HEADING TO THE PLAINS!

On April 11th Speedy and I hiked Barr Lake State Park in Brighton, Colorado.

BarrLake10

Here at the Park you can go boating, picnicking, horseback riding, study nature (deer, pelicans, herons, egrets, ducks, grebes, owls, eagles and hawks), go waterfowl hunting, and fish.  Since neither of us brought our fishin’ poles, we just walked 9.57 miles around the perimeter of the lake.

BarrLake12

It was a hot, but beautiful day.

Standing in one of the Gazebos looking west at the snow-covered Rockies!

Looking west at the snow-covered Rockies!

We walked to several of the Gazebos.

BarrLake4

IMG_6433CE Barr Lake gazebo, Long's Peak.jpg Barr Lake

In the late 1880′s, Barr Lake was an elite outing area for sportsmen from Denver.  It was touted as the “finest fishing area in the west.”

We didn't see any of these.

We didn’t see any of these.

Since the early 1900′s, Barr Lake has been known as a premier bird-watching area.

We tried, but didn't see any of these either.

We tried, but didn’t see any of these either.

We did see this mom's nest through one of the telescopes at the Gazebo!

We did see this mom’s nest through one of the telescopes at the Gazebo!

At one point (for about a half mile) we walked next to the railroad tracks.  If you’re lucky (and we were), a train will whiz by at 120 mph.

Whizzing!

Whizzing!

After it passed, you could hear the tracks sizzling.  I told Speedy NOT to touch them.

OK -- never mind!

OK — never mind!

After a lunch stop at the Bruderlin Stone House/RMBO Environmental Learning Center, we crossed the bridge and headed back to the Nature Center (where we started).

BarrLake5

FIRE IN THE HOLE!!

"Hey Speedy, did you bring marshmallows?"

“Hey Speedy, did you bring marshmallows?”

Barr none — it was a fun day on the plains!

BarrLake11

BUSHWHACKING WITH SPEEDY

You might remember that a couple weeks ago Map Master’s friend, Suzanne, joined us on our hike to Roxborough State Park.  She was moniker-less.  (Gasp!)  Within the first mile of our hike, we dubbed her “Speedy” — for obvious reasons!

Woman

With Map Master and Wandering Ju sailing the British Virgin Islands with their spouses and friends, I thought it would be fun to hike again with Speedy!  She was available April 4th, so we made a plan to hike Matthew Winters/Dakota Ridge trails.  These are fairly easy trails and I chose them for a reason.  Short of tethering Speedy’s legs together — or slipping an Advil PM into her camelback — I figured I had a chance of keeping up with her!

As it turns out, good ole Mother Nature was helping me also.

"Why -- yes -- they did!"

“Don’t start with me Bear Scout!”

Mud!  Everywhere!

Did we turn around?  Heck no!  We continued trudging through the mud until we were stopped by heavy construction.  Apparently the bridge was out and they were rebuilding.  Um.  We’re so close!  The trail is just … right … over … there!  As we were devising a “plan” to install a zip line, an official-looking guy pulled up in his pickup.  We explained our dilemma and he told us he would check to see if there was a way around the bridge rebuilding.  (But a zip line would have been SO COOL!)

We waited for him to return.  And waited.  And waited.  Then we began slowly inching our way down the hill.  No one was following us.  No one was even looking in our direction!  We bushwhacked our way further down towards the creek.  (Seriously — we could have used a machete!)

Speedy's my kind of gal!

Speedy’s my kind of gal!

We leaped across the creek and made it to the other side.  Whew!

We leaped across the creek and made it to the other side. Whew!

Here’s what was stopping us …..

Speedy4

As we were patting ourselves on our backs, we looked up only to find …..

Closed

I looked at Speedy.  Speedy looked at me.  I mean REALLY — we’d come this far to have to bushwhack our way back?  Never!  We breezed past the sign and up the trail!

Wanna know why it was closed?

Mud!  And more mud!

