Ben Tyler Trail #606 – Pike National Forest 12/1/12

Our Goal- I think

Ben Tyler Trail #606

Starting Elevation: Approximately 8300Ft

Highest Elevation:  Approximately 11,700Ft ( total gain would have been 3400ft) ….Unfortunately we only made it to just shy of 11,oooFt, we think

Trail Length: 11.5 miles officially but since I left my fitbit at home I have no idea what it would have tracked.  In the end we only made it 9-10 miles due to altitude sickness.

Trail Uses:  Hiking & Horses….No Bikes

Degree of Difficulty:  Difficult – a long in and out with a big altitude gain

Bathrooms: None  and I mean none anywhere close so glad I got over issue with being one with mother nature a few months ago because it would have been awful!!!!!  There is a nice gas station in Bailey as you leave town a Loaf and Jug on the right of 285, use it on the way in and way out if that is something you need.  Otherwise be prepared with ziplock baggies, TP, hand sanitizer and all their glory…..

Fees: None but you do have to register for a free permit at the trailhead. Which would be easy if there were any blank permits…I kinda got the feeling the National Forest Ranger hadn’t been there since September the box was full with filled out permits.  I picked a permit from August and then put my information in with today’s date, mostly because of the time of year we were hiking but I did also have my hiking Emergency Contact fully aware of all of our details.

To be honest we had fallen out of preparedness to do hikes this high but I guess I didn’t really think this through.  My only thoughts were, I need to get re-energized on my life change and I saw pictures of the hike from last weekend with little to no snow showing.  This is pretty unusual this high up and at this time of year so I figured a few amazing views of spectacular mountains would remind me that in order to keep seeing these things I need to be at a healthier weight and stronger.   So I pretty willfully planned doing this hike today.

TrailheadPermit boxTrail sign

We got to the trailhead at 7:30AM, mostly because I was worried at how long it would take us to complete 12-ish miles with a 3400 FT elevation gain, from what I had read it could take between 5-10 hours.  It is inclines fast on these initial switchbacks and then flattens out until the creek.

beginning trailLost Creek Wilderness Pike National Forest

About a 1.5 miles in the trail has an option to go either over the creek or stay straight.  Stay straight, in a half a mile the trail will cross the creek at this second point.  This is the route you want to be on.

1st river crossingStay Straight at first creek crossing2nd creek crossing

The next 2 miles go through the most amazing Aspen grove I have ever seen, it is over 3000 acres large and here the grade got pretty steep as we climbed to our goal.

Aspen GroveAspen Grove to the other mountain

As we climbed out of the Aspen grove, the views started to really open up, unfortunately so did the dizziness….

View ove 10k close to the treeline

While we climbed through the first 2 miles we were right on track at 2 miles an hour, when we go to this point I saw it had taken another 2 hours to go just 2-3 miles…… I am guessing here, but I think we were really close to the next trail break which is at 11,000Ft and almost 5 miles.  I kept stopping Aaron and making him wait while I dealt with my dizziness really slowing us down.  Then he checked his blood sugar (He is a type 1 diabetic) unfortunately he was REALLY high, but the real problem was that he thought he was really low because he was having vertigo with visual issues.  Needless to say, we made the decision to turnaround at that point, as a result no fun pictures other than those I took of trail specs with my iPhone.  We immediately went down as quickly as we could and then drank as much water as was possible.  It was a first for us and as we slowly went down battling our nausea and dizziness, I realized everything I had done wrong.

When we were doing trails this high a few months ago, I very carefully planned each hike to climb one week a little higher and then the next week going just below that, building until we  ended  with our first 13,000+ foot peak, Mt. Flora.  But up to this hike, the past 5-8 hikes had all been around or below 8300Ft.  It was the first failure in a really long time, 6 months in fact, and it hurt both literally and figuratively…..

Honestly this trail was amazing and this is way off-season.  There was only one other couple we saw in 6 hours of hiking, but again this is off-season for hiking it the best time to hike it is late spring/summer and fall.  Really I bet in Fall this is the gem you can’t miss doing with that 3000 acre Aspen grove…. we are so doing this again and I hope soon.

Directions:  From Denver, drive South on U.S. 285 and when you get to Bailey, the trailhead is just under 7 miles further on the left (South) side of U.S. 285.  The parking lot is small and maybe looks more like a shoulder , it can’t hold more than 10 cars so get there early – well only during the busier times now come when you want!

