On Friday, July 24th, Map Master, Mountain Mary and I hiked the Cub Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was the M.O.M.s first 2015 RMNP hike.  If you’ll remember — there was a challenge the beginning of this year to hike 100 miles to celebrate RMNP’s 100th birthday.



Minor (or maybe not-so-minor) setbacks have prevented us from achieving our goal.  Nonetheless, we can still hike RMNP as much as possible until the snow drives us away.


Between the three of us, we snapped a whole bunch of pictures.

I am going to turn the Blog over to our cell phone cameras and let them show you our hike — in pictures!

The trailhead was easy to find:


The trails were dry and rocky:










The meadows were lush:



The flowers majestic:


Notice the HUGE bee!

Notice the HUGE bee!





A tree’s message for “Hope”:


Mountain Mary looking at ….. something:


Bear Scout and Map Master with RMNP’s “Check-off List”:


Mountain Mary conquering the Park;

"Oh Yeah!"

“Oh Yeah!”



A RMNP selfie:


And as the M.O.M.’s were leaving Rocky Mountain National Park through Estes Park, what do we pass but Mary’s Lake Road.

"See ya later Mountain Mary"

“See ya later Mountain Mary”



Geocaching:  A real world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.  Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden in that location.  There are millions of caches around the world!

My niece, Courtney, wanted to go back to Mt. Falcon Park and hike the trails we missed the prior Friday.  On Friday, July 10th, Map Master, Wandering Ju, Courtney and I drove back to Mt. Falcon Park to fulfill Courtney’s wish.

It was another beautiful day.



The wildflowers were breathtaking.



Hey!  That's no flower!

Hey! That’s no flower!

The trails were dry.


The air smelled crisp and clean and (unlike last week) we didn’t have my brother mumbling about sending prisoners to hike with me as an enticement to “go straight.”

After a few pics at the Eagle’s Eye fire lookout shelter …..



….. we decided to break out lunch.

At some point, while we were dining, we all Spied this …. thing …. in between the rocks.  I spy …. foil?  But Map Master and Wandering Ju thought it was something else.  Unaware of what we would find, we sent Courtney over to investigate (with Wandering Ju’s walking pole — we’re not heartless M.O.M.s).

it was a Tupperware container filled with fun trinkets and a logbook.


Map Master and Wandering Ju knew exactly what it was.  It was a Geocache.  It was started by someone on June 29th, 2013.


Wow!  Imagine that!  It’s been here over two years and we were the fourth ones to find it.  We signed the journal.

I, of course, had to plug the M.O.M.s blog!

I, of course, had to plug the M.O.M.s blog!



A Brief History of Geocaching:  May 5, 2000 marks the first documented mention of a GPS-enabled game of hide-and-seek.  Within a week, there was a website dedicated to geocaching.  On September 2, 2000, Jeremy Irish registered the domain name http://www.geocaching.com and since then, numerous geocaching sites have popped up on the Web.

Today, caches are hidden all over the world by fellow geocachers who put together a hodgepodge of trinkets, logbooks, and pen or pencil.  These are then stored in a weather proof box and hidden.


Courtney was just beside herself.  She already loves Colorado.  She is becoming passionate about hiking (she takes after her Aunt).  And now she has discovered Geocaching.  In fact, she has already been Geocaching around Broomfield.

It was time to put the cache back into hiding.  We took a trinket and left my bear whistle in its’ place.


In all the eight years the M.O.M.’s have been hiking, we’ve never Spied a Geocache.  Wow!  That’s all we could talk about for the rest of the hike.

It might be hard now to hike without a GPS-enabled device.

“Hey — I Spy ………………………… ”

"A Bear Scout"

“A Bear Scout”


Side Note:  As you know — if you hike with the M.O.M.’s you will have a Moniker by the end of the first hike.  Courtney needed a Moniker.  If you’ve ever watched Storage Wars — you know Mary.  Mary is a feisty little thing buying storage units in search of valuable treasures.  Courtney reminds me of her.  In fact, we’ve watched Storage Wars together and had some good laughs.  And so Courtney’s Moniker is born:  Mountain Mary!