We finally made it to the top of the trail and stopped for lunch.

"I am the Speed Queen of Bushwhacking!"

“I am the Speed Queen of Bushwhacking!”

"And I am the Bear Scout of Bushwhacking!"

“And I am the Bear Scout of Bushwhacking!”

After lunch, we thought we were on the Dakota Ridge trail, but found ourselves on mud-less pavement viewing dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Ridge.

History Lesson:  Dinosaur Ridge has hundreds of dinosaur tracks, a quarry of dinosaur bones, and interesting geologic features.  The Dinosaur Ridge Bone Site was discovered in 1877.  It is here that the world’s first Stegosaurus was discovered.  They found several vertebrae and parts of limbs.  Down the road at the Dinosaur Tracksite, over 300 tracks have been identified.

Dinosaur tracks

Dinosaur tracks

Speedy8

Water ripples

Water ripples

It has probably been 30 years since I last visited Dinosaur Ridge.  It was fun to stumble upon it again.  (Or maybe I was just happy to leave the mud.)

We continued up the road to find the alleged trail connection to Dakota Ridge trail.  (This is where we were headed in the first place!)  We looked up the hill and there were about nine deer laughing at us.

"Ten bucks (get it?) says they fall in the mud!"

“Ten bucks (get it?) says they fall in the mud!”

Meanwhile …..

Speedy scouts for the trail connection.

Speedy scouts for the trail connection.

About a half mile down the road, we found the Zorro trail.  Um.  OK — do you think that will lead us to the Dakota Ridge trail Bernado (look it up)?  Why not!

Turnback

If we thought we were in mud before — we were really in mud now.

Our boots weighed five pounds each!

Our boots weighed five pounds each!

We stuck it out, continued sliding through the mud, and at mile 8.67, made it back to the parking lot.  I wonder if mud is in part responsible for the extinction of those dinosaurs?

Dinomud

A CIRCUS HIKE

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Faithful Blog Followers!  Boys and girls and children of all ages!  Welcome to the greatest hike on earth!

On March 28th, the M.O.M.s chose to hike Meyer Ranch Park in Jefferson County!

Moms

Legend has it that during the winter months in the late 1800′s, Meyer Ranch housed the animals from P. T. Barnum’s circus!

Circa August 1889

Circa August 1889

You ask yourselves – “Is this true?!?”

"Of course it's true!"

“Of course it’s true!”

Why YES Ladies, Gentlemen, and Faithful Blog Followers!

Meyer Ranch was homesteaded in 1870!  In 1883 Louis and Mary Ramboz (doesn’t that sound circus-like?!) purchased Meyer Ranch, built their home, and called it The Midway House!  The ranch had several owners until 1950 when it was purchased and remodeled by Norman and Ethel Meyer!  Look closely and here you see an amazing picture of the house as it stands today!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

But to answer your question Ladies, Gentlemen, and Faithful Blog Followers — it was confirmed in 1955 when a board was found during the remodeling!  On the board was inscribed “Circus Town 1889!”  PROOF that Phineas Barnum’s circus animals roamed the foothills of Colorado!

"I think I see an elephant!"

“I think I see an elephant!”

"Do you think these poles will be strong enough to handle the elephants?"

“Do you think these poles will be strong enough to handle the elephants?”

And now everyone — we will carefully follow the M.O.M.s on their dangerous hike through Meyer Ranch Park as they search for clues — ANY CLUE — that the circus animals wintered in our beautiful foothills!

The trails were muddy!  The trails were icy!  The M.O.M.s were determined to hike all four loops of Meyer Ranch Park!  They almost did it!  Had it not been for other hikers urging them to turn around, they would have hiked to Old Ski Run — the highest and most spectacular point in the Park!

The M.O.M.s were hungry!  The M.O.M.s needed their chocolates!  They were tired of navigating through the mud and ice!

Meyer2

Map Master and Wandering Ju BEGGED Bear Scout to let them sit at the old picnic table and consume their lunch!

