brian, erin and beth at lower Chicago Lake

Happy Hiking: Chicago Lakes

WOW!  I have wanted to hike Chicago Lakes Trail for a while, but I had no idea what I had been missing.  The scenery on this 9.6-mile trek is nothing short of spectacular.

The trailhead for Chicago Lakes begins at Echo Lake at the top of Squaw Pass Road.  This popular area is is situated next to Mount Evans Road which leads to the summit of one of Colorado’s famous 14ers.

golden willows on gold dust trail

Happy Hiking: Gold Dust Trail

Depending on the source, the distance of the Gold Dust Trail is variable.  Both the unknown length and the popularity among mountain bikers may deter hikers, but aspen lovers might want to reconsider.

Beth and Nancy finished with the high line canal

The Highline Canal: Segment 1

The High Line Canal Trail is a 71 mile linear park that travels through Denver and its suburbs.  My friend Nancy, and I have been riding a different segment every Sunday.  The very first ride we did, we could not begin at the start in Waterton Canyon as it was closed on the weekend due to COVID.

The canyon has since been open, but to be on the safe side, we made the 29 mile trek down south on a Monday to walk the first two miles of the High Line Canal that eluded us at the beginning of the summer.


Happy Hiking: Huron Peak

When the wildflower season is over the fall colors haven’t begun, it is 14er season for me.  Warmer weather, less chance for storms, and rewarding summits are just a few reasons why to save 14ers for the end of August and early September.

While I generally avoid hiking 14ers on weekends or holidays, with a surprise, early snowstorm in the forecast, I headed to Buena Vista with my friend Colin to bag my third 14er for the season after getting the hole in my heart closed in January.

I had subconsciously taken a five-year hiatus from the popular peaks due to feeling so rotten after hiking them.  Who knew I wasn’t getting enough oxygen?  While I can’t say I feel perfect after summiting them now, at least I can function afterwards.


Van Life: Bids and Consultations

Not realizing that I needed the van prior to selecting a builder, I had already completed a decent amount of due diligence on the options available to me.  I preferred someone local as opposed to out of state and stumbled upon this helpful article. But after purchasing the van, I went through a more detailed process.

cottonwood graveyard on high line canal trail

The High Line Canal: Segments 24-27

Another weekend, another bike ride along the High Line Canal.  In fact, it was our last ride to reach the end of the 71-mile linear park.  After riding these segments, 24-27, all we will have left is the first two miles in Waterton Canyon that we plan to walk as the canyon was closed when we tried to ride it at the beginning of our journey.

The majority of these four segments, miles 62-71, are on asphalt and concrete as much of this nine-mile section of the High Line Canal follows roads through neighborhoods. 

the summit of Mt. Sherman

Happy Hiking: Mt. Sherman

I had a bit of a scare on Missouri Mountain a week ago, so I decided to “get back on the horse” and hike Mt. Sherman.  Mt. Sherman is an easier 14er than Missouri Mountain.  The hike is shorter, only 5.25 miles, and there is less exposure, so it was a good one for me to try.

Having said that, it would be my first solo 14er.  While I hike alone regularly, I was a little nervous to go alone this time as many more things can go wrong at 14,000 feet.  At the same time, there is usually someone around, so help isn’t too far away.  As a result, I talked myself into climbing Mt. Sherman on a beautiful Monday morning.


The High Line Canal: Segments 22-23

Once again, Nancy and I met to complete another portion of the High Line Canal.  This time we covered the last of Segment 21, all of Segments 22 and 23, and a mile of Segment 24, all paved in concrete.  Despite being able to ride my road bike, I stuck with my mountain bike to keep pace with Nancy on her ancient, possibly antique hybrid.

We got off to a rocky start when Nancy’s dropped pin location on Google took her to a place two miles from our planned start.  As soon as she found her way, however, we were off.

Aspen on the Colorado Trail Segment 5

Five Fall Hikes Near Denver

People who know me, know I live in Colorado to enjoy the summer and the fall as I am not a cold weather person.  Specifically, I prefer from mid-July to early August for wildflower season and mid to late September for fall colors.  In fact, I’ve become a bit of a hiking snob, and no longer hike much outside of these time frames.  As a result, I try to find the best hikes in the state.

Below is a list of five fall hikes within 1.5 hours of Denver off the 285 corridor:

Happy Hiking!