Sunday, May 7, 2017

Colorado August 2016

In August of 2016 we went to Colorado for my sister-in-law's wedding. My husband and I decided to drive our 1026 Subaru Outback with our kayaks. It turns out I do not like traveling with kayaks mounted on a roof rack. it was nerve racking and more trouble than I think it was worth. lesson learned. We started out in the afternoon and stopped for the night in NE. Once we tried to drive straight through and decided it was too much time driving 14 hours, and that our bodies had more trouble adjusting to the altitude that way.

The next morning we headed out again and arrived mid day in Loveland where my husband's sisters live. We grilled out that night and enjoyed catching up.

The next day I got up somewhat early, put my running clothes one, got in the car and opened up my "all trails" app. I smiled as the pins dropped all around my location... I decided on  The Devils Backbone trail head. It was a nice trail that connected to other trails I discovered - one would have taken me all the way to horse tooth reservoir. I ran about 8 miles and headed back to the house. Later that day we all took the Kayaks out to a nearby reservoir - I made it all the way from one end to the other and back - it was fun, but my arms were not really ready for that. My future brother-in-law brought out his fishing boat and I got to go on a ride around the lake on that as well.
Got 9.3 miles in for the day.

The next day my husband and I got up for a run - we went to Coyote Ridge trail for a run. It was a nice trail - we did an out and back and then headed back to the house for breakfast and then to Horse tooth reservoir. It was beautiful - we kayaked a few miles to the other side, hung out on the shore, my husband fished a little... Then a storm started rolling in so we backed it up right before it started to rain. We ate at what seemed like a bit of a biker bar, but the food was good and the drinks were cheap... We went back that night and hung out with my husbands family.  6.2 miles that day.

The next day my husband and I headed over to Estes Park and hiked at Rocky Mountain National Park. We went on a really beautiful hike, with a great view of the mountains and a lake, then we went over to the Stanley Hotel to check it out. We had a drink at the bar, then headed back to our hotel, walked around the town, and had dinner at a mexican restaurant on a rooftop with a nice view of the mountains. 6.6 miles

The next day we went on an early horse back ride through the mountains to a place that they made us breakfast. Pancakes, coffee, eggs, sausage, bacon... it was delicious and fun to eat out in the fresh mountain air with a beautiful view. We got back on the horses and continued on the loop back to the barns. Then we went back to our hotel and I went out again for a run that ended up being more of a run/hike because it was very steep. I was trying to climb to the top of "two sisters peak" I think. It was a really cool trail with neat views. One area had a rock slide recently so the trail was a little hard to follow. I wanted so badly to make it to the top, but I did not have time. I ran back down, got back to the room, showered, and we packed up and headed back to Loveland. We hung out with my husbands family, and went to dinner and played pool.
9 miles for the day.

