day that we are living in Heaven on earth.  Before I put up our favorite pictures from the hike, does any one know what kind of bird this is?  It was pretty flirty with us and posing like crazy:

What kind of bird is this, anyone?

What kind of bird is this, anyone?

Fingers crossed that next time we see Kenosha pass.

It was hard to resist not trying harder... the view of where we are trying to go

It was hard to resist not trying harder… the view of where we are trying to go

shorts n gators

shorts n gators

Ugh 3+ ft of unstable snow....

Ugh 3+ ft of unstable snow….

Pretty Cactus Flowers

Pretty Cactus Flowers

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Ben Tyler Trail #606-Pike National forest. 2nd attempt failed- 5/11/13

12 May
The view of our destination from the beginning

The view of our destination from the beginning

When we kind of stubbornly decided we were going to do Ben Tyler Trail (hike details here) this weekend, I knew deep down there was no way in hell we would make it to the top……. AGAIN.  It is really close to Kenosha Pass and one of the areas that probably got 4-5 feet of snow over the last month and then this week we had rain all week which meant snow storms up high, but still we got up insanely early and headed out to this trail.

A little closer the curve of the mountain to the middle right is where we are trying to get to.

A little closer the curve of the mountain to the middle right is where we are trying to get to.

At the beginning of the hike we were really optimistic, the trail conditions were straight up awesome and the weather was perfect.  I mean check out that sky, have you ever seen a more perfect color blue!

No gators yet

No gators yet

About a mile or so in, the snow really was taking over and we were trying to not comment about how deep it was starting to get.  There was only one other set of foot prints in front of us and honestly we were really hoping it was someone who had made it to the top.   We saw him jogging down not long before we crossed the stream for the first time and we were so excited he was actually there today (and not the day before) that we forgot to ask how far up he made it.

Crossing the creek

Crossing the creek

It wasn’t too far after this that we saw where the runner turned around, headed back and then we realized that it was time for gators.  I picked up some new ones at a great price and I am so glad they arrived before this hike because I needed them today.

Gator time

Gator time

Snow is getting higher

Snow is getting higher

At least the views made the snow not such a big deal

At least the views made the snow not such a big deal

We honestly didn’t take that many pictures and when we did, these are all with my iPhone or our Olympus tough camera not our canon, but the day was so beautiful I think it would have been hard to take a bad picture.

iPhone - Aaron's favorite from the hike

iPhone – Aaron’s favorite from the hike

After we saw where the runner turned around, it was just us blazing the trail through the snow.  Which we love but man was it a workout, first a foot, then 2 and 3 when finally we got to the trail marker around 10,000 feet up.

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We were huffing and puffing all through here still feeling good so we continued forward although we knew that it was unlikely we could get all that much further. It was actually getting warmer, the snow was getting deeper and more unstable yet we still had hope that we might make it up a little higher or that the snow would be a little less but finally we had to admit….the snow was too much.

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Before we took these pictures, Aaron slid down almost to his waist, for like a second we wanted to try to go further and try too hard to make it to the top.  But the clouds were really moving in and the reality that the snow was not going down at all hit us.  We turned around and started heading back, as I have begun to learn going down is not as easy as I once thought it was, the temperature had started raising and the snow was melting pretty quickly.  Only from the bottom up or so it seemed, the stress to our knees was intense.

the way back is not so great

the way back is not so great

The hardest part of heading down before we wanted too, was that the clouds almost disappeared and the sky turned this intense amazing blue that made us wish we hadn’t turned around ( even though it was the right decision) because the views on a day like yesterday would have been unbelievable.  I cannot wait to make it to the top one day and we will!

Seriously blue with my iPhone no less

Seriously blue with my iPhone no less

I feel like I had never seen this color blue in nature until I moved here and now I cannot get enough.

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In the end we managed to get to a little over 8 miles of hiking with a total elevation gain of 1700ft but it took us 5 hours round trip. One stupid feeling of awesomeness hit us on the way back, there was another pair of foot prints in the snow that suddenly appeared but they turned around at least half a mile or more before we did.  We got to the parking lot as they were finishing up their de-clothing post hike ritual, 2 guys younger and in better shape than us the look on their faces when they realized we went further than them was priceless.  We could almost read their lips “like seriously they beat us”, it felt crazy great!

We just loved the views too much and our favorite pictures got out of control so forgive me.

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Bergen Peak Trail, Elk Meadow Open space *AGAIN* 4/20/13

20 Apr

The start

This week has been tough on so many levels for so many reasons and I know I am not the only one struggling to find balance and meaning.  I can tell you that the only thing on our minds yesterday was getting out hiking and getting as high as we could (altitude wise of course), but with all the snow we got this week any hike was going to be challenging so we decided that it was going to be Bergen Peak …..again  Details of the Hike here

Honestly, I was not optimistic about our hike yesterday but we figured let’s get all our stuff together and go as far as can.  A pie in the sky hike would be to do the exact same hike we did here 2 weeks ago ( Details here), 13.5 ish miles in 6 hours with around 2400ft ish total elevation gain.  The storm that hit us this past week dropped around 2 feet of snow on Bergen Peak AND we had a chance of rain later sometime this afternoon.  All I wanted was a good hike that would help us to keep moving towards a 14er this summer.  We started out slightly bundled up, gators on for high snow with actual hiking boots (not usual and decidedly heavier) and prepared for every thing the mountains have to offer.  What we got was surprising, the snow was deep and every where but at first it was easier to move through and at just a little over half of a mile  We saw our first herd of elk

Elk 1Elf 2Elk 3

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After 7 years of living here we finally saw our first Elk!!! It was so super cool and we were crazy excited to see them….I even pulled out my big camera which I feel like I only carry for weight building lately.  None of the pictures turned out as good as I wanted them to be but I can tell you it was awesome!!!!

We started out really slow and as we climbed up I figured  if it takes the whole day, then it takes the whole day just as long as we finished before the rain was predicted to start at 4…did I mention we started hiking at 7:30?  At that early in the morning the snow was perfect to walk on, but other than the occasional  slide it wasn’t too bad and there had been enough people before us to create a very nice path.  The traffic on the trail was really light going up we saw one other couple hiking and then one jogger.  That jogger told us he spooked a bear about a 1/2 mile up the summit trail, our pace became slower and we were super attentive, stopping for any little noise.  I was really torn here, scared to see my first bear and yet wondering if I could catch one in a picture.  We then had the good luck of meeting up with another hiker who had just gone up to the summit and she saw no bears so we continued on.  Here are a couple of pictures of what the trail looked like on our way up:

Bergen Peak trail conditionsBergen Peak TrailTrail conditions at the top

It was a beautiful day and crazy challenging, it was like walking up and down sand dunes with lead weights on our ankles and back.  In the end it took us 4 hours to get to the top, which was covered with so much snow and I only fell once, thank goodness for all that snow it totally made my face plant more funny than painful.  We don’t know this trail enough to walk where there weren’t already foot prints and so I was challenged in getting any good shots of Mt. Evans at the top but Pike’s peak was AMAZING!!!!  When we were about to leave another hiker had just arrived and he was so nice, but he told us something new and embarrassing. Before today we always stopped at the vista point assuming it was the summit, but in fact it is not so he showed us where it was and took a picture of us so we had actual proof we made it to the summit.   What a funny lesson for us, I was such a proud hiker until that moment!

Proof we made it to the summit of Bergen Peak

Proof we made it to the summit of Bergen Peak

In the end we did just under 12 miles even thought my fitbit said 14, we are crazy insane tired like my joints have never hurt so much tired and my calves have been aching.  The day was beautiful and different I couldn’t get enough of it all.  I am in love with this particular hike and most times it is pretty crowded but yesterday we had almost the whole thing to ourselves.  Most hikers who actually attempted the peak did the standard route up and back ( Sleepy S > Elk Meadow> Bergen Peak Trail > Summit Trail), we decided to do the loop via Too Long down from the summit trail and just enjoyed the complete solitude.  By the time we headed down the snow was starting to get slushy and slidey, I took the advice I received from Didier when I did White Ranch Park with my nieces last month and took a lot of small steps it helped so much!!!  I still had sore feet but no blistering like I did then…..

