Tag Archives: 5280

Hike in Golden

November 2, 2017

Trail(s): North Table Loop, Tablerock Trail, Mesa Top Trail, Tilting Mesa Trail
Location: North Table Mountain
Fees: Free
Website: https://www.jeffco.us/1427/North-Table-Mountain-Park
Elevation:6,000-6,400 feet
Distance: 5.3 miles roundtrip

Today I drove to Golden to hike at North Table Mountain Park, part of Jeffco Open Space.  Cottonwood Canyon Trail on the Southeast side of the park was closed due to rattlesnake activity, so I started at the West Trailhead and stuck to the west and north sections of the park.

I began on an easy section of North Table Loop and headed north through dormant grasses as I passed housing developments and an industrial park to the left that didn’t provide a terribly exciting view in my opinion.  I basically followed the outer edge of the park on this trail and Tablerock Trail for 2.5 miles until I reached the east side of the park where I turned into its center on Mesa Top Trail.

Mesa Top Trail is aptly named as I gained 400 feet in half a mile as I climbed to the top of the mesa.  To my surprise, I came across a small water fall at the top and then carried on along the flat dirt surface to small pond, a paradise for the ducks which floated across the tranquil water beneath the now sunny sky.

I began the hike beneath overcast skies and in cooler than expected temperatures, so I welcomed the sun as I crossed the grasslands on Tilting Mesa Trail before I began my descent down a steep section of North Table Loop that mostly followed a gravel or asphalt road (also somewhat unappealing).

While I enjoyed the middle section of the park, the outer section was not deep enough into nature for me.  Regardless, it was good to get out, explore, and get a five-mile hike under my belt (more fun than going to the gym).  ETB

WANT TO VACATION SOONER?  IF SO, THIS VACATION CLUB IS FOR YOU!

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For notecards, key chains, or photographs, visit Notable Notecards or Niche Notecards on Etsy. A portion of the sales are donated to charity and a travel story is associated with each one.

Visit Star K Ranch

October 21, 2017

Trail(s): Star K Ranch Loop and Sand Creek Greenway between Chambers and North Airport Blvd.
Location: Star K Ranch
Fees: Free
Website: https://www.auroragov.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=1881221&pageId=5144852
Elevation: 5,280 feet
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip

I have a day care dog named Roo on Tuesdays now.  She is a Vizsla which is a dog breed from Hungary bred to work as a pointer.  Needless to say, she is energetic and goes on 18 mile trail runs with her owner.

I decided to take her to Star K Ranch, part of Aurora’s Open Space and home to Morrison Nature Center.  Since I had Roo with me, I didn’t visit the center, but I followed the west side of the loop trail to Sand Creek Greenway where I turned right and headed west.  We jogged the soft-surface, gravel trail to Chambers Road.  This short half mile led us past an industrial plant on the right and Sand Creek on the left.

At Chambers, we turned around and detoured off the main Sand Creek Trail and followed a single-track trail by the creek.  I found it more peaceful to be  closer to the tranquil water.  Soon the trail came to an end where we joined the Sand Creek Greenway again and followed it east to North Airport Blvd.

While the trail goes beneath both the roads we reached, running this segment both ways plus the loop at Star K Ranch added up to three miles, which is about my limit these days.  Poor Roo was probably sorely disappointed that her run was over as she was just getting warmed up.

It was nice to change up my three-mile run from the neighborhood to a trail along the grassy plain beneath the shade of cottonwoods.  And Roo enjoyed pointing at the rabbits that took cover in dormant bushes.  ETB

WANT TO VACATION SOONER?  IF SO, THIS VACATION CLUB IS FOR YOU!

Get the gist here: http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/can-i-do-it

Want more details, click here:http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/featured

To browse experiences or to sign up, click here:http://www.bethbankhead.dreamtrips.com

For notecards, key chains, or photographs, visit Notable Notecards or Niche Notecards on Etsy. A portion of the sales are donated to charity and a travel story is associated with each one.

Go to a Wonderbound Performance

April 30, 2017

I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be getting into when I accepted an invitation to Wonderbound from my friend Tanya.  The performance was a pleasant and interesting experience.

Wonderbound is a dance group that performs contemporary dance along with live music while sticking to three fundamental values – community, collaboration, and creation.

This month’s performance took place at DU with the hip-hop band Flobots, from Denver.  The lead singers sang and rapped while dancers moved around the stage in modern ballet style.  For two songs, the group even included the audience which was very entertaining.  The collaboration explored the “struggles between personal identity, community, individual freedom and collective power.”

I didn’t really focus on the deeper meaning, but simply enjoyed the music, dance and atmosphere.  The performance was quite good.  I’d recommend seeing them at least once.  If tickets aren’t in the budget, go see them at an open door rehearsal.  https://wonderbound.com/ ETB

WANT TO VACATION SOONER?  IF SO, THIS VACATION CLUB IS FOR YOU!

