Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dropped Ro off at Camp Bow Wow (doggie daycare) at 7am, met up with last weekend’s group hike buddies, Annmarie & John at Panera in Boulder – destination Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park.  Happy Public Lands Day!  No $20 entrance fee – FREE is for ME!

Sunshine, 60-degree weather, yellow aspens…and SNOW on the peaks!

We entered Beaver Meadows Entrance just past Estes Park.  Today’s hike destination was Black Lake, a 10+ mile hike off Bear Lake Rd within the park.  2 waterfalls, 3 lakes, well-marked trail, all under treeline.  FAAANNNNTASTIC!

I love my dog but maybe even more fun to hike with human conversation.  We weren’t more than a mile into our hike before we christened John, ‘Black John’ (due to his dark humour).  Super fun people.  AND not always easy to find folks who hike at the same pace.  I definitely lucked out – both John & Annmarie also hike weekly, both former East Coast, both like to laugh.

Bladder tube – won’t go into detail here…but I can tell you, was a super funny story.

After a pic opportunity at Alberta Falls, took an energy bar break at Mills Lake.  Landscape was seriously breath-taking.  Pristine aquamarine water filled with native trout, hugged by evergreens – all against a snow peak backdrop.  W-O-W!

Hiked through a section of the trail affected by the windstorm of 11.12.11.  Crews cut thru tens of fallen trees to reclaim trail access to hikers. Thanks!  Another photo shoot opportunity at Ribbon Falls, before reaching today’s end destination goal, Black Lake. Perched up on rocks overlooking Black Lake, we dropped our backpacks and enjoyed lunch with a view.  AMAZING!

An impromptu waterfall spilled over massive rock.  Super cold water but just had to get in.  Shed shoes & socks and climbed into the water – sooooooo cold.  Peer pressured my friends to touch the waterfall (caused by melting snow-runoff).

Crazy beautiful day.

Ended hike day with burgers at BJ’s Brewery in Boulder (‘cause Estes Park was packed with tourists enjoying ‘Elk Fest’).  Picked up Ro, completely worn out from pack play with his peeps – I didn’t say a word about my hike 🙂

p.s.  Who’s afraid of the big 4-0?  Not I.  Arches Nat’l Park in Utah is hike destination #40!


Black Lake/RMNP (waterfall clip)


First official day of autumn – hooray, our long summer of forest fires is over!

Kicked off the season with my first group hike.  Soon after the lightning strike on Audubon, my former co-worker Leslie suggested that I try meetup.  Haven’t had a ton of luck thus far – lotta weekday hikes (I work), Sunday hikes (I go to church) & RMNP hikes (no dogs allowed in national parks). AND had signed up for 2 hikes which were both ultimately cancelled.  But no worries – made this hike that much more anticipated!

Our hike organizer Ava, a Bailey CO resident, couldn’t have spoken more favorably about the fall foliage on Ben Tyler trail.

Ben Tyler, located in the Lost Creek Wilderness, is approximately 45 minutes southwest on route 285 from the 285/C470 intersection ( southwest of Denver).Driving out you’ll notice that one advantage is the ability to miss I70 weekend traffic. The Bailey trail head is right off the highway, so no dirt road driving needed.


This hike takes you into deep forest & Aspens along a creek. In the fall it is most DEFINITELY IMPRESSIVE to see the HUGE golden Aspen grove in the middle of a deep green Evergreen forest.


You will be able to see it in full view from the highway, but actually need to hike up 3 or more miles experience its beauty (that’s the fun part)! Hiking up to the saddle is close to 6 miles one way. That is my plan. Following this scenario, I would say that in my opinion, this is NOT an easy hike. It is rated moderate below, I’ve also seen it rated as difficult. I think it’s just LONG. The very end has a few switch backs and of course the elevation is getting higher.

9am trailhead meetup time so enjoyed a rare Saturday morn sleep-in.  12 hikers AND 3 dogs joined our trek – big group!

Hike was 11+ miles roundtrip so didn’t even notice the 3,200ft trail incline – very gradual. PLUS there were multiple stops along the way.  Beautiful colour…Ava was not joking.  The Aspens were at or just past peak.  Ro & I generally push hard to summit early in the day so had to adjust our pace.  That said, met some AMAZING folks on our trek – lotta former East Coasters (NY, NJ & Florida). Ro LOVED hiking with Karma (a Jack Russell) and Pedal (shepherd mix).  Think group [hikes] are Ro’s new go-to ‘s.

Happy first day of Autumn 2012!


Next weekend might see me with a few of today’s hikers enjoying RMNP.  As most of ya’ll know ‘FREE is for ME’ 🙂

The National Park Service will offer the following Fee Free Days this year:

  • September 29 (Public Lands Day)



New favourite local podcast — The Trail Show.   LOCAL PROGRAMS ROCK!

The Trail Show

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