Beautiful Beaver Brook/Chavez Trail Loop

Beaver Brook/Chavez Trail
Fees: None
Website: 8,605-10,744 feet (below treeline)
Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation: 6,552 to 7,641ft

Today Tanya and I went for a hike in Genessee Park. What I love most about Genessee Park is how close it is to Denver, yet all the views are of the mountains and none are of the City. I feel like I have driven a few hours into the mountains instead of 30 minutes.

We opted for a short hike this week and tried out the 3.9 mile Beaver Brook/Chavez Trail Loop. I had read that the Chavez Trail was marked with braille signs for the blind, so I made the poor assumption that the path would relatively flat. It was not! I had brought along Toby, a beautiful Great Dane/Lab mix, and with his steady pull on the leash, I didn’t feel that safe climbing down the steep, rocky terrain, so I let him off the leash.

He went wild! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog go so bonkers on a trail. Generally, if they need to get some energy out, they run back and forth on the trail. Toby, however, ran in loops while going up and down the mountain (way off the trail). He leapt over fallen trees like a deer and splashed through the creek. Most of the time I could hear or see him, but sometimes I wondered if was coming back! Fortunately, there wasn’t in the parking lot on this chilly morning, so he had the freedom to run.

Speaking of chilly, when we driving up to the trail, my outside thermometer suggested it was 36 degrees outside. What?!? We didn’t gain that much altitude. Both of us were in denial thinking something was wrong with my car, but we didn’t even make it to the trailhead before we added layers, a hat, and gloves! It was our first cold morning of fall I think.

Our hike was absolutely lovely. We followed the path all the way down through the conifer forest to a quaint creek. We were happy to be hiking this trail at the end of the season as several places required creek crossings without a bridge. The water was low enough that we could walk across beaver dams and rocks without getting our feet wet.

Not long after we made it to the bottom of the canyon, we had to climb back up. This was good because I could finally put Toby on the leash (and get a little help ascending). It was warming up a bit, so we expected to see fellow hikers soon, and we did. We also saw a nice waterfall and enjoyed expansive views through the trees.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Beaver Brook/Chavez Trail Loop. For place to go near Denver, this hike might be one of the prettiest. I highly recommend it! ETB



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Beautiful Hike to Upper Cataract Lake

Surprise Trailhead
Fees: None
Elevation: 8,605-10,744 feet (below treeline)
Distance: 10.9 miles
Hours: Any…Careful for hunting season

I had such a great weekend! On Saturday, I went up to Schussbaumer, a ski chalet in Breckenridge, for a work party. There was hardly any work to do, so I just got to enjoy a relaxing day in the mountains and got to catch up with my friend Cat. I love that its just a short roadtrip for me to enjoy the Rocky Mountains…no flying across the USA.

I stayed the night at the chalet, and met up with Cat the next morning. We started out with a great breakfast at Clint’s. We were good and got eggs, but the muffins and cinnamon rolls sure looked delicious!! It was probably better to load up on protein since we planned on a 10.9 mile hike to Upper Cataract Lake.

Uniquely, just a month ago, a few of my fellow hikers and I aimed to hike Lower Cataract Lake, but accidentally ended up on the Upper Cataract trail (Surprise Trailhead), but we were limited on time and weren’t able to get to any of the lakes on the route. The last time I hiked the trail, we stopped at the trail intersection at mile 2.7 for a 5.4 mile jaunt as we admired the colorful aspens. This time, we climbed up the steep trail peppered with aspen leaves as they had already fallen. Then we entered the conifer forest laden with fallen trees.

The sun was out and the sky was clear on this 65 degree day. We worked up a sweat as we tackled the sharp grade. At the trail intersection, we turned right and continued climbing, though the terrain began to level out. As we were walking along, it was about time for a bathroom break. We scanned to our left and were surprised to see a lake concealed by thick timber! The name of the lake was appropriate…Surprise Lake.