"Pleeease"

“Pleeease”

Bear Scout would have none of it!!  She pulled them from the picnic table (’cause M.O.M.s don’t eat lunch on picnic tables!) foraged through the shady, thick aspen groves and found a downed tree facing the sun!  The M.O.M.s cautiously enjoyed their “Lunch On A Log” all the while keeping a keen eye out for animal footprints!

Boing!  Boing!

Boing! Boing!

Traveling once again through dangerous mud and ice, the M.O.M.s were certain that decades of harsh winters and wind had successfully destroyed the footprints of the lions, and the tigers, and the bears!  (No — this is not the Wizard of Oz!)  This is the CIRCUS!!!!!

"Look Thaddeus -- is Bear Scout performing the tightrope on all that ice?!"

“Look Thaddeus — is Bear Scout performing the tightrope on all that ice?!”

Swoosh!

Swoosh!

And then Ladies, Gentlemen, and Faithful Blog Followers — Bear Scout eyed something shiny in the bark of a tree!  With all her strength she miraculously managed to pull it out!  It was an old daguerreotype (look it up) of none other than Annie Jones (1860-1902)!!  Annie was the American bearded woman that toured with the P. T. Barnum circus in the late 1800′s!!!

With all that hair -- Bear Scout just thinks Annie was in menopause!

With all that hair — Bear Scout just thinks Annie was in menopause!

Nonetheless!  THAT Ladies, Gentlemen, and Faithful Blog Followers is FINAL PROOF once again that the P. T. Barnum circus was, indeed — at some point in time! — an occupant of Meyer Ranch Park!

But Hush!  What’s that we hear?!?!?

“Grab your seats — the Circus is about to begin!”

Clown

M.O.M.s SPEEDY HIKE

There was a girl with little blonde curls,
That joined the M.O.M.s on their hike.

Rox1

She was Map Master’s friend and fit as a fiddle,
‘Cause she swims and hikes and bikes.

We started a trail at Roxborough State Park,
Even though signs said our trail was closed.

Rox2

We were happy to see that the signs were all wrong,
So we gathered the M.O.M.s for a pose.

Rox3

The girl with the curls said she had no moniker.
Something the M.O.M.s could not neglect.

She looks lost without a moniker!

Doesn’t she look lost without a moniker?

As she sped up the trail while we tried to catch up,
The M.O.M.s thought “Speedy” seemed perfect!

Or maybe "Roadrunner?"

Or maybe “Roadrunner?”  Beep Beep

 

Lunchtime was nearing as Speedy reached the top,
And the M.O.M.s perfect lunch spot was nailed.

"I found my throne," said Map Master!

“I found my throne,” said Map Master!

We dined on our lunches; munched all our chocolates,
And headed back down the trail.

Rox5

Wandering Ju is ready to go!

Wandering Ju is ready to go!

Although Roxborough was muddy, (like — REALLY REALLY muddy!)
We thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Rox9

 

We’ll go back to Roxborough for another hike,
Because its’ beauty just blew us away!

Rox8

ELLEN DeBEAR TAKES A HIKE!

It’s Ellen DeBear here.  I’ve been hibernating quite long enough in Bear Scout’s dark, warm closet.  When I awoke (refreshed and very hungry), I checked in with her.  Man — is she boring!  She talked about working a lot and lacking sleep.  And then there are the Italian classes she’s taking on Wednesday nights (she thinks she’ll be speaking fluently in 8 weeks — ha!).  And finally she was talking about her volunteer work with FRIENDS (an adult day care for the developmentally disabled) and, apparently she’s also on their Steering Committee.  She said she was “tired.”  (Listening to her drone on, made me want to go back into hibernation.)

Yeah -- something like this!

Yeah — something like this!

It was a beautiful day Friday, March 14th, but Bear Scout wanted to sleep instead of hike.  I called Map Master, but she was in the mountains skiing (good for you Map Master!).  I called Wandering Ju, but she was in Florida sightseeing and thrift store shopping (and you didn’t let me know?).

