Tag Archives: Recreation

The Incline, Manitou Springs CO, Hiked on Easter – 4/5/2015

20 May

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Starting Elevation:  6530 Ft

Highest Elevation: 8550 Ft

Trail Length: We did the Standard loop so 3.7 miles

Trail Uses: Hiking only up the incline

Degree of Difficulty: Strenuous

Bathroom: Yes in the parking lot

Pets:  Supposed to be no dogs but there were lots and off leash too and 2 almost knocked me down no owner in sight.

Fees: Yes – $5 when we went last April but I suspect it may go up or already has.

It has been over a year since I posted last and I actually started writing this post way back when we did the hike. I had kinda forgot about the blog except to look up hikes or show friends hikes I thought they might like, but I got my renewal notice a few weeks ago and today I realized I need new motivation to get back on the healthy bandwagon.

A lot has happened over the last year but through it all we never stopped hiking.  Last Fall I had a bad hip injury that kept me on flat short hikes for about 4 months but I started taking photography classes to help keep up my spirits. I have been very slowly working on getting back to climbing since the beginning of the year and had one big set back that was very depressing.

The super bummer, while injured I gained back a lot of weight. So I am going to try this again.  I am going to Germany next week and then when I get back I am full on back to hiking to healthy I have at least a dozen new hikes to write up and I am back at 60 pounds I have to lose to get to my goal.  I am not sure how I will continue with the format, if I will do a weigh in separate from hikes or combine them.  I see wordpress has changed a lot since I was on last so I have lots of new learning to do.

I will also try to show off some of my new photography skills and I am super excited about that.  Another motivation to get back to writing.  Thanks to all of you who have kept checking out the blog while I have been gone, I hope to get reacquainted with the blogging world.

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Now on to this particular hike.

On Easter 2015, since I couldn’t be home with my family I was lucky enough to go on a hiking date with my hiking superheros, Wendy and Didier.

They patiently took us too the Manitou Incline which is known all over the place as straight up torture.  In the first mile you climb straight up 2000 vertical feet. It is used regularly by the Olympic athletes that train very close by and lots of fitness enthusiasts.

We started just before sunrise and thought that since it was Easter it might be less crowded, but in fact the it was lit up with lots of headlamps ahead of us.

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It is essentially a giant staircase that we were climbing with a couple hundred other people and I know for a fact that it was a light crowd that day. There is a bail out about half way up, and it gets evermore steep after that.  Also the steps aren’t at even height so I often found myself using both my hands and feet to climb it like a ladder at its steepest point.
Once you get to the top, it is amazing views of Colorado Springs and beyond and Sunrise was gorgeous.

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Once at the top and you have finished celebrating with lots of selfies, take the Barr trail down.  Do not go back down the incline it is so steep and people fall and get hurt all the time.  The Barr trail was updated as well and it an easy decent back to the parking lot. As I recall it is about 3 miles down.

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All in all, I feel like you have to do the Incline at least once in your life.  The number of people doing it is so crazy that I honestly never want to do it again.  It is great exercise for sure and a great way to get into climbing shape, maybe just go during the week when there are less people.  I would also go as early as possible and start that one hour before sunrise as it is exposed and can be very warm.

A few more pictures will follow the directions.

Directions( copied from the website http://www.manitouincline.net ::

The easiest way to reach the trailhead is to take highway 24 West to the last Exit for Manitou Springs on Serpentine Drive. This is also the stoplight for the Cave of the Winds. Turn left (away from Cave of the Winds)onto Serpintine Drive which will descend quickly and end at Manitou Avenue. Veer left onto Manitou Aveneue and follow it to a roundabout(rotary). Exit the roundabout on Ruxton Ave heading southwest towards the Cog Railway. The trailhead is located just west of the Iron Springs Theater. Parking is usually difficult to find. Trying to find a close spot usually just results in a lot of wasted time. Just think of your walk to the trailhead as your warm up.

The standard route no longer begins in the Barr Trail parking lot. This parking lot is to be used for the Barr trail alone, access to the trail is now to be from near the old Manitoul Incline Base Station and incline hikers should park on Ruxton Ave.

Do NOT park in the parking spots for the Cog Railway. They will tow you. If you really want a close spot you can pay to park in the Iron Springs Theater parking spots. Last I saw it was $5 to park there.