We didn’t expect to reach it so soon, nor did the landscape seem to suggest we’d stumble across a lake here. Lily covered, it was quite different than the alpine lakes we generally strive to reach. We stopped for a short while, but the sweat on our backs coupled with the cool breeze encouraged us to continue.

It wasn’t long before my stomach started to grumble. Of course, we wanted to reach a lake but we stopped for a snack. We originally thought Surprise Lake was just a random pond, so we thought we would be at another body of water within the hour. Not so. We kept going and going while crossing a few streams. We even descended over the ridge toward a talus field.

On this side of the ridge, the wind was relentless. We gave into the elements and stopped for our hat, gloves, and puffy jacket. We also decided on a snack because we weren’t certain when we’d see the lake. Then Cat pointed to the right as she looked through the trees below and questioned, “Wait, is that a lake?”

Sure enough, it was! We threw our packs on and headed down the trail as we admired Eagles Nest Peak lightly dusted in snow. Soon we turned the corner and enjoyed a remarkable view of Cat Lake. At the time, we thought this was Upper Cataract Lake, but when we reached another trail junction, the sign suggested otherwise.

We were pretty cold at this time and weren’t willing to hike much farther, so we figured we’d actually read the description of the trail that we had on our phones! We warmed up a bit at the trail junction as we stood in the sun with some protection from the wind. This new warmth coupled with the good news that Upper Cataract Lake was only a tenth of a mile up the trail rejuvenated our spirits.

First we found a small pond and then a large lake tucked beneath the towering mountains. As much as we would have liked to sit by the lake for lunch, the wind was brutal! We climbed over a small, rocky ridge to find shelter and enjoyed a lovely view while we soaked in the sun. It’s amazing how cold 65 can feel with 40 mile per hour winds!

On our way back, we opted not to explore Cat Lake though the shore sure looked beautiful. We climbed back up the trail past the talus field and soon descended to the other side where we began shedding layers and enjoyed a pleasant walk back to the parking lot. It was a great day and gorgeous hike. We were pleasantly surprised by all the lakes! I’d highly recommend this trail especially during the fall color change. ETB



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Meridian Trail, Kenosha Pass, Ben Tyler Trail, and Estabrook

What a great week I had with friends and fall colors! On Thursday, Belinda, Tanya, and I hiked the Meridian Trail. Normally, I wouldn’t find this trail too exciting as it is an out and back path that climbs to a saddle with little view, no lake, and not much of a stream to speak of (all things I prefer on a hike), but for the fall this hike was a treat.

The trail is lined in several golden aspen groves. Occasionally we were treated to some orangy red aspens too. When we weren’t enjoying the intermittent groves that we walked through, we were admiring views along the way of green hillsides peppered with yellow and red. It was a lovely six mile hike on a gorgeous day.

On Friday, Tanya and I visited Kenosha Pass, known for its fall beauty and it didn’t disappoint. The golden hillsides were simply spectacular! I’m not sure my words or pictures could do it justice. Golden leaves floated to the soft ground in the strong wind while we stayed bundled up in the cool temperatures.

Our view from lunch on the ridge was magnificent. We hiked far enough in (a few miles) that we got to enjoy the solitude. For a Friday, the pass was quite crowded with cars parked along 285. I’m glad we made it there before the weekend!

Saturday, Erin, Brian, Mario and I hiked the Ben Tyler Trail, also known for its fall colors. This is another trail I wouldn’t normally find too exciting as it starts immediately with switchbacks up the mountain next to highway noise. But then, it weaves it way back through several aspen groves with views of a nearby hillside blanketed in fall colors.

What made the 2,500 foot climb over four miles even better was the dusting of snow near 10,500 feet. The fallen leaves in the snow was an added bonus to the lovely views. We felt lucky to hike when we did, as the aspen were already succombing to the winter weather that blew in overnight.