Get the gist here: http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/can-i-do-it

Want more details, click here:http://www.ratpacknation.net/pages/featured

To browse experiences or to sign up, click here:http://www.bethbankhead.dreamtrips.com

For notecards, key chains, or photographs, visit Notable Notecards or Niche Notecards on Etsy. A portion of the sales are donated to charity and a travel story is associated with each one.

Enjoy a Wind Symphony in Denver

April 8, 2017

Saturday some friends and I attended a Colorado Wind Ensemble Concert.  The CWE collaborated with the Rocky Mountain Brassworks to present a unique show.  The two orchestras sat on separate sides.  Directed by their respective conductor, each played their own pieces, while they played the opening and closing piece together.  Each them both played Moorside Suite separately, so the audience could hear the difference.  I really enjoyed listening to the variance.  We were able to sit very close to the front, so we could see the musicians in detail.

symphony

I’ve lived in Colorado just over five years now, I have not heard of the ensemble or the band.  The CWE is in its 35th season!  The ensemble maintains an artistic residency at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and plays a six-concert season at a variety of venues around Denver.  Saturday night’s symphony was performed at the King Center on the Auraria campus.  The Venue was quite nice with good acoustics.  The CWE plays one more symphony this year called Worlds Away on May 20, 2017.  The tickets range from $5-$15. 

The Rocky Mountain Brassworks was formed in 1974 as the Colorado Brass Band and only played a few times a year.  It became the Rocky Mountain Brassworks in 1978.  The band uses instruments from the saxhorn family which produce a mellow tone.  Different instruments are used or excluded.  The tenor horn replaces the french horn and trumpets are excluded.  The Rocky Mountain Brassworks has two upcoming concerts, May the 4th Be With You featuring the music of “Star Wars” on May 4, 2017 and the 6th Rocky Mountain Brass Band Festival on May 20, 2017.  Tickets range from $5-$15 as well.  http://www.rockymountainbrassworks.org

I tend prefer the wind symphony over the regular symphony, so I was excited to find this concert on Saturday night.  It is also a nice way to enjoy the symphony at a reasonable price.  ETB

Loved Eldorado Canyon State Park

March 10, 2016

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail
Location: Eldorado Canyon State Park
Fees: Day Use = $8, Annual = $70
Website: http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/eldoradocanyon
Elevation: 6,000-7,200 feet
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset daily

Today I joined a meetup group for a hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park. I just had to get out as I don’t think I have enjoyed such glorious weather on an early March day in Colorado. The temperature was nearing 70 degrees beneath bluebird skies!

What added to the lovely weather was this spectacular park. I was pleasantly surprised by the landscape surrounding Rattlesnake Gulch Trail. We followed the 1.4 mile trail up to the ruins of Crags Hotel which burned in 1912 after operating for only four years. It’s hard to imagine this park used to be a resort, but in the early 1900’s visitors arrived by train from Denver to enjoy the hotel which even had an incline railway to transport guests in and out of the canyon.

From the hotel ruins, we turned toward the left and continued our climb along the loop that leads up to the railroad tracks. The tracks pass through two tunnels on the ridge owned by Union Pacific Railroad and continues through the Moffat Tunnel beneath the Continental Divide. Technically, we were not supposed to hike all the way to the tracks, but they were easy to reach. We were just mindful of train traffic…none to speak of while we were there.

We circled the loop and detoured off the path in a few places to admire the snow-covered continental divide before we headed back down to the parking lot. The creek that ran along the road to the parking area was also lovely. I really liked this park…so much so, that two days later, David and I took Toby for hike in another area nearby the park. ETB

Click to access EldoradoAreaBrochure.pdf

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mountain goat keychain sideview

The Denver Zoo by Day and Frasca and Hotel Boulderado by Night

February 14-15, 2016

Denver Zoo
Address: City Park
Website: http://www.denverzoo.org
Hours of Operation: Winter Hours, 10-4 daily
Fees: Adults $13, Seniors $11, Children 3-11 $9, Children Under 2 – Free

Frasca
Address: 1738 Pearl St., Boulder, CO
Website: http://www.frascafoodandwine.com
Phone: 303-442-6966
Hours of Operation: Dinner Only, Closed Sunday

Hotel Boulderado
Address: 2115 13th St., Boulder, CO
Website: http://www.boulderado.com
Phone: 303-442-4344

For Valentine’s Day, we decided to do something different. After playing tennis at City Park, we stopped in at the zoo. We thought it would be nice to visit on an unseasonably warm day this winter. Loads of other folks thought the same thing, though with the sun behind the clouds, our 1.5 hour visit wasn’t as warm as we expected.

Neither David nor I are big zoo fans, but given it’s less than a mile from our house, and I haven’t been for the four years I lived nearby, I thought it was time. I believe the Denver Zoo focuses heavily on rescue animals like the rhinos without horns which is good. Having said that, I’d prefer animals to have a larger more natural habitat.

Our first stop was at the cafe for lunch. After that, we made a quick loop passing by mountain goats, lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, polar bears, grizzlies, peacocks, elephants, and more. Occasionally, we go indoors and enjoy the heat, and then we’d keep strolling.