The next day I was up before dawn and sopped at a gas station for coffee and gas. I consulted my "all" app again, and decided on a hike for the day. I REALLY wanted to do longs peak, but was strongly advised not to by my husband and sister in law, and in an effort not to stir the pot too much, I looked for another, non 14er hike. I do not remember what filters I applied to the app, but I think one of them was that it had to be rated "difficult" I selected one and was off on the other road (not the one leading to Estes Park) that goes through the mountains. It was really fun as the sun started coming up and I was driving up and down the mountain roads in my new Subaru. It was a 45 mins. to the "trail head" I had selected. I never found it though - it was not where it was supposed to be - so I found an area that I had service and could use my phone and find another trail... I re-selected a trail head and headed out again. This time it took me down a dirt road full of pot holes and curves, past a reservoir and right to the edge of what looked like some sort of camp ground, and sure enough, there was a trail head with one car already parked next to it. No parking lot, just the road, so I parked in front of the car, geared up and headed out. It seemed to be a ATV trail and I was not overly pleased with this, so I took a side trail only to realize after a mile or so it was going in the wrong direction, it was going to another camp ground, so I headed back to the stupid ATV trail, and finally after about 3 miles and seeing (1) person the trail got more interesting and pretty. After five miles I had mountain views and a few trail head options. After a few mins of looking around I decided to go left not right and headed up another trail. It was heavily wooded, had some creaks, quite. I saw no one. after maybe 2 miles or so I made it to the top of a hill and I could see the reservoir far below in the distance. I continued on to the next hilltop and then to the next. I saw no one till I finally got to another trail sign, one pointed down, the other pointed up and said "Mt. Audubon" I saw someone in the distance and decided to keep going up instead of down. It was steep, and there was a little snow and it was getting colder. I kept going and when I got to what I though was the top it was wonderful! I took pictures and enjoyed myself, I was ready to go down when saw someone climbing down from an even higher point and he said "have fun, you have the top all to your self" and I said "Oh, I though I WAS at the top" he said that I was not, and that he highly recommended I continue to the top and to just follow the little rock towers... SO I did. It was kinda like bolder climbing at Devils Lake WI. I made it to the ACTUAL top and it was even better than the last top! it was really windy and cold, but super pretty. I walked across the top and took pictures and enjoyed the views. Getting down was a little harder than getting up, the rocks were not all very stable and I could not see the rock towers as well to follow the easiest path. I made it though and eventually caught up with the guy who had tole me I should keep going up... he was an older guy maybe late 60s. We chatted for a while and I told him where I had started from, and he said that was a long way away... I had already figured i'd have to find a ride back and was really thankful when he offered! We headed down to where his car was parked, a few miles more, and he tole me about what I had just climbed, and I was please to hear that it was actually a 13,000+FT mountain. The hike down was pretty too, switch backs on the rocks then leading into a pretty pine forest. We got back to the parking lot and I found that this guy had a 1970's yellow Volkswagen beetle. The only think I could think to compare that ride with is the America Eagle wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Great America. The drive back to my car was maybe a half an hour - the guy that drive me asked "how did you even find this trail" He knew what trail head I was at because he had hiked it before, he had lived in CO for years and years and seemed to know all the trails in the area and had hiked them extensively. I told him that I had found it with the all trails map, and he said "You know, that kind of makes me mad, you see when I started hiking these trails you had to talk to people to find out about these trails, and then find them with a map"... Gotta love technology.. We got back to my car, I thanked him and that was that. I headed back to the house we were renting. We had moved to a VBO house - in a guys basement because others were staying at my sister in laws for the wedding that was 2 days away... I had spent about 6 hours hiking and had covered 16.3 miles and only see about (4) people. it was pretty cool. The top of that mountain was amazing. The sound. or lack of sound. It was the sound of piece like I had never heard it. I loved every second of it.
16.3 miles total for the day.

The next day was the wedding rehearsal. I was not in the wedding so I of course headed out to hike. I headed up on the road to Estes park not really knowing where I would go...  I ended up finding a roadside country store/deli and got a wonderful sandwich with a even more wonderful HUGE cinnamon roll. I think I was on Devils Glutches road. Then I went back down knowing I has seen several roadside small trail heads and picked one. It was a super cool hike, went through a prairie area first - up a hill then to the forest and quickly turned to switch backs. I saw a mine but resisted the urge to go in since I had no flash light and no one with me... I kept going and got to the top of a hill with amazing views, I SO wanted to keep going, but I needed to go to the dinner part of the rehearsal, so I scurried back down and headed to the house, made myself presentable and off to the wedding site I went. It was a beautiful house on a awesome piece of property with a great view of the mountains. Perfect place for a wedding. We had a nice dinner with everyone that night. 4.7 miles for the day.

The next day was wedding day - it was a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding. no hiking. no running. Just helped with the wedding (I think).

The next day a few of us got up a little later than previous days (no particular reason ;)) and went to have bloody mary's and breakfast. we went to the trail I had been to previously and explored the mine, it was a dead end... Then we went and got cinnamon rolls because I NEEDED another one. Then one of my husbands friends who was at the wedding taught us how to pan for gold... I tried for a while, then decided I'd have better luck collecting rocks, so I switched to that... It was cool though learning how to do that.. or at least understanding the concept... It's actually really hard...
6.2 miles that day...

The next morning we left...

I LOVE Colorado and think we will move there some day...

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