Trip Report – Roxy Ann Lake in Mt Zirkel Wilderness 7/12-13/2013

The plans for this weekend changed numerous times before we settled on a trip.  We took off Friday so we’d have extra time for the drive to the Mt Zirkel Wilderness (near Steamboat/Walden).  I was out of town through Thursday which left Lydia taking care of Ellery by herself and neither of us with a lot of time for planning, communicating, or packing.  Nick came over, we hit the road, and texted Augustine and Joanna that we were on the way.  Unfortunately through our lack of communication she thought we were going to her house.  We stopped at the top of Berthoud Pass (where they are doing a lot of work and have new signs with information about the Continental Divide Trail) when we got a call from her asking why we hadn’t made it to her house yet. Oops.

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Trip Report – Cottonwood Pass to Avalanche TH Collegiate Peaks Wilderness 7/4-6/2013

To celebrate ‘Merica’s Independence we set out on a trip planned by our friends Tom and Margaret.  They did a great job of finding a route in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness with multiple exit options to accommodate people that had to drop out early (whether for a wedding, previous commitments, or giving up).  Although we were planning on the full trip (27 miles) we took advantage of the flexibility and ended up bailing early (18 miles).

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Buffalo Springs Campground 6/28-30/2013

We haven’t done a whole lot of camping the last few years, but we have planned an annual trip with our community group (small group from church) each year.  With Ellery wearing us out we’ve started to look forward to camping more and more.  My approach has always been to use my backpacking kit and just enjoy some better food/drink.  Lydia sees it as an opportunity to bring all the comforts of home to the outdoors and of course to get to enjoy s’mores.

For this trip we decided on the Buffalo Springs Campground (12 miles south of Fairplay, CO).  We had been to the Weston Pass Campground and loved the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness area with its scenic views and thick forests, but that campground doesn’t take reservations.  Buffalo Springs was perfect for this weekend.  We had between 15-20 people on 3 spots and there was plenty of room (just have to be careful to abide by the vehicle and tent restrictions).  The camp host, Steve, was quick to make the rounds and introduce himself and let us know about any issues (like not parking in perfect alignment with the curb).  He takes good care of the place as evidenced by the raked dirt on our site.

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Day Hike – Mesa Cortina TH to Willow Falls – 6/15/2013

The Band (Who): Nathan, Lydia, Ellery, Jared, Eli, Gwang-Yi

(What) we enjoyed on the trail:  Getting some exercise with friends in a new wilderness area (Eagle’s Nest) after a fun night at the Dam Brewery and 101 Three Rivers.  The hike in was amazingly flat and the falls did not disappoint.

Getting There: Trail Description

Willow Falls in June

Willow Falls in June

The Trail: The Mesa Cortina trailhead is near Silverthorne, CO.  Take the trail until you meet the Gore Range Trail.  Follow signs to Willow Falls.  The entire trip is 8.75 miles (out and back).

Trip Report – Goose Creek Loop 6/8-9/2013

This was a big trip for us.  It was our first backpacking trip of 2013.  It was the first time we’d be taking Ellery (at 4 months old) out overnight in the wilderness.  It would be our 4th attempt and Nick’s third attempt at the loop.  Most of the reasons for the failed previous attempts stemmed from the fact that we always push the envelope and try to do this one too early in the year since it’s one of the first places the snow melts.  Lydia has vowed never to return and this is also Frisco’s least favorite place on earth.  But we finally conquered and this is the tale.

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Day Hike – Reynolds Park – 5/21/2013

The Band (Who): Nathan, Lydia, Ellery, Frisco, Charger

(What) we enjoyed on the trail:  Finding a new favorite trail close to Denver with sufficient shade, great views of Pikes Peak and the Divide, and walk up tent camping (.5 mile in) which would make a great test spot with Ellery.

Getting ThereGet directions from Google Maps 

Panoramic vista with Pikes Peak in the background

Panoramic vista with Pikes Peak in the background

The Trail: This trailhead is near Conifer, CO.  We did about a 4 mile loop by starting at the NW parking lot (main paved one) and passing the entrance (don’t forget to grab a map) and then take a right on the Elkhorn Trail.  Take a right on the Raven’s Roost trail, which is well maintained but definitely uphill.  Hang a right on the Eagle’s View trail where you’ll eventually be rewarded with great views of Pike’s Peak, rock formations, and the Continental Divide.  Take a right on the Oxen Draw trail back to the trail head through a nice shaded canyon.  You’ll hit a bunch of small intersections on the way in, but most end at the trailhead.   Map from Jefferson County of Reynolds Park.

Day Hike – Myers Ranch Park – 4/20/2013

The Band (Who): Nathan, Lydia, Ellery, Frisco, Charger

(What) we enjoyed on the trail:  A quick escape to nature on a familiar trail covered in snow without the normal traffic.

Getting ThereGet directions from Google Maps 

The Trail: This is a very popular trail near Aspen Park, CO.  It’s one we’ve done a ton of times since it’s convenient from Denver, you get a good workout, you escape into the woods, and you can do it in any season.  This time the snow had driven the crowds away except for a few families sledding at the first hill.  We typically take all right turns (Owl’s Perch Trail to Lodgepole Loop to Sunny Aspen Trail to Old Ski Run Trail and back eventually joining the Owl’s Perch Trail) which results in a 5.1 mile loop.  This park has a bathroom and picnic tables.  Map from Jefferson County of Myers Ranch Park.

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Snowshoeing – Abyss Lake Trail – 3/30/2013

The Band (Who): Nathan, Lydia, Ellery, Frisco, Charger

(What) we enjoyed on the trail:  Peace of having a trail all to ourselves and great winter views of the mountains (not sure which ones we were actually seeing but Bierstadt and Evans are in that direction).   We hiked up to the creek crossing, had lunch, and then headed back when Ellery started to get fussy and a storm was starting to blow in.   Although we could have worn our snowshoes we both stuck with Ice Trekkers since they are lighter and the snow wasn’t too deep in most places.

Getting There: Take US Highway 285 west to Grant. Turn right (North) on Park County Road 62 (Guanella Pass Road) and drive 6 miles to the Abyss trailhead. The parking area is on your right. 

The Trail:  See the ORIC description of the Abyss Trail to Rosalie Junction

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Gear Review: Bertucci A2-T Vintage Field Watch

Last fall I purchased the Bertucci A2-T Vintage field watch model 12027.  I’ve been able to test out a complete setup along with the Pro-Guard and two different bands, the default heavy duty 2-ply nylon band and the Tridura Ultraband.  I absolutely love the blend of tradition and innovation which drives the clean aesthetics and durability of this field watch whether I’m on the trail or in the office.

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Bertucci A2-T Vintage Field Watch with Pro-Guard

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Day Hike – Mt Galbraith – 3/29/2013

The Band (Who): Nathan, Lydia, Ellery, Augustine, Frisco, Charger

(What) we enjoyed on the trail: Thrill of escaping a sketchy hike without trekking poles while carrying a newborn after someone told us we wouldn’t make it very far because of snow/ice.  Lesson learned to bring the poles and Ice Trekkers for all Colorado hikes in March.

Getting There: Get directions from Google Maps 

The Trail:  Take the Cedar Gulch Trail (1.3 mi) to the Mt Galbraith Loop Trail (1.6 mi) and return on the Cedar Gulch Trail.  The back side of the Mt Galbraith Loop Trail is a little hard to follow due to extra tracks exploring around so be careful to stay on the trail and take one of the maps available at the trail head.  This is great trail run with excellent views over Golden and back towards Denver, but there are parts where you have to scramble a bit so take your time.  Total mileage is about 4.2 mi.  Map from Jefferson County of Mt Galbraith Park.

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