Tired of waiting for Bear Scout to leave her warm, cozy bed, I hitch-hiked into Boulder to hike Chatauqua.  After hiking up the first steep trail, I sat in the sun for just a moment to catch my breath and fell fast asleep.

Zzzzzzz

Zzzzzzz

Right before hibernating last fall, I overheard Bear Scout talking about the terrible September 11th flooding in Colorado.  I took the trail to Royal Arch (one of my favorite spots) hoping it had reopened.

It was not open!

It was not open!

I was stopped in my (paw) tracks …..

Ellen2

I hiked a lot of different trails around Chatauqua, but was continually stopped by closure signs.  On the trail to Gregory Canyon I found the perfect lunch spot.  I took all Bear Scout’s chocolates before I left the house.   (Serves her right for sleeping in!)

Ah -- chocolate!

Ah — chocolate!

You might remember all the celebrities at the Oscars posing for a now-famous star-studded selfie with Ellen DeGeneres (my namesake).  That selfie has been the most re-tweeted photo ever!  That gave me an idea …..

Ellen DeBear selfie!  Tweet that!

Ellen DeBear selfie! Tweet that!

It was a great hike and a beautiful day to be outside.  There were many people on the trails, and everyone was very friendly once they determined I wasn’t going to eat them.

Don't worry everyone -- I'm full of chocolate!

Don’t worry everyone — I’m full of chocolate!

I hitch-hiked back to Broomfield and climbed back into Bear Scout’s warm, dark closet for a quick nap before dinner.  Ahhhh ….. maybe Bear Scout has the right idea after all!

HOW ‘BOUT SOME CHEESE WITH THAT WHINE

Friday, February 21st Wandering Ju and I decided to snowshoe instead of hike.  Map Master was in Cat Island sending us photos like this …..

"Back in Paradise," she says.

“Back in Paradise,” she says.

Here in the Colorado foothills we have our own Paradise — inches and inches of fresh snow.  We’re going snowshoeing!

When you don’t snowshoe on a regular basis (like Wandering Ju does), you forget the “hassles” involved in snowshoeing.  No problem.  I had everything lined up the night before:

Snowshoes — Check
Poles — Check (but I did forget to put my snow baskets on)
Gloves — Check
Ear muffs — Check
Parka — Check
Boots — Check
Snow pants — Check
Gaiters — Check
Thermals — Check
Lunch — Check
Water — Check
Chocolates — Check, check and check

Now, I’m not really much of a whiner.  My friends will attest to that!  So I’m not sure what happened this Friday morning.  Wandering Ju and I did make a wrong turn adding an additional 20 minutes to our drive.  No problem.  We just turned around, questioned the convenience store gal, and found the trailhead.  Life is good again!

But here’s where the whining begins.  For whatever reason — I was having a heck of a time with just about everything!

1.  I couldn’t remember how to Velcro my gaiters (whine), so decided I would be OK without them because the snow wasn’t that deep (mistake).

2.  I put on my jacket and backpack, and then decided to slip into my snowshoes.  As I bent over, everything in my backpack came flying forward (whine).  So I removed my backpack.

3.  For the life of me I could NOT get my bindings fitted (whine).  Wandering Ju (who was ready to go and waiting for me) helped.

4.  I had to find my gloves (whine), my poles (whine), and my ear muffs (whine).

5.  Then I remembered my backpack (whine), so I removed my gloves (whine), slipped on my backpack, and put my gloves back on (whine).

I was finally ready to go.  We snowshoed about 20 feet and realized that I did, indeed, need my gaiters (whine).  So we headed back to the car to retrieve them (whine).  I had to remove my gloves (whine) and backpack (whine) again, and figure out how the heck to Velcro my gaiters (whine) without removing my snowshoes (whine).

While I figured out the gaiter problem, Wandering Ju ate her lunch, updated her Facebook profile, cleaned out the backseat of her car, checked her emails, and made a few online banking transactions.  And that was just while I got the FIRST gaiter on (whine).

