From Turkey to Trails

November 22-26, 2016

What a lovely Thanksgiving Week. It was so nice! It started on Tuesday with pre-Thanksgiving at my sister Christian’s house. We sat outside by her firepit which kept us warm on a nippy night and enjoyed a fantastic dinner which included beef tenderloin, salad, potatoes, brussel sprouts and squash souffle. And who can forget the truffles. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I did capture a few folks watching a funny Thanksgiving video from Jimmy Kimmel.

Thanksgiving Day was packed full! I started the morning running a 5K that supported research for Prader-Willi Syndrome. While I wasn’t familiar with Prader-Willi Syndrome, the Denver Turkey Trot was farther away, slightly longer and supported United Way which according to the charity chart I saw, doesn’t give out as much money as I’d prefer, so the 5k in Stapleton won my participation. I later found out Prader-Willi Syndrome is a genetic disorder. While I was taking cover from the ice-cold wind behind a building near the start, I met a nice lady from Castle Rock whose grand-daughter suffered from the disorder. It felt good to help out, even if it was just a little. For more on Prader-Willi, click here:

The start of the race began at 10:15 beneath clear blue skies. Those who know me, know I’m not fond of cold weather, so admittedly I checked the forecast before I signed up! I can’t say I would have run if it were snowing. The only challenge was the wind, but once I got started, it kept me at a moderate temperature the whole way which was very nice. I enjoyed the course as well, as I hadn’t run around the park system in this area, and there were several encouraging signs along the way. The race was staffed with great volunteers that pointed us in the proper direction and handed out water near the half-way point. There was also unofficial volunteer stand that gave out Wild Turkey Shots!


I finished up in a respectable time given I hardly ever run, and headed back to the house to finish up a few side dishes for Thanksgiving at Moria’s. I whipped up a sweet potato casserole and frozen chocolate pie to add to her yummy meal which included turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. We ate while watching the Cowboy game, which was quite good in my eyes! I’m thankful for awesome friends.

After hanging out with friends, I headed up to Breckenridge to take advantage of this unseasonably warm weather. While I’m certain skiers are disappointed, I was happy to be able to hike on only a thin layer of snow without spikes or snowshoes! I took my first hike on opt-outside black Friday. When I awoke it was 12 degrees…BRRR. I didn’t expect it to be that cold. Fortunately, with only a 5.6 mile hike planned to Sallie Barber Mine, then down to Sallie Barber Road, and back, I had the luxury to wait until late morning when the temperature made it above freezing!

I can’t say that the trail was terribly exciting. The service road crosses a creek and then ascends around 400 feet through a forest to the mine over 1.45 miles. I’m glad I hiked this trail in the winter with a light layer of snow rather than climbing a dirt road in the summer as I think the snow made it prettier. Skiers seemed to enjoy their morning exercise and the dogs were in heaven as the raced through the snow.

I found myself relieved to reach the mine. Starting the hike above 10,000 feet was little rough on my oxygen intake. Anyway, for some reason, mines intrigue me. The Sallie Barber Mine was a small, but relatively long-time producer of zinc and other minerals. It opened in the early 1880’s and was abandoned in 1911 and reopened for a short time during World War I. I love inspecting all the mining equipment and the old structures.

After wandering around the mine for a bit, I considered turning around and shortening my hike to only three miles. Then I thought, don’t be ridiculous, it is beautiful outside! So I continued on as originally planned. I strolled down the hill to Sallie Barber Road and then turned around to climb back up and over to get back to my car. What I didn’t know about the trail, is that it connects to several other trails in the area. It appears it would be easy to make a variety of loops. I’ll have to look into those options next time. But for now, I enjoyed opting outside and planned another hike for Saturday.

On Saturday, I drove from Breckenridge to Silverthorne to hike to Lily Pad Lake. There are several trails that lead to Lily Pad Lake, so it is important not to trust Google Maps unless input the GPS coordinates! I eventually found the trailhead just past the Buffalo Cabins Trailhead.

The Lily Pad Lake Trail started out like the Sallie Barber trail, a wide ascending road. This road provided a fantastic view of Dillon Reservoir below. Soon the trail entered a vast lodge pole pine forest that I really loved. While it is difficult to see so many fallen trees that have succumbed to the pine beetle, they are quite remarkable covered in snow.

As I followed the path through the forest, I took careful steps across a few creeks that were frozen over yet I could hear water running beneath. The stroll was so tranquil and only interrupted occasionally by a squirrel chirping or a fellow hiker enjoying nature. Soon I reached the desitination. It should really be named Lily Pad Lakes, as there are two, the first one being much smaller than the second. I chose to have lunch at the second one as it was much prettier to me. What a peaceful place. I think I will return on summer trek via a different trail. A great week! ETB

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