Thursday, January 11: Rabbit Mountain Open Space

Hey Colorado, you’re beautiful.

The first hike of the year is in the books (or on the blog, whatever). I used to commute from Fort Collins to Boulder for work, and everyday I would pass a sign for Rabbit Mountain Open Space on Highway 66. I thought I would finally check it out today! First of all, I can’t believe I ever drove that much five days a week. But, it’s a beautiful drive with an amazing view of Long’s Peak, even when it’s wrapped in a blanket of cloud. Even mountain peaks get chilly, I suppose.

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cloudy peaks

I started off from the trailhead along the Little Thompson Overlook Trail. It was an out and back that took me to, well, the overlook. It was a nice, rocky climb up with some nice views at the end.

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The Overlook

I then connected to the Eagle Wind trail, which was a loop that provided beautiful views of the mountains. Plus, I only briefly got lost… on a loop.

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Eagle Wind Loop

All in all, it turned out to be about a 6 mile hike, and even with a bit of a wind, it was still a beautiful day to do the 2018 inaugural hike!

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Happy new year!

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2017 Hiking: A Year in Review

I saw a lot of “best nine” on Instagram at the end of December, people reflecting on memorable moments of 2017. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, of how to parse out what was real and what was not, and what was actually good and memorable, and how to process that and begin to heal. Hiking was a big part of 2017, as the first day of the year was spent on a warm, sunny hike at Rocky River. I want to be able to look back at all of the beautiful places I got to go to and hike at and be able to remember them for what they were, amazing hiking experiences in the outdoors. I believe there is a lot of peace to be found in the outdoors, and on hiking trails. Nothing heals quite like time spent in nature. So, here is my 2017 hiking year in review. Enjoy!

Cleveland area hiking, at various Metroparks and CVNP

 

 

Camping trip out west, including Death Valley, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Zion National Park

 

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Sunrise at Red Rock Valley campgrounds. One of my all time favorite photos.

Colorado hiking

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Overlook in RMNP

 

 

So, here is to all of the beautiful hiking in 2017, and to all of the hiking to come in the new year!

Saturday, November 25th & Sunday, November 26th: Mount Margaret and Eagle’s Nest Open Space

David flew in for a visit over Thanksgiving, so we made sure to make time for some outdoors! On Saturday we headed up to Livermore, CO, near Red Feather Lake area, to stay with family for the night and hang out. Before settling in for the day we headed up to the Mount Margaret trail and set out for a beautiful hike on a sunny November day.

The way out was relatively easy, and it was really enjoyable seeing snow-capped mountains in the distance. The total hike was a little over seven miles (although my phone died so the entire hike wasn’t tracked correctly). We took a break at the end point and climbed up on to some of the rocks near Mount Margaret to enjoy the views.

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We then headed to my relatives’ house for the evening and enjoyed lots of tasty food, drinks, and company. We puzzled, played games, and watched Christmas movies while enjoying the beautiful views from their house.

The next day on the way home we stopped at Eagle’s Nest Open Space for a shorter hike. In all, it was a little of three miles but it was HOT outside with an intense sun, which we were not prepared for, so it felt like a much more challenging hike than we were expecting. It was still a neat hike though, with views of the foothills, red rocks, and open fields with horses, while also leading us down to the Poudre River.

January 2015: Hocking Hills, Ohio

Happy throwback Monday! For no specific reason, I feel like reminiscing about the Ohio hiking that I did in my first few years there. In January 2015 we went to Hocking Hills for a weekend. We rented a cabin (with a hot tub!!) near the hiking trails and spent the weekend hiking in the hills, playing games (Bonanza!), and cooking with friends.

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I don’t remember all of the trails that we hiked in detail, but I know that we hiked to Ash Cave, Rock House, Cedar Falls, and the Gorge and Rim Trails in Conkle’s Hollow.

Ash Cave:

Rock House:

Cedar Falls:

And then what I think are photos from Conkle’s Hollow Gorge Trail and Rim Trail:

There were other photos from this trip, with views from the Rim Trail, so if they turn up I will add them!

This was an awesome, wintery getaway, and I can’t believe we’re coming up on three years since this trip. My toes were cold 90% of the time (the 10% they weren’t cold was when we were in the hot tub at our cabin), but the hiking was still really great, and the ice formations and caves were so cool!

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Random photo of Morty before she destroyed all of these plants

Thursday, November 2nd: Lory State Park, Well Gulch to Timber to Arthur’s Rock to West Valley Trail

This was a perfectly spooky hike for the week of Halloween! There was a heavy fog warning out for Larimer County when I left for the park this morning, and it did not disappoint while hiking! The temperatures were finally low enough that I felt chilly throughout the entire hike, which was refreshing. I haven’t been to Lory  State Park since I lived here the last time, so it was nice to finally make it back for a hike on the trails there. I parked at the Etluck picnic area and started the hike on the Well Gulch trail. I connected to Timber and started the climb up on all of the switchbacks.

