On Friday, June 17th, Map Master, Mountain Mary, Precious Sam Survivor Man and I hiked the Burro and Mountain Lion trails at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.


Precious Sam’s moniker should really be “Wilderness Whisperer.”  On our hikes he has caught (among other things) tadpoles, frogs, lizards, snakes, and grasshoppers.  Well — just about anything that he can catch.  But don’t worry — no critters are harmed, and all are released.

So when Precious Sam Survivor Man hikes with us, it’s certain that we’ll be seeing lots of bugs!  Etc.


Shortly after hitting the trail, we did begin to see remnants of wild life.


Um — that was not a catch and release!


The Wilderness Whisperer attracts a Gibbifer Californicus


A strolling caterpillar

We hiked through some dense lodgepole pines and about 1.5 miles in we arrived at Forgotten Valley and the Tallman Homesteaad — complete with two front porch swings and a view of a small lake.


You can’t see the swings on the front porch — but they were extremely comfortable


HISTORY LESSON:  In 1870 Anders Tallman emigrated from Sweden to the U.S.  In 1882, he constructed a frame ranch house by moving a one-room schoolhouse to the property and adding a kitchen.  The area was so remote it was referred to as Forgotten Valley.  Other additions to the schoolhouse were made later.  Tallman married, and they settled down to a ranching life at the cabin.

Tallman’s children all married other Swedes and eventually his granddaughter-in-law, Ruth, and her husband John Wickstrom, took over the ranch.  After John’s death in 1951 Ruth moved away.  The absentee owners neglected this remote property and in 1970 it became part of Golden Gate Canyon State Park.


Meanwhile, Wilderness Whisperer was trolling the lake looking for salamanders.  Why?  Because he’s a boy?  I don’t know.



“Hey — I’m right behind you!”

Sad not to have found a salamander, he decides to take home a girlfriendmander.  Yeah — that’s stretching it, huh?  I couldn’t think of anything that rhymes with salamander.


The Burro Trail was steep, but what goes “up” must eventually go “down.”  After steep climbs and intervals of mixed forest and open hillsides, we began a steep descent.  Whew!

We found a teepee left by the Native American Indians (or an ambitious camp group) …..


“Hey Chuck — I think we found cheaper rent for Mountain Mary.”

After 6.62 miles, we arrived back at the trailhead — hot and dusty.

Looks like all those “bug” sightings and salamander searches just plum wore out Precious Sam Survivor Man a/k/a Wilderness Whisperer.


Nite Nite Wilderness Whisperer! Sweet salamander dreams!


The weather man lied.  He said it would be pouring rain Thursday night into Friday morning and let up Friday afternoon.  Ump!  So I slept in a bit Friday morning (as the sun was shining), and decided to skip the mountains and hike locally.  Ump!

'Once again, you were right only fifty percent of the time. Have you considered a career as a TV weatherman?'


Having wasted enough of the morning, I quickly downed some oatmeal, climbed into the Bear Scoutmobile, parked at the Coal Creek trailhead and headed east.  The M.O.M.s have never hiked the east end of the trail.

Someone constructed a swing over the creek.  Looks fun — but how the heck do you get on it without getting wet?!?


The creek was running high.



At one point, it overtook the trail.  A crew was trying to move the water and mud.


A couple miles in, I reached the Erie intersection.


The trail connection is fairly new.  A quick detour to the Overlook Trail showed the year the trails were started (1992) and the year of completion (2013).


Thank you Trailblazers!

I chose to take the trail to Flagg Park.  Oh Yay — a park!  Maybe get in a little swinging (without getting wet), or a little sliding.  You know — a little “park” fun.


Look how desolate!


No way I’m using that outhouse — I might disappear and never be seen again!

“Let’s go to Flagg Park,” said no one ever!

I turned around and headed back to the Bear Scoutmobile.


Most of the trail was lined with enormous weeds.  They were almost as tall as me!  Forget about the Zombies coming for you — worry about these Weeds!


The crews had been working on that mud mess while I was hiking to Flagg Park.  They told me, “It’s OK to use the trail now.”

Seriously?!?!?  There’s still 6 inches of mud there.  I detoured to the street.


It was a good trail to explore on this Friday afternoon.  Oh — and Mr. Weather Man — not a drop of water fell from the sky.

Weather (2)


My hike last Friday was a short one (5.38 miles) as I had my PAMG responsibilities in the afternoon.  PAMG?  Professional Assistant to the Mother of the Groom.  PAMG, for short.  Map Master’s son was getting hitched on Saturday and today was the rehearsal dinner.


I didn’t really have time to wander up into the mountains, so chose a few trails close to Broomfield.  So close — they were actually IN Broomfield.  And thank goodness I started early, because it was a HOT day!

