Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mt. Sanitas, Boulder

 We usually don't drive this way to Boulder, but today we had to stop in Downtown Denver at my husband's office and had a yummy pre-hike breakfast while we were there too! I highly recommend Snooze at Union Station and their variations of Eggs Benedict. Anyhoo, I also recommend the drive up I-25 N then take 36 (Boulder Turnpike). I love seeing sweeping vistas of what we're about to hike on our way there!

This hike starts off with a swift kick in the butt. It's a good long stairmaster-esque climb, but the views are better than at the gym! 
This is a view of the summit, about 1/3 of the way up, after the break from the stairmaster. There are a few steep climbing parts after this, but this part is nice, slight incline, lots of great views of Boulder to the right and Sunshine Canyon on your left. 

 I faced south for this view (180 turn on the trail up). The flatirons are in the distance.

Here's another stair-climber section about 1/2 way up. Great views of Boulder to the east here, what would be my sweet daughter's left. She is almost 8 and hiked this entire thing. 

 I stupidly forgot to get a photo of the actual summit, but this mountain vista is from the summit, facing west. The summit is a small rock outcropping that has a nice 360 degree view.

This is our favorite part of the hike- someone has made a small recliner out of rock!
This is about 1/2 way down the backside of the hike, facing east. You can see the switchbacks and Boulder in the distance. 
This is most of the way down from the summit...this is the eastern slope of what we just hiked, facing southish towards the Flatirons. You can make Mt. Sanitas an out-and back from the summit or continue down like we did and it's a nice loop. 

 This is looking north west-ish, and the high point near the middle of the shot is the summit.

This took us about 2 1/2 hours- my daughter hiked the whole thing, but my 6 year old son needed to be carried a bit... He tends to whine a bit more on hikes and Daddy falls for it every time and lets him ride on his shoulders. :) Note, this was an exceptionally gorgeous February day with highs in the mid 60's and a light breeze... we never hike this in the summer (lots of sun exposure) unless we get on the trail before 9am. (which pretty much never happens since we've had kids haha). 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Group Hike- Kenosha Pass

It's been a while since I've posted, but the reason is, most of the hikes we do, we do overandoverandover because we love them so much and they're convenient. But! We recently joined some fellow hiking parents to a new hike we'd never done! It was a wild, crazy, cat-herding good time! What else do you expect with six adults and their six wild offspring, ages almost-two to almost-six?

Yes, Crazy, party of 12, Crazy? Right this way!

Haha, it was actually quite lovely and if I'm going anywhere with that many young kids, it's going to be WIDE open spaces. Sure, there's some eye-pokable sticks and wild animals to worry about but overall, they can run amok to their hearts content and potty pretty much wherever they please.

The kids had a ball and new friendships were forged.
And no sticks ended up in any eyes. Whew!

And my favorite part of any hike, the reward for all that hard work (ha, this was actually a nice, kid-friendly walk)... THE VIEW!

And miracle of all miracles, we got a self-timer photo with eleven of the twelve hikers looking at the camera. My very own Samwich gets the honors of not cooperating! (He jumped out of my arms at the last second, making me strike that strange half-squat profile shot.

THE DIRECTIONS: From C-470 and US 285, go south toward Fairplay about 47 miles. We stopped in Bailey for the last potty pit stop and granola bars, then it was about 10-15 more minutes up to the trailhead. Just look for the signs saying Colorado Trail and park on the right.

THE DETAILS: We hiked about an hour (at a meandering-kid pace) to get to the spot where we took the group pic, snacked, then turned around. Note, it was still chilly up here in late May, like 48 degrees chilly, so thanks to my well-prepared friend who lent me and the Hubbs jackets!) New rule, four jackets in the car at all times. And the giraffe and bear hats, naturally.

THE DAWG?: We left her at home, but all websites I read said doggies have a green light!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

McCullogh Gulch, Near Breckenridge July 2011

This photo pretty much sums it up. Sums what up, you ask? Um... why I LOVELOVELOVE this state and why I LOVELOVELOVE my husband. Sometimes, he has to drag me up these hikes, but 99% of the time, when I'm on the trail, surrounded by all this majestic natural beauty, I thank him for it. And God for creating it and giving me the legs and the ability to hike it... Legs which are starting to fold like a  cheap beach chair under the weight of my growing 2 year old.





And what's funny is he is still a lightweight according to all the official doctor charts... I can't imagine if he was what he is "supposed" to be. I wouldn't have made it up half this trail!

Thank God then, that he is my tiny little Tea Sam-wich instead of my footlong Meatball Sub Sam-wich, I guess... (Ha, he'll love hearing this when he's 17, huh?) Thank God though that I can still manage to haul his cute little heinie up mountains. Hiney? Heiny? Spell check doesn't like any of them... oh well. Tushie? Nope. Not that either. Oh well!

