Tag Archives: postaweek2017

Hiking Through Boulder Valley Ranch

November 9, 2017

Trail(s): Degge Trail to Hidden Valley Trail to Mesa Reservoir to Eagle Trail to Sage Trail to Cobalt Trail to Hidden Valley to Degge
Location: Boulder Valley Ranch
Fees: Free
Website: https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/boulder-valley-ranch-trailhead
Distance: 5.6 miles

On Thursdays, I aim for local hikes.  Today I picked one a mile north of Boulder at Boulder Valley Ranch.  We started at the Foothills Trailhead which actually shows up on Google Maps.

From the parking area, we walked up the road just briefly to find Degge Trailhead on the right hand side.  It had snowed on Tuesday (in Denver just a trace), but apparently in Boulder enough to melt and create a mud pit.  Within minutes, mud was caked to our trail shoes as we passed through a prairie dog colony.

After 0.4 miles on Degge Trail, we turned right onto Hidden Valley and wandered through the field toward a shooting range where we could hear one or two people practicing.  The trail offered a lovely view of the foothills behind us lightly dusted in snow.

After a mile in heavily weighted shoes, we reached Mesa Reservoir, where we followed the raised trail named for the body of water around its east side.  The reservoir was somewhat dry, but seemed like a nice habitat for birds.

From the reservoir, we left the “hiking only trails”, and joined the multi-use trails.  With a right turn on Eagle Trail, we descended a slick hill to a much wider, sun-dried path.  We followed Eagle Trail for 1.4 miles past another pond.  The tranquil water reflected images on its glass-like surface.

Soon we reached Sage Trail where we looped back toward our starting point.  More prairie dogs sure tempted Utani.  She was definitely leash bound today.  We followed Sage Trail for 1.1 miles past a field of cattails and a herd of cattle before we reached another parking area.

We passed through the parking area and joined Cobalt Trail, another “hiker only” option.  The trail passed beneath a 1930’s smelter before it reconnected with Hidden Valley Trail and Degge Trail.  Fortunately I had printed a map of the trail system, and Tanya took the time to navigate, as otherwise, I’m not sure how many small circles we would have made.

While the beginning of the hike didn’t seem terribly promising as we trudged through mud, as we carried on light snow and the sunny weather provided for a picturesque local excursion.  After connecting all the dots on the map, we ended up hiking a 5.6 mile loop before we stopped for some coffee!  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

Shop small business Saturday, 11/25/17.

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.

Hike in Mount Falcon Park

October 7, 2017

Trail(s): Turkey Trot Trail to Castle Trail to Walkers Dream and back down Castle Trail
Location: Mount Falcon State Park
Fees: Free
Website: http://jeffco.us/open-space/parks/mount-falcon-park/
Elevation: 6,000-7,600 feet
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset daily

It has already been snowing in the mountains, and a big snow storm is coming to Denver on Monday, so today we made the most of the sunny, seventy degree day by heading to Jeffco Open Space.

Jefferson County does a great job with their parks.  There are a wide variety, and they are free.  I should really hike these trails more often due to the close proximity to Denver, but I guess sometimes I like to go far enough into the mountains that my view from the summit doesn’t include a city.

Regardless, today Mike, Paula, Ross and I opted for a short hike to the Summer White House Ruins, a “summer white house” dreamed up by John Brisben Walker for then president Woodrow Wilson.

Walker was a true Renaissance man.  He bought and sold the Cosmopolitan Magazine after increasing its circulation from 16,000 to 400,000 in six years; he built the longest COG railway in the world to the summit of Mount Morrison; he manufactured several models of automobiles and sponsored the first automobile race in the USA; and he invested in land including Mount Falcon and Red Rocks to which he built a road and trails, and promoted the venue as acoustically perfect for concerts.  These were  just a few of his endeavors.

I doubt if building a house on top of a summit for the president seemed like much of an endeavor!  Unfortunately, the house never made it past the foundation due to lack of funds (despite all Colorado school children investing a dime), and the coming of WWI.  Sadly, Walker died penniless at the age of 83.

Our hike began at the East parking lot of the park.  We didn’t begin until 1pm, so I was leery about finding a parking space on this glorious day.  Lucky for us, many people were finishing up their visit to the park, so we found some empty spaces on the nearby street.

From the parking lot, we followed Castle Trail just briefly until we reached Turkey Trot Trail which branches off to the right.  The Turkey Trot Trail is a mountain bike free zone, so the first 1.7 miles of the hike were rather peaceful as we only shared the trail with fellow hikers and one rattlesnake.  Fortunately the snake seemed very happy quietly resting in the shade.

The dry, dusty trail mostly led us uphill beneath the sun, though occasionally we found the shade of a conifer.  Soon it connected back to Castle Trail where we turned right and continued uphill for another 1.2 miles where we connected to Walkers Dream Trail just past the shelter.

After 0.4 more miles of climbing, we finally reached the ruins which was a small wall with a plaque!  We ascended 1,600 feet for that?!? The end result was a little disappointing, but the exercise, company, and nice weather made up for it.  Also, the view to the west of snow-capped mountains was lovely.

Our return hike took us back to Castle Trail which we stayed on all the way to the parking lot.  We came across several mountain bikers, though I have to say they were quite courteous.  Most of them yielded for us!  They claimed they needed an excuse to rest, but if I were on a mountain bike going uphill, if I stopped that would be the end of that.  Hikers do have the right away, but generally it is easier for us to move over.  Anyway, the descent to the parking lot was easy and quick.

The hike was very nice, and while I usually try to do different hikes, I did a “repeater”. This was the first hike I completed after moving to Denver when I had no familiarity with the area, so it was kind of fun to redo, though I was trying to change the final destination to the Walker Home Ruins, not the Summer White House (had I known which were which).

I think I will go back to the park and start from the West parking lot to explore some other trails in the park which are closer to the Walker Home Ruins!  Maybe Mike, Paula and Ross will do that with me and then come over for some more Settlers of Catan…what a fun way to end the evening!  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