Impromptu no research hike of Mt. Elbert south route while paddle boarding at Twin Lakes. Made a rare campground stay at Lakeview campground for access to Twin Lakes. They have closed several of dispersed sites by campground because of idiots. There is dispersed along the road to south route and just past campground, but distance and access to Lakes is limited. After filling up and breaking down paddle boards and hiking a mile each way on Colorado trail to and from camp everyday I decided I was close enough I might as well do Elbert. Campground is below lower trailhead. Kids and wife were happy to sleep in and I opted for early start. Drank my coffee while linking Colorado trail to 4x4 road walk which saved a mile to the upper Elbert trailhead. The road was actually the roughest part of the trail with a pretty high water crossing and I managed to only get the feet semi wet at 40 degrees.The upper trailhead says 3.9 to summit which is Bull Pumpkin. After doing hike I looked and most info says 10-11 miles out and back I made a wrong turn ending up at Lily Pads whatever that is and probably added a mile. The road added about 700’ elevation gain to the hike surprisingly. Saw no one on the trail which is in surprisingly good shape. 4 people on summit when I got there all from North Route. Had to add layers above the tree line as it was windy and below freezing. Spent a couple minutes at the summit and headed down. Great sunrise with all the smoke in the area could have done w/ our breathing the smoke. Surprised how fast I did it as I’ve been running more than hiking lately. I expected at least 6 hours and apparently my wife did as well because she promised eggs and bacon breakfast. In fact the family was still sleeping when I got back at 8 something am. Humming bird joined me in the awning room and was surprisingly difficult to get out. Stretched out the legs in the afternoon hiking one of the paddle boards down and back to camp.
Side note: Trail is in great condition and appears to have been re routed in several spots. Sign at trailhead is old so I think probably the difference in distance is due to significant routing changes.
Final hike of the trip. Plan B after Mule canyon and checking out mule canyon Kiva we stopped at Butler wash on way to blanding. Pretty interesting and visible from the road kids liked the interpretive signs for the medicinal uses of different plants, we were the only ones there as it was hot and midday. As Alex mentioned previously the sign says overlook and no access. However, there pretty easy access down into the canyon as well as up to the dwellings. I was particularly interested in seeing the carved hand and foot holds around the alcoves. They also did this at Keet Seel to get access out of the canyon. In this case they also have some running horizontally between two alcoves. Wonder if some one slipped? Maybe another time. ;) We then headed to Pagosa to camp and split up the drive home. However, with crappy rainy weather and poor forecast of Tstorms we skipped the hot springs and set up of camp in the rain. My wife made the executive decision and we spent the last night in a hotel with pool and jacuzzi. Which probably saved the kids from ending a great trip on a wet cold note.
Woke up at Bullet Canyon and the crew was not up for the 10 + mile round trip to Jailhouse Ruin and Perfect Kiva after almost a week of living in a van. So we decided to head out. When I did this hike several years ago except for some campers I did not see a person. Even on a weekday this was packed. Not as interesting to the kids after the previous sites they saw. Good leg stretcher.
Woke up and broke camp. First one to the trailhead. Skipped the 1.2 mile sandy road walk and parked at the trailhead. You could not do this last time I was here. Kids loved the hike. We explored all the dwellings on both sides of the main dwelling. Hiked to the next inlet of the canyon exploring and found nothing but a large dry waterfall with a significant pool. By this time the fine dirt is on the Mesa had made my contacts impossible to wear. Wondering how I backpacked 5 days in the canyon wearing contacts. Pretty much everything was covered in fine red dust. Kids had never really seen or hiked in a canyon so pretty much all the hikes were a treat and apparently they inherited my propensities and interest in cliff dwellings as opposed to my wife’s who up until these hikes just saw piles of rocks. Anyway headed over to Bullet Canyon where the plan was to hike a longer hike to Jailhouse Ruins and Perfect Kiva. Got there early and kids had a blast just exploring around camp.
