Castlewood Canyon State Park

Posted this hike on my AroundTown5280 blog, because the park is close to Denver (30 miles). I enjoyed the ruins, the rim, and the deer! ETB

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The Rockies: Bear Creek Falls and Bluegrass Music in Telluride!

Telluride offers some spectacular options for hiking when not hanging out at the music festival. This morning, I hiked to Bear Creek Falls, a five mile round trip. The trailhead started at South Pine Street and continued toward town park and the festival to the left. I followed the rocky road that gradually climbed through the aspens to open areas that offered spectacular views of Bridal Veil Falls.

IMG_4246 bridal veil falls

One open area was a shrine to cairns. Rock piles balanced on other rocks, fallen trees, and grassy knolls. Another open area, very close to Bear Creek Falls offered amazing views of the valley below. The flat spot next to an enormous boulder seconded as an outdoor yoga studio.

Here the road narrowed to a tight trail that weaved through bushes all the way to the falls where I enjoyed a brisk spray from the water tumbling over the sheer cliff on this humid, cloudy day. Being used to zero percent humidity, twenty-two percent felt like a blanket!

After my hike and shower, I joined everyone at Elk’s Park to watch Dave Bruzza & Paul Hoffman while testing out the gourmet grilled cheese. All were fantastic! In fact, the food vendors did not disappoint. The gyros were delicious as was the chicken and waffles. The flank steak sandwich and the spinach and cheese wontons were super.

IMG_4601 dave bruzza

The festival called our names by 2:15 again. Punch Brothers were scheduled to play…followed by Yonder Mountain String Band and which we took a short rest before returning for Sam Bush who has played for the last 40 years at the festival, only missing the first one. After Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon geared up for its set at 10:30. I petered out early as I had to leave first thing in the morning. Everyone else soaked in the tunes and got to enjoy a heavy hitting line up on Sunday. ETB

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The Rockies: Music Festival and Hiking Trails in Telluride

We all made it to Telluride at different times today. Ashley, Dave and Bridget arrived first and staked out a camping area for us at the high school. We paid for a four day pass to camp here for the 41st Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Chris, Serena, and I brought up the rear around 5 pm, unloaded, popped up our tents and shade tents, and prepared to go into to town to get our music festival bracelets and dinner.

We mounted our bikes and pedaled away in an unorganized fashion. We managed not to run into to each other, but it was close. I wonder if the result will change with our sobriety level? We enjoyed a relaxing dinner at Brown Dog Pizza before meandering back to camp to watch the night sky fill with stars as the temperature plummeted. Chris had an app that tracks the path of the international space station, and at 10:06 it was scheduled to fly just above the mountain around 36 degrees in the sky. Low and behold, we watched it go by!! It looked like a plane without any flashing lights. It was the coolest thing. After that, I had to turn in because my toes were frozen and needed the warmth of my tent and sleeping bag. If only my eyes wanted to close and my ears couldn’t hear anything in the relatively quiet campground. Oh well.

Dave, Serena, and I woke when the sun came up. We walked to the opposite end of town near the entrance of the festival and held our spot in line to earn a number. Number holders get first entry to the festival when the gates open at 10. We refer to this as the tarp run. Festival goers run to claim their spot by laying out a tarp. We were all set…stage left, next to the tower, and in front of the foot path. The spot allowed for high back chairs, but no sun shades and was in a calmer area, where we could sit versus stand during the more rambunctious evening activities.

While Serena, Dave, Chris, and Ashley listened to the first band, Bridget was bagging Wilson Peak, one of the few fourteeners she has left, and I was climbing to Station St. Sophia, one of the gondola stops on the ski mountain. I began at South Pine St. where I planned to follow Bear Creek Trail to a waterfall. I didn’t have a map and saw a trailhead to the right without a mile marker and followed it. It lead to a road, which I assumed was the one I started on which switched back. This turned out not to be true, so when I turned right, I ended up on Camel’s Garden Trail instead of Bear Creek Trail and set out for an adventure.

The path, lined with wildflowers climbed beneath the aspen as snowmelt rushed down the mountain and across the path in multiple places. Camel’s Garden Trail turned into Telluride Trail, a ski road that zig-zagged up the mountain beneath the gondola. At times it was rather steep. Eventually it connected to Coonskin Loop, of a lesser grade, which circled around a nature center near the top of the gondola at 10,535 feet.

