Tag Archives: Snow

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!

 

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Riverside Trail – Breckenridge 12/8/12

11 Dec

Kathy and Aaron

Riverside Trail Between Breckenridge and Frisco

Starting and ending Elevation: 9600

Trail Length:  The path goes all the way to Frisco from Breckenridge, which is 9 miles one way 18 miles round trip.  We did 9.5 miles round trip.

Trail Uses:  Bikes, hiking whatever its paved….

Degree of Difficulty:  Easy

Bathrooms:  As you walk along the path there are some public places that likely have a bathroom.

Fees:  None

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This is not our kind of path/trail, but our original plans had to be scrapped as a snow storm moved into Breckenridge this past Saturday.  We had planned a weekend in Breckenridge as a pre-birthday celebration for me and just to get away for a few days.  We wanted to get some type of walking in and we decided that no matter how bad the snow got this trail would still be doable.  It actually starts just behind Mainstreet as you walk through parking lots along the river.  Then a paved path makes its appearance around Ski Hill Road where it will start to go under the roads.   As we got further out of town, there was more of a natural path that went right along the edge of the river and if not for the busy road a few yards away, it would have been very lovely.

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The snow helped with the traffic noise but not all that much.  Also about 2 miles from the town the only choice became the paved path, which really was ok at this point because the rate of snowfall had doubled since we started.  The one nice thing was in that there was no one else really on it because the snow was getting so heavy.  Everyone was either skiing or tucked away inside nice and warm.

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We went all the way to Tiger Road and then turnaround and headed back.  The snow just kept getting heavier so we tried to speed it up a little to get back as quickly as we could in order to get warm and some drinks in hand.

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It’s not an exciting trail but certainly did us just fine in a pinch.  Sometimes weather will get the best of the situation and this was a great way to get in almost 10 miles at 9600Ft.  We finished in 3.5 hours and started my pre-birthday celebration, which entailed a lot of drinking, soaking in a hot tub and the occasional appetizer.

We will probably find ourselves doing this one again because we love Breckenridge, but it will likely only be when we have company in town or when we have nothing else we can do because of weather.  It is a great way to get the legs moving and the blood pumping.  I also think I might be able to attempt Ben Tyler again since we spent the whole weekend up at 9600Ft.  I am trying to decide what would be best this weekend, so much to think about.

We didn’t get many pictures because of the snow but here is one of the last ones we took as the snow got to its heaviest while we were hiking.

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And since there wasn’t much to share of this weeks hike, here is our youngest cat sitting in judgement as we get ready to leave for the weekend.

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

20 Nov

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.