I was ready to snowshoe — AGAIN!  My #1 favorite past time is ….. anybody? ….. Hiking!  My second favorite past time WAS snowshoeing.  But now snowshoeing had moved from my #2 favorite past time to #19 — right behind getting a root canal (whine).

However — about five minutes into the trail, all that whining was history.

Whining

The beauty of the rolling terrain in the aspen, pine, fir and spruce trees …..

Magnolia1

….. immediately brought snowshoeing back to my #2 fav.

Magnolia2

Wandering Ju was happy to see my whining had stopped.

Thank goodness!

Thank goodness!

We never did find the marked trail.  Had it not been for other snowshoe tracks, there would have been no way of knowing where the trail was.  According to my map, we were supposed to start at trail 925A, meet at the intersection of 952B and 925F, then meet with 342A and possibly 926A, and follow 925F back to the trailhead.

I was getting hungry (no whining, honest), so I found a log on which to dine.

I look so happy -- It's hard to believe all that whining!

I look so happy — was I really whining that much?

YES!

YES!

We turned around and headed back the way we came.  We arrived at the trailhead and wouldn’t you know it — right there in front of us — the 925A trail marker!!!!  I think it was seriously about 10 feet from the car!!  We both snowshoed right past it.  (I was probably whining!)

Could it be marked any better?

Could it be marked any better?

But that’s OK!  We still had a great hike and a great day!  We were fine with the trail we hiked because …..

..... nobody likes a whiner!!!

….. nobody likes a whiner!!!

HEY! COULD THE M.O.M.s GET A BREAK HERE!

The M.O.M.s are getting feisty.  The past 4 weeks we’ve been “stuck” on local low-land trails.  The foothills have been beckoning us to brave the one digit temps, several feet of snow, and icy trails, and come for a visit.

snow fun

"I can't find my bone, so this icicle will have to do."

“I can’t find my bone, so this icicle will have to do.”

Tell me there’s not ONE of you out there that doesn’t want this puppy!

I guess we really shouldn’t complain.  We could live in Georgia.  Or Washington, DC.  Or Boston.  Or anywhere in the northeast!

Snow fun2

C’mon we live in Colorado!  “God’s Country!”  But Colorado kind of looks like this now.

Sunfun3

With lots of signs like this.

To a M.O.M., this means "Keep Going"

To a M.O.M., this means “Keep Going”

Snowfun8

"Don't pay any attention to this sign -- we're hiking through."

“Don’t pay any attention to this sign — we’re hiking through.”

And roads that look like this.

Snowfun5

Our hike in Louisville, Colorado

Our hike in Louisville, Colorado

With trails that look like this.

Snowfun11

This was supposed to look like we were diving into the trail.  But it looks more like a bad version of the Texas Two-Step

This was supposed to look like we were diving into the trail. But it looks more like a bad version of the Texas Two-Step.

All of which makes us M.O.M.s ………. Feisty!  How many sunny days are we supposed to have anyway?  Good question!  So I Googled some fun facts about Colorado.  Now you might be thinking, “Hey Bear Scout — what does this have to do with hiking?”  Well — nothing!  But what else am I supposed to blog about?  Trust me!  The local low-land trails are just not that exciting!

I actually learned some things I just never knew (or had forgotten).  Here are 10 fun facts about Colorado.

1.  Colorado has 300 days of sunshine!  (And lately, none of them have been on Fridays — the day the M.O.M.s hike.)

2.  Colorado turned down the opportunity to host the 1976 Winter Olympics because of the cost, pollution, and population boom it would have on the State of Colorado.  (Colorado is the only state in history to turn down the Olympics!)  Who was our Mayor then?  He should have been fired!  (BTW — it was Mayor Bill McNichols, Jr.)  However, I guess this would have been quite costly.  But — WOW — hosting the Bicentennial Winter Olympics!  Cool!  And guess what — we got the pollution anyway.