The views of town, Bridal Veil Falls, our campground, the music festival below, as well as the craggy peaks across the valley were magnificent. Part of what makes Telluride Valley so beautiful is that the U shaped valley was carved by glaciers 1.6 million years ago. The glaciers melted around 18,000 years ago, leaving behind the San Juan Mountains, the range in the Rockies.

I thought about riding the gondola down to enjoy the views on this crystal clear day, but since it was only 2.6 miles up I decided to walk and sometimes slide down the 2,000 foot descent. I reached camp around one, snacked on some lunch and headed to the show where I found Dave and Ashley basking in the sun. We listened to The Lone Bellow for an hour before retreating to the shade of camp.

After a few relaxing hours at camp, we headed back to the festival for a night of music showcasing an excellent lineup including Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek, and Brandi Carlile. While most of us turned in after Brandi Carlile, Dave and Ashley enjoyed the Nightgrass festivities too! They got tickets to Jason Isbell with The Lone Bellow who played at the high school. It was a great day of hiking and music in Telluride.

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My First (and last) Triathlon!

I’m veering away from my travel and hiking stories for a moment. I feel compelled to write about my recent triathlon experience. It was only a sprint distance, the shortest of the choices, but a challenge for me none the less.

I have numerous athletic accomplishments in soccer and hunter/jumper horseback riding, but in my mind, these accomplishments don’t compare to running a marathon or completing a triathlon because they came easy to me while long distance running, swimming, and cycling pose a greater test. I admire anyone one that can do these races…to me, they are torture! I guess I am a glutton for punishment.

I signed up for the sprint tri, a 750 meter swim, a 20K cycle, and a 5K run about 12 weeks ago and began a beginner training schedule. With all my travel, admittedly, I was not the best at following the regimen, and was most anxious about the swim. As a kid, I came in last place in every swim race at the country club. Once I thought I had a chance of winning a third place ribbon because their were only four kids racing, but I was denied! I’m not sure how much of my childhood performances were due to being the smallest person in my class through the eighth grade, or how much was due to being flat terrible at swimming and facing drowning more than once!

I tossed and turned most of the night, partly because I did not have full understanding about the transitions and partly because I was worried about waking up at 5:30. Of course the sun comes up before 5:30, so I was awake. I loaded up my gear and headed to Aurora Reservoir just before 6. I felt sorry for the driver of the overturned tractor-trailer, but was happy that it blocked both lanes of traffic just after my exit to Quincy Road. As I turned down Quincy, I looked to the north into a sky blanketed in a roll cloud. I hoped for dry weather as I pulled into the parking lot.

With my bag flung over my back and my tires aired up, I followed the more seasoned triathletes to the transition area where I attempted to pick up my packet, but had left my ID in the car! After racking my bike and dropping my gear, I retrieved my ID and got my number…69. I had this number once during the MS150 which prompted an endless number of comments over the 2 day, 150 mile ride. I wondered what I was in store for today. Amazingly, not one remark, but then again, I was in the back of the pack.

I tried my best to fit in with nervous energy swirling around inside. I slowly unpacked my bag as I inspected how others prepped their area. Their towel laid folded on the ground beneath with their bike shoes each stuffed with a sock and their running shoes. Their helmet stuffed with gloves and a pair of sunglasses hung from their bike’s handle bars. Slowly, athletes lined up for volunteers to mark their bib number on their arm and squeezed into their wet suits.

A guy on the other side of my bike rack, Paul, commented on my MS150 shirt and after chatting a bit, I admitted this was my first competition. He had competed in several Ironman’s and remarked, “The only danger is getting hooked on the sport.” I assured him that would not happen! I never got the “runner’s high” while training for a marathon…what the heck is that?!? And one duathalon was plenty for me as well. Neither one of these sports require swimming. There is a reason why a triathlon has taken me so long to check off my bucket list, and I don’t expect to check the box twice!

We were required to clear the transition area at 7, so we made our way to the sandy shore of the reservoir. I signed up for the beginner category, the last of 8 waves to swim in the 62 degree water. Each wave of swimmers could be identified by the color of the swimcaps the race provided…our group donned bright yellow. Sharon was another beginner that racked her bike near mine, so as first timers we stood on the sand watching the start and where the swimmers exited the water. It was fine for a while, but with the sun covered by the clouds the chilly morning air made us wish we were next up!