See the resemblance?

The real Mary

The real Mary

Mountain Mary

Mountain Mary


First of all, Faithful Blog Followers, the answer is:  Yes!  it’s been awhile since our last blog entry, but fear not — the M.O.M.s are still out there hiking.

The first part of 2015 confined us pretty much to trails around town.  From April through May, Bear Scout was recovering from major surgery — as in — they ripped out all my female parts.  (Why didn’t this happen before I went through menopause?!?!?)

As Bear Scout continues to gain strength, our mountain hikes are once again on the calendar every Friday.  Yay!

On Friday, July 3rd, Bear Scout’s family was in town.  (Map Master and Wandering Ju were in different places celebrating the 4th.)

“How about a hike?” says Bear Scout (anxious to get into the mountains).

Everyone was on board — her brother, his wife, her nephew and his friend, and her niece and her boyfriend.

We hiked to the castle ruins and the summer home of the Presidents at Mt. Falcon Park.

It started out pretty good.

The scenery was beautiful!

The scenery was beautiful!


We made it to the castle ruins and everyone was impressed.


There was a “time-out” to take pictures on the log bench.

My nephew and his friend.

My nephew and his friend.

My niece and nephew.

My niece and nephew.

Me strangling my brother -- HEY -- how did that get in there?

Me strangling my brother — HEY — how did that get in there?

It was time to stop for the FAMOUS M.O.M.’s lunch.  Bear Scout urged them to continue “just a little bit more” so we could eat lunch at the President’s summer house.

"Come on Chuckie -- you can make it!"

“Come on Chuckie — you can make it!”

"It's right around the corner Shelly.  I promise."

“It’s right around the corner Shelly. I promise.”

And make it we did.  A delicious M.O.M. lunch (complete with chocolates) was consumed at the ruins of the President’s summer house.

You need to know that my brother and I were somewhat — what’s the word? — COMPETITIVE — during our childhood.  I mentioned that I had a picture taken of me high on the rocks near the President’s summer house.  Not to be outdone by his sister — my brother climbed the marble sign (as my sister-in-law was giving him an intensive tongue-lashing) and insisted on a picture.

"Quick -- take the picture before Shelly sees me."

“Quick — take the picture before Shelly sees me.”

"What did Shelly just call me?"

“What did Shelly just call me?”

Note:  No one was injured in the taking of these pictures.

We headed back to the car.  But first — how about a detour up Two Dog Trail?  Oh — and how about another detour up Old Ute Trail?  Map Master and Wandering Ju are used to my madness.  My family is not.

"That's it -- we're going back to the car!"

“That’s it — we’re going back to the car!”

Reluctantly, I agreed to head back as my brother was mumbling something about turning prisoners around by telling them if they didn’t straighten up, they would have to hike every Friday with his sister.  Imagine that!

I managed to drag everyone 5.03 miles around Mt. Falcon Park, and even though there was some grumbling and mumbling towards the end (and I think my brother called me a word I’ve never heard before), everyone had a great time.

Well — almost everyone!

"Please don't make me hike with Bear Scout."

“Please don’t make me hike with Bear Scout.”


The first weekend in February found two of the three M.O.M.s showshoeing on Tim and Jean Hynek’s property at Grand Lake.  They have a beautiful home on 37 acres — pretty darn close to Heaven!

Heaven.  Right?

Heaven. Right?

That Saturday morning there was plenty to snowshoe and explore right there on the Hynek property.

"Animal!  You're headed the wrong way."

“Animal! You’re headed the wrong way.”


Jeans says, "Katherine's gazebo will be Right Here!"

Jeans says, “Katherine’s gazebo will be Right Here!”

Bear Scout agrees -- it will be a perfect spot!

Bear Scout agrees — it will be a perfect spot!

We gave the initial trail breaking task to Tim.  What a sport!  I lasted about 5 minutes.  That is HARD work breaking trail. Thank you Tim!

