So it's been a bit again...

So it's been a little since the last post, notice, not a year this time, so moving the right way, no?

While I was glad to get out hiking again at the end of last year, I'm terribly disappointed in how little I did. As a result of that, I gained back a good bit (alright, almost all) of the weight I'd lost since taking up hiking. There's not really any way to describe how annoying and disappointing that is. While I never got away from 'fat' I did move more towards a healthier weight, and I was feeling pretty good.

Now that we've had a good stretch of clear and quite nice weather, interrupted a few times by a cold snap or two, I've decided to try and get back into the groove of things. I started doing a bit of exercise with one of those DVD series (not really hiking training, but, will help move towards my previous weight) of workouts. Nothing crazy, just a 10 minute thing every day.

As this is a hiking blog type thing, I'm also going to attempt to hike every weekend. Even if that hike is just up Rattlesnake Gulch, or maybe the Eldorado Trail. Both are about 6 miles round trip (or I can do 6 miles of it, Eldorado Trail is about 7 miles, as I recall.) For reminders of those two places, and well, because I tend to do pictures on here...

Rattlesnake Gulch:

Eldorado Trail:

Yep, the first one is from a long time ago, and I've probably used it before. The second, not sure if I've used it before, but it's from a while ago.


Wait, what?

So yeah, I've been way lazy about posting here, and well, last year I didn't get much hiking done. Not that I didn't want to, but I just didn't get to.

I did do one hike, however, and it was the first camping I've done with my dad.

We managed to get a fairly early start on the hiking, about 7:15 AM. Which meant we left for the trailhead around 5:00 AM. I know what you're thinking, and yes, contrary to personal belief, there IS a 5 AM! Who knew?

We got dropped off at about 7 that morning at the Long Gulch Trailhead in the Lost Creek Wilderness. Chilly? Yes, it was. It was September, after all!

A stream crossing and a couple hours later, it was still cold in the shade, though it did turn into a beautiful day. I said it was cold, right?

Yeah, that's frost on the ground, and it's 9 AM!

We stopped for lunch at Rock Creek, almost 7 miles in to the hike already. 7 miles only broken up by the sound of water, and of an elk running in the trees. Too bad we never saw it, only heard it.

After lunch was a big clump of uphill. Not even the courtesy to give us a level spot! Uphill far enough that you can't see it all in the picture, actually...

We'd gone almost 8 miles so far, and it was only getting to be about 2 PM, and since neither of us had done much of any hiking that year, it was getting to be the end of what we wanted to do for the day. We had planned on using two separate tents, because I'd just gotten a new one, and this was going to be the trial run for it.

Unfortunately for me, it turned out that it was the wrong tent straight from the store! I'd purchased the Fly Creek UL 2 tent, which it was labeled as..wasn't. It was the UL 1. As in 1 person. Not a good discovery when you're in hiking a good distance. I'd set the tent up before, but, just thought it looked a bit small and figured it was because it was A) an ultra light tent and B) it was an ultra light tent...whups.

I have to say though, REI did me right by that. I'd purchased the tent earlier that year with their member reward with 20% off (Have I mentioned I love REI?) When returning the tent, and explaining what happened, they gave me an additional 20% off.

While I set up camp, my dad went and got water, and we sat down for a while to grab something to snack on while evening came in.

The next day started off to a good spot of the trail, that was fairly level, for a while. Lots of nice spots along it to camp, or sit back and relax. Groves of aspen trees, with a few pine trees sticking out of them.

After a long trek upwards, we came to the point where we started heading down towards Kenosha pass. Lots of aspen, lots of pine, and lots of amazing shades of green spread across one hill side. It's surprising how different the stage of changing trees can go through in one grove.

After an easy 6 miles or so, mostly down hill, we finally arrived at the Kenosha Pass parking lot, where there were lots of signs, telling of the history of the area, restrooms, water, everything you could want after a long hike. We wandered out of the parking lot to where we'd parked early the morning before, beside the highway.

And here's the picture of the difference that happens in one grove of trees:

Amazing, isn't it?