The cold weather also made Estabrook a little nippy! We hung out by the fire and had an awesome night…tacos and margaritas! Our final hike of the week was to the Bear’s Cave. I do it just about every time I go to Estabrook. It’s such a serene place to me! I had so much fun with my friends! ETB



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Surprise Lake…Sort Of!

Tanya, Ann, and I set out to enjoy the fall colors today. We had some time restrictions, so we thought we would just take a short 2.25 mile hike to Lower Cataract Lake and then grab lunch somewhere in Silverthorne.

Lower Cataract Lake Trailhead and Surprise Lake Trailhead are both off the same dirt road and probably only 100 yards apart. Unfortunately, we weren’t sure of this at the time we arrived at Surprise Lake Trailhead that also leads to Upper Cataract Lake. Tanya’s book was more official than my directions so we ended up stopping slightly short of Lower Cataract Lake Trailhead. Usually, the lower and upper lakes with the same name are on the same trailhead which is what caused the confusion.

In the end, it didn’t matter, except we never made it to a lake because Surprise Lake was too far to hike with our time limitation. Our goal, however, was to see fall colors and we were rewarded with lovely yellows, reds, and greens along the path and on our drive out to the hike. In addition, we got some extra exercise…always a plus for the long drive from Denver. We logged 5.5 miles instead of 2.25 while making our destination a junction at two trails.

Lunch was quickly kicked out of the equation as we took a leisurely stroll through the aspen groves and pine forests. There was a bit of an incline as well, so the hike turned out to be a bit harder than we expected, but nothing too bad. The wind was cool, the air crisp, and the sun warm; so needless to say, we seemed to layer and unlayer regularly over the 3 hours on the trail.

I love the fall and am looking forward to more leaf peeping over the next week! ETB



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Lovely Fancy Pass Loop

Well, I have to say, hikes to alpine lakes in Colorado are just spectacular. This was my third hike in the last ten days to an alpine lake and each one has been awesome. Today David and I decided to tackle the Fancy Pass and Missouri Pass Loop. We left the house at 6:30am to make the 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead. It was a bit disconcerting when we ran into sprinkles before we even reached Bakersville. We hoped that once we made it over Vail Pass the weather would change to the forecast…cloudy, with a high of 67.

At first it seemed like the drive was a bit long and wished we stayed the night or weekend in or around Vail. But the beauty of this hike more than made up for the five hours of driving. In fact, the beauty started soon after we exited Highway 24. Neither of us had driven through Minturn which was a cute little town. And the 8.5 mile drive on Homestake Road #703, a dirt road that passed through meadows and several camping areas was lovely.

Eventually we reached Fancy Creek Trailhead. Several cars lined the road. We expected the trail to be busy, but we actually enjoyed a quiet beginning as we followed the path though the conifer forest. We gained about 500 feet in elevation the first mile and probably 800 feet the second mile as we climbed the switchbacks. The dirt path turned to a flat rocky terrain as the creek cascaded through a narrow gorge.

Soon we made it to Fancy Lake, though we were traveling at a somewhat slow pace. What a picturesque lake tucked beneath the granite crags. Utani, the dog we are caring for, David and I stopped for a quick snack by the placid water before it began sprinkling. The cool weather encouraged us to continue on to keep warm. Upon reaching the trail junction we turned left up the rocky pass. We gained 1,200 feet over the next mile while marmots and pikas chirped and scampered around their nearby homes. The rain picked up and by the time we reached 12,400 feet it turned to sleet.

Despite the wet weather and low clouds, the view of Cross Creek Valley dotted in wildflowers and lakes on the other side of Fancy Pass was incredible. We maneuvered down the wet rocks and followed the path nearest the closest lake, Treasure Vault and admired Blodgett Lake in the distance. Here, the trail turned up Missouri Lakes pass, far less steep than Fancy Pass. Remnants of mining equipment peppered the surrounding peaks.