Day 3 We got our parking Permit. Annual was same price as two days for the family. Plan was to hike down the first part of Owl Creek canyon to see the small dwellings. Nice hike down kids were fascinated and the scrambling was pretty fun for them. I may have caught a lizard for them and pretty much to prove I still got it. Anyway it was released unharmed. Then the afternoon we wanted to explore Lime Creek canyon. Little did I know, but Bulket, Snowflat rd, and Todie Are really the only roads that have signage. I will admit to being a little less prepared in the topi department and hindsight probably should have downloaded a couple maps of the area. Needless to say with the maps of the area being so poor along with signage we did hike down to the edge on the opposite side of the canyon. We spoke to some people we ran into the next day who saw us go by and said we hadn’t actually gotten to the lime creek turnoff. Unfortunately the people we ran into on the road that day told us we passed it. We did some fun hiking and exploring and I was pretty worn out from driving several un named un marked roads in the area. Fortunately my wife is getting used to teetering on 3 of six wheels although the kids don’t like it when the bins of clothes occasionally free themselves and fall on them. Which is why the heavy bins/ or firepit ride in the back to keep the kids alive. We spent the night once again in solitude on snow flat for the next day’s permitted hike.
Our first camp choice after all the fun on no sleep was filled due to our getting out there late and it being Moab which is downright crowded. Getting to the spot was pretty fun driving and taking an ATV trail back up to the cliff side road was pretty fun. We ended up going to another spot farther out which provided solitude and we saw no one and no one drove by not even atv’s . The next day we drive in to hit Arches which was already full and had a sign saying check back in 5 hours. So we went into town splurged on a coffee and ice cream for the kids. Headed toward Blanding stocked up on water as we were going through it faster than expected and hit Natural Bridges which happened to have no admission fee. We took the hike to horse collar ruins via the sipapu bridge and the kids loved it. We also checked out the other bridges and hiked to the base of the last one before heading to Cedar Mesa to find camping near Kane Gulch ranger station to get day pass permits the following day. Winged it and scored another quiet campsite. No traffic.
Late start long drive after getting here at 2 am we found a campsite, but the first thing I saw was a rodent so we drove back and crashed on BLM land and drove the next day. Note to self don’t sleep in the hammock set up we have for the boy my truck is too narrow. Would have been better to sleep on the top of the truck. Unfortunately the only thing that broke was one of the exped mattresses which is unfixable thanks to a sharp edge on the table where the kids slept. No camp set up just crashed wherever we could which will not happen again. Checked out sego canyon, took kids to Moab Giants, did some extremely rough roads checked out dinasaur prints and got a much better night sleep at the next campsite. I didn’t bring the camera to the dinasaur footprints or the interpretive hike with the bones in the cliff face, but it was interesting.
Been mostly running and riding the Onewheel of late and then getting kids to all their extra curricular activities. They are pretty burned out on hiking after all the hiking we did during covid when no playgrounds or any thing else was open. Plus it is still riding season so not much hiking has been done except for quick excercise hikes. Had a few hours so I linked Mother’s rest with Mt. Esther Crowe gulch. It was a nice spring time 26 degrees the whole way with a pretty good wind in the meadow. Hoped the coffee shop was open on the way hone, but it wasn’t. Mother’s rest was surprisingly more challenging with snow on it. I did break the through the ice submersing my left foot, but the gore tex socks kept the foot dry. Road walk back home. Only tracks on the trail were animals. Coyote or small wolf chasing bunny tracks along with the what looked like turkey tracks.
Day #16 this year despite reservations and all the resort BS. Peak six finally opened two weeks ago at my last stealth camping trip. They opened wonderland, but in a way that made the gate look closed so I basically did 46 miles and over 50000’ of descent tracking out all the powder in the trees. The truck was comfortable for the overnight I used a fitted sheet and synthetic comforter for my queen size accommodations which I prefer over a sleeping bag for truck camping. Extremely windy which kept the crowds away. Walked to and Ate dinner at Rita’s which I highly recommend and walked back as well to check out the sites in town. Hoping to get the kids out for 4 days of camping and snowboarding in crested butte next month to finish off the season. They are riding advanced stuff at this point and I’m actually getting a chance to get turns and descent amount of vertical descent riding with them now.