It's that time again

Well, looking back over to the last post, I realize it's been ages since I did one. When I started this I intended on doing a daily post, which morphed to a weekly, which morphed to a monthly, and now it has managed to get to quarterly or longer. Whups.

But, never fear, the new year is here, and a new hiking season will be upon us sooner than can be imagined. Granted, people do winter hiking and camping, it's just not for me. Yet. I feel the new season will bring a fresh round of pictures and tales of adventure. After reading the last bit of that statement, I realize I've been reading far too much Lord of the Rings. While there is no doubt it will be an adventure being in the back country of Colorado once again, it'll be nothing like those adventures.

I can only state that I wish I'd thought more of it, and made it more of a priority to stay in good hiking shape over the last months. Unfortunately, I haven't, and I fear I'll regret that to no end. Not to say that I was ever in all that great of shape last season, but I did make some strides towards being 'less pear shaped' shall we say.
Anyways, on to the new season, and on to continuing the hike along towards Durango on the CO Trail.

I know I'll most likely spend far too much time hiking the trails in Eldorado again, but I do love being so close to a place I can hike for 6 hours, then be back home in time for dinner and a movie.

As for those of you who want a picture or two for some reason, here's a couple of them for you that are large enough to use as backgrounds (1200x900 pixels, originals are 4000x3000.)


Rattlesnake Gulch..

I do this hike far too often. What can I say though, it's a good distance (about 6 miles round trip) and has a nice elevation gain (about 900ft in gain) and has some great views to the west and east. Since I started hiking a year ago (about June 28, 2008) I've done this trail at least 6 times, and every time I enjoy it. Anyways, enough babble about that, on to the pictures!

I started off on the trail around 9:15 AM, lugging Mike's 50D with me. I do enjoy using that camera, but it's a bit heavier than I'd like to carry on an extended hike, like the CO Trail one I still want to do (and I'm still learning how to take any sort of decent picture with it.) Unlike many of the pictures in my previous posts, this one is mostly things that stood out, and not so much the scenery.

As I worked my way up from the Fowler trail, I saw the familiar sights along the way, big boulders, pine trees, aspen, a few birds, and a few people, though nothing caught my attention right away. Well the scenery did, but I've posted it to death. I'll probably post more eventually, but, not tonight.

I wandered my way to the Continental Divide Overlook, and decided to have lunch. I set my pack down on the bench and grabbed my lunch and sat down beside my pack. There was no one around, and I sat listening to a gentle breeze blowing through the pine trees behind me (there really is nothing quite like that sound.) After a little I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye, and saw these two running around, looking for food that someone had dropped.

A few minutes more listening to the wind and watching the two chipmunks run around, and I decided I'd had a long enough rest and it was time to get moving again. So back down the trail I went, to the Rattlesnake Gulch Loop, and proceeded uphill!

I took off on a small side trail that goes to a great overlook spot, and I had to take a few pictures.

Another minute or two of looking out over the mountains to the 14ers far off in the distance, I decided to get a move on again, going back down to the loop and continuing uphill. Which brought me to a few flowers..

As I drew closer to the highest point on the trail, I started to hear birds chirping, and after a little looking, I found one and waited for him..finally he landed a little ways ahead of me on the trail. I forgot what it's called, so no name for it!

As he flew off, I started up the trail again. Finally crossing the highest point, I took a picture I've taken before, only this time, all the leaves were green instead of bright red.

A little farther down, just before reaching the path to the railroad tracks, I saw this flower, and just before I took a picture, a butterfly landed on it, giving me this shot (I wish I'd gotten one of its wings open as it landed.)

Finally I was to the downhill section of the Loop!

I saw another flower that stood out to me, contrast to the green and red all around it.

And just before I got to the Craig's Hotel site, I looked out across the canyon for this shot.

I finally got back to where I'd started from, and decided to take a few pictures of the river while I was relaxing a bit before the drive home.

Long time no post.