The view from Missouri Pass didn’t disappoint. We passed by a small patch of snow before we headed down to the largest of the lakes surrounded by patches of trees where we snacked again as the rain and sleet stopped momentarily. We sat there until the thunder boomed. This was our sign to mosey.

We passed by several more lakes of all sizes. The Missouri Lakes basin was quite a treat. And it didn’t stop there. The path crossed the creek down the mountain. We stopped several times to admire the tumbling cascades. The rain started again toward the end of our hike, but amazingly for walking through the rain or sleet for probably 3-4 miles of the 8.1 mile hike, we weren’t that wet.

On our way home, we detoured to Red Cliff and stopped for dinner. It was surprisingly good. Then, we decided to take the ten mile drive over Shrine Pass back to I-70. The dirt road was watered down and the surrounding peaks were enveloped in fog. I suspect we may take a weekend trip out this way again sometime. There was so much to explore in this alluring part of the state. ETB



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Fantastic Forest Lakes!

Wow…we are two for two for picking good hikes on Thursdays recently. Last week, Mohawk Lakes was amazing, and this week Forest Lakes was a pleasure!

Diana, Tanya, and I made it to the trailhead of Forest Lakes shortly have 9:30am. For some reason it seemed like forever to get to the East Portal of Moffat Tunnel. We went through a short construction zone, drove behind a hay truck, and finally reached the long dirt road at Rollinsville which led to our destination.

It was slightly nippy in the parking lot, so we added a few layers before we started up the trail. The path took us through an aspen grove, past an old house, and across a creek at during the first minutes of our hike. In about a mile, we reached a junction where we could turn right to go to Forest Lakes or go straight to Crater Lakes.

After shedding a layer and indulging in a few wild raspberries, we took the right turn up the mountain. We gradually gained altitude as we criss-crossed log bridges over beautiful waterfalls. A few purple and yellows wildflowers dotted the green, lush forest. The mushrooms were profuse. We worked up a sweat as we continued climbing through the evergreens draped in moss on this humid day. We were surprised to reach the lower Forest Lake so quickly. I suppose we hiked 30 minute miles which is normal, but last week we took so many detours it took forever to reach the lake. This time, 1.5 hours later, we were enjoying the reflections of the mountain peaks in the placid waters, as a nearby fisherman cast his line in search of a hungry trout.

From the lower lake, we hiked another 0.75 miles to the upper lake. We were admiring the contrast of the green forest, blue sky, and gray boulders when we suddenly noticed the upper lake. It was so big, it was kind of funny we didn’t even see it at first, but now we know why they are called Forest Lakes. The lakes were really tucked in beneath the pines and camouflaged by the greenery.

After stopping for a few pictures, we climbed up on an awesome boulder with a lovely view of the lake for lunch. The only downside to our lunch spot was having to watch the only other hikers at the lake fly a drone over their friend who was fishing. I don’t know if they were trying to spot fish or to just capture the action, but the constant buzz was a bit disappointing. We had just discussed how tranquil it was on this hike. It was far less crowded than Mohawk Lakes…in fact we had most of the trail to ourselves.

Fortunately, they only made a few passes with the drone, but in the short time we snacked, the clouds rolled in and socked down. While it was amazing to watch the surrounding peaks disappear in minutes, we also knew we shouldn’t admire the change of weather for long. We were already chilled from the sweat on our backs, the overcast skies, and cool 50 degree temperatures. I found myself in a puffy jacked, wool hat and gloves as I finished up lunch!

Soon, a sprinkle started, which turned into a steady drizzle. The tree cover didn’t seem to keep us clear of the rain, but we stayed dry enough with our raingear. It’s funny because the only other times Tanya and I have ever hiked in this area, it was cold and damp too. We wondered if this location attracted more moisture. Despite the early rain, we enjoyed another great hike. ETB



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Mohawk Lakes is a Must See!

