Tag Archives: Pikes Peak

Spruce Mountain Trail, Larkspur CO (Repeater) 9/26/13

10 Oct
View at the top

View at the top

A couple of weeks ago I had the best visitor in town….my sister!  While we were planning her visit, she let me know she wanted to see more of Colorado and to see it the way I have been seeing it, by hiking.   We only had 5 days to visit and hike, so like a crazy person I planned aggressively, 4 hikes in those 5 days.  The day she landed I picked her up fed her and drove her right to the trailhead here for a quick acclimatizing hike.

Spruce Mountain Trail (hike details here) is one of those good an easy hikes to take flatlanders to first.  A solid 5.5 miles with a little bit of elevation gain with amazing views all up and down the front range.

When we pulled up and started getting ready to hike I noticed these 2 school buses slowing down at the entrance to the parking lot, for a second I thought maybe it was just dropping off kids after school but it was noon on a Thursday.  Sure enough both buses unloaded at the parking lot entrance for a hike….our hike …….. right then.  And then they were moving right up the trail ahead of us.  Hiking with 100-ish kids seemed like it would be…..crowded.

It was actually not that bad, we needed to move more slowly at first anyway plus we got to talk to some of the teachers.  The kids were finishing up their week of outdoor education and this hike was like their graduation.  It made me wish I had grown up in Colorado just so I could have outdoor education as part of my school curriculum.  Eventually they stopped and had lunch, when we walked past them they all cheered ….. it was kinda cool, cute and encouraging.  What a great way to start our week of hiking, with our own cheering section helping us ring in our first hike.

It. Was. Awesome!!!!!

Outside of our fabulous hiking buddies, the day was beautiful and with some wind – perfect.  We could see a lot of trail  damage from all the flooding the week before, I mean the trail was still in good shape but there were huge crevices all over the place.   We had great views of Pikes Peak and the front range but Long’s peak was hard to see because of the brown cloud that tends to sit over the front range.  We could sort of see it but not capture it in a picture.

Mary did awesome and we kicked the trail’s butt, finishing in just 2 hours, an hour less than I had planned.   Better yet, she loved the trail,  the whole time oooohhhiiiinnnngggg and aaaahhhhiiiinnnngggg.  It made the hike even more special for me!  There is something about getting to share my love of Colorado with the most important people in my life this way.  Hiking Rocks!

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Belcher Hill Trail *Repeater Hike*, White Ranch Park – Golden Co 4/27/13

28 Apr

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There is that moment every week when I commit to a trail and I always hope that the weather will let us do it.  This week the trail I committed to was too high up after yet another 2 day snow storm on Monday and Tuesday.  All week I debated how smart it would be to try it anyway and on Thursday I realized it wouldn’t kill us to wait a few more weeks to attempt it.  We needed a good replacement that would be challenging and offer the opportunity to increase mileage easily.  I remember thinking that Belcher Hill at White Ranch Park (hike details here) was one I wanted to revisit when there was no snow.  It was a gamble that there would be no snow here yesterday and while we did in fact encounter snow, it was really not that bad.

trail

It was like doing this hike for the very first time, the snow on the trail in February made for different challenges then yesterday.  The make up of the trail was totally different, there were a lot more rocks to navigate through and where we tried to climb above snow before we were walking through a trench this time.   What didn’t change was the amazing views we saw as we climbed up.  We actually saw Pike’s peak yesterday while hiking up, unfortunately  we couldn’t actually capture it on a camera even though we tried….also there were features of the trail maintenance we didn’t see before like the ramps going up and down about a mile in as we cross over a small stream.

Stairs at the beginning

One thing I super love about White Ranch Park is the rocks and the sand/dirt we walk through.  I don’t know that I have admitted to my love of all things sparkly, but I have an old Vegas lady inside me battling to get out and cover everything I have in bling.  The rocks and the dirt/sand here SPARKLE, like beautiful-glow-in-the-sunshine-I-can’t-stop-staring-at-it sparkle.  I can never catch it quite right but I tried with this rock…every 5 minutes I was like oooohhhhh I want to take it home with me:

rock

In the end, we managed to do the full Length of the Belcher Hill trail, got on the Rawhide trail to the West parking and headed to the bathroom there.  It gave us an extra mile in hiking and +300 ft in our overall total elevation gain.  We had hoped to go further but in the end my feet just could not take much more.  Overall it took us 4.5 hours to hike almost 11 miles with a total of 2300 ft in elevation gain.  We felt like we were really moving in the beginning and today going down was the hardest part.  Also I was reminded that we have to be more diligent with sun screen.  In the winter I was fine just putting some on my face but today we were in regular summer levels of sunshine and so back to what we used last summer.  Funny enough, my hands are sunburned because I had a long sleeve shirt on and my face is pink but the rest of me is unchanged.

We didn’t take many pictures today and of those we took, for some reason there were very few good ones.

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Denver in the distance about half way down Belcher hill

Denver in the distance about half way down Belcher hill

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

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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!