From Timber I connected with the Artuher’s Rock trail and climbed up to the summit. Normally this provides an expansive view of Fort Collins and beyond, but today it was a sea of fog. I took a break, ate some snacks, and enjoyed the foggy views at the top.

I hiked back down on the Arthur’s Rock trail, then turned on to the West Valley trail to loop back to the parking lot. Once back, I decided to hike down to Etluck Bay to check out the reservoir’s water level. In all, the hike was a little over seven miles and was overall pretty quiet, with only a few other hikers spotted, a couple of rock climbers, and a wild turkey (gobble gobble!).

Tuesday, October 24th: Foothills Trail, I Think.

Since moving to Colorado, the great state for being outdoors, I feel like I’ve spent significantly more time indoors. Between working, studying, and trying to identify where the heck/what the heck the lacuna is in a spongy bone tissue sample under the microscope, I have felt pretty busy. But, autumn is here and I felt inspired by this past weekend’s monster hikers to get out for a mini hike today and enjoy it before it is gone!

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So, I headed to the trail that winds its way along Horsetooth Reservoir. I’m not actually certain the trail I hiked was the foothills trail, but the trail was unmarked on the maps in the parking lot, so that’s my best guess.

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It was SO NICE to spend some time outside. There were trees that had turned bright colors along the trail, and the water looked deep blue today. The trail was overall pretty quiet, I only really saw one mountain biker and one runner, so it was quite peaceful. In the end, it is never a mistake to take a break from the things that feel so pressing to go outside and enjoy some fresh air. Reminder to self: ultimately, everything that needs to get done will, and taking time to relax and enjoy the outdoors will only help.

Saturday, October 21: Monster Hike 2017

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Beginning

This was the third annual Monster Hike, taking place between Station Road Bridge and Everett Road Covered Bridge, with a midpoint for “Half-Monsters” starting at the Boston Store Visitor Center.

The only True Monsters this year were the organizers, Luther and Emily.  The rest of the gang (Karl, Kirsten, Kevin, Olivia, and myself) arrived at the endpoint to drive to the midpoint, around 1PM (it was actually later but that’s a story for another time).  Sadly, Anna could not make it this year, due to being 1,312 miles from the hike (approximately).  Luther and Emily were happily munching on Mitchell’s ice cream waiting for the halfers.

 

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Let us BEGIN!  And let’s hope the girl in pink doesn’t murder me… I am borrowing her sunglasses after all.

The hike started meandering near the highway.  Luckily that was a short section, and we were whisked away into the woodlands soon enough.

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Seen above: the men discussing manly things.

We needed to go off-path to circumvent a river crossing (or something, there was some reason).  This proved a bit tricky footing.

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Karl makes it down without falling.  Good job!

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More people trying to escape the branches.  Kevin is still off on the upper slope finding his own path.  Good for him!

We saw a few different animals and critters, including a praying mantis swinging in the wind (so cool, a rare treat!), a rooster, and some goats.  (NOTE:  Goats NOW pictured)

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Praying Mantis, praying for their extinction to not come around for a while yet.

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Where… am I?  This seems wrong: A Rooster’s Tale.

The last few miles were tough, even for the halfers.  But eventually, we made it!

<< Insert photo of group at endpoint after it is sent to me >>

<<Group photo now inserted>>

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After the hike, we were hungry.  But there is no rest (or food) for the wicked (or weary).

We first had to pack 7 people into Karl’s tiny car.  Well, really 9 people, as Kevin, Olivia, and Karl add up to an additional 2 people.  Olivia squeezed into the trunk.  Kevin took shotgun, Karl drove (obviously), and the rest of the 4 of us squeezed into the backseat.

I was pretty comfortable, all said.

We proceeded to Kevin’s car, and split the group into 3 and 4 people (as I said then, “the best we can do to get an even split, without cutting someone in half”.  Hey it’s Halloween, these ideas are worth contemplating).

Then we get to the Winking Lizard and it’s a 45 minute wait.  Too long.

So we go pick up Scout (Ford Focus) and head to Naf Naf (who’s there?  Pita? Pita who?  Pita’n my pants) Grill, with Falafel and Shawarma and all that.  I had Baba which would make Anna sad as that’s her favorite 😦

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Kirsten was probably laughing at left turns and sour candies at this point.  The Vicks sure seem satisfied!

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Luther attempts to get me back for the butter knife folly of yesteryear.  Emily is excited per usual.  Yum that food looks tasty!

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top of the falls!

… and finally here’s a cute picture of Anna from another hike, sporting her favorite Tremont Scoops hat!  Wish you could have been here Anna!

Cheers,

David