Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hiking in Clear Creek Canyon, Hwy 6

Jefferson County Open Space is developing  new trails in Clear Creek Canyon along highway 6, west of Golden.  I love driving up Clear Creek Canyon, with it's steep cliffs alongside the rushing river.   The Open Space trail has no name, map or bathrooms, just a parking lot and a trail.   
I have hiked here before in this blog post, but couldn't go as far as I wanted due to thunderstorms rolling in.  Since I had to turn back on the hike, I have always wanted to know what was on the other side of the mountain.  My grandmother used to sing a song to me when I was little that I was reminded of; "the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain to see what he could see, to see what he could see.  But all that he did see was the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain was all that he did see."  And that is all that I saw; but it was still a great hike.   

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A day in the park; Morrison Park

Sometimes a day in the park is just what you need to get outside in the sun.   Laying in the grass and watching the clouds, running around with the dogs, climbing trees and walking throug the town of Morrison for ice cream cap off a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. 
Josh and I had been hunting for some trails to the south of Morrison, but instead of finding trails we found this park.  The Morrison Park is a Jefferson County funded park next to Bear Creek, it has several picnic tables, a volleyball court, and the park connects to the Bear Creek paved trail that goes through Morrison Colorado and connects to other paved trails in the area.  

Friday, April 16, 2010

Royal Arch in Boulder Colorado

Did you know there is a huge rock arch formation in Boulder, Colorado; similar to the arches found in Utah? 
This huge rock formation is worth the long steep hike to reach it for the incredible views of Boulder and the Flatiron Mountains. 

The warm spring air makes me very excited to wake up early, get out the door and on the trail!  For all the hikes I have done in this state, Boulder is one place that I have not hiked very much.  This is mostly due to the crowded trails, but they are crowded for a reason; the Flatiron Mountains are amazingly beautiful and unique.  Boulder is also very dog friendly and has unique leash laws that allow dogs to be offleash on certain trails if you register your dog with a voice and sight tag.  More information on this can be found here.   The trail starts at the Chautauqua Trailhead in Boulder. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Zapata Falls, Frozen Glacial Waterfall and a walk on a frozen river.

Zapata Falls is a glacial waterfall in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that freezes in the wintertime and thaws in the summertime; making it a tourist destination year round.   We visited the falls this past weekend while it was still cold and frozen.  The falls are located in a cave and to reach the cave, visitors must traverse walking on a frozen river and climbing over a smaller frozen waterfall.   When we reached the river; we were shocked to see so many people struggling to climb over a 4 foot waterfall that was very slick.  After watching everyone else for some time, I began to wonder if I could make it up myself, it was very slippery and cracking my head on the ice was not part of the plan this vacation.  Crampons would have been very helpful for this climb!  We managed to find a divot in the ice that we were able to use as a handhold to pull ourselves up.  Once higher up on the river, you can walk into the cave with Zapata falls; it's well worth the struggle. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hiking to the top of the highest Dune in North America

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Monument is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range in southern Colorado.   Over the long weekend, Josh and I visited the park and climbed to the tallest dune in North America, High Dune.  
Behind the dunes are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains which tower over the 8500+ foot dunes, making them look tiny in comparison.   The entire Rocky Mountain Range was under a high wind warning that whole weekend, making hiking on mounds of sand pretty painful, but we had come all the way down here to the dunes and we were reaching the top!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Views of Red Rocks Ampitheatre hiking Morrison Peak 7,877 feet

I have lived on the front range for over 7 years and just 10 minutes from Red Rocks and Mount Morrison which can be seen towering above the front range.  But I never realized you could hike to the peak until recently.   After doing some reasearch, I found out that there were several routes to the summit, and I decided to do the longest route, the southern route. 
This route to the top which takes you up the southern ridgeline of Mount Morrison with views of the front range, Denver, and Red Rocks Ampitheatre below.  From the top of the mountain you can see all the way from Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs to Longs Peak in Estes Park!  Wow!   The dogs and I saw several deer who watched us intently while we hiked past them.