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Staunton State Park, Conifer CO Hiked 11/23/13

7 Dec

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Staunton Ranch > Scout Line> Marmot Passage>Bugling Elk> Stauton Ranch

Lowest Elevation:  8120 Ft

Highest Elevation: 9240 Ft ( I think total we got around 1800+ ft of elevation gain with the ups and downs)

Trail Length:  Roughly 10 miles

Trail Uses: Most of the trails were hiking, biking & Horses Scout Line is hiking only

Degree of Difficulty:  Most trails themselves are easy but doing them all together is moderate or difficult mostly

Fees: $7 a day OR $70 for the state park annual pass…. on this day we bought the pass since ours expired

Bathrooms:  Yes at each parking area there are vault toilets or Port-o-potties

Pets: Yes Dogs On leash only

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Work has been crazy and getting more crazy everyday, at the time I picked this trail I had not had even a minute the entire week to research hikes.  It was at 10PM that Friday night that I saw Mark and Sandy over a buencamino2014.wordpress.com talking about their hike at Staunton State park that morning.  They have been talking about the merits of this state park since it opened this summer while Mark worked there to get it ready for opening.  One thing I love about Colorado is that when a new state park opens there is as much excitement about it or more, as there was when Ikea opened.  I heard about the lines to get in the park all summer long and just didn’t want to deal with the crowds .  On  a pretty cold Saturday with potentially no sun, it was the perfect time to check it out!  Mark & Sandy  were nice enough to suggest a couple of routes that would get us around 10 miles and some of the best views in Park.  Honestly I would never had picked this route if not for them so thank you Mark & Sandy!

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This particular view was like a beacon of beauty, all lit up from the sun above the clouds.

We started the hike via Staunton Ranch trail,  which also happens to start at the Mason Creek Trailhead.  It is a little confusing as you walk up the trail but look up and left, you will see the trailhead:

Starting out

Starting out

This trail is not tough at all, the path is very well-groomed with a gradual climb as it winds up and around the park.  I really like how they have marked the trails in the park, they use the initials of the trail name on a simple iron post.  I would say this portion is easy to moderate, moderate mostly because round trip it is a 6.6 mile hike.

Staunton Ranch Trail marker

Staunton Ranch Trail marker

It felt like about 2 miles or just under, when we reached our trail break at the Scout Line Trailhead, also very well-marked where the 3 trails intersect and the signs have the mileage to the next trail break – I loved it!

SL Trail sign

This trail is all single track and starts a pretty aggressive climb up to some beautiful bluffs.  I have to say this was my favorite section of the hike, the views were amazing and the way they built up the trail using natural resources was actually really beautiful.

A creek crossing right at the trail break starting up Scout Line

A creek crossing right at the trail break starting up Scout Line

Climbing up SL

Climbing up SL

use of rocks as the trail… Beautiful

use of rocks as the trail… Beautiful

More Climbing after some stunning views

More Climbing after some stunning views

One of the views on SL

One of the views on SL

Me on Scout Line

Me on Scout Line

I have to tell you Scout Line was just gorgeous and reignited that love of discovering a new trail in me.  We spent more time then necessary on the trail just taking it all in the were views all over as we hiked along it.  As we got closer to the next trail break at Marmot Passage we had this great climb along the mountain.

Another great use of rocks to make the trail work

Another great use of rocks to make the trail work

Marmot Passage Trail Head

Marmot Passage Trail Head

Marmot Passage is an easy trail that does a little climbing and then mostly heads back down.  It actually started getting pretty cold while we were on this trail and so we started moving much faster.  As we descended to the Elk Falls Pond, the cloud cover really settled in but the pond still looked pretty from above, it could not dampen our excited and joy.

Elk falls pond Elk Falls pond signage

Once down by the pond, finding Bugling Elk trail to head back was very easy and the trail itself is some type of access road very wide and easy to hike:

BE Trailhead

We climbed up a little and then headed back down to Staunton Ranch Trail.

back to Staunton ranch Trail conditions from BE to SR

Knowing that we were just 3.3 miles from the end had us in great spirits, discovering this gem for ourselves…. well we were pretty chatty about it all.  So chatty in fact we almost missed the herd of deer on our left.  Then while taking too many pictures of them cavorting, we found out almost a minute too late that the main buck was on our right rounding up the rest of his herd and he was CLOSE.   Honestly I have never been that close to a buck, I would say he was just 5-6 feet away from us and totally unconcerned with what we were doing as he got his last doe back in line.