"Ha!  Bear Scout didn't last long, did she?"

“Ha! Bear Scout didn’t last long, did she?”

Looking back at the house.

         Looking back at the house.

Can you believe we are still on the Hynek property?





After snowshoeing we went into town for Grand Lake Winter Carnival Days.  Human bowling.  The parade.  The bed sled contest.  And shopping!


The firemen won!

The firemen won!




“I think I forgot my password.  Can I check the Cloud?”




Whether it’s bread — or the Sourdough Trail near Nederland — I love sourdough!

Wandering Ju and I headed to the Sourdough Trail not knowing if we would be hiking, snowshoeing, or ice skating.  We packed it all:  Yaktraks.  Poles.  Gaiters.  Snowshoes.  Heavy gloves.  Ear protection.  Skates (just kidding).  Water.  Chocolates.  And ironically, we both had sandwiches on sourdough bread.  I love sourdough!


As it turns out, the trail was snow-packed and required only our Yaktraks.


Thanks to the little blue diamonds, we stayed on the trail.


The Sourdough Trail is a popular biking trail.  Tracks left by “Fat Bikes” make for a very interesting pattern on the trail.  We encountered two very nice Fat Bikers who agreed to have their picture taken for the blog.


Unfortunately the picture does not give you the correct perspective on how HUGE these tires are.  I want a Fat Tire.

No -- not the beer!

No — not the beer!

I want a Fat Tire.

No -- not the bike!

No — not the bike!

I just want the tire.

Never gonna happen Bear Scout!

Never gonna happen Bear Scout!

Anyway — it was time for our sourdough lunches.

"How about right here?"

“How about right here?”

We hiked with our Yaktraks — no skating today …..


….. just a great day for a super hike on the Sourdough Trail.




Arrivederci 2014

The M.O.M.s last hike of 2014 consisted of just one M.O.M.  Me.  The hike was to the Royal Arch in Chatauqua.  The Royal Arch had just recently opened since the September 2013 flood (thank you volunteers).  It was a cool day with no mud and sunny skies.  Ahhhhh

Anyone who has hiked to the Royal Arch knows it is relatively easy until you get to the “stairs.”  Did the volunteers get rid of the stairs and put in a tram?  Maybe?  Or at least a handrail?  Maybe?



Going up the stairs wasn’t too bad, but coming down (as several hikers kept warning me) — it was treacherous!  Why, you ask?  Narrow path.  Rock wall on one side.  Cliff on the other side.  Large patches of ice on (what I think) were the narrowest parts of the trail.

As careful as I was, I fell twice.  Fortunately, Thanksgiving dinner (consumption of about 14,633 calories) gave me a (somewhat) softer fall.  (If you know what I mean.)

At one point, as I placed my left foot on some ice, I literally “snowboarded” down a portion of the narrow path.  Without the snowboard.  And without the snow.  I was “snowboarding” on ice!  Wheeeeeee

Now you tell me!

Now you tell me!

I really wish I had a video of that — I’ll bet it looked pretty awesome!  And I didn’t fall!

And with this hike — the M.O.M.s carve another year of adventurous hiking into their belts.  It’s OK to hike alone if you have to, but …..


Benvenuto 2015

For the first hike of 2015, Wandering Ju and I wanted to snowshoe, but high temps in the foothills reached only about 5 degrees (with the wind chill factor).  We decided to snowshoe around the Commons in Broomfield instead.  That turned out to be “just right” for our first hike of 2015.

Oh — where was Map Master, you ask?  She was carrying on a family tradition by winning the conch blowing contest in BVI.

Shorts?!?!?  Really?!?!?

Shorts?!?!? Really?!?!?

It turned out to be a beautiful day.


Yay!  Let's start 2015!

Yay! Let’s start 2015!

We even discovered some art in the Commons.  (Who wears a tutu with her bikini?)

Map Master -- is that you?!?!?

Map Master — is that you?!?!?