Mohawk Lakes
Fees: Free
Elevation: 10,390-12,073
Distance: 6.7 miles roundtrip

The trail to Mohawk Lakes is a must see! We had the best hike today. We started out on Spruce Creek Trail which I can’t say is too pretty. In fact, I felt slightly disappointed. Many trees had fallen to the beetle kill, thus the forest wasn’t the best. But after about 1.5 to 2 miles, things changed in a hurry. We reached another parking area which I recommend driving to if your car allows and starting the hike at this point. That way most of the ugly part of the trail can be skipped.

We checked out the diversion mechanism at the creek before we crossed it just after leaving the parking area. Over the 3.35 miles to reach Upper Mohawk Lake at 12,073 feet, we had to gain just under 1,700 feet from the trailhead mostly over a gradual incline. We quickly reached the junction for Wheeler Trail, where we stopped to look for a moose in the pond. While we didn’t find any wildlife, we certainly enjoyed the magnificent reflection on the still water.

From the pond we carried on until we detoured to Mayflower Lake, another lovely stop. We were only just beginning with these side trips. In this area there were remnants of old cabins which we explored. After returning to the trail intersection, we faced our first steep climb. It wasn’t too bad and at the top we were rewarded with an awesome view of Lower Continental Falls and another cabin relatively in tact with a roof and make shift stove.

From here, we started another steep climb near the waterfall. There were two ways up the mountain at this point, straight up via an old mining cable or along some switchbacks. We opted for the cable route because it was so unique and not very hard. I highly recommend this way. It was so much fun to pull ourselves up the cable to the cog.

From the cog, we gradually ascended out of the forest and followed the switchbacks just above treeline to Lower Mohawk Lake. This lake was truly gorgeous. It had to be the shallowest alpine lake I have ever seen. Rocks popped through the water’s surface and the water was so clear we could see the rocky bottom. The surrounding landscape with another cabin and greenery as opposed to just rocks at most alpine lakes was breathtaking as well. Unfortunately, the sky appeared ominous, so we only stopped briefly to admire the lower lake before heading to the upper lake where black clouds loomed overhead. The storms were coming early today…it was only 11:00.

We sort of wondered if we wasted too much time exploring all the side trails and cabins given it took us at least two hours to go 3.3 miles and now we found ourselves racing over the final 0.4 miles to the upper lake in a light sprinkle. The upper lake, despite being lined by rocky peaks, was hardly protected from the wind, so our stop here was short at best. We decided it would be better to enjoy our snack at the lower lake which we thought was more picturesque and protected from the wind. We rested on the rocky shore until larger raindrops began falling which encouraged a quick departure.

For the next mile or so, zipped up in our rain jackets, we carefully maneuvered over the slick rocks at a quick pace. We wanted to get to tree cover for relief from the steady drizzle. While many storms blow over in twenty minutes in Colorado, this one seemed like it would last. Fortunately, we ended our hike during a dry pocket. While it took us three hours to ascend, it only took us one to make it back to the car! Before heading all the way back to Denver, we treated ourselves to a decadent cookie at Mary’s Mountain Cookies in Breckenridge.

It was such a fun hike and what made our outing even better was heading up to Breckenridge the night before and staying at the Schussbaumer Ski Club. We got to enjoy a nice dinner and relax for the evening before our hike in the morning which made it feel like a mini vacation! The only thing I would have changed about the day, is I would have driven up the rocky road to skip the first part of the trail to add additional mileage after Upper Mohawk Lake, as I read the are several other lakes beyond. With the rain threatening, we had to skip exploring them. I might have to repeat this hike though to give myself more time to enjoy it…this would be a rarity for me as there are so many trails in Colorado to hike. ETB



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Genesee Park: Great Place to Hike Near Denver

So Belinda and I set out to hike at Genesee Park off I-70. The 2,300 acre park was Denver’s first mountain park (1912) and is just a short jaunt along the highway west of the city. For the limited amount of time we had on Saturday, it was a perfect spot to explore. I had planned on connecting the Chavez Trail and Beaver Creek Trail to make a 3-4 mile loop. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the map with me and just typing Genesee Park into Google Maps didn’t get us to the correct location.