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I have to tell you that this hike was awesome!  I am so glad I happened upon Mark and Sandy’s most recent hike post to pick the park and even more thrilled they could give me advice on such short notice!  There is so much beauty in this state park and I totally get why there were lines of people waiting to discover it all.  Yes the route we took was long but it was crazy beautiful and so worth every step.  For approximately 70% of the hike, we had it totally to ourselves which added to its awesomeness .  We saw the most traffic on Staunton Ranch trail as we were returning to our car and what we did encounter still wasn’t all that much.   Honestly I cannot wait to get back to this State park and see more, I hope you can find your way out here to see it all for yourself!  After the directions will some of my favorite pictures from the day.

Directions:   Take US Highway 285 south to Shaffers Crossing, about 6 miles west of Conifer. Turn north on Elk Creek Road and follow the signs 1.5 miles to the park entrance

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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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Belcher Hill Trail(repeater Hike)- White Ranch Park, Golden Co Hiked 11/10/13

22 Nov

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I was thrilled 2 weeks ago when my friend Tricia from California was in town for a wedding.  That meant I got to spend all of Saturday with her just laughing and drinking…. not so great for my goals but super really good for  my psyche!  We had soo much fun!

Ever dedicated to hiking, I pulled myself out of bed on Sunday to hike, even a little hung over because I can’t miss hiking on my weekends anymore, that next week just doesn’t feel right!  Even worse now, I don’t feel right – but worse meaning really good and awesome.

White Ranch park was really hard hit in the floods we had jut 2 months ago….it has been mostly closed and had just reopened a few trails not too long ago Belcher Hill  (Hike details here) being one those.  We took advantage of that reopening and headed out there that Sunday morning!

The day was just spectacular 68, sunny and no wind what so ever.  It is one of those days where you want to be outside all day long doing whatever makes you happy. Fortunately that was exactly what I was doing, hiking and being happy.

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The trail itself was still rough from the floods with lots of debris, mostly rocks and pebbles pushed down, adding a new  dimension to the trail and some dry debris sliding.  There was also a lot of deep grooves from rushing water that changed the degree of pitch in some places, forcing a lot of the bikers to walk with their bikes.  I also added to the challenge by trying out a smaller hiking shoe size, my feet have gotten a little smaller as I have lost weight and my toes are paying the price so I figured it was worth a shot to go down a half of size.  On the way back down my right foot felt the best it had in 8 months…. my left the worst.  The result of my experiment…. I started one size on my left foot and a smaller size on my right, my feet have been feeling awesome!

Despite the toe thing, the hike was just wonderful there were lots of people out enjoying our mild weather.

Sorry for the delay on posts.  I am hiking every weekend no matter what, last weekend I even got 2 hikes in and both mostly new.   Work has just been super intense and when I am not working late or getting some more work done at home, I am squeezing in exercise where ever I can.  I won’t lie, sticking to eating well has been hard as I am a serious stress eater currently under immense stress, I have really good days and really bad days but my weight hasn’t changed too much.  I swear I will get back on track with telling you all about it again soon!!

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Mt. Falcon, Morrison CO (repeater) hiked 11/3/13

16 Nov
views on the way up.

views on the way up.

I had great expectations for that this second hike of my 3 day weekend on Saturday…. like climb Mt. Everest expectations….. What I got was not so great.

*** WARNING FEMALE ISSUES WILL BE DISCUSSED****There are just days that are not meant to be…. I have been off the pill for 2 years, I can tell you 15 years ago, before I got on the pill, each month was a juggle of time and advil… and it was bad, like throw up once a month can’t get out of bed bad.  But like so many before me, we figure it out and live our lives.  I think the blessing has been, that for the past 2 years off the pill I have never reverted back to those dark days until this particular morning….at approximately 2:30 am.  At first I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening and got in the car and drove to our designated trail head. It was a crazy beautiful drive and the day was unspeakably beautiful, I knew this was the day for the hike I had planned.

When I pulled up to the trail head all I could think was, I can’t take any more Advil without throwing up and I can’t walk without any more advil….. It was decided right then,  as the most spectacular pinks lit up the sky and mountains all around, this hike was not happening….*** DONE WITH FEMALE ISSUES DISCUSSION******

I spent that day in bed and woke on Sunday hungry for a hike and that is how I found myself on Mt. Falcon ( hike details here).