Ah yes, it's been a while since I've posted. Probably because I haven't been able to hike much since Mt Democrat. No physical reason, just not as much opportunity and time as I'd like. I did one hike in Eldorado, up Rattlesnake Gulch again, but everyone's seen the pictures of that place, though there are a few nice ones from it. If I can find them. For a while I thought that I may have deleted the originals (the RAW files, I had half size jpgs left, but ew) in a recent computer reloading. All hope is not lost, however, as I found them. I'm so glad I have an external HD to back up to.

Give me a few hours to pick out and do some editing, and I'll have a post up and running.


Mt Democrat

This last weekend I went with the BCC group and did Mt Democrat. I was hoping to do all 4 (Democrat, Cameron, Bross and Lincoln) but at the top of Democrat my feet started hurting (specifically my heels, which just get worse as I walk more,) and I decided not to. Anyways, we left at about 5:15 AM, and got to the trail head and started hiking at about 8AM.

The trail heads off from Kite Lake. From this trail, you can do the four mountains. The trail is mostly a circle, that ends up with 4 shots off of it, one to the top of each. Kite lake gets its name for, well obvious reasons:

Along the side of Mt Democrat, there are several waterfalls that feed into Kite Lake:

They're fed by snow melt, and there were still several large snowfields around on the mountains, even though it's July. One of them that you have to cross to summit, was at least 50ft long, and about a foot deep (I don't know how wide it was, because I couldn't see the other side after it dropped over the edge.

From the saddle between Democrat and Cameron:

When I reached the summit, there were probably 25 people there. While I ate my lunch and relaxed a bit and took some pictures, a couple of people asked if I'd take their picture with a sign they made, they then offered to take mine with it (Their elevation is off, it's actually closer to 14,140 ft)

It was extremely windy on the way up and down Democrat, and in some gusts, it would have been easy to lose your footing if you weren't being careful. Now I can cross one more 14er off my list. Only 52 to go.


Eldorado Trail, I actually did it this time

So I got to looking again, and found out that I'd forgotten to do a post on the Eldorado Trail that I did a while back. I did the post about when I had to call it off, but not on when I'd actually done it. I started off my dropping my dad off on the Walker Ranch Loop Trail, which he was going to do between two trailheads. The one I'd dropped him off at, and the one I would leave my car at. We headed out on Saturday May 9th for our hike, and got there around 10:30AM.

After that, I hopped back in my car and drove 10 minutes to the next trailhead. It was about 1.5 miles of trail or so between the two spots. When I got to the Ethel Harold Trailhead of the Walker Ranch Loop, I was the only one there, which was kind of cool.

It was a beautiful day for a hike, probably 60 degrees at most. I'm kind of a slow hiker, but still didn't see many people on the trail, on this end.

I've taken that pic before, but it you couldn't see anything nearly as well because of the fog.

After about a mile on the Walker Ranch Loop, I came to the Eldorado Trail trailhead.

You start out down in the canyon, near South Boulder River, and work your way up to a ridge at about 7,600ft. Along the way, you come across an interesting sign:

There's about 2 miles before you reach the ridge, and the trail raises slowly towards it, taking several switchbacks, some buried in the trees, others at the edge, giving a glimpse of mountains further back.

From there, you head down into Eldorado Canyon. I was planning on taking pics of the view from there, but started talking to another hiker that was heading the same way as I was, that had never been to Eldorado before, and it slipped my mind. Scary, I know.

The trail turns and follows the ridge for a while before turning and heading down into the canyon. Here you lose most of the shade that's provided along the way up from Walker Ranch, and start walking on a trail that's in the sun most of the time. There's trees every once in a while, but the majority of this end of the hike is in the sun.

After a fair distance, you are down under the cliffs that have been closed, with trees hiding them from you. The trail follows the side of the mountain around, passing through several gullies, and for the most part is almost flat, barely going downhill at all.

A bit farther down the trail, you start going through trees a bit more, and climbing back up slightly, over some rocks, though nothing extreme, and enter into Eldorado Canyon State Park. After entering the park, the trail begins to go down hill through lots of switchbacks, and gets steep in a few places. You also start to see more and more people as you get farther into the park and closer to the trailhead.

You finally end up down at the road above the river in the canyon, which is the trailhead in Eldorado.