Upon exiting the highway, the sign pointed us to the left or the south side of I-70. I turned to Belinda and said, “That’s funny. I always thought the park was on the north side of the highway.” We later found out the trail we were searching for was on the other side of the highway, so we will have to try that out another time.

On the south side of the highway, however, we followed Genesee Mountain road that gradually wound around the mountain to a parking lot, picnic tables, bathrooms, and shelter. Several trails left from this area, none of which showed on the map we found online. In addition, we didn’t find a sign nearby with any description of the trails. It’s no wonder there was hardly so soul there on a Saturday morning, despite a lovely forest so close to downtown Denver.

We started at the Genesee Mountain Trailhead and then others split off from it. We had a choice to climb up to Genesee Peak or to keep following the Genesee Mountain Trail. We stuck with the Genesee Mountain Trail because it seemed like it was going to be flatter, and we were just out for a nice stroll with her dog Deacon in the beautiful weather.

Soon we reached the American Bison Trail. This time we followed it. We left the forest and ended up on a dirt road before we eventually reached a fenced area with the bison. I’ve seen them from a distance on I-70 in the past, but it was nice to get a good look up close. This park was home to the first buffalo and elk herds reestablished in 1914.

From the secured area, we turned up hill onto Genesee Mountain Trail again, and wandered through the woods once more. We ended up walking for about three hours, but if I had to guess we were slower than our usual 30 minute mile pace. We probably meandered five miles before returning to Denver.

I was pleasantly surprised by this area, because it was one of the few parks near the city that really made me feel like I was in the mountains. We hardly ever saw a view of buildings. It was all evergreens and pine needles. I vowed to come home and do more research on these trails. I still haven’t found a map for them. I’d like to know the distances because if I ever want to go for a short hike near Denver, I think I’d pick here! ETB



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Aspen and Conundrum Hot Springs

July 15-17, 2016

For David’s birthday weekend, we visited Aspen and backpacked to Conundrum Hot Springs. I left earlier than he did so I could wander the streets of the quaint mountain town. I took the longer scenic drive from Denver which took me over Independence Pass. I made my first stop here. I parked the car in the lot at the pass and followed a trail to the edge to view the lovely surrounding mountains. The cool breeze sent me back to the car relatively quickly where I continued on to Aspen.

I stopped at a sandwich shop, Grateful Deli, for lunch. I thought I might be able to find something for a reasonable price. The meal deal which included a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink was $13…Ha! That sounds about right for Aspen. The shops were nice as well, Van Cleef and Arpel, Ralph Lauren, Rag and Bone among other fancy retailers.

David and I got a great hotel for the night. Hotel Durant was a few blocks from downtown and the ski mountain…easy walking distance to both. The room was spacious with a nice view. We were able to squeeze into the bar after a short wait for a nice dinner at Wild Fig. From there we tried out the brewery before turning in for the evening.


Conundrum Hot Springs is a popular destination. The hike in from the parking lot is about 8.5 miles. We slept in until 7:30 and grabbed a quick free breakfast at the hotel before we made our way toward the trailhead. We knew with our late start, the parking would likely be a challenge. Of course the small lot was full, so we dumped our packs by the start and then drove a mile back to the main road where we parked on the shoulder.

So our day started by adding a mile to our hike. At least it was without a backpack. The next 8.5 miles led us mostly uphill over a rocky path. We passed through beautiful aspen groves, intermittent forests, and fields of wildflowers beneath a sunny sky. Fortunately, there was a light breeze that kept us cool in the unseasonably warm weather.

The wildflowers were nice though the dry, warm weather seemed to take a toll on them just as the biting flies took a toll on us. I’m not sure why I felt like this hike was so hard. It was my first time to carry a full backpack for the season, and it was steep in places, but it didn’t seem like I should have been struggling so much.

