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Green Mountain Loop In Boulder

October 19, 2017

Trail(s): Green Mountain Loop
Location: Chautauqua Park
Fees: Free depending on parking area chosen
Website: https://bouldercolorado.gov/parks-rec/chautauqua-park
Elevation: 5,200-8,150 feet
Distance: 6.0 miles roundtrip
Hours: 5am to 11pm

It was a small miracle, but Tanya and I were finally able to connect on Thursday for a hike, only five months after our last one together! Clearly our schedules did not mesh, and when we first planned to hike Green Mountain Loop in Chautauqua Park in Boulder we expected we’d have some time restrictions, so we opted for a short and nearby hike.

Who knew a six mile hike beginning at 5,277 feet would take a full three hours! I failed to read the description before I picked the trail, and it was sort of hard for a local trek. After completion, we found it was rated difficult and the clockwise direction we took made it harder!

Fortunately, we snapped a photo of the sign at the trailhead as the Green Mountain Loop included a combination of several trails. We started on the 6th St. Connector Trail which took us to Meadow Trail. Meadow Trail, appropriately named, led us through a golden grassy meadow occasionally dotted with bushes turning brilliant red with the fall weather upon us.

Soon we reached Amphitheater, Saddle Rock, and EM Greenman Trails which all connected together to reach Green Mountain Summit at 8,144 feet. In Colorado, that’s not even close to high, but gaining 2,867 feet in three miles is steep. I had stopped to snap a photo of the natural rock stairs we were climbing as they looked lovely surrounded by fall foliage. Little did I know, I’d have countless opportunities for this. We climbed stairs almost the whole way up! Based on a 12 foot ceiling, that’s 239 stories over uneven steps.

At the top, we were blessed with views of snow capped mountains to the West and the City of Boulder to the East. We snacked on our lunch as a chipmunk tried doing the same, before we headed back down the mountain on Ranger Trail and through Gregory Canyon before we reached Baseline Trail to end the loop near our car. After initially climbing down a few stairs, we descended along a smooth dirt path peppered in pine needles. This way was much easier! Overall it was a lovely hike and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. ETB

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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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Wigwam Trail in Lost Creek Wilderness

February 28, 2016

Wigwam Trail
Location: Lost Creek Wilderness
Fees: Free
Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recarea/?recid=13004, http://www.fomelc.org/lost-creek-trails
Elevation: 8,160-10,170 feet
Distance: 22.6 miles roundtrip
Hours: Best for Spring, Summer, Fall

We were caring for a young German Short-hair Pointer this weekend, so to help him expend some of his energy, we decided to go to a trail that seemed a little less traveled than others in the area. Originally used to drive cattle from Webster Park to Lost Park, the Wigwam Trail heads northwest along Wigwam Creek.

The trail isn’t terribly accessible in the winter months without a high-clearance vehicle. We followed the dirt road sporadically covered in snow in my 4-wheel drive sedan, but it was a little dicey, and we were thankful that it hadn’t snowed for a while. My bumper didn’t fare too well.

Our hike on the trail turned out to be shorter than we had hoped. The granite path crossed the frozen creek a few times before we reached deep snow which was just too hard to maneuver with Dante in hand. He needed some additional leash training and off-leash, he would have long gone!

We made the most of our venture, however, and headed to the Buck Snort Saloon for an interesting atmosphere and quick lunch.

I think we will come back to this trail in the summer as it connect to three other trails (Rolling Creek, Brookside-McCurdy, and Goose Creek) and climbs to granite domes. ETB

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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.

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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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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.

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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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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

Snowshoe Butler’s Gulch

Butler’s Gulch
Location: Between Empire and Winter Park on 40
Fees: None

Useful Website:http://www.findhikingtrails.com/butler-gulch/

December 6, 2015

Today, David and I decided to snowshoe Butler’s Gulch. It is located off 40 between Empire and Winter Park. We left at 9am without any ski traffic so it was a nice quick trip, maybe 1-1.5 hours. Many cars were already at the parking location as the area is popular for back country skiing.

