blanketflower on stone mountain

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Stone Mountain

I changed up my hiking scenery this past week.  Instead of heading toward the Rocky Mountain foothills near Bailey, I ventured toward the foothills near Loveland, Colorado.  Here, I hiked the trail to Stone Mountain.

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view on Bruno Gulch Trail

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Bruno Gulch Trail

I just recently posted about South Park Trail and the hike I completed the following day, Bruno Gulch, intersects this trail at a location farther south.  That tidbit of information isn’t terribly important if you are only looking for a short and easy hike, but if you are looking for more distance, these two trails may be hiked together as a point-to-point.

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view of Square Top Lakes from South Park Trail

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Trail 600 AKA South Park Trail

I hesitate to write about this trail, as this particular segment of Trail 600 also known as South Park Trail, is not on the All Trails App.  As a result, this seven-mile out-and-back hike close to Denver alludes crowds. While the entire length of South Park Trail is around 12 miles, there are three places where it may be accessed.

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shelf lake trail

RoadTrip to the Rockies: Shelf Lake and Rolling Creek

Another month at home in Colorado during COVID equals another weekend at Estabrook, our family ranch near Bailey, Colorado.  This time, a friend of mine, Tina, came up from New Mexico.  She is a nuclear scientist, and I really enjoy our intellectually stimulating conversations. Such chats have sometimes been lacking during my retirement years.

Anyway, she is also a hard core hiker and definitely ran me through the ringer during the early hiking season in Colorado.  While she is already in better shape than me, she had additional advantages. She lives at a higher altitude in Albuquerque, and has already been enjoying hiking weather.

Aside from the usual hike we do on our property, we set out on two more hikes for the weekend.  The first was Shelf Lake and the second was Rolling Creek.

HIKE AWAY!
view from legault mountain

Road Trip to the Rockies: Legault Mountain

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.

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3 Hikes on the West Side of Rocky Mountain National Park

I got lucky and Dan and Lori, who I housesat for in June, let me use their house in Grand Lake for a few days.  As such, I explored the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.  This side is less crowded than the east side though it still attracts many visitors in search of moose.  It also features several long trails.  Below are three hikes in the 10-12 mile range.

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The Sneffels Traverse – Day 4

Morning Coffee

Our fourth and final day on the Sneffels Traverse took us 8.1 miles from the Ridgway Hut to Ouray.  We skipped staying at Burn Hut for another night as it was only 4.1 miles away.  With the final hike being mostly downhill and not too long, we voted for a later start…8:30 am.

As usual, Tina was the first one up.  She turned on the propane and got the water boiling.  Normally, we would have left the propane on overnight, but there was a leak outside the cabin. Given a leak can cause an explosion and even emit carbon monoxide in certain instances, I, being the worry wart, turned it off.

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blue columbine with blue lake in background

The Sneffels Traverse – Day 3

Wake Up Call

For our third day on the Sneffels Traverse, we planned a 6.6 mile side hike to Blue Lakes before trekking 5 miles to Ridgway Hut.  Due to speculative weather, we planned an early departure.  Tanya’s phone alarm rang at 5:15 am.  She was in such a deep sleep, she couldn’t even find it! 

I wish I could say the same.  I was up before my alarm.  Though it was kind of funny, when Tanya commented, “I’m used to Karla’s 14er hikes, when a chorus of phone alarms chime.” I know!  Fortunately, Tanya’s alarm worked for the whole cabin, and we began quietly preparing our day packs while waiting on the pot of water to boil for our much-needed tea and coffee.

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The Sneffels Traverse – Day 2

Pre-Hike Departure

On our second day of the Sneffels Traverse, a deer made a brief visit to the meadow by our hut as Tina, the first to rise, got the water boiling. Half the group poured their coffee and tea and walked out to the beaver ponds to watch the sunrise while the other half the group packed up and ate breakfast.

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