Cool TreeKS n AL

Weigh in day 11/30/12 +.8 = 46 LBS down 44LBS to go……

I was way too thankful last weekend, I mean WAY TOO!  I think the hardest reality was that I did so well until Thursday and then it was a nonstop eating marathon, like the flood gates had opened on all crappy for me food in ridiculous amounts.  All week I stressed about weighing in knowing it would be bad, and all week I fought with giving up.

I have spent 28 of my 38 years fighting with my weight and I think what I have learned is that yummy food happens and drinking a little too much ( or a lot too much) is fun.  The trick is not letting it get me off course and I almost let it happen again this week for like millionth time in the past 28 years.  I just have to focus on balance.

In an effort to remind myself that doing what I love takes a healthier, stronger me I picked a really hard hike for our weekly hike that I shouldn’t be able to do this time of year.  I had thought it would be a super physical challenge with really awesome views as a reward, plus if we failed it would remind me of what started me on this journey in the first place.  The other reason I picked it was our fall/winter has been insanely mild so far and I knew there was little or no snow yet on this particular trail, the lure of a super high goal and some great continental divide views was too much to pass up.

I am looking for more motivation…here is a picture from a hike I did when still in Illinois in 2000 at Starved Rock and close to my goal weight.


Walker Ranch Loop – Boulder 11/24/12

Walker Ranch Loop

Starting/Ending Elevation: 7287FT

Net Elevation Gain: 890FT ( +1737 round trip elevation gain)

Trail Length:  7.6 miles officially ( My fitbit said 9-ish miles but we spent an hour taking pictures at the falls or rapids).  It took us 4 hours to complete, not including the hour we spent taking pictures working on our water shots.

Trail Uses: Hiker, Biker and Horses but there is one tricky part that is probably not meant for a horse.  There were more bikers than anything else

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate and one part could be considered strenuous.

Bathrooms:  Yes, at the trailhead

Pets:  Yes but they must be leashed, again there is one tricky part that might be really hard for a dog to do or a dog owner to watch their pet get through

Fees:  None

We came across this trail when we did Eldorado Canyon Trail back in August and actually did a small part just to see the South Boulder Creek and get some water pictures on a hot summer day.   I found it in one of my books a few weeks ago and decided it was right for this weekend.  The weather was supposed to be sunny and almost 70 so I felt pretty safe driving a little further into the foothills.  It never did get sunny or up to 70 but the weather really was perfect.

The loop starts at a nice sized parking lot and you can go either way on the loop:

It is recommended you go clockwise as it makes the trail a little easier, but I guess I didn’t know which way was clockwise so I went left thinking I was at 6 and left was clockwise… wasn’t.  I realized it when we hit the first trail marker and it indicated 7 miles to go.  This is the first trail we have done that had mile markers, I haven’t decided if I like it or not but it was different:

The trail itself was mostly wide enough for 2 people to walk side by side or make for easy passing, but this stretch it goes to almost road-wide all the way to the South Boulder Creek.

The descent we did was I think almost 900 feet over about 2.6 miles and then we got to the South Boulder Creek and immediately started climbing back up (after spending an hour playing with our cameras, I will have a few favorites at the end).  We always stayed on the Walker Ranch Loop and it is well-marked.

After we crossed the creek we followed it for a short distance then had to climb these stairs:

This is the part I think is strenuous and while going up is the harder workout, I don’t think going down would be all that much easier as some of the steps are very far apart.  It made me always want to go left at the trailhead to be honest and climb these instead of ever having to go down them.  Watching the bikers carry their bikes down made me stressed for them!

From the top of the stairs, we continued to climb at a much easier pace and then turned around the mountain and stared our decline with around 3.5 miles left ( according to the mile markers).  We went all the way back down to the South Boulder Creek and crossed over it again.  There are some great picnic areas all over this trail.

We walked along the South Boulder creek for a bit as we began the final climb back to the trailhead & parking lot.

We had cloudy weather but it is a pretty exposed trail so on the those sunny days remember to protect yourself from the sun.  We really liked it for the down>up and then down>up again, it was a great leg workout for the second weekend in a row.  I have read in better weather it is pretty crowded and mostly with bikers which could get annoying, although they were all very nice to us.

