Tag Archives: Ben Tyler

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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Apex Trail in Apex Park – Jefferson County Open Space 12/15/12

17 Dec

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Apex Trail > Enchanted Forest Trail > Apex Trail

Starting Elevation:  Approximately 6200 Ft

Highest Elevation:  Approximately 7400 Ft,  elevation gain is 1200Ft, but the trail goes up and down so the total gain was likely more.

Trail Length: 5.8 miles is what we did but there are more options to make it longer.

Trail Uses: Hiking Biking (portions of the path go only one way on odd-numbered days) Skiing & Snow shoeing

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate

Bathrooms:  Yes at the trailhead – and the trail is pretty exposed with a lot of traffic.

Pets:  Yes but dogs have to be on leash.

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We learned about this hike from 2 sources, my hiking superhero Wendy and a coworker of Aaron’s.  It has been on my to do for a while but I was saving it for a bad weather weekend, this weekend we were going to originally going to retry Ben Tyler #606 but there was snow forecasted  for Friday night into Saturday in the nearest town which meant 11,700 was undoable.  Apex Park is pretty close to home and really easy to get to off of I-70.  We started out pretty exhausted as our bed is on the outs and we have been trying to ignore how badly we need a new mattress.  We hit our usual hiking breakfast of bagel sandwiches from Einsteins and as I was chowing it down I thought hmmmm this ham tastes a little odd….. and about an hour into the hike I discovered that in fact I was right.  But I wanted to finish at least a short hike and really ham should wait 3-4 hours before the stomach really got bad so I figured I would push it…. we have not had much luck lately!

Any-who….. The trail itself starts off from the north corner of the Heritage Square lower parking lot.  The first stretch is just along this parking lot not very exciting with a nice a steady climb, at the first trail break we stayed left to follow the Apex Trail:

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It was also an unusually cloudy day (did you know that Colorado is one of the sunniest states in the country with an average of 320 days of sun a year?) , which made the terrain seem a little gloomy.  The trail goes straight back between those 2 mountains in the above picture.  This is a favorite of bikers but apparently there were a number of reported incidents with bikers being dangerous and ignoring the rules so Jefferson County Open space changed the rules by implementing a ticket system and having several stretches of the trail allow only one-way bike traffic on odd-numbered days….today was an odd-numbered day so there weren’t too many bikes.

We came across the first trail break at the Pick N Sledge trail pretty quickly:

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We stayed straight on Apex Trail, but notice the map this is at almost every trail break so it is nice and easy to stay on track.   It is just under a mile to the next trail break at the Sluice box:

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At this point I started to feel the effect of that not tasting right ham and started to worry a little… so we decided that we would make it a shorter hike then planned, and just do the Apex trail instead of trying to get the Grubstake Loop where the views are supposed to be at.

When we got to the Enchanted Forest Trail, the surrounding terrain changed considerably to a lovely forest ( probably why it was named enchanted forest). Lots of pretty pines and huge boulders, my favorite part of the hike.

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I am not going to lie, things got pretty bad for me here and my focus was to not get sick as opposed to the hike.  When we got to  the last trail break for us that day and followed the Apex trail all the way back to the car, I was thrilled and a little worried about my chances of getting back to the car without an incident.

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From the 6-ish miles we hiked, the trail seemed very nice and I honestly cannot wait to get back to try our original route under better circumstances. I also think this is best in fall, spring and summer, but not too bad in winter.  My state of sickness did not make pictures a priority and I(really Aaron at that point) got just few so that we could keep moving.  Here is the only one of Aaron and I, he took as we were walking in an effort to finish as quickly as we could…. I look miserable!

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The next couple of weeks will be crazy with travel and holidays so I am not sure I will get a true hike done, but I will likely get some type of walking in so I will post anything that makes sense.   Just in case I get no walks in, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Directions to the Hike:

Take 70 west out of Denver to the Morrison Exit #259, Travel 1 mile North on Route 40.  Take a left into Heritage Square.  Take your first right and enter a large parking area – on the north end is the trailhead….You can’t miss it!