3.  Colorado contains 75% of the land area in the U.S. with an altitude over 10,000 feet.  (I’m sure the M.O.M.s already knew this!)

4.  Dove Creek, Colorado is the “Pinto Bean” capital of the world.  Also — more Beano is sold in Dove Creek than any other city in the U.S.  (I made that up!)

"Beans, beans, the magical fruit ....."

“Beans, beans, the magical fruit …..”

5.  Rocky Ford has been dubbed the “melon capital of the world.”  Radioactive melons anyone?!?!?  Oh wait — that’s Rocky Flats!  Never mind!

6.  Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state.

Salute!

Salute!

7.  In 1935 Louis Ballast (from Denver) invented the cheeseburger and trademarked the name!

THANK YOU LOUIS!

THANK YOU LOUIS!

8.  The oldest wooden merry-go-round in the United States is in Burlington, Colorado and dates back to 1905.

This is the original paint!

This is the original paint!

9.  John Henry “Doc” Holliday began his career as a dentist, and died from tuberculosis on November 8, 1887 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado as a legendary gunfighter.  (I’m sure he would have stayed in dentistry had he known that just getting your teeth cleaned requires a small loan.)

Ah -- the perfect husband!

Ah — the perfect husband!

And last but not least,

10.  On September 10, 1945, in Fruita, Colorado, Lloyd Olsen cut off his chicken’s head in anticipation of a chicken dinner.  The chicken (named Mike) lived another 18 months without a head.  (Yes!  18 MONTHS!)  (Personally, I think  it’s wrong to name your chicken if your intention is to eat him later!)  So now Fruita has an annual celebration called …… wait for it …… “Mike the Headless Chicken Day.”  I am not kidding!  The theme this year is “Country-fied Mike.”

"I'm glad I don't have eyes 'cause that is one ugly tie Lloyd."

“I’m glad I don’t have eyes ’cause that is one ugly tie Lloyd.”

Q: Have you lost your mind?  A: No -- only my head!

Q: Have you lost your mind?                                     A: No — only my head!

In case you’re interested, the festival this year is May 16 and 17.  I am going to encourage the M.O.M.s to hike Fruita on Friday, May 16th, purchase a Mike the Headless Chicken t-shirt, and attend the festival.  Check it out at:  http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org.   Come join us!

There you go.  Top 10 Colorado M.O.M. facts.

We need to get back into the mountains!

M.O.M.s FIND THE 54th 14-er

According to all records, there are 53 14-er’s in Colorado.  On January 17th Map Master and I found the unknown 54th 14-er.

“How hard could North Table Mountain be.” we said, “It’s on the east side of Highway 93.  This will be a nice 5 mile hike.”  (By the way — it turned into a 7.38 mile hike.  We have no idea how that happened.)

The first 20 feet were delightful.  But from there it was all up hill.  Literally!  Up and up and up.  “Are we climbing a 14-er Map Master?” I huffed.  “I don’t think so Bear Scout,” she puffed.

"Look!  We're even with the mountain range!"

“Look! We’re even with the mountain range!”

About two hours later (slight exaggeration), we finally made it to level ground.

North2

We followed the North Table Mountain loop all over the place and somehow ended up on the east side of the mountain.

North4

"I can touch downtown Denver!"

“I can touch downtown Denver!”

Some of the trails were closed allowing raptors to successfully Fledge.

Fledge?  Hmmmm — I need to look that up.  (Sorry American Birding Association — I’m not a bird-watchin’, bird-lovin’ kind of gal.)

"But I'm so cute!"

“But I’m so cute!”

So I read up on Fledging.

“Fledging is an event rather than an ongoing process.  It is the time when birds make their first flight.”  Aww.  How sweet.

“After Fledging, eaglets return to the nest to be fed by adults, to roost at night, and to loaf.”  OMG — Fledging is bird-term for what our teenagers do (or did)!!  They weren’t LAZY! — they were FLEDGING!!