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My plan was to start in the back of the beginner swim, especially since we were swimming with men as well. I did not want anyone swimming over the top of me. The rectangular course was marked by bright yellow buoys that I attempted to spot as I swam from the start line. Once swimming, my goal was to freestyle slow and steady. Things changed quickly!! My rented wetsuit of THICK rubber was very constricting on my arms and shoulders. My arms felt pinched with every stroke. In addition, it was difficult to watch out for the pack of swimmers with my face in the water, so I resorted to breast stroke. I felt like I was hardly making headway and kept my eye on the kayaks stationed near every buoy just in case I needed to grab hold of one.

Holding on to a kayak is legal, but it seemed like cheating to me. My biggest fear of the swim portion was thinking that I couldn’t stop if I tired or I’d sink! Of course, Sharon pointed out, I could stop on the bike or the run, so why not the swim. OK, well my next goal was to not grab hold of that kayak no matter how much I wanted too! Anyone who owns a kayak should volunteer just once for a triathlon. I can’t say how much I appreciated the kayakers being there eventhough I didn’t use them, except for the advice of one who said, “blow your bubbles in the water, it will help you breath since the cold water makes it harder.” At this point, I realized I was closer to doggie paddling than breast stroking as I kept my head above the water due to my light panic feeling.

Once I rounded the farthest buoy, feeling more relaxed (that’s relative) and was on the homestretch, I decided I’d try freestyle again. Freestyle just didn’t work. I tried two strokes and a breath, five strokes and a breath and who knows what other combinations, but I always found myself stopping to see where I was, loosing all momentum. Plus, I started getting dizzy from my left ear being clogged and not being able to focus on anything in the murky water! Luckily I was aimed toward the finish line as it is very disconcerting to feel constricted in the chest with vertigo, and the flags in the distance encouraged me to breast stroke the rest of the way. Shockingly, I finished in the middle of the pack and in the time I had hoped!

As I followed the carpeted sidewalk toward my bike, I passed a station where volunteers help you strip off your wetsuit. They asked if I wanted help. With a wave, I responded “it won’t make a difference!” My transition time was almost 5 minutes…super long! Still dizzy, stripping my wetsuit off proved difficult. I opted to take my time snacking on some ShotBloks and taking a swig of water before I finally mounted my bike after several who finished the swim after me.

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The beginning of the bike course was downhill which I appreciated though all I could think of was I’d be climbing at the end of the ride. I followed the rolling hills through the Colorado prairie and was pleased to pass a handful of riders. With the hills and a headwind, I felt like my 14 mph average speed was acceptable. I finished the course in under an hour just in time for another long transition, though not quite as long at the previous one. I snacked a bit more, hydrated, wrapped up my ankle, changed shoes, and headed out for the run.

https://www.skipix.com/images/Crescent_Moon_Tri_CG_6-7-14_Bike_7/IMG_0044.jpg
courtesy of skipix

My run turned out to be the worst segment of the race. I feared it might be tough due to the unhealed avulsion fracture in my ankle, but it turns out my left leg was the least of my concerns. It felt like my right hamstring and calf were trying to cramp, but I think it was tendonitis in my knee, something my body is prone to in distance races. So, I ran down every hill and walked up every hill and eventually crossed the finish line. It took me about 7 minutes longer than I’d hoped…YIKES!

https://www.skipix.com/images/Crescent_Moon_Tri_CG_6-7-14_Finish_12/IMG_0959.jpg
courtesy of skipix

While my biggest goal was just to finish, an added bonus would have been to complete the competition in two hours, not counting transition time. I know the transition time is part of the race, but I never practiced it and truly cared more about being comfortable than getting a blister because I put my shoes on too quickly, so I didn’t even try to go fast in this area. I finished in 2:04. I’m certain that is slow for many triathletes, but I wasn’t last in any category or on the whole, so I’ll take it!

I ran into Paul at the finish line BBQ and recapped my performance. He said it can be normal to get vertigo since there aren’t any lines in the lake to follow! He also told me with broad shoulders and a long torso, I have a perfect body type for swimming…could have fooled me! I’m not sure I will be practicing anymore to find out. I’m pleased to be finished and feel accomplished that I did it. I have a high respect for anyone who can complete a triathlon, especially the longer distances. I think I will stick to more fun activities…like hiking! ETB

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The Rockies: Hanging Lake and Mike the Headless Chicken Festival

Today I headed out to Fruita, Colorado, around 18 miles from Colorado’s western border. Fruita is well known for its mountain biking trails, but I planned to visit for a different event, Mike the Headless Chicken Festival! I’ll get to the history of Mike later, but first I thought I would break up the four hour drive with a hike to hanging lake.