I will say I didn’t find walking across a boulder field or balancing on a log in the beaver pond to be too exciting. The variety on the trail, however, did provide nice changes of scenery which was quite enjoyable. About half a mile from the hot springs, we set up camp around several others. This area is so popular privacy is tough to come by and campfires aren’t allowed.

We hiked the rest of the way carrying a small day pack which included our swim suits, towel, sunscreen, off and the like. There were two hot springs, one larger than the other. Ten or so people sat in one that was a touch warmer than the smaller one which fit 4-6 people comfortably. Both springs were very muddy.


David could have sat there all day. I, on the other hand, tried to sit there for a whole hour. Once I had shriveled up, I was ready to go. Actually, probably before that, but it was his birthday! We hiked back down to camp to cook dinner and have a nap. He mentioned he might head back up there in the morning. The morning came around 2am for him. He hiked up in the dark and sat in the pool with a few others who didn’t bring a tent so they just slept in the springs! He stayed until the sun came up and then some!

Once 7am rolled around, I figured I should check to see if he was alive. I hiked up to the springs and probably ruined his fun when I reminded him we had to cook breakfast, pack up, hike down, and drive four hours home. Though I think he enjoyed a night under the stars.

The hike down wasn’t too bad though with all our ailments between the two of us, we realized our backpacking days might be replaced with easier activities in the next five years. Upon reaching the parking lot, we wished we didn’t have to walk the extra mile to our car. Fortunately, a couple of guys picked us up.

After treating ourselves to a deserving lunch at the White House Tavern, we took a slight detour to Glenwood Springs before heading back to Denver. I wanted to see the historic Colorado Hotel where my mom used to stay as a kid. It is neat. I will have to stay there one day. Of course, the metering at the Eisenhower tunnel was in force, so the drive home took a while, but it was a nice getaway to the mountains. Aspen is a beautiful place! ETB



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Fun Times at Estabrook

We had another nice visit to Estabrook. Over the week, I’ve been able to visit our cabin near Bailey a few times while my mom and Bart were there from Texas.

We relaxed and took a drive around the property in search of wildlife. Unfortunately, it was rather hot and dry so we didn’t spot much, but the hummingbirds were in full force on the front porch. I gave Bart a handheld feeder for his birthday, and he got a hummingbird to land on it.

David and the kids joined for a day. We drove to Johnson’s Gulch and then hiked toward the house. We went the opposite way of normal to see if any of the bridges had been replaced from the floods two years ago. We weren’t in luck, but we did get to enjoy the hanging bridge.

Later in the week, my tennis partner Ann joined me. She was a trooper. We crossed Craig Creek and followed the logging road up to Eagle Rock. After enjoying the view of the valley below, we headed back down and continued our walk to the Bear’s Cave. The bridge #5 was out, but the floods trapped a giant logged that crossed from both sides of the creek so we didn’t have to wade yet. The next log, however, that was recently cut for bridge #6 was a bit narrow and somewhat high for me to want to test my balance. It was likely easy to cross for many, but not me and Ann. Ann decided to wade while I inched across the log on my butt. I wished I had pants on instead of shorts as I incurred several scratches from the bark.

We made it to the Bear’s Cave and continued on to Johnson’s Gulch. We enjoyed the luxury of crossing several bridges in a row, but came upon one other that was out, and it required wading through the ice cold water that was maybe knee deep. We used a few walking sticks to help us balance on the slick, rocky surface below.

We warmed up our feet and moved on. Upon reaching Johnson’s Gulch, I told Ann that we had a choice. We could turn around and go back the way we came in the shade by the creek, or we would need to take the logging road in the sun up to a mountain peak before heading down the hill to the cabin.

The logs and the creek crossings were enough to influence Ann, who doesn’t like the heat, to pick the sun!! Upon reaching the Apogea site, we had our lunch and then came back to the cabin. It was an adventurous, enjoyable day and fun visit to Estabrook. ETB



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