We had a family steamboat trip planned with the kids and my parents. Two days ago my stepmom told my dad to take her to the hospital where she had two stints put in one for a complete blockage. With school going back to 4 days/ week wth full classes my wife decided to work to save PTO just in case. Voila! Just me and the kids. Had an offer from an acquaintance for the kids to see, feed, and pet their Alpacas and Llama. He also happens to live in Buffalo Pass so afterward we were obligated to explore. Drove the commuter as far as I felt comfortable and turned around and parked in a nice stand of trees and found a picnic spot. Then we found a trail and followed it 3.75 miles all the way down to dry creek trailhead. Then backtracked up and back to the car. Multi use trail mainly used by Mountain Bikers. We were warned it would be busy and had to jump off trail frequently, but the hike was really nice. All in all a great day. Bought the kids ice cream on the way back just to top it off! We didn’t know the name of the trail until we got to the trailhead. Flash of gold was quite appropriate.
Autumn Foliage ObservationSubstantial Entire hike is through aspen stands. One section trees are close together and no leaves. White and stark as far as the eye can see. Eerie.
Got off the night shift after getting done with a flight 3:30 am and drove 2 hours home on 3:15 of sleep, Sarrah had already volunteered to get M to lacrosse knowing this would probably be my only window this year to catch fall colors at Dome Rock with other commitments taking a lot of time like hand staining the entire house which I have spent the last two weeks home doing. I really wasn’t feeling up to it, but opted to do it and decided to do it counterclockwise so the main uphills would be in the middle. Colors on the way looked promising although quite variable from green, to prime, to dried dead and brown. I was surprised at how good the colors were on the hike which also had a lot of variability and was not as good as previous years, but good nonetheless. Decided to jog it as I had about 3 hours to do the hike not including travel to and from. Previous versions of this hike used use trails that help to avoid the creek crossings. I opted to skip these and run strait through every crossing and just have wet feet. This got the mileage down to a little over 10 miles and saved time. The hills were horrible as they are deep dirt sand/gravel from horse use. Some areas were so steep and loose not only coils I not run them, but I had to use trees to pull myself up. In the past they were more packed. I don’t know if it was the shortened miles due to water crossings or doing it the oppposite direction which starts the hike and ends the hike with descents rather than ending it in a 4 mile gradual climb, but it seemed short and I couldn’t believe how quick the hike was over.
Autumn Foliage ObservationSubstantial Variable good prime stands some still green and some past.
Local hike to check fall colors. Early freeze and snow will probably limit colors this year. Nice picnic lunch with kids. Hiked up to Crystal reservoir which is about half full. I think they are still doing maintenance. Took different routes there and back. Colors sporadic. Dropped into Green Mountain Falls on the way back and walked back via Ute Trail. Nice temps always fun hiking with the kids. Nice to see most of the piles of wood gone it will be awhile before the scorched circles are gone.
Hiked and had snowball fights the entire 3 miles of the Bluemoon race route that led to last years surgery. Muddy wet and snowy. I had to watch my back the whole way with my little minions plotting against me the entire time. In the end I gave as good as I got and there was probably not a single article of clothing on any of us that did not get wet from being hit with a snowball. The sled hill was utilized this am for several hours as we got much more snow at the house a good 6” worth. This trail was convenient as we got geared up at Epic Mountain sports with The kid gear trade in program. Micah needed boots and bindings to get the kids squared away for the season and then a trip to altitude ninja gym since pretty much most of the kids sports have been cancelled except Lacrosse for the immediate future and all the after school programs are on hold. Fun day enjoying early winter.
Haven’t done this hike since Sarrah was 4 mo. pregnant with Noah. The waterfalls were frozen at time. Wildflowers and butterflies were out. It was overcast and cooler which was nice. Kids liked it and swam above the falls. Got back and had lunch at the car only to find a note that somebody from Texas managed to back into and hit my car. Looks like they got me with a tow hitch attached to a big truck they shouldn’t be driving especially since I got the last parking spot and there was no spot across from where I parked so they apparently had to get creative. All in all a fun hike that the kids really enjoyed.
Scoped our the river walk the day before. Planned on hitting the hot springs, but it was super crowded. Remembered a downstream hot spring from a few years ago and found it. It is below the tubing takeout and although not as hidden as a few years ago still difficult to see from the river walk or river. We tubed down on cheap 50 cents a piece air mattresses. The blue ones were 3$ for some reason. Anyway, water levels were too low in some places for tubes and I saw people struggling the day before. The air mattresses worked quite well and the family had fun. We took out at the takeout and hiked another 200’ feet to the hot springs. I ran up to the car at the free parking 400’ away and grabbed the cooler. We hung out at the hot springs and swam below the takeout all afternoon. Noah wanted to do another lap which we did. All in all a fun way to spend a 90 degree day. Note to self don’t wash the sulphur smelling clothes with the other dirty clothes. It’s like the cat in the hat and the tub ring.