Directions:  From Denver, take 36 west towards Boulder, Exit at Baseline and take it west( left at the bottom of the ramp) Past Chautauqua park and as baseline starts to climb it turns into Flagstaff Road.  Stay  on it for about 8 miles, the South Boulder  Creek Trailhead ( Walker Ranch Loop Trailhead) is clearly marked on the left, at a sharp bend in the road.  A short dirt road leads to the parking lot.  I did get a little confused by a sign and wrong trailhead on the right shortly before this but it was a pretty nice score as we caught a herd of deer not inclined to move as we drove slowly by:



Thanksgiving Weigh in Day – 11/22/12 1.2LB lost 46.8lbs down, 43.2lbs left to go

Since today is Thanksgiving, I am making the decision to weigh in today.  I am thrilled I had a loss this week as it has been a real struggle, I am sure this is a symptom of how I got this way in the first place.  But the week of a holiday feels like I should be celebrating with any yummy food that speaks to me and it felt like everything was screaming at me to eat it.  I heard all the garlic bread sticks at Olive garden ( it shares a parking lot with my work) telling me how good they would taste with some alfredo sauce just come and try.  Or the Doritos in the vending machine reminding me that I dream about them and this week I could have them… I don’t even want to talk about what Smashburger was saying to me.  I was able to fight it all and  so I figured that in order to stay on track, today is the day to weigh in because that means today is my cheat day.

Its backward logic, I know but it has helped me get through 8 months of this lifestyle change and the reality is that a lifestyle change mean I have to learn to balance everything.  Everyday will continue to be a challenge and everyday I will have to draw on those things that help me win.

So while the turkey is cooking for our dinner to give thanks for all we are lucky enough to have in this world, we are going to get in a good long walk right now.


Green Mountain via Gregory Canyon Trail 11/17/12 The Assessment

Sorry for the double posting and duplicate seeming emails- something weird happened with the original post and almost all of it was deleted so I had to rewrite it!

The whole week before we did this hike I was pretty nervous about how hard it would be.   From everything I had read, if it was windy the trail would be tough, if it was snowing or had snowed recently the trial would be tough, if it was cold it was going to be tough and the final common theme was that the views from the top were worth all those challenges.  Oh and there was that other obvious challenge of climbing 2400FT of elevation in just 3 short miles.  It was a constant assault on my butt and legs, I am still a little sore today 3 days later.

We got there pretty early, 7:15AM and were hiking by 7:30 which gave us the good fortune of getting a parking space in the very small 8 space lot.  It gave us the chance to attack that first steep climb with little to no company, as we struggled up the trail, the CU marching band starting playing for some event  and the “we are the Champions” vibe helped give us a little extra momentum in that tough beginning.

This is a pretty heavily used trail, and it seemed like runners were the most frequent users who passed us.  Then again everyone passed us and some of them were so stealthy (or I was breathing so hard) I didn’t hear them until they were right behind us so I did squeal a few times out of shock.

The view on the east side is of Boulder and just got more beautiful as we climbed.

The trail is rocky at first and uses rocks for steps along with a wood based step.  There is a little very easy scrambling involved and for us, patience because we had to keep stopping to peel off clothes, one time we will dress perfectly for our hike.  When it levels out for a short period of time the trail gets wider, about the width of a small road.  As we got higher and came around to the West side of the trial, the views of the Indian Peaks were breathtaking (or that was the incline kicking my butt) especially with the clouds crawling over them.

The very last stretch was an easy scramble that was more like rock steps up to the summit.  It was worth every single step we took up!

This is one we will do again and again, as it seems like it will really help build our stamina and skills to attack more high elevation peaks next summer.   As I read more and more about 14ners, I know we will need to work on our ability to adapt to a lot of different conditions and be prepared to take as long as we need to finish our goal.   It seems this trail will help more than our old standby  Deer Creek Canyon did and serve as an easy go to hike that could challenge us but  is still close to home.   I honestly cannot wait to do it again!

For the specs of the trail go to that post Green Mountain Via Gregory Canyon trail – Specs and below are our favorite pictures from the hike.

Green Mountain Via Gregory Canyon Trail – Boulder 11/17/12; Trail Specs

Gregory Canyon Trail > The Ranger Trail > Green Mountain Summit

Starting Elevation: 5800-ish Feet

Highest Elevation: 8144Ft ( Total Gain 2344FT)

Trail Length: Officially 6ish miles, my fitbit said we got around 7 miles, It took us 4 hours to complete but the book I used said 3-4 hours and the locals were cruising past us constantly.

Trail Uses:  Hiker & Runner ( lots of runners), NO BIKES or horses….

Degree of Difficulty: Difficult to Strenuous ( a butt killer)

Bathrooms:  Yes, at the trailhead and then again at the Green Mountain Lodge, a little over a 1.5 miles in.  They are awful!  In fact the second worse we have been to in the past 8 months of hiking in Colorado (first being Denver Open space).  The smell was super bad at 7AM with a temp of 40F, I cannot imagine what it would be like in the middle of summer .  This is a paradox because the trail is insanely crowded and COVERED with poison ivy so you are kinda stuck…..

Pets:  Dogs only on leash unless they have the Boulder Green tag which means they passed the verbal command test. Love this rule!

Fees:  If you get there early enough and are not a Boulder resident, it is $5 to park in the tiny parking lot at the trailhead.  There are 8 spaces in this parking lot, once filled up everyone begins parking on the tight roadway to the parking lot.  Which makes for interesting exit….

So I am going to try something a little different, today I will focus on the details of the hike and then post an assessment of the hike later in the week once I have chance to digest what we did.  I always feel like I could have said more on the feel of the trail so this week this is my experiment.

We learned about this trail when we were in our sunset photography class….this was one of those classic moments in my life when a person does a look over and decides I can’t handle too much.  I had to explain first that we had done some tough hikes(with names) before he gave up this one.  He said it was a killer workout and he was so right.

So details only, this is a year round hike from what I have read but as the snow starts to fall the backside of the mountain gets icy, so winter/spring are tricky and you will likely need Yak-tracks to get to the summit.  It also gets WINDY so if it is windy down at the trailhead it will be way worse at the top.  Something to think about before you start.

Go to the west end of the parking lot to get the Gregory Canyon trailhead,

The Amphitheater trail is part of an alternate East starting and shorter route, but really we just loved the Enjoy Your time message, a cleaver way to ask people to respect the trail.   It is not long on the Gregory canyon trail ( .1 miles) before the first turnoff hits the Saddle Rock trail, stay right on the Gregory canyon trail.  There is one more  trail turnoff at the Crown Rock Trail, go left ( Or stay straight however you see it).

This first mile of hiking is a 900 foot elevation gain, but it is 1.4 miles overall to the next junction at the Long Canyon Trailhead, this is a break in climbing for just .2 miles but a break none the less.

This map help is at all the big trail junctions to keep you on track.  Conversely, there are no maps to pickup at the trailhead so it is nice that there is at least this.  From here is it is just .2 miles to the Green Mountain Lodge ( Built during the great depression) and the next SMELLY bathroom.

This is where the Ranger trail and the Long Canyon trail split off, go left of the lodge and follow the Ranger trail all the way up and by up, I mean the next 1500 feet up.  Notice the snow….this is essentially ice and the higher switchbacks are covered with it.  It was not so bad today that we needed more assistance then our poles could provide, if it had been a little later, colder and with more snow we would have needed at least yak -tracks and on some days, I would guess crampons .   It is not far to the next trailhead:

This is a great place to decide how you feel, a good place to turnaround or make a nice loop and catch up with the Saddle Rock trail and back, also it is an alternate way down from the summit and could add at least .6 miles to your hike.  Or continue on the Ranger Trail to the Summit of green mountain, it was a good steep grade all the way up with a lot of patches of ice. 300 feet below the summit is the last trail break:

From here it is about 300 feet straight up but the rocks are settled in nice steps. Once on the top there is a very short climb up a big rock to the actual summit like 8-10 feet.  At the top is a Marker and a mountain indicator of all the mountains that can be seen from up top.  Its awesome!

From here you can turnaround the way you came or take the EM Greenman Trail to loop around to the Ranger trail.  It is supposed to be much more steep and rocky then the Ranger Trail so in the end we decided to go down the way we came because I was worried about how much my knees could take after seeing what I came up on the easier ascent.

So in a couple of days, after I have digested the whole experience, I will write an opinion post.  I would love to know your thoughts on the breakup of information so comment away!


Take 36 west to the Baseline exit and take Baseline past Chautauqa Park.  Drive to where Baseline becomes Flagstaff Mountain Road and use caution as you turn left to the Gregory Canyon Trailhead.

Weigh in Day 11/16/12 -1.6LBS, 45.6 lbs down 44.4 lbs to go

That’s right I have crossed the halfway mark! I have lost more than I have left to lose!!!! It could not have happened on a better weigh in day.