After visiting the zoo, we headed to Boulder and checked into Hotel Boulderado which opened on New Year’s Day in 1909 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Little did I know, my distant cousin, Erin, was working at the front desk! It was fun to see her.

IMG_3882

We had an early dinner reservation at Frasca and enjoyed a lovely meal…scallops, lobster pasta, halibut, steak, and chocolate dessert. After dinner we stopped at the hotel bar for a night cap. It was a nice evening!

I thought I would have more pictures on Monday as we planned to enjoy the holiday snowshoeing near Nederland, but the snow was coming down sideways! Since I don’t like the cold, we skipped that and took a leisurely drive home. ETB

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Sunflowers website

Snowshoeing Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

February 6, 2016

Fern Lake
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Fees: Day Use = $20, Weekly = $30, Annual = $50
Website: http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm
Elevation: 8,165-9,503 feet
Distance: 8-9 miles roundtrip

My friend Jim organized another snowshoe in Rocky Mountain National Park. He does so about every other week, and it is nice to be able to tag along. Our group of five met at the visitor’s center before entering the park around 8:30am. We were in the parking area and walking down the road to the trailhead around 9am.

To start our trek, we only needed our micro-spikes as the snow was somewhat packed down, but as we gained elevation the snow thickened. The last mile, from the falls to the lake, was somewhat steep as we switch-backed up the mountain. David led the way and toward the end had to break trail.

Eventually we arrived at the snow covered lake. The whipping wind directed us to a rock shelter for lunch as it was too cold to enjoy the lake view for more than a few minutes. Lunch didn’t last much longer. With our fingers and toes numb, we hustled down the mountain.

About half-way down, we warmed up. We got to some beautiful rock formations and decided to switch back to our micro-spikes as the snow didn’t seem that deep. We probably should have stuck with our snowshoes. The softening snow caused us to slip around the rest of the way down. Over all we enjoyed 8-9 miles of snowy exercise. It was nice to get outside in the sun, despite the wind! ETB

For David’s map and corresponding pictures, click here: map of our hike

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mountain goat keychain sideview

Snowshoe Jim Creek Trail

Jim Creek
Location: Bonfils Station Outdoor Center in Winter Park
Fees: Free
Website: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/jim-creek
Elevation: 9,220-10,383 feet
Distance: 5.3 miles roundtrip

January 30, 2016

On a snowy Saturday morning, I headed up to Winter Park. The 1.5 hour drive took 2.5 hours due to heavy ski traffic given the forecast of good snow.

I met some friends at the Bonfils Station Outdoor Center. Our group of eight started out on the Challenger trail that led to Jim Creek Trail.

Soon we reached Jim Creek trail where we shoed beneath a light snow and through a snow-covered evergreen forest. When the wind blew, snow tumbled off the tree branches.

The trail was quite beautiful and for being so close to a ski area, we hardly saw a soul. The first half of the path was packed enough that spikes were all that we needed. I had my snowshoes on the back of my pack, and one hooked onto a tree! Erin saved it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soon, however, we needed snowshoes. At this point, three in our group turned around as the ascent steepened and the snow deepened. Eventually, there wasn’t much of a trail to follow. We only saw a skier’s backcountry tracks. We followed these tracks as Joshua basically broke trail.

We switch-backed through the trees to the extent we weren’t sure if we would get to anything interesting. At this point, Brian stopped for a breather. The final four continued a little farther to arrive at a picturesque opening with a view of surrounding snow-capped mountains.

The skier’s trail continued through some more trees to another opening where we finally stopped as in front of us was a little more forest and an impending mountain. Joshua wanted to shoe up over the pass and hitch-hike back. The rest of us emphatically said, “NO”.

On our way back, we met up with Brian who had continued up after his breather. We shoed back on the Challenger Trail which connects to the Discovery Trail to create a loop to the parking lot. We worked up an appetite as we unknowingly shoed farther than the 5.3 out and back trail. No wonder it took so long. We ended the day filling our bellies at Ditch. Fun! ETB

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snowy falls website copy

Snowshoeing Sandbeach Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Sandbeach Lake
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Fees: Day Use = $20, Weekly = $30, Annual = $50
Website: http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm
Elevation: 8,312-10,283 feet
Distance: 8.8 miles roundtrip

January 9, 2016

The forecast called for a cold day of snowshoeing at it was! I think the high may have been 20 degrees. At first we thought it might be slightly warmer as the sun peaked through the clouds, but it didn’t take long for a light snow to fall and the sun to disappear for the day.

Only a dusting of snow covered the beginning of the trail, so we were able to don mircrospikes. After about two miles in, however, the snow thickened substantially and snowshoes became a necessity. I found it was slightly challenging to cross a narrow log bridge on snow shoes though the elevation change wasn’t as hard as I expected.

After a few hours, we reached the lake. I thought we would be able to see it, but it was covered by snow. We didn’t stay long as out of the tree cover, the wind was biting cold. The group split up a bit upon our return to the parking lot as everyone needed to go a different pace to stay warm. It was a nice snowshoe and a good challenge. ETB