I love November on the front range…one of the best kept secrets is that Denver is crazy mild while the mountains get hammered all winter long, Mt. Falcon was perfect for the hiking that Sunday. It was sunny warm and exhilarating as we flew up the mountain.  We started later than we normally do, so it was much more crowded than we are used too.

I left late and was breaking in new hiking shoes but we still made great time.  We did 10-ish miles with 2100ft+ elevation gain in just 3 hours, it felt so good.  Well mostly good, it was also an interesting and perfect day to be out on the trail.  Sundays aren’t a regular occurrence anymore and the people out with us were a great variety.  I could do without the smokers though…….

The views were amazing, the hike invigorating and my spirits up…. Love hiking!

Denver from the tower

Denver from the tower

Carpenters Peak (Repeater) Hiked 11/1/13

10 Nov

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Sometimes we need to just stop and take stock….. you know > what is important and what brings happiness, that kind of stock.

I had a day that I could take off and I thought why not take it-  try to recenter myself after a really super tough couple of weeks, while knowing I have a really tough couple of months/years ahead of me…. So what does a crazy hike lover like myself do when she plans out a 3 day weekend?  She  hikes ….and so I did.

Friday morning I woke up when I woke up and then headed over to Roxborough state park, not for a super hard hike(because I drank too much the night before) but because it is beautiful ….all year round and nothing feels better than a little bit of beautiful when things are tough.  I decided that I wanted a great hike up Carpenters Peak ( hike details here).

As I pulled into the parking lot, these 4 lovely older women were just finishing up their hike for the day.  They were graceful, healthy and just plain happy.  I am guessing here, but I think they were in their 60’s they moved and looked amazing, like I want to look like that >amazing.  I was incredibly nosey( as I always am) and overheard that this was just one of many hikes they had enjoyed just that week, I was crazy jealous.  How do I get there to hiking through out the weekdays and planning other activities around my hikes with my hiking buddies/groups.  It was a revelation.

The hike itself was perfect, it was cool and when it got too hot it we were rewarded with some snow to cool us down.  We had it to ourselves almost to the top and then on the way down we just crossed paths with a few other hikers….the benefits of taking off a weekday to hike.

I say it too much…but I love it here! To be able to drive just 30 minutes and get views like this, well spectacular…. I am a lucky girl!

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Evergreen Mountain, Evergreen CO (Repeater) Girls Hike #3, hiked 10/20/13

9 Nov

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I love a weekend where I get to hike twice and I super love hikes with my girlfriends!  This particular weekend was extra great because both happened!

I am such a lucky girl!

I woke up early Sunday all excited for my girlfriend hike and then got my second cancellation… but that still left me one girlfriend to enjoy the day with.  I will tell you that I was somewhat tired from Bergen Peak the day before( and celebratory drinking post hike) but I at least I had a good idea of trail conditions, since Evergreen Mt at Three Sisters/Aldfer (Hike details here) was just a few miles away and this is where I was taking my girlfriend(s).  I had decided as I was getting ready and that even if they all canceled I would still go…. But Carrie was my trooper and showed up early even!

The weather was not what I had hoped, it was going to be a tough hike for her and I wanted our typical blue bird skies when we got to the summit so that it all felt extra worth it.  But in the end she totally rocked it and the cloudy skies gave a beautiful depth and moodiness to Mt. Evans that isn’t normally there on a sunny day.   Which was kind of better, a moody Mt. Evans is incredibly beautiful, worth all that effort and more.

Hiking with Carrie was wonderful.  Not only did I get to be a hiking guide, but I got to spend good time with one of the most amazing people I have ever met.  She has been an incredible friend to me since I moved here and someone I have come to rely on heavily for advice.  This hike was no different, she is such  a true and amazing friend I was so thankful to get the morning to talk and hike with her.

The trail itself was in ok shape, it was hit hard in the floods we had in September but had faired better then other trails…. only one section was closed and there were some washouts along the way but nothing too bad.  I was glad we could enjoy it that day.

On the bonus side, we had the trail mostly to ourselves all the way up and Carrie blew my mind with how quickly she was moving up the trail.  On the way down we saw all the traffic of the day and strangely  they were all bizarrely attractive men.  We laughed a lot about it and simply enjoyed the view!!!!!

I know I say it a lot, but on this day like so many others, I was reminded of why I moved here and why I love hiking so much!!!

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