Road Trip to the Rockies: Button Rock Preserve

Button Rock Preserve

Trail(s): Sleepy Lion Trail
Location: Button Rock Preserve
Fees: Free
Distance: 4.7 miles
Dogs Allowed: Yes

I was pleasantly surprised by Button Rock Preserve, operated by the City of Longmont.  Many time, “Preserve” is synonymous with “No Dogs Allowed”, but this preserve had a leash, off-leash, and no dogs allowed area.

I got a late start this morning and I didn’t arrive to the trailhead until around noon.  I expected that many people would be finishing up their 4.7 mile hike, but the parking lot was full of families, hikers, climbers, and dogs on this sunny, yet crisp winter day.

The beginning of the trail follows a slightly graded dirt road.  Generally, hiking up a road with lots of people isn’t my favorite type of hike, but it passes by climbing cliffs, a dam, and the small Longmont Reservoir which just look like a wide, slow moving portion of the North St. Vrain Creek which is also skirted by the road all within 3/4 of a mile. Continue reading “Road Trip to the Rockies: Button Rock Preserve”

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Road Trip to the Rockies: Winter Park

Road trip with Friends to Winter Park

My friends, Brian and Erin, kindly shared their condo in Winter Park with me this weekend.  I felt so fortunate to be able to head to the mountains Friday afternoon and miss the Saturday morning ski traffic.  What a luxury they afforded me!  On top of including me in their weekly winter trek to the mountains, as I don’t ski, they graciously joined me in snow shoeing on one of the biggest powder days of the lackluster snow season.

Saturday morning we geared up, stepped out of the condo, and wondered what in the heck we were doing.  Wind whipped tiny flecks of snow into our faces as we shoved our packs and shoes into the trunk of their convertible Audi complete with snow tires!  Brian drove us 45 minutes to the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park where we found the trailhead to Shadow Mountain Shore.

Continue reading “Road Trip to the Rockies: Winter Park”

Road Trip to the Rockies: Two Days in Ouray!

Want to know what to do for two days in Ouray during winter? Here are a few ideas for the top things to do in Ouray.

WHERE TO STAY:

Stay at The China Clipper Inn. I scored a room for $100/night just a month before this busy weekend. This spectacular Bed & Breakfast is located in town just one block off Main Street. The China Clipper Inn is wonderfully decorated. It’s living room includes a fireplace which is very nice to enjoy during the winter months. It’s breakfast is great. It includes warm items like eggs, quiche, potatoes, ham and bacon, as well as mouth watering muffins and a lovely fruit salad. Of course it also includes coffee, tea ,juice, cereals and breads too. My room had its own fireplace! It is a really great, quaint place nearby everything. Continue reading “Road Trip to the Rockies: Two Days in Ouray!”

Thebes Courthouse

Day 7 – Sights along Shawnee Hills Scenic Byway

DAY 7 OF YEAR LONG ROAD TRIP FOLLOWING SCENIC BYWAYS IN THE USA

I’ve made it a week on my adventure…and I have to say it has been pretty smooth so far, except for Scout.  I’ll have to see how she is today.  For some reason, I get the feeling she’ll only get to enjoy the journey for a week.  At least that is better than sitting in the backyard in the Texas heat while I’m at work.

Due to the new experience of a private campground and the trains that cross the river (about four an hour), I didn’t get much sleep last night, but I did get to see the moon shining on the Mississippi at 3:30 in the morning, and it was phenomenal.  Despite the lack of sleep, I’d still recommend Thebes Landing RV Park & Campground to anyone.  Neal is going to bring in a barge and add a bar to it.  He said the Corp of Engineers denied his permit three times, but consistency paid off.  The guys in the St. Louis office decided to hand deliver the permit instead of mailing it because they just wanted to meet him.  Continue reading “Day 7 – Sights along Shawnee Hills Scenic Byway”

Dillard Mill, Mark Twain National Forest

Day 6 – Meandering through the Missouri Ozarks

DAY 6 OF YEAR LONG ROAD TRIP FOLLOWING SCENIC BYWAYS in THE USA

Camping at Montauk State Park

Just as I was packing up to leave camp and thinking people at the less populated campsites were friendlier, Pete popped over for a visit.  In reality, I think people just try to respect each other’s privacy in such an enclosed space, but Pete was bold enough to say hello, and I’m glad.  It’s nice to talk to people along the way.  My VW pop-up top, Texas plates, and camping alone peaked his curiosity.  He is an insurance agent located in St.  Louis  who specializes in small business health care.  He and his buddies came down to fish with flies he ties as a hobby.  He successfully hooked some trout with them…GO PETE! Continue reading “Day 6 – Meandering through the Missouri Ozarks”

Mark Twain National Forest

Day 5 – Springs of the Missouri Ozarks

DAY 5 OF YEAR LONG ROAD TRIP FOLLOWING SCENIC BYWAYS in THE USA

 Camping

There was only one other camper at the campgrounds when I pulled in last night.  It made me a little nervous when he asked if I was alone.  I promptly said my dogs were with me.  His next sentence was, “if you need anything, let me know.  I’m going to the lake.”  He had a nice boat and it turns out he was most concerned with fishing.  He fished last night and this morning before I left.  A few more campers also trickled in, so that added comfort to my evening’s choice.  For such a nice lake, I was surprised to not see more people, but I think its downfalls were the noisy trucks trying to make it up the two lane road nearby and the fact there weren’t individual water hookups.

Best Springs to Visit in the Missouri Ozarks

Grand Gulf State Park

My first stop this morning was Grand Gulf State Park just north of the Missouri/Arkansas border.  The park has a mile long trail that passes by a narrow chasm known as “The Little Grand Canyon”.  It used to be a cave system, but the roofs collapsed.  There is still a small portion with the roof intact which forms a natural bridge.  Matt, the friendly ranger, explained the trail and suggested that I take the stairs down to the canyon.  It was a perfect morning jaunt for the dogs! Continue reading “Day 5 – Springs of the Missouri Ozarks”

Mystic Caverns

Day 4 – Formations of the Arkansas Ozarks

DAY 4 OF YEAR LONG ROAD TRIP FOLLOWING SCENIC BYWAYS AROUND THE USA

Best Places to Visit in the Ozarks

Well today was much smoother than yesterday, though maybe not for the mama, papa and 2 almost newborn puppies I found in the middle of the road.  They were near a house, but somehow I got the feeling they were dumped there.  I felt so sad…I certainly couldn’t house 6 of them and had no clue where a vet or shelter would be.  I moved them to the side of the road and left them some food.  I hope someone took them in!

Pedestal Rocks

My first stop on the route today was Pedestal Rocks. My  Reader’s Digest Scenic Drive book explains that “natural forces – millions of years worth – have carved the rocks so that large boulders are upheld by pillarlike ones” and that the trail is one mile long.  It sounded pretty cool to me and “dog doable”, so off I went. Pedestal Rocks is located in the Ozark National ForestContinue reading “Day 4 – Formations of the Arkansas Ozarks”