This week at work was AWFUL, on Tuesday I seriously wanted to reach through my phone and kill someone who was supposed to be helping me with a new customer but instead just made my whole team look stupid. The old me would have dropped all my small change and cash into the vending machine on salty and alternately sweet crap. Then stopped on the way home and raided a grocery store for all my favorites Doritos, popcorn, Reese peanut butter cups, this time of year maybe some egg nog. Instead I stood up from my cubicle and enlisted some coworkers for a venting walk where I swore a lot and walked off some of my frustration. When I got home, which I did without stopping at a store and buying bags full of crap, I ate only the calories I had left. I also got a lot of hugs and love from my wonderful hubby, which was a nice balm to my painful day.

I would like to say that my week got better but each day has been challenging and each day I won over my insane cravings, which are doubly strong because it is the week before monthly curse, so yay me!!!!!

The other reason why this is the best weigh in day for it to happen is because it is the last one before Thanksgiving. Not that I am going to a big event, in fact because I have to work on Friday our celebration will be very low-key, but I usually use it as an excuse to eat an insane amount of food. Instead I will make one nice meal and we will get in all of our workouts.

Our hike tomorrow is going to be a killer one with a lot of elevation gain in a short period of time, I am looking forward to having my butt kicked then coming home and having a lot of drinks to celebrate the end of a horrible week!

Nighthawk Trail – Hall Ranch 11/10/12

Nighthawk Trail > Out and Back

Starting Elevation:  5480 Ft

Highest Elevation:  6570 ft ( but there is a an additional 320ft loss then gain for a total Elevation gain of 1410ft)

Trail Length:  10.2 miles officially, unfortunately we took a wrong turn and so did a total of 12 miles today.  It took us 4hrs 20 minutes to complete.

Trail Uses:  Hiking and Horses only, no bikes on this trail but other trails here do allow bikes

Degree of difficulty:  Moderate to difficult – difficult mostly due to length

Bathrooms:  Yes at the beginning.

Pets:  Dogs are not permitted in Hall Ranch

Fees:  None

One of Aaron’s coworkers told us about these trails so many months ago, when I first looked at the trail options after hearing about it I didn’t think I could handle such a long hike.   Plus the elevation was not what we were looking for at the time so I kept in the back of my head as the perfect hike for fall, winter & spring.  Now that the higher hikes seem out of reach for us ( mostly because we are wimps) it seemed time to do this one. For the past 3 weeks we have tried to do this hike with various things stopping us, this weekend was proving to have the same chance of letting the trail thwart us.   There was a snow storm coming to the mountains today with some hitting the foothills, this hike is right on the edge of the foothills and the mountain ranges that were supposed to get hit.   All week I stalked every weather site I could find in hopes it would change enough to let us do this hike and yesterday I saw our chance, every thing was saying no snow or rain until 1PM.

We left at 6AM hoping we would get enough time to finish the hike before the storm set in and as we got to the top of the hill on 36 where you can see Boulder down in the valley before you, we saw this:

It was pretty beautiful after an amazing sunrise, it was both a good and bad sign….good because there was still some sky showing for the sun to make it happen and of course rainbows are good luck! But bad because obviously it was raining which was not supposed to happen until 1PM!

When we got to the trailhead, the rain had stopped and it looked a little lighter so we bundled up and started off.  The landscape was so different then what we had experienced on other hikes in this area, all the cacti with the red mud and dirt I love the variety!  The trailhead had something I have not yet seen:

This is so cool!  Yay Boulder Open Space for embracing social media in such a fantastic way!  Also note that if it was muddy and you get there after 10am choose a different path…..

As for the trail, there are 2 parking lots, the one that is just a little higher up really is at the trailhead but it is not all that large and you might have to park in the lower lot if it is full.  Which is ok because the trail at the west end of the lower lot goes up to the Nighthawk Trail as well.  We were lucky enough to get there at 7:30 so there were only 2 other cars in the top lot.  The Bathroom is up here as well. As a warning all my pictures are with my iPhone, with the weather changing so quickly  I didn’t want to take out my camera, these aren’t very good quality and it really shows when I tried to zoom.

The Trail itself is super well marked, there is never a question which trail you are on.  It is also almost completely exposed with little to no tree cover but I bet in the spring and summer the colors are something to see, I know I will have to come back to check it out then.   Based on the trails we have hit in the past 8 months, my guess is that this is usually a high traffic trail during spring and summer but today it was almost just us, the deer and rabbits….. so many deer and rabbits!  I think we saw 6 or 7 separate herds of deer and they were all along the trail constantly crossing it.