Hanging Lake may be one of the most popular hikes in Colorado. Everyone I’ve ever heard speak of it has found it beautiful. In the same breath, everyone tends to add, “but it is a long drive for only a two mile roundtrip jaunt. Find something else to do.” So, stopping on the way to Fruita fit into my plan perfectly. I even chose a Friday as to avoid some of the crowds.

I arrived around 10 am to find the parking lot 3/4 full…WOW! Then I was sorely disappointed when I found myself walking on a sidewalk wide enough for a motor vehicle. How could all my friends think this is so great, I thought to myself? With all the hikes available in Colorado, they like a commercialized spot with a sidewalk? It just didn’t seem right.

Much to my relief, after a quarter mile on the sidewalk system, I found a sign off to the left pointing the way to hanging lake. The dirt trail immediately ascended up the canyon beneath a canopy of trees! This path was much different from the flat, smooth sidewalk. Much of the mile long trail was narrow and steep. As I lunged up the chiseled rock steps, all I could think was tall men must have made this trail as the steps weren’t easily suited for women or short people.

By the same token, I’m glad there were some tall, strong men to build the trail as walking on a trail beats the alternative of scrambling over boulders and wading through the creek! When I reached the third bridge, a man who was resting after finishing the climb, claimed there were seven. I didn’t even notice I had crossed two bridges already. I must have been busy admiring the crystal clear water undulating down the creek bed. Or perhaps I was distracted by the towering canyon walls on either side of me. The rocks that looked like ocean bed fossils were quite cool too!

For as many cars that were parked in the lot, I was surprised to feel like I didn’t encounter that many people on the one mile trail. I came to a slight bottle neck just before reaching the lake as this portion was very steep. It reminded me of scrambling up the last bit of a 14er, though the scramble included stationary rocks and a handrail and only lasted a few seconds! It felt like the site was built for a tourist. The rock ledges and nearby tree were polished smooth with each passerby’s handprint. Upon completing my lunges and squats to reach the top (I’m glad I missed my gym class yesterday), I crossed a boardwalk built by Boy Scouts that led me to the lake.

The boardwalk was built to protect fragile plant life, and it provided a lovely platform to view that waterfalls that flowed into the 1.5 acre lake formed by a geological fault. The lakebed fell away from the valley floor above, and its edge is built by dissolved minerals deposited by the water. While the aqua waters were not only beautiful, but also clear enough to spot fish swimming below, what I found surprisingly cool was “spouting rock”.

I passed by the sign and path pointing up to “spouting rock” on the way to the lake because I wanted to see the lake first, and I’m glad I did. The stairs led to stepping stones through the creek to the cliff side where where spouted directly out of the rock. I counted four or five spouts (including the falls coming over the top) while standing on the left hand-side. Then I walked behind the falls and to the other side. It was a pretty amateur move on my part to forget to pack my rain jacket in my backpack. I could have used it. Both my camera and I got a good soaking, but it was worth it. From the right-hand side, I counted six or seven spouts! I loved it!!

Colorado has had a snowy winter and lots of rain the last week, so I’m guessing I arrived at a good time for strong flow. I don’t know if there is always this much water gushing out of the rock or not. From the right side, I ducked under some rocks and walked toward the lake and admired it from the falls above. It was so nice to be able to see this National Landmark from so many angles, except from in the lake. No swimming allowed…though it would have been too cold for me anyway.

I turned back the way I came and somehow passed several folks on the way down. This is a rarity! Usually, I’m a slow downhiller. I was hungry, however, and I could see the clouds rolling in from the West. I suppose I was the only one that didn’t want to get caught in the rain storm given people were walking up as the sprinkles hit just before I reached the parking lot.

From hanging lake I continued on to Fruita where I found my campsite and James M Robb Colorado River State Park (Fruita Section). The park is located just off 340 and a stones throw away from downtown Fruita and its famous festival. I can’t claim that I got the best site, as there was no privacy next to the bathrooms and the public congregation area, but it was the only reservable site available a month ago. All the other areas were BLM land available on a first come, first serve basis, and from what I heard later in my trip, they were snapped up by lunch today. Having said that, the campgrounds were nice, and I saw baby geese!

IMG_4157 geese

The festival featured a variety of events Friday evening and all day Saturday including a 5k, a disc golf game, and a car show. The theme of the festival was Mike gets Country-fied, so country bands headlined. I hung out at the festival early Friday evening so I was treated to Michael Alridge. He was quite good. I browsed the shops, ate some funnel cake, and listened to music while watching people trying to ride the mechanical bull. It had to be one of the funniest events I have ever seen. Kids and adults clutched a plastic handle that looked like a limp dildo, and proceeded to slide off the bull turning in slow motion in seconds. If anyone managed to hang on for an entire circle around, the operator sped the bull up to a snail’s pace where most everyone fell off within 15 seconds. The girls did better than the guys as they tended to hold on with their legs more than their upper body. One little boy was on his third spin when he started shrieking because he was about to fall off. Thankfully the obese man in a Texas Rangers T-shirt and plumbers pants fell off before his crack made a second appearance! If I didn’t have my hands full of junk, I totally would have tried it. That had to be one slick saddle, as I’ve never seen a bull move that slowly and dump everyone. I must say it was definitely the best entertainment of the backyard kids games which also included washers, cornhole, ladders, and roping a hay bail steer. Not only was it fun to watch, there was a line to ride, so the participants enjoyed themselves too!

It was a great day in Fruita. While I loved the festival, I plan on a hike tomorrow. Oh, and about Mike, the headless chicken, here is a link to his history…http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/history. He actually lived for 18 months without a head in 1945 and 1946, went on a nationwide tour and earned recognition in Life and Time Magazines! ETB

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The Rockies: Sites of Silver Plume

Today I took a photographic tour of Silver Plume. Silver Plume, incorporated in 1880, was once a silver mining camp along Clear Creek in the Rocky Mountains. The town neighbored a more glamorous Georgetown. What it lacked in elegance, however, it gained in mines. During the silver boom, Silver Plume was home to more than forty mines with a terrific output. The profits tended to flow two miles down stream to Georgetown where the mine owners lived, while mine workers lived Silver Plume.

The European immigrants of Silver Plume not only worked in the mines, but also started their own businesses including a newspaper, a brewery, and the 7:30’s mine cornet band. Legend has it that the mine owner was so proud of his band, that he hired miners that were better at playing music than mining!

After the silver crash in 1893, Silver Plume and Georgetown struggled to survive. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when locals recognized the historical and architectural value of the towns, preserved local buildings and created the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Landmark Historic District that the town’s began to showcase their history and attract tourism. The District also includes the Georgetown Railroad that still runs between the towns today.

Silver Plume is about 50 miles west of Denver in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains is home to many gems. I strolled along the town’s dirt roads past a handful of homes, a few businesses, and a significant amount of history including an old jail, the spring used for brewing, a church, a generator, and many other rusted remnants of the mining days. Up on the hill just east of town, I explored the outer structure of an old mine.

While once home to several thousand, now Silver Plume is a sleepy town home to a few hundred. It was a pleasure to stroll Silver Plume’s quiet streets and to soak in Colorado’s mining history just as a thunderstorm rolled through the mountains. The thunder sounded quite ominous as it echoed through the valley, but it was enjoyable to hear as it is a rare occurrence in the Denver area. Happy Easter! ETB

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The Rockies: Romping Around Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday, it snowed six inches in Denver, and today was forecasted to be sunny in the high 50’s. “A perfect day to snowshoe”, I thought.

I have been longing to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter time, so off I went. Going to the park is an all day event. Due to the floods last fall, certain roads are still under construction. Once I arrived in Lyon, I was greeted with a detour sign as the main road was closed.

The Highway 7 detour, however, was gorgeous. It took me through St. Vrain Canyon where rocky hills towered over the babbling brook which just six months ago was a raging river out of its banks. The recent snow lightly blanketed the landscape of evergreens, a pleasant view as I wound through the S turns on my way to the park entrance.

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The $20 entry fee for four hours in the park was a bit steep, but worth it nonetheless because I wanted to go! It would have been nice to share the expense with fellow hikers, but I don’t know too many people with Friday off, so I ventured out on my own.

