A WEEKEND IN HEAVEN

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?

Grand7

Grand8

Zooooooom

        Zooooooom

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

Grand10

The firemen won!

The firemen won!

Grand12

Heaven2

Heaven3

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

 

 

I LOVE SOURDOUGH

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!

Trailhead

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

Sourdough1

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

Sourdough2

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.

Sourdough3

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 …..

Sourdough4

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

Yum!

Yum!

ARRIVEDERCI 2014 — BENVENUTO 2015

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?

Nope!

Nope!

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 …..

Hikingfriends

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.

Snowshoe1

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!

Ellen

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

Hike

TWO LUCKY M.O.M.s and TWO LUCKY HIKES

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.

CoalCreek1

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 …..

Rabbit1

….. 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.

Rabbit8

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 …..

Rabbit4

….. we were able to hike 7.21 miles.

Gosh we’re lucky!

M.O.M.s FURRY FRIEND HIKE

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?

A COLORADO SAFARI

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

Sneeze

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!

Ummmm

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.

GreenMtn

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!

Bear_Scout

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 …..

Gregory6

….. 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.

Streaker

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

Welcome to Colorado!

A FAIRY TALE HIKE TO BLUE LAKE

Once

….. I actually made it to Blue Lake.  On July 18th I almost made it with The Boys (Jazzy and Prince), but we fell about a mile short.

We took it in stride!

We took it in stride!

On October 3rd Wandering Ju and I left Broomfield to hike the short trail (2.5 miles one way) to Blue Lake.  It was a beautiful day!

Blue Lake

Blue Lake

There were no cars in the parking lot, so for the first time in years, we were actually able to park at the Mitchell Lake trailhead.  Oh — it’s a glorious day!

We soon discovered why there were no cars in the parking lot.

Blue2

The trail was 98.6% ice and snow.  We passed a few hikers that warned us there was quite a bit of snow approaching Blue Lake.  They warned us to be careful because the deep snow could easily lead us off trail.  They warned us that the trail was very icy.  But what the heck!  — we had our poles, gloves, warm jackets, and plenty of chocolate.  Blue Lake here we come!!!

Blue1

It did feel more like we were ice skating to Blue Lake, than hiking to Blue Lake.  We both left our Yaktrax at home, but I was so excited to make it to Blue Lake — I didn’t care!

We hiked through dense forest; past Mitchell Lake; and onward until we had to cross a long, icy L-shaped log bridge to cross a wide stream.

Scary!

Scary!

Yikes!

Yikes!

Piece of cake!

Piece of cake!

Because of so much ice and snow, we accidentally veered onto the “wrong” trail, but circled back, and continued on the “right” trail.  Oh yes! — a glorious day!

After what seemed an eternity, I did it!  I finally made it to ………………………….

POOF!

POOF!

Hey! — this is a Fairy Tale.  Remember?

Fairy Tales aren’t true.

According to Wiki:  “A Fairy Tale is a made-up story usually designed to mislead.  A fabricated story — especially one intended to deceive.  For example:  Everything he told us about his happy marriage was just a Fairy Tale.”

Okay — I didn’t make it to Blue Lake.  Again!  But one day I will!  One day it won’t be a Fairy Tale blog entry to Blue Lake!  It will be a real life blog entry to Blue Lake!

Tequila

DO WE HERD A BUGLE?

Map Master and I had so much fun the week before (racing to Mills Lake), we decided to hike Rocky Mountain National Park again.

On Friday, September 26th we headed up the trail to Fern Lake.  Just one week later, the aspens were still an incredible golden color.

Fern1

Fern2

The Big Thompson River was roaring.

Fern3

At the trail split, we met up with some campers who told us that, although Fern Lake is beautiful, we would not see aspen trees along the trail.  They suggested, instead, that we hike the trail to Cub Lake.  Initially, the trail to Cub Lake was steep and muddy, but leveled out through some aspen groves.

Cub Lake is surrounded by thick timber and backs up to Stones Peak.  The surface of the lake was clear and ringed with yellow pond lily.

Fern9

Yellow pond lily floating in the shape of a LARGE Donut!  “Map Master — are you hungry?”

Amen!

Amen!

Beyond Cub Lake, we hiked through an extensive forest of pine, spruce, aspens and ferns.  About a half mile from the Cub Lake trailhead we arrived at Moraine Park — a vast meadow where large elk herds congregate for their annual rut (a spectacular ritual where dominant bulls battle for mating rights).  We were not disappointed.  We counted 16 elk in all — one bull (a stag), six cows (hinds), and nine calves.

Fern4

Fern6

Fern7

And then — the bull turned to the open space in the meadow (where another bull was trying to invade the herd) …..

Fern5

….. and he bugled.  I had never heard an elk bugle “in person.”  It was LOUD and beautiful!!!

Side Note:  You may or may not remember that in March of 2013, Map Master and I happened upon a herd with about 20 elk and we tried to join their herd.  As we got closer — they backed away.  We saw the bull, and had we continued forward, I’m sure he would have bugled us back.

We watched the herd for awhile (more bugling from the bull) before heading back down the trail.

Wow!  That was extraordinary!

We only managed 6.25 miles that day, but it was still a good workout.  So — um — did someone say Donuts?!?!?

donuts_and_excersize_funny_poster-rb6f5cac062e648bbbbc79221cbc9820b_xzbi6_8byvr_324

BEEP BEEP

(Read this blog in less than two minutes.  In other words — read it FAST!  Because that’s how our hike was on Friday, September 19th.)

Beep Beep

Beep Beep

Map Master and I headed to Rocky Mountain National Park to view the colors.

We had to be back in Broomfield by 3:00 p.m.

With construction and everyone else driving to RMNP to view the colors, it was a two hour drive each way.

It’s a race for time.

But we’re determined!

We arrive at RMNP only to be told that all parking lots are full, and we need to take the shuttle bus to our trailhead — adding another 30 minutes to our round trip commute.

It’s 10:45 a.m. when we finally hit the trail to Mills Lake.  We calculate that we have exactly three hours to hike six miles and stop for lunch.

Beep Beep

Beep Beep

In .85 miles, we arrive at Alberta Falls.  That first mile was crowded.  People were all over the place taking pictures.  It was like Flatirons Mall on Christmas Eve.

Alberta Falls and Map Master

Alberta Falls and Map Master

Glacier Gorge

Glacier Gorge

SAMSUNG

But enough!  Onward!

The trail led us through spruce, fir, golden aspen trees and then onto enormous slabs of granite.

Mills3

Mills4

Mills5

Mills6

Mills7

Mills8

We were running out of time, but Mills Lake was calling!

Beep Beep

Beep Beep

Finally! — there it is!

Mill9

Mills10

After a quick lunch, it was time to return.

There’s always time for a pic, however.

Mills12

Mills13

The last one mile was still crowded with picture-takers, but Map Master blazed through them!

Mills14

As we emerged from the trail — there was the shuttle bus.

“RUN MAP MASTER!!”

Beep Beep

Beep Beep

Thighs

As the doors closed and the bus was pulling away, we caught the bus driver’s attention and he stopped and let us in (saving us a 15 minute wait for the next bus).

But not for another 15 minutes!

But not for another 15 minutes!

Back in the car — if we hurried — we’d arrive in Broomfield on time!

Bear Scout:  “Why is everyone driving so slow?”
Map Master:  “You know Bear Scout, some people are here to actually ooh and ahh at the magnificent fall colors.”
Bear Scout:  “Well — that’s fine — but — Beep Beep!”

"What she said!"

“What she said!”