I read on.  “Their association with the nest will begin to wane as they learn to forage on their own.”  Whew!  That’s a good sign.

poster

“The length of the transition to independence varies considerably between individuals.”  (They really did use the word individuals.)  “It could be a couple of weeks to several months.”  I wondered if that depended on how Mama Bird prepared the worms.

So, if your teenager (who is now in his/her 20′s or 30′s) is still at home in the basement guest bedroom, drinking your wine, making fun of your texting skills, raiding your frig and leaving empty milk cartons on the counter — THEY NEVER FLEDGED!

May I recommend the 54th 14-er ……………..

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MOTHER?

January 3rd, 2014:

Have you seen this Mother?

"It's not nice to diss Mother Nature!  Take THAT M.O.M.s!"

“Hi Ya’ll!”

The M.O.M.s have put a reward on her pretty, little orange head!!

You may not want to make Mother Nature mad, but you SURE don't want to make a M.O.M. mad!

You may not want to make Mother Nature mad, but you SURE don’t want to make a M.O.M. mad!

For our first hike of 2014, we drove the recently opened roads to Lyons, Colorado.  Most of the town was destroyed in September 2013 by the 1,000 year flood.  Thanks to who?  MOTHER NATURE!

"It's not nice to diss Mother Nature!  Take THAT M.O.M.s!"

“Well — that’s just not nice Bear Scout!”

The Lyon’s cleanup is 4 months along, but the devastation was evidenced everywhere as we traveled to our hiking destination of Picture Rock trail.  As a result of trail erosion, we maneuvered around a lot of mud.  Thanks to who?  MOTHER NATURE!

"It's not nice to diss Mother Nature!  Take THAT M.O.M.s!"

“Well Bear Scout, many people actually take mud baths for softer more youthful skin.  Why don’t you fall face first in my mud and see if it works!”

Grrrrr …………

Anyway — we had a nice, sunny (yet somewhat muddy) day for our first hike of 2014.  We’ve hiked through the Picture Rock quarry many times, always wondering what the heck it was.  Others must have asked the same question because Boulder County finally installed a placard explaining the quarry.  In the late 1800′s these stones made their way into buildings in Denver and the University of Colorado Boulder.  Neat!

PictureRock1

This old car has obviously been there awhile, but each time we come upon it, it has more corrosion and less parts.

Wandering Ju and Bear Scout try to push it down the hill.

Wandering Ju and Bear Scout try to push it down the hill.

Three years ago .....

Three years ago …..

..... and today!

….. and today!

We had lunch on a rock, consumed our chocolates, and started our 2014 hiking year as only a M.O.M. can!  Upright and mud-free!

January 10th, 2014:

Winds were whipping at 80 mph.  Thanks to who?  MOTHER NATURE!

"It's not nice to diss Mother Nature!  Take THAT M.O.M.s!"

“OH — NOT THIS AGAIN!!!!”

We drove to several trailheads, but each one was windier than the last.  At one trailhead we almost lost Wandering Ju — AND one of the car doors on her brand new Toyota Venza!

Wind1

The skies were blue, but the wind was fierce.  With our expectations shattered, and reality setting in …..

Wind2

….. we headed back to Broomfield.

"Hey -- Map Master! -- Look! -- a Wyoming Wind Sock!"

“Hey — Map Master! — Look! — a Wyoming Wind Sock!”

"Ha!  A Wyoming wind sock!  That cracks me up!"

“Ha! A Wyoming wind sock! That cracks me up!”

Did the M.O.M.s retreat back to their homes for hot chocolate and Schnapps?  Did they succumb to Mother Nature’s winds?

"Why -- yes -- they did!"

“Why — yes — they did!”

Why — No — We Did Not!!!  We hit the 6.5 miles of Broomfield Open Space trails, donned our hats and hoodies, and braved the biting cold and fiercely savage raw winds as they ripped through us like icicles.  We could have flown over the trail if we’d had a big bed sheet!  We have no pictures because — well — Cold!  Savage Winds!  But it was similar to the picture below.  Without the pavement.  And the crosswalk.  And Macy’s in the background.