Sometimes you head out on a trail just expecting to clock a few miles and return home.  But that sounded boring to me.  I thought maybe I could make this a tad more interesting by just paying attention to my surroundings.

Ready.  Set.  Hike!

I need Map Master’s Wildflower Guide to give you a name, but let’s just say there were lots of very bright yellow flowers near the side of the trail …..


….. that turned into a field of bright yellow flowers.


Wow! Right here in Broomfield!

In fact — there were several beautiful wildflowers along the trail …..




Hey! How did those dandelions get in there?

….. including a field of baby’s breath.


Don’t people pay big bucks to get these in their flower arrangements?

About half way into my hike, I passed by the Broomfield bridge that washed out with the flood of 2013.  My guess is they are never going to fix our little bridge.



The Imel trail provided lots of interesting things.  First, an old farm hay rake.


Something with HUGE wings flew right by me.  It turned out to be a Heron.


Lying on the trail was a beautiful owl feather.  Everyone knows that finding feathers on the trail is good luck (I might have made this up).  Saturday I passed the feather on to Map Master’s son.


And, finally, I saw a little mouse napping right in the middle of the trail.


Shhhhhh — I’m dead!

Time was running out, so I turned around to get started on my PAMG duties.


Map Master!  I was happy to help you, and honored to be your PAMG.  Of course — there are some perks for being a Professional Assistant!


Oh yeah — I’ll definitely work for cupcakes!


My niece Courtney (a/k/a Mountain Mary) and her boyfriend Sam (a/k/a Precious) were visiting for the week.  I took them to the Betasso Preserve and when we were done — we had hiked 8.69 miles.  Wahaha

It was an absolutely gorgeous day!  We were able to hike in shorts and T-shirts.




I’ve hiked Betasso many times, but on this day, the Betasso wildlife was all around to welcome us.  (I attribute this to my niece’s keen observation skills.)

We saw deer …..


Hopping Abert squirrels …..



A Gibbifer Californicus bug …..


And one wild turkey …..


We also saw the most beautiful moss …..



A huge sinkhole (that Mountain Mary just HAD to explore) …..



And an old car that rolled down the mountain many decades ago …..


I would love to know the story behind this!

Lunch (compliments of Yours Truly) was consumed next to a beautiful stream …..





As we left Betasso, Mountain Mary and Precious said (and I quote) — “We’re going home, taking a long shower, and a nap!”


Guess I wore those youngsters out!  Youngsters droll and Aunties rule!  Wahaha


Here in Broomfield, we have enjoyed over a month of beautiful weather.  Several days in February we actually hit 70 degrees.  Last week my daffodils started blooming and the tulip leaves burst through the ground.  Ah — spring has sprung.


And then winter crept in Thursday night bringing 8 inches of snow to Broomfield, and over a foot of snow to the foothills.  Not just any snow — Heavy Wet Snow!  Perfect snowman snow!


“Sorry daffodils and tulips.”

Now what?  Map Master was working this Friday, so I was on my own.  I really didn’t think it was a good idea to head solo to the foothills and get stuck in the snow.  I decided to shovel our walks and driveway.  Done.  I then moved on to the neighbor’s walks and driveway.  Done.  I don’t mean to brag (which, of course, is what I’m doing), but I have shoveling down to an art.  If there was a snow shovel competition, I’d enter.

After shoveling, the sun came out and it was above 20 degrees, so I decided to hike around Broomfield.  It was turning out to be a beautiful day.

I hiked a few Broomfield trails …..



I hiked beside a Broomfield stream that I didn’t even know existed …..


I just kept walking the trails, the streets, the sidewalks, and crossing busy intersections.  It was nice to be outside.  While walking one of the streets, I came upon a senior citizen shoveling her walks.  “Please — allow me.  I am a snow shovel pro.” I said.  And in record time I finished shoveling her sidewalk.



Maybe after the next snow storm, I should walk with my shovel and a cape!


Bring it on!

I wasn’t able to hike the foothills, but managed to get in a good trek (and a little cardio) around Broomfield.

When I got home I checked my Facebook page.  You know how everyone posts pictures of their patios and homes buried in snow, and then there’s that friend in Florida that posts, “Oh that’s too bad.  It’s 80 degrees here.”  Don’t you just hate that?!?!?



Before I begin — let me say this.  This summer will mark our tenth year of hiking.  We’ve hiked just about everything in Boulder County, and all surrounding counties.  We’ve even hiked the Almalfi Coast in Italy.


Stairs on the Path of the Gods in Italy

I would say that makes us “seasoned hikers.”  Hikers that know their way around the mountain trails.  So what happened on Friday, March 11th?!?!?

Map Master and I got lost in O’Fallon Park near Morrison.  In our defense — two years ago, when we hiked near O’Fallon Park we met Ranger Martin.


