Friday, March 25, 2011

Clear Creek Park in Wheat Ridge, Colorado; A spring walk along the river

Clear Creek and one of the bridges crossing it
I haven't been up into the mountains as much this winter compared to last year; in 2010 at least once per week I was hitting the road for solo winter and spring hikes in Boulder or one of the many areas near Mt. Evans.  This winter, I have been opting for staying closer to the metro area, and walking or hiking at parks and trails which are much more accessible for many people.  Both hiking up a peak and walking down a popular trail have their advantages; but I must admit I enjoy hiking peaks much more. 
With that said, the smell of spring is definitely in the air along the Front Range and walking next to a babbling river with ducks, fish and dogs playing in the water reminds me of growing up in Michigan.  Spring there has the smell of thawing water and fresh grass; and walking next to Clear Creek yesterday I could smell the river and feel the sense of spring in the air.  However, with the dry conditions in Colorado, I am hoping that we get at least one more blast of snow or a lot of rain. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NREL Trailhead on South Table Mountain, Golden Colorado

Belle looking for deer
I was prompted to hike at the NREL trailhead after a reader posted a comment asking about the mileage of the trail system there.  Since this trail is near to my house, I decided to head on over for a hike and find out; plus I was eager to see if the dusting of snow we received helped the foliage start to bloom.  I didn't see any flowers, or even cactus flowers, but there was a tiny tint of green on the mountainside, unfortunately if we don't get some rain or snow soon, this spring and summer are going to be very dry. 
If you haven't hiked this trailhead, its definitely one to check out; its close to the metro area, great for trail running, easy to moderate mountain biking, or just a great hike with views of the city, front range, and often you will see lots of deer that frequent the area.  Plus, there is always something interesting going on at NREL; which is heavily patrolled especially on top of Table Mountain.  (this does not interfere with your hike, there is a fence and boundary)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flatiron Vista, Boulder Colorado; large trail system creates short or very long hikes

Views of the Flatiron Mountains
It was a cloudy day in Golden when I decided that I needed to end work for the day and get outside for a little hike.  I grabbed the dogs and my supplies quickly and unfortunately, hastily (I forgot food) then we jumped into the car and drove up Hwy 93 toward Boulder. 
I had a hike in mind, the Flatirons Vista, it's a trailhead that I have been to many times, but not recently.   The trailhead has been re-done with a nicer bathroom, different trail map and gate system, and a larger parking lot which can accommodate trailers for horse trailer parking. 
Several years ago, Josh and I hiked here with Rock, we had planned on a 2-3 hour hike, but somehow it turned into at least double that when we crossed the river on the backside of the trail just below the mountains; but there was no place to re-cross the river and loop around.  We were pretty far out, and just kept assuming the trail would loop back across the river.  We ended up hiking for hours and eventually had to follow the river out the Hwy 93, then walk back along the meadows near the highway.  Needless to say, we were pretty tired and annoyed that we missed the 4:30 closing of Coors that we had planned, but it was an adventure that we still talk about. 

ROAD TRIP: Hiking in Kauai; Kuilau Trailhead 2.1 Miles; an easy day hike from Lihue

Views of the foliage and mountains along the trail
 As much as I love to hike and travel, I don't have unlimited money or time to do so as much as I'd ultimately like to.  And I began to consider having guest bloggers who can write about hikes and trails in an area they have been; so that more content can be added to my blog, and maybe by chance, you are going to one of these places and want to know where to hike. 
Recently, my parents spent two weeks traveling around Hawaii, (lucky!) since my father is an avid hiker, I asked him to review some trails that he visited.  Unfortunately, he pulled a muscle in his leg and only hiked once; on Kauai.  Here is his trail report and the two photos he took on this hike. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dome Trail to Mount Morrison; Red Rocks Park, 7,877 feet

Views of Red Rocks from early in the trail
Mount Morrison is one of the most prominent peaks in the Denver metro area, and its situated directly behind Red Rocks Amphitheatre with it's amazing and unique red rock formations.  For many years, access to the top of the mountain was closed, but in recent years the fences have been taken down and hikers can stand on top of the summit taking in the amazing views of Denver and the areas to the south.   
There are several routes to the summit, including the southern route which I hiked last April with the dogs; all of the trails to reach the peak are rated a Class 2 on Summit Post, another great resource for hiking in Colorado. 
If look up at Mount Morrison, near the summit, you can see the large boulders and rock formations called The Dome a large rock outcropping.  These rocks make for a Class 2 hike near the peak, which means using your hands and scrambling a little bit to get over the large rock formations and up the steep incline.