Wind4

Next time we’re faced with 80 mph winds, I hope I have a bed sheet handy!

Wheeeee

Wheeeee

SO LONG MOTHER NATURE!

I was hoping to blog about our last two hikes of 2013 before we rang in 2014.  However, according to my calendar, newspaper, computer, iPad, cell phone, laptop, microwave, Comcast menu channel, and DVD player — I missed it.

300 Miles or Bust (December 13, 2013)

In 2012 we hiked a grand total of 300.53 miles.

We celebrated last year with a 3-0-0.  You see that, right?

We celebrated last year with a 3-0-0. You see that, right?

We were quite confident that in 2013 we could hike over 400 miles.  We started out strong!  But that bad Mother Nature (you remember her?) …..

"Well! -- hello again!"

“Well! — hello again!”

….. always chose Fridays for early afternoon showers cutting our hikes short.  And if we didn’t end our hikes before the rain — well — you remember this, right?

Laura

And this?

NancyJudy

And then in September Mother Nature gave us a 1,000 year flood destroying nearly all our Boulder County trails.

RoyalArch

That’s right — Mother Nature rained on our 2013 parade.  Big Time!  We were beginning to think we wouldn’t even hit 300 miles this year.  On December 13th, however, we were so close that we decided to go for it.  It was about 20 degrees outside (brrrrr) — but sunny (closer to 25 degrees, maybe?).  The prior days’ snow and ice prevented us from hiking the mountains, so with the foothills always in view; we hiked the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve.

We hit our 300 mile mark at the most famous Broomfield flood spot.  This is where the road suddenly gave way and three cars plunged into the creek.

DillonRoad

The road was closed!

300 closed

Time for a Selfie!

300 selfie

Why was the road closed, you ask?

300 forward

300 right (1)

300 left

Did that stop the M.O.M.s, you ask?  Heck no!  We fearlessly ventured right past the Road Closed sign to the edge of the road and celebrated our 300th mile (take THAT Mother Nature).

"Awwwwwwww ......"

“Awwwwwwww ……”

"Where did Wandering Ju go?"

“Where did Wandering Ju go?”

"I'll dive in and find her."

“I’ll dive in and find her.”

M.O.M.s rule — Mother Nature drools!

The Lost Trail (December 27, 2013)

It was just me and Wandering Ju hiking the recently opened Eben Fine/Flagstaff Trail.  (Map Master was nursing Animal back to health!)  It was a beautiful day — 59 degrees and sunny!  I was happy that our last hike of 2013 enabled us to enjoy a leisurely lunch, in the sun, on a flat rock!  What a great way to end the year (take THAT Mother Nature!).

We saw devastation from the flood everywhere!  Mud slides.  Erosion.  Flattened grasslands.  But one thing we didn’t see?  The trail.  Where did it go?  We’ve hiked this trail numerous times!

Come out, come out -- wherever you are!

Come out, come out — wherever you are!

We caught glimpses of it here and there, but it was difficult to follow the Flagstaff Trail south into the foothills.  We decided to be safe, turn around, and take the Flagstaff Trail to the north.

"It's not nice to diss Mother Nature!  Take THAT M.O.M.s!"

“It’s not nice to diss Mother Nature! Take THAT M.O.M.s!”

Yeah — whatever!

Sunrise Amphitheater is at the end of the Flagstaff Trail.  From the stage of the amphitheater you have amazing views of Boulder and surrounding areas.

Last101

Did someone say — Stage?

"Give me life -- or give me death!  But please give me Chocolate!"

“Give me life — or give me death! But please give me Chocolate!”

"The hills are alive -- with the Sound of Music!"

“The hills are alive — with the Sound of Music!”

Total for 2013 — a miraculous 308.78 miles!  No thanks to Mother Nature!