Monthly Archives: November 2012

Crazy unusually dry November weather greeted my East Coaster guest Stephen.  Unlike past visits where I’ve tested his ability to instantaneously acclimate to our high altitude, this time I selected a Northern Colorado trail just over 5,500 ft elevation.

The terrain on this week’s hike reminded me of the desert landscape near Pueblo (May hike).  Fantastic rock formations jutted from the surrounding arid plains vista.  Lotta folks on today’s hike – guess not everyone was out Christmas shopping 🙂

Picture stop at the Keyhole, then off to Hunters Loop.  Only 3.2 miles roundtrip this day – but everyone went home with a smile on their face.  No altitude sickness & beautiful canyon pics — FAAAAANNNTASTIC!

Happy hike #48 – always a ton more fun hiking with friends.

 

Devil’s Backbone Trail map

 

Thanksgiving Day – first time all alone since 1998 when I traveled to Copenhagen (while working as an ex-pat in Russia).  Seriously – what a crazy, fun life journey I’ve experienced.  Super blessed guy!

Was recovering from a 24-hour flu bug & started my morning completing home ‘to-do’s’ until overcome by…ugh – I’m by myself on Thanksgiving.  Oh no.

Sunshine and mountains – exactly what the doctor ordered.  Backpacked up and headed into Boulder for a local hike – Bear Peak, 2nd highest peak on the Boulder skyline.  Of course Ro was up the challenge.  With all of the amazing Colorado hikes I’ve experienced this year, I had forgotten how very beautiful the peaks are in my own backyard.  WOW – completely re-fell in love with Boulder 🙂

Parked and trailheaded from NCAR (National Center of Atmospheric Research) to Mesa Trail. From Mesa Trail, hiked to Bear Canyon — pines, cool temps and quiet solitude.  Nice.  Happy hiking endorphins kicked in, putting the smile back on my face.  Hoo-ray!

Followed signs to Bear Peak Trail where I entered a panorama reminiscent of Mordor (Lord of the Rings).  Welcomed by charred trees and a barren landscape (void of vegetation) resulting from this past summer’s Flagstaff fires.  Wow – what destruction!

Two or three miles further I paused amongst the burnt forest, inhaled and took in the view – highlighted by snow-covered Long’s Peak. Absolutely AMAZING!  What a lucky guy I am.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my Colorado backyard!

Another half mile up and SUMMIT SUCCESS!  FAAAANNNTASTIC view, FAAAANNNTASTIC day!

 

To my Friends & Family: Happy Thanksgiving 2012 from high in the Rockies — exactly where I was meant to be 🙂

 

After emailing my group hike pals for ideas about this week’s hike challenge, Annmarie proposed Lion Gulch — and lucky for me, the gang was available and ready for another group event…2 weeks in a row!  Wait, wait, there’s more.  My friend Kimberly flew in for the weekend to join us. AND…this was a dog-friendly hike.  Ro & Karma reunited.  Hooray!

Talk about rapid change in temps.  Last weekend we turned back early in blowing snow; this weekend we hiked in short sleeves.

Ideal sunshine start, hiking amongst tall pines. Our trail snaked over beautiful water spills, iced over in the November temps.  Short sleeves, sure — but still cold enough to revive my ‘Ro on Ice’ pic series…first standing ice since May.  LOVED it!

Lion Gulch soon gave away to a section of the trail aptly named Homestead Meadows.

The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged western expansion by opening America’s land to agricultural settlement. To qualify, a person had to be a United States citizen (or express the intent to become one), older than 21 years or head of a household and possess less than 160 acres of their own land. To acquire the property title, one had to build a house within 5 years, occupy the land for at least 6 months of the year, make income related to the property and cultivate a portion of the land. After 6 months one could buy the land for $1.25 an acre, or $15 outright after 5 years. Homesteaders could acquire up to 320 acres of land under the Act, a program that ended in 1976.

By far this was the most interesting part of our day hike — settler home & home furnishing remains from late 1800’s thru mid-1950’s.

Upon breaking for lunch, Ro scored his first taste of freedom since late winter.  Annmarie convinced me to let Ro go off-leash.  Tough letting go but of course Annmarie was coooo-rrect.  Ro stayed close by after an initial crazy romp, running circles around us & dog pal Karma.  Fun day for little guy; Ro owes Annmarie BIG 🙂

Skies grew overcast and temps dropped — so we layered up & pushed forward in search for an old Sawmill.  Anti-climatic gotta say but we did stumble upon 2 additional homesteads and a Boy Scout troop (never know when that can come in handy – HA!).

Group hikes with John & Annmarie always end with dinner. Who doesn’t crave red meat after a 10-mile hike?  LOL>

 

 

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