At about 4.5 miles we came to the Button Rock trailhead, which is a 2 mile outcrop that leads to other trails not all part of Hall Ranch.  I think that if the weather had been different this is where we would have seen Long’s Peak and Mt Meeker, but with the snow starting and with the clouds getting thicker, we were lucky to see any mountains at all.

Stay straight on Nighthawk and you will come to a crossroads very quickly

Again stay straight and you meet up with the bike trail and Nelson’s Loop by a bench, here is the 4.7 mile mark.  If you are done turnaround and head back.

We felt really good at this point, so we went on to try to see Nelson’s ranch to get the full 10.2 miles round trip which should have been just .4 miles ahead.  Unfortunately we went left instead of staying straight on Nelson Loop and about half a mile too far we realized we did it wrong so we turned around and headed back.  It was on the way back we saw Nelson’s Ranch exactly where it should be.  It was also snowing pretty hard now so we picked up our pace and the iPhone only came out one more time for a few pictures of Aaron and I when the weather let up a little.

This is a great hike, it has a stamina building length along with lots of ups and downs to work the legs.  I bet on less snowy weather heavy days, the views are pretty awesome.  One thing I did notice was the mud on the way down, it wasn’t too bad but it was getting worse by the minute with the snow falling.  I am sure this is why there is that “check the trail conditions” sign before you go at the beginning.  I would stay away if it was a wet week or a wet day as the mud would wear you down quickly.  Either way, we plan on doing this one again in a different season.

The directions will be after the few pictures we got that we liked, with the iPhone.


Take 36 North through Boulder onto Lyons.  At the junction with 66 turn left.  Drive through the town of Lyons at the T intersection ( SH 7 and  36) turn left on to SH7  and take it approximately 1.5 miles to the entrance of Hall Ranch park it will be on your right.

Weigh in Day 11/9/12 -1.6LBS 44lbs down 46lbs left to go.

I am getting so close to half way to my ultimate goal I can almost smell it!!  Although, I guess I should say see it but the small changes are so hard to see…

I would like to say it was an inspired week and I kicked my own butt, the truth is I struggled every minute.  Not that every week and every day isn’t always a struggle, but it seems like it is getting so hard to win over my cravings.  So I try to exercise more, but the shorter days and the cooler weather makes me want to grab me some cheesy, buttery comfort food huddle under blankets watching bad TV for as many hours as I can manage.  This is my daily ( and sometime hourly ) battle.

This week I won more than lost and the numbers really made me happy, so I am trying to focus on my successes and let my failures fade away.

Tomorrow we are leaving insanely early to get our hike in before the snow/rain starts, it is going to be a long hike that I hope works me out hard because I need the extra good “I accomplished something” feelings to help keep me on track next week.


Not the weekend hike we planned, repeater of Carpenters Peak-Roxborough State Park 11/4/12



There is a hike that is proving to be more elusive than I thought possible, I had hoped today was the day to get it done, but alas it was once again not meant to be.  This will be the 3rd time I have had to cancel it!

I knew last night when Aaron got up at 4AM not feeling well that the hike I had originally  planned was likely out.  When the alarm went off at 7, I went down to see how he was doing and while the hike I had originally planned was out for sure, he was still up for trying to a hike today.  I was shocked and pleased because I really need to keep this butt moving and motivated.  He really wasn’t feeling well so we wanted to hit something not too hard and close to home so we could come home quickly if we needed too.   So it was off to Roxborough State Park to do Carpenters Peak, which is still a nice workout but not something we would need to invest the whole day in order to complete.  The up side of our hike today was that we finished it in just 2.5 hours and in the past it would typically take us 3.5 hrs.  Unfortunately it was a really tough hike for Aaron and him not feeling well.  You can check out the hike details from my original Carpenters Peak post here.

Typically I like to get our hike in on Saturday but we did an awesome Sunset Photography class last night.  It was through REI Outdoor programs and I had no expectations, but it was a wonderful class.  They had us meet at a park in Boulder at 4PM and then we worked on technique until the sun started to set. I will admit that I barely know anything about my camera so I was a super novice in the class, the instructors were great in helping me understand the most basic functions of my camera ( like the shutter).  By the time sunset started I felt like I had learned so much and that I really was able to pull the color into the clouds:

But the best part by far was after the sun actually set and we  learned how to do light painting


I see hours of fun ahead practicing how to do this and I cannot wait to do it with my nieces and nephews!

My fingers and toes are crossed that next weekend will not lead to a 4th failed attempt at doing this now ridiculously desirable trail.