We parked on the side of the road and made the short walk to the trailhead. The first three quarters of the trail through the trees was packed snow, so we only needed our microspikes to climb 1,000 feet or so over the 2 miles. We enjoyed pleasant skies until we left the forest. Once we stopped for lunch out in the open the wind picked up.

There were several ski paths from our lunch area. We weren’t sure which to take to get to the old mining equipment. I was already chilled, and knowing that this hike is a “century” hike for wildflowers (meaning there are 100 kinds), I didn’t mind turning around. In fact, for some reason, in the winter I never mind turning around. I think it is because there are only trees and snow to see. Of course, the snow covered view is lovely, but I like all the different wildflower colors better!

So turning back after a nice snowshoe will only incentivize me to return in the summer to complete the trail, as normally I don’t like doing the same trail twice. I look forward to seeing all the wildflowers and the mining equipment in the summer!

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After our hike, we stopped in Empire. We’ve driven through the tiny town a dozen times, but have never stopped to investigate the five restaurants and two shops. The atmosphere at Lewis Sweet Shop looked the most eclectic from the outside. It didn’t disappoint. It offered burgers and sweets along with live music. It was fun!
ETB

Parade of Lights

Parade of Lights
Location: Downtown near 16th St. Mall
Website: http://www.denverparadeoflights.com/

December 5, 2015

So, since I have lived in Denver and have known about the Parade of Lights, I have wanted to go.  The one time I planned on it, it was -9 degrees Fahrenheit.  I decided frostbite wasn’t worth it.

This year the weather was magnificent.  David and I decided to go downtown early for dinner and then watch the parade.  We stumbled upon a Peruvian place on Champa between 15th and 17th where we found a place to park.  We were surprised to find a meter, but later we realized we were between the parade route, though it wasn’t a problem.

After dinner, we wandered up to 17th and found a spot right on the corner at 6pm.  We lucked out as the street was lined with spectators four people deep and we only had to stand behind one person.  I suppose for a better view, getting there before the parade started would be a plus.  The start of the parade was about 20 minutes from us.  The floats were somewhat spread out which lengthened the parade to about an hour.

 

Now I can customize key chains with any photo…all you have to do is email me your favorite picture of your family, dog, or perhaps even your business logo.

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Museum of Outdoor Arts

November 5, 2015

Museum of Outdoor Arts
Indoor Gallery and Sculpture Garden

1000 Englewood Parkway, Suite 2-230
Englewood, CO 80110
phone: 303-806-0444
email: see http://www.moaonline.org/contactus/
website: http://www.moaonline.org

Hours for Indoor Gallery: Tuesday-Thursday 9-5, Friday 9-4, Saturday 11-4, but check their website for special events and when they are setting up new exhibits

Fees: Free, but $5 donation suggested

Today my friend Tanya and I decided to visit the Museum of Outdoor Arts Indoor Gallery located in the City of Englewood’s Civic Center. We tried visiting about a month ago, but it was closed while staff was setting up the current exhibit, Altered Reality.

We found a few of the exhibits to be rather thought provoking. My favorite piece were 2 dimensional images that were printed by a 3-D printer. Each two dimensional image was rotated 360 degrees on its Y axis for the 3-D object to be created. It was really fascinating to see an image of a small plane look like a spinning top in 3-D. It’s amazing what the human mind deciphers when compared to a computer that only copies an image.

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We also enjoyed the exhibits the displayed images of deconstructed boxes used in everyday products like toothpaste and deconstructed envelopes shown before they are folded.

Many of the other exhibits were a play on words, images, and letters.

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The outdoor museum has an indoor space because the City provides the space for free. The museum also displays several sculptures around the city center streets as well as nearby Fiddler’s Green. Each has an audio tour associated with it.

The museum doesn’t take long to visit, so it would be best to have something else planned in the area if traveling any distance. Overall, it was fun to check out. ETB

It’s that time of year again…the holidays are coming. For hostess gifts, stocking stuffers and more, visit http://www.notablenotecards.com or http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

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