He told us to stay on the Jefferson County trails because (and I quote from my November 2013 blog entry) — “We have to rescue many people from the Denver County O’Fallon Park trails.  They are not well marked.”

I kinda.  Forgot.  That sage piece of advice.  So when I found a trail for me and Map Master to hike last Friday, I chose O’Fallon Park.  Because we’d never been on that trail.  Because I forgot what Ranger Martin told us.


There was a map at the trailhead kiosk.  I snapped a picture of it.  As it turns out, it is probably the worst map in the history of our hiking.  In fact — I’ve Googled O’Fallon Park since, and there is a common theme in the chat rooms — the map at the trailhead is worthless.

Wherever the Trail Leads. . .

Map Master and I were doing quite well until after lunch.  As we headed back down the trail, something happened.  There were twists and turns, and places we didn’t recognize.


After an hour of trying to reach our car we concluded — we were lost!

There was no one around.  We were wandering O’Fallon Park alone, and we had only a couple hours of daylight left.  (Well — OK — maybe 3 hours).

There are so many loops at O’Fallon.  And we were on ALL of them!


We were sure we needed to follow the sun to the west to find the trailhead, and so — into the sun we hiked.


And hiked and hiked!


Several thoughts entered my mind:

  1.  Did I survive Ovarian Cancer last year only to perish in O’Fallon Park because of their map?Die
  2. Maybe we should have scattered a trail of Map Master’s M&M’s to lead us back to the car.
  3. I think Map Master and I will be OK.  We have a good food supply.  I still have chocolates, one full water bottle, and some mustard residue left on my sandwich container.  Map Master has M&M’s and two oranges.  Oh yeah — we’re good till morning.
  4. I need to find a stone and carve a message to my family in case I never see them again.Stone
  5. Will we be forced to use our CORSAR (Colorado Search and Rescue) cards?
  6. Wait!  Was that my life flashing before my eyes?  Nah.

Each intersection we reached just didn’t jive with the map I had photographed at the trailhead kiosk.

As we were on ONE of the THREE Meadow View Loop trails (Seriously — who gives trails the SAME name?) — there he was!  Was it a mirage? — or was that a young man walking two dachshunds?

Map Master said to this young man — “Excuse me.  Can you tell us where we are?”

I said to this young man — “WE’RE LOST!!!  WE NEED HELP!!!  I WILL PAY YOU TO GET US BACK TO OUR PARKING LOT!!!”  (Or something like that — why mince words!)

We were excited.  We had been saved.  We followed him down the trails — he was only one parking lot away from where we were parked.  Help had arrived in the way of one young pizza delivery guy (Tanner) and his two dachshunds.  (The dachshunds had Japanese warrior names that I can’t remember right now, but they all knew the way back to the parking lot.)

Tanner offered to drive us to our parking lot and we gladly accepted.  What Tanner didn’t know was that I wasn’t going to let more than 10 feet come between us until I saw my SUV!

I know that eventually we would have found the parking lot, but Tanner probably shaved a couple hours of hiking time off our (already) long hike.

That night I made spaghetti with a lemon sauce and ate enough to have sustained me and Map Master in O’Fallon Park for a couple days!



While driving home, Map Master and I have decided we need to go back to O’Fallon Park and see where we went wrong.  (It’s a M.O.M. thing.)  This time, however, we will carry a large bag of M&M’s to scatter along the trail.


Or — take a hike at O’Fallon Park!


First of all — Holy Mother of M.O.M.s!  My last blog entry was August 3rd. What’s up with that ?!?!?  I hope my faithful blog followers are still out there.


“Still nothing from Bear Scout and her blog”


Last Friday I was flying solo.  Map Master was in Sedona, Arizona for her fabulous shoe store’s (A Step Up) very first anniversary!  Congratulations!

Wandering Ju was in (of all places) Minnesota visiting family.

I really wanted to hike somewhere in the trees …..


“Yeah — over there.”


….. but because of our Wednesday snow storm, many of the trails were closed — or worse — MUDDY!  I had to hike a lower trail (the Coalton Trail).  It looked like this …..


….. until I reached the 1.5 mile mark and ran into this …..


I thought maybe I could “fly” over the mud …..


….. but turned around instead and hiked the Meadowlark Trail (an extension of the Coalton Trail).  It was a nice gravel trail that paralleled the front range (at least I could see the mountains).

At the 1.8 mile mark, I saw another hiker who told me if I hiked this entire loop I would clock about 16 miles.  Tempting as it was — NOT! — I decided to turn around and wait for my M.O.M.’s to return from Arizona and Minnesota when we could hike this together.


Unfortunately, snow is in the forecast for this week also.  I may have to just dream about hiking those mountain trails.



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 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