Thanks for following us the past 3 years.  In December, ColoradoHiking.org began following us and re-blogged us on the Colorado Outdoor Adventures website.  Woo Hoo!  Maybe this is the year I make it on the Ellen DeGeneres show!


In the meantime — the M.O.M.s were off and snowshoeing to begin our 2015 hiking adventures!  Come join us!



Lucky Hike #1
Friday, December 5th
Flagg Park/Coal Creek Trail

We started our hike at the new Flagg Park trailhead and headed west.  We had to take a detour at the Coal Creek trailhead due to the September 2013 flood.  It was still not open.


On our way back we were ready to take the detour when the backhoe operator told us to take the trail.  They had opened it just minutes (maybe even seconds) before we got there.  We were the first hikers on the trail.  You would have to understand how Map Master and I think!  First on the trail — Gosh we’re lucky!

Map Master places her footprints

Map Master places her footprints

And Bear Scout follows

And Bear Scout follows

Lucky Hike #2
Friday, December 12th
Rabbit Mountain

This Friday, we hiked Rabbit Mountain near Lyons, Colorado.

We had great views, and interesting geologic formations.

Doesn't that rock formation look like a castle?

Doesn’t that rock formation look like a castle?

"Whoa -- that's deep!"

“Whoa — that’s deep!”

With huge park benches.

"I feel like Edith Ann!"

“I feel like Edith Ann!”

"And that's the truth!"

“And that’s the truth!”

The sign said to stay on the trail …..


….. but Ranger Rick (not his real name) said the side trail was open for two more days — so go off trail and enjoy ourselves.

"Thanks Ranger Rick!"

“Thanks Ranger Rick!”

Look how happy this made Map Master.


We crossed paths with a beautiful black Missouri Fox Trotting horse.  Turns out “Cody” and his rider (John Stransky) are with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department Mounted Patrol.  What are the odds?!?!?

Map Master and I each received a Cody "business" card!  Cool!

Map Master and I each received a Cody “business” card! Cool!

All reports said Rabbit Mountain was a 2 mile hike.  By hiking all the trails, and going off trail to spectacular views …..


….. we were able to hike 7.21 miles.

Gosh we’re lucky!


It had been a gloomy week, but the sun was out on Friday, November 28th so Wandering Ju and I decided to stay off the icy trails in the mountains, and walk around the flatlands.

“How about a dog park?” said Wandering Ju.  “We’ll take Callooh with us.”

Callooh is Wandering Ju’s grandpuppy — an Alaskan Husky — straight from the state of Alaska.  Callooh (and Wandering Ju’s daughter) were visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wandering Ju and Callooh

Wandering Ju and Callooh

Heck!  Why not?  The M.O.M.s have never hiked with a dog before.  We headed to the dog park in Westminster.

Callooh was VERY excited.  She knew exactly where we were going and as soon as we arrived at the dog park — she was off and running.  And running.  And running.  She always came back when we called her.  Or maybe she came back because Wandering Ju had her treats.

It was rather fun “hiking” with a dog.  (I could get used to this.)  Dog park people are very friendly.  In fact, we met a biker who also had a purebred Alaskan Husky.  What are the odds?

Alaskan Husky’s can average more than 19 miles per hour.  Callooh can do 25.  Well — I’m guessing — but — man! — she is FAST!  So fast — it was hard to get a picture of her, but here are a few.

She's checking out -- something!

She’s checking out — something!

Water really isn't Callooh's thing!

Water really isn’t Callooh’s thing!

Callooh found the only little spot of snow on the entire trail and took a snow bath.

Snow!  Now that's better!

Snow! Now that’s better!

We hiked a total of 4.29 miles.  If Callooh were wearing a pedometer, I’m sure she would have clocked in five times that much.

Wandering Ju and I thought for sure we had worn her down.  Nope!  After a little water, and about a 10 second rest in the backseat, she was up and ready for more!  I wonder if we M.O.M.s could bottle some of that energy?


