So the COVID crisis has kept me state side since the end of March. That is a long time for me, especially while remaining in the same state the whole time. Fortunately, I live in the beautiful state of ColoRADo, and there are lots of outdoor activities to keep residents busy. Unfortunately, April and May tend to be “mud season” in the mountains, so the trails aren’t always inviting.
As a result, I spent much of April traveling back and forth from Denver to the family ranch near Bailey while fixing up an old cabin. Donned in goggles, gloves and a buff like I was ready to fight off COVID, I spent two days cleaning up the mice and chipmunk feces and urine, spider webs, and much more.
Once it was safe to walk around the cabin, I caulked, grouted, patched holes in the roof and doors, hung a gutter, made and hung screens and curtains, transported and moved furniture, decorated, and cleaned again. By mid-May, I was ready to unveil the “chicken coop” though more aptly named the mouse house since I still have rodent visitors.
Who better to be the first guinea pig, but my friend Tanya with whom I’ve had many hiking and camping adventures. We survived the San Juan Huts, and this cabin is very similar with an outhouse, no running water, a wood stove for heat, and a hot plate to cook.
I was pleased she was willing to schlep her sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow, and some food up to the cabin to join me for one night before hiking the next day. For the most part, the set up worked well and only required a few tweaks for two people.
Meyer Ranch Park
After a leisurely breakfast with coffee and eggs on the deck beneath the warming sun, we arrived at Meyer Ranch Park mid-morning. Meyer Ranch Park is part of JeffCo Open Space and is located on 285 between Bailey and Denver. With both of us having afternoon obligations, this was a perfect spot to visit not far from town
The park features a small network of trails that total a little over five miles in length. We conquered them all when summiting Legault Mountain via Sunny Aspen, Old Ski Run, and Lodge Pole Loop. On this weekday early in the seaon, the park wasn’t too crowded, and the weather wasn’t too hot.
The trail begins in an open meadow and then climbs through a lodge pole pine forest. Most of the way is steady climb which levels out just before a steep quarter mile jaunt to the summit. Our legs and lungs reminded us that it was the beginning of the season as we slogged up the 30% grade.
Fortunately, the entire hike was short, only 5.2 miles, and the elevation gain of 1,200+ feet was reasonable. It was a perfect training trail for the prelude of summer especially with the surprisingly, lovely views. What a reward to enjoy a bluebird sky day on the summit of Legault Mountain!
Tanya, my foster dog Annie, and I ducked behind the rocks to take cover from the cool breeze while snacking on our packed lunch before heading back down the nicely groomed trail. Though there is some traffic noise at the lower elevation from 285, the views on this hike make it a wonderful outing. More details on the hike may be found on the app All Trails.
Stay tuned for more hiking trails as summer in Colorado is upon us! ETB
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