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the hike:

on the way up

on the way up

Pikes Peak from Bergen Peak trail

Pikes Peak from Bergen Peak trail

Mt. Evans from Bergen Peak Trail

Mt. Evans from Bergen Peak Trail

Snow is to the top of the Scenic view sign

Snow is to the top of the Scenic view sign

Looking out from the scenic view sign

Looking out from the scenic view sign

Pikes Peak 2

Pikes Peak viewed form the top

Another Pikes peak shot from the top

Another Pikes peak shot from the top

View at the top

View at the top

View at the top 1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Us half way down

Us half way down

Snow moving in as we hike down.

Snow moving in as we hike down.

Snow moving across the moiuntainsPikes peak BPTFav 2

We finished just in time!

We finished just in time!

Hiking out of a Hangover – Deer Creek Canyon 4/13/13

16 Apr
View of Denver

View of Denver sort of

Since I started hiking to healthy over a year ago I have been really good about not drinking on Friday nights before our hike, while it is my cheat day I never want to run the chance of a hangover hindering my hike on Saturday. That’s not to say that I still don’t get my drink on, I just wait until I have showered post hike on Saturday and then start knocking them back. This past Friday however, was special and so I drank! I had my best girls on deck to hit this place in Denver called the Green Russell, it is supposed to be like an old school speak easy with great drinks and atmosphere….and it was all that and more. Honestly I had so much fun that I didn’t really watch how much I drank and I tried to be really good about drinking a huge glass of water in between each drink.  I really thought I would beat the potential for a hangover and still knock out a tough hike on Saturday. After a safe ride home I passed out at a respectable 11:00.

A few hours later I woke up and knew I was in for a good solid hang over. I was determined to not give into it so I pounded water, took two Advil and tried to fall back to sleep only to lay there for a couple of hours getting mad at myself, chanting I was going to do the hike no matter what. Then at 4AM-ish Aaron got up and said he was feeling really awful, like can’t hike awful and was going to take his meds to see if it helped.  I am embarrassed to say I rejoiced and immediately shut off my alarm and fell right to sleep, clearly more concerned about myself than Aaron.

When I started waking up around 7:30, I looked at the weather and knew our only chance to hike this weekend would be on Saturday, if we left right then we could still get to Bergen Peak with enough time to get in our 13.5 miles. Unfortunately Aaron still wasn’t feeling well, so I decided I would torture myself do the taxes and if he was still not feeling well when I finished,  I would just hit Deer Creek Canyon on my own. Surprisingly, I didn’t start drinking while I did the taxes but mostly because I really wanted to get some hiking in.

When I finished my annual torture taxes, Aaron was waking up from a nap and feeling up to joining me for 6.5 miles at Deer Creek Canyon (Hike Details here). Now I will admit I was still hung over when we started, but we decided to try and go for time since we weren’t going for distance or stamina. Man was it hard, I was nauseous most of the hike but then there was a moment around mile 4 when I felt that last drop of alcohol sweat out of me. It was like someone had lifted a huge weight off of me.  The last 2.5 miles flew by as I finally felt better, and I really needed to get to the bathroom.  In the end, we managed to finish 6.5 miles with a total of a 1300 ft elevation gain in just over 2 hours, not to shabby.

A couple of things we noticed about hiking this trail later in the afternoon on a starting to get insanely windy day before bad weather hits.  First, it was surprisingly empty, something we have only experienced here when it is actually snowing while we hike.   I think we passed maybe 15-20 other hikers/runners the whole 2 hours it took us.  Pretty sure they were all hung over too, well except the group of pregnant women who were too cute not to just applaud and grin at, and so no one was very cheerful to be out.  The other weird contingent was the dates we saw, seriously 2 couples on dates and like early on dating, where one person didn’t prepare or dress appropriately but the other isn’t going to point it out because they are not sure if they like them yet- early on.  Or the one person wasn’t honest about their activity level but was trying their best to impress the other person, while also trying not to pass out because they can’t breathe heavy in fear of letting on to the deception…..  It led to really fun people watching.

All and all it wasn’t  what we wanted to accomplish this past weekend, and honestly has left me in a funk because I feel like I didn’t get a good solid hike in.  I am trying to remind myself that at least I got out and moved but I am struggling with motivation and staying on track.  This week we are getting hammered with snow, like 20 inches or more in the foothills have already fallen, with more expected tonight and tomorrow.  I am thrilled to have the moisture when we so desperately need it but sad because I have no idea where are we  going to hike this weekend if all the foothills got a couple of feet of snow.   It should be interesting for sure!