A couple minutes outside of Pagosa Springs. They are no longer doing tours so they are now self guided. One is a loop around some excavated and unexcavated pit houses. The other was a walk up to the kivas overlooking Chimney Rock. This is an outlying chacoan site. The significance is that every 18.5 years the lunar stand still causes the moon to rise for a few months between the two formations which apparently had some significance to this culture. It is worth noting that the foundation remains just past the Kiva visible in one of my pics is if a fire look out tower built and fairly recently removed that effectively blocked the view of the Lunar Standstill for 40-60 years. Awesome planning and forethought by the powers that be. Lot’s of collared lizards which the judges liked. Interesting info.
About 5 miles not sure of AEG. Didn’t start watch until halfway through. Free admission to Co. State parks today. Never been here decided to scope it out. Dome rock state wildlife area my favorite fall color hike is right next to this and used to be part of it. We took 5 to 24 to 15 to 25 to 11 to 1 back to the visitor center. You could pull up the map on line and it gives distances. Lots of hiking options and the place has a small campground as well. I’d probably visit more if I had a state park pass. As much camping as we have been doing probably makes sense to get it. We were going to do an out and back, but decided on the loop which I’m glad we did to skirt a pretty ugly t-storm that was following us and blocking us from going back the way we came. Bring the map it came in handy. You know it’s close when the thunder causes your kid to jump on your leg and tell you they are scared.
Couple hours on the Yampa. It rained and was fun family time. Paddle practice in a lagoon and then some instruction in a tributary and down the Yampa. Water levels low so it was about perfect for the family since they have never paddled whitewater. Trying to get family hooked so I can get my boat back out.
Plan B from the previous trip consisted of my wife getting us some of of our Timeshares in Steamboat while I tried pretty unsuccessfully to arrange a recovery of the vehicle or getting it started which I eventually succeeded in doing. I managed to arrange recovery as well, but it would not have been until Sunday morning. We transferred cooler and everything from truck to car and headed out Sunday morning to Steamboat Springs.
Day 1 On arrival we headed to the resort, took the Gondola up to the top and did a couple rides on the Alpine coaster which is a safer version of an alpine slide which can actually fall off the track. No braking netted an average speed of 33 mph. Kids liked it. We also played a round of Mini Golf.
Day 2 Consisted of a couple hours at the hot springs Slide closed rock wall poolside open. Then a couple hours tubing the Yampa and an evening hike up thunderbird trail as it was 90 degrees at 5pm. We took an alternate set of trails down mainly Mtn Bike trails some of which had 20’ plus drops we had to down climb. Impressive that people ride these trails. Got down about 10 minutes after my wife and daughter who got back to the car realized a window was left open and after the failed camping trip were quite traumatized to find a mouse standing on my wife’s steering wheel!
Day three consisted of kayaking some whitewater and some sleuthing all the springs in town. Turned out to be a great back up trip for my wife’s planned time off after the first plan fell through.
Plan was to stay in dispersed camping of coffee pot rd. outside Glenwood Springs canyon venturing into town for the hotsprings and adventure park, and hanging lake. We found a spot with good views that seemed like a great spot. Because of burn bans across the state our newest accessory that came along was a propane firepit. We woke up and packed up and when we got ready to leave attempted to fire up the truck which didn’t seem to be getting fuel. A quick look in The engine compartment showed a pack rat nest, fuel dripping on the exhaust manifold and a dead rodent underneath the truck. I had to take the seats out and entire engine cover off. Removed nest and blood spatter from the rodent’s violent death. I couldn’t initially identify source of fuel leak. Put it back together and started to set up camp while unsuccessfully trying to find a tow. After eventually finding somebody to come out on Sunday morning before setting up camp again I took apart truck again and followed every fuel line tightening and checking for security. I then tried starting to check where the fuel leak was coming from and amazingly it’s started! No leaks! Sweet! I suspect one of the lines was loosened possibly by nest building activities. I initially thought maybe one was chewed through. Put everything back together, rolled up the awning and took off for home. We have been unsuccessful in checking Glenwood Springs during the 7+ years we have lived here despite several attempts. We did come up with a back up for family activities to be continued...
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.