My visit brought back memories of my three days at the park during my trip around the USA…great hikes, awesome campground, amazing elk, and a tense drive across Trail Ridge Road! Today, I wanted to hike in a different part of the park as three days wasn’t nearly enough time to cover all the terrain, so instead of visiting the popular Bear Lake area, I took the advice of the RMNP paper and hiked a featured trail called Cub Lake.

I wanted to hike six miles and this trail was 4.6 miles roundtrip. By looking at the map, I could connect to Fern Lake Trail to add some distance. So, just after the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, I turned left and then took the first right toward the Moraine Campground. I found the Cub Lake Trailhead shortly after turning onto a dirt road.

The trail began in a valley, crossed a creek immediately and gradually increased in elevation. While the trail through the meadow was snow-free, I strapped my snowshoes and micro-spikes to my pack just in case. After all, we had a decent snowfall yesterday. For the first mile or so, I stepped around mud puddles, ice patches and around a few rocks as I listened to the robins chip, watched the geese peck for food, and admired a mallard and it’s mate sunning on a rock near a marshy area.

Eventually I reach tree cover where the snow was protected from the sun and it was time to fish out my micro-spikes. I strapped them on and made new tracks in the pristine snow on the sometimes indiscernible trail. I was thankful to find a track (usually a post hole) from a traveler on a previous day as it helped me find my way. I “post-holed” a few times myself, once conveniently when I had removed my glove to snap a photo and after losing my balance my hand ended up icy-cold.

As I picked my way through the fresh snow, I came upon an aspen grove part of which was previously burned. As I understand it, an aspen grove is one tree as the roots are all connected. It was interesting to see one Aspen burned and another unaffected right next to each other. It also appeared like the elk liked to rub there antlers against the burned trees as the burnt bark was rubbed off in many places bearing a light inner skin.

It took me 1.5 hours to get the lake. I don’t know what was taking me so long as it didn’t seem terribly steep with only 540 of elevation gain. Perhaps it was due to breaking the trail or perhaps it was due to enjoying the beauty around me…though I just felt slightly sluggish. The lake was snow covered and it was difficult to differentiate between land and water. Being by myself, I decided to stop for lunch at the lake versus blazing more of the trail and mistakenly falling in! Just when I was finishing my peanut butter sandwich a family of three showed a bit winded as well. They thanked me for hiking first as my tracks kept them from getting lost!

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The wind picked up and I started getting chilled, so I said my farewells and headed back down toward my car. I came across a few more hikers along the way, not too many and as one moved over to the side, he “post-holed”. With a smile he remarked, “Just cooling my feet.” I’ll have to remember that!

While I didn’t spot anymore wildlife on the trail, I spotted a herd of at least 30 elk in the meadow between the campground and the trailhead. What a treat! Most of them were resting, but one was grazing and a few jumped to their feet as cars stopped along the road. I love seeing animals in the wild. On my drive back, I saw three more small herds. I suppose they waited for temperature to warm up before they came out to play!

While I would have liked to stick around the park longer, it was time for me to head back to Denver for the first Friday Art Walk in RiNo. My new favorite place is the Chocolate Crisis Center…WOW, was their chocolate good! And the whole concept was great with the chocolate packaged in a first aid kit along with a “prescription”! Another great day in the Rockies. ETB

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The Rockies: A Stroll Through Red Rocks

Today, Bill and I took a short 1.4 mile stroll along the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park. Red Rocks not only has trails, but is also a natural amphitheater for concerts. Some people even run the stairs in the concert venue!

We were just taking it easy on this sunny yet windy day! The trail, beginning at 6,280 feet undulated through meadows and valleys and twisted through the magnificent rock formations and eventually crossed a small creek. Each rock formation, that glistened in the sunlight, has a different name…frog rock, sinking Titanic rock, seven ladders rock…just to name a few.

Given the Trading Post Trail was short and we wanted to enjoy more of this beautiful spring day, we picked another trail that initiated at the lower north parking lot. We climbed the dusty trail to split where a sign pointed us right to the Red Rocks Trail and left to the Morrison Slide Trail.

First we turned toward the right and headed to the overlook which provided a nice view of the city. Then, we meandered back down and followed the trail to the left until we reached another overlook.

All in all, I don’t know how many miles we logged, but enough to stop off in Morrison for a lovely Italian lunch! It was nice to get the hiking season started! I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time in the mountains this summer. ETB

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