I was hiking on my own this Halloween Friday.  Map Master was skiing (most likely on rocks), and Wandering Ju had a terrible cold.


When I woke up, I wasn’t motivated to hike by myself until I thought — Hey!  I’ll hike Chatauqua over to Gregory Canyon and up to Green Mountain.  Gregory Canyon was finally open (since last year’s flood), and the M.O.M.’s haven’t hiked Green Mountain (one of my favorite hikes) for a couple years.

OK — now I’m motivated!

I grabbed Ellen DeBear and packed a lunch and plenty of water.  Joy!

I began my hike at the base of Chatauqua — headed up Mesa Trail — and then over to Gregory Canyon.  Chatauqua is usually well populated.  Today, however, the hikers were few and far between.  In fact, I passed no one on the Mesa Trail heading to Gregory Canyon.

It sure was beautiful!

It sure was beautiful!

The foot bridge connecting the trail to Gregory Canyon’s parking lot had been washed away in the flood, but someone had placed a few stones around so you could cross the stream.

I wanted to see the flood devastation of the road.  It was pretty bad.  I think they plan to have the road repaired by year-end 2014.  I will be surprised if that happens.

Even a 4WD couldn't get down this road.

Even a 4WD couldn’t get down this road.

I turned around and headed to the Gregory Canyon trailhead.  There in the parking lot was a STEAMING pile of bear scat.  STEAMING!

Pile appears smaller than actual size!

Pile appears smaller than actual size!


A few steps further — a FRESH pile of bear scat.

Again, pile appears smaller than actual size!

Again, pile appears smaller than actual size!

Double Ummmm

The Gregory Canyon trail is very narrow with HIGH shrubs on each side — a perfect place for bears to hide.

Now what?!?!?

I went back across the stream and decided to head up the Amphitheater trail to Green Mountain.  About a quarter mile in — another “deposit” of FRESH and STEAMING bear scat.

Notice the pee is still wet!

Notice the pee is still wet!

OK — that’s it!  Three poops and I’m OUT!  I concluded that I was literally a walking vending machine with my egg salad sandwich, granola, grapes and chocolates!  I was a bear’s dream!

"Dibs on the sandwich!"

“Dibs on the sandwich!”

I reluctantly headed back to Chatauqua — disappointed that I didn’t make it to Green Mountain.


I was almost to Chatauqua when I encountered my first hiker — a young, spunky gal from Philly.  She wanted to know if she was on the correct trail to Green Mountain.  “Sure,” I said, “but there’s a lot of bear scat over there — you might want to turn around.”

Her eyes lit up!  Bears?!?!?  You have BEARS here?  That’s awesome!!!  I would LOVE to see a bear!”

(Um — I like this spunky gal from Philly!)

“Yep,” I said, “but I’d rather run into a bear than a mountain lion!”

“You have mountain lions here?!?!?  Bears AND mountain lions?  This is like a Colorado Safari!!!”

(Yeah — I like this spunky gal from Philly!)

Nothing I said was going to stop her.  She invited me to join her to Green Mountain!  It was tempting, but I was so close to Chatauqua, and didn’t feel like adding the extra miles to my hike.  (Yeah — I was chicken!)

I really liked this spunky gal from Philly!  In fact, I thought she would be a good match for my son.  Well — except for two things:  (1) Long distance relationships are hard; and, (2) she was about to be eaten by a bear!


You go spunky gal from Philly!

I hiked around the 1st and 2nd flatirons of Chatauqua for awhile.  Ellen and I found a perfect lunch spot and shared chocolates …..


….. and ended our hike sans reaching Green Mountain.

I guess the spunky gal from Philly made it, because I didn’t hear about her in the ten o’clock news.  What I did hear on the ten o’clock news, however, was that at the same time I was hiking around the 1st and 2nd flatirons, there was a naked guy (high on ‘shrooms) hiking the same trail.


How about THAT spunky gal from Philly!  We’ve got bears, mountain lions, and stupid naked guys!

Welcome to Colorado!