So here's the trailhead... we took a gamble and drove past almost a mile of parked cars, and SCORED rockstar parking and snagged the second-closest spot to the trailhead, arriving right as someone was leaving. Someone who was out of the house and on the road earlier than us, I should note. We didn't get out of Denver until nearly 9am, and didn't even start the hike until 10:30... I'm guessing the someone who had the spot before us didn't have two kids who slept in, dragged their feet getting dressed, needed a last minute emergency diaper and freaked out over not having their giraffe lovey in the car...

Thank goodness it was a mild, 70 degree, slightly breezy day in the rockies. Even though it was a late start, it was b-e-a-utiful!!
This was pretty much the only time ever that The Hubbs has been behind me on a hike. He had to deal with a Four-Year-Old needing to find a place to potty. (Again, please reference the article "Things Early Hikers Don't Need to Deal With")

This hike is an old mining road, so sure enough, there was an old mining cabin (now converted into a storm shelter) alongside the trail, just a few minutes in.
There's not much that's fun about being a miner I'd bet, but the real estate sorta rocks. Oops, bad pun! :D

At the end of the hike, (well the end of OUR hike, since we were late for lunch in Breckenridge, tired and needed another pitstop) was this beautiful waterfall...
We were told that about another 30 minutes further was a lake, that was "worth it" but that gentleman and his wife lacked two hungry, tired children strapped to their backs, so what do they know.

Maybe next time. As in when the kids are old enough to hike it themselves. Go here to see a photo of it, apparently taken by someone with a really cruddy, like 1.7 megapixel camera.

The Directions: I-70 W to Breckenridge. At the last stoplight at the end of Breck, hit your tripometer thingy or whatever it's called and continue south on 9 for 7.6 miles (past all the cool houses I want to retire in someday) and turn right on Blue Lakes Drive (#850). Go about 100 yards and turn right on McCullogh Gulch Road (#851). Go 2.2 miles to the trailhead. You'll pass the trailhead for Mt. Quandary, one of Colorado's great "fourteeners'. Laugh at the amateurs starting THAT hike at 10am, then realize you haven't done a fourteener in 5 years and shutthehellup.

The Details: Well, a few differing opinions on how long this trail is, depending on what website you query. It's at most, 2.7 miles, so go with that one. It took us about 2 hours, roundtrip and we hung out at the waterfall for a good 10 minutes.

The Dog?: Yup.

Sidenote, be sure to cap off your hike with lunch at Quandary Grill in Breck. Best view in town, nice beers and one helluva burger.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Castlewood Canyon, Lake Gulch Trail

Ben Franklin once said "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Or something like this. You Google it, I'm too busy with important stuff, you know, like making fish sticks and/or wiping something off of some end of someone small.  I promise, if it's both, I wash my hands in between.

Anyway, back to Benny Boy. While I agree with his sentiments if one is say, climbing Everest or even taking two small children to the zoo, (which is arguably harder), sometimes you have to just go with the flow. Sometimes, with small kids, and often with milehighkermunchkins, you can't rely on a plan, planning is pointless and/or not planning is more fun anyway! Wow, lots of and/ors so far today... I am sleep-deprived and/or a little crazy...

*coffee break*  *elevator music*

And now, back to our regularly scheduled show. So...Our Castlewood Canyon Lake Gulch hike last weekend was a perfect example of this not-planning-just-fine-loosey-goosey-way. We checked out the directions and a few details on my cool new other iPhone app, AllHikes, (the first one being iMapMyHike) tossed the kids and the dog in the car and off we went. Really, all we knew was that it was $7 bucks for a day pass, a few friends and family had done it before and said it was fun, and that it was a gorgeous Colorado   day.
Oh hello, Pikes Peak. You look lovely today.

On the no-planning tip, (Tip? Who am I, Run DMC?) we brought our jogging stroller and NOT our hiking backpacks. MilehighkerHubby figured the trail would be flat and wide enough for it... well, except for the first few hundred feet from the parking lot, nope. Upon arrival, the ranger, who took our aforementioned seven bucks, told us the trail has railroad-tie "stairs", big ruts and was single-track in most parts.. oh well. So the kiddies walked and/or we carried them. Oops, guess the coffee didn't help that. I'm just an and/or sorta gal. Whatever the heck that means.

The kids did great! There were a few parts when descending into the canyon that the mama bear in me shrieked and desperately leapt to whisk my precious babies away from the drop-off gently guided my children away from the small, short hill, but other than that, it was a few-feet-wide trail where we could even hold hands and sing a few bars of "The Bear Went Over The Mountain". Note, while the above sentences were a *slight* over-dramatization, there are a few parts of this hike where an unattended child could fall and get hurt, so keep them eyes on them babies if you forget leave your backpacks at home. Even better, we always teach our kids to walk on the inside of a trail, the side far away from the abyss edge. On an unrelated note, I love that movie, and not just for Ed Harris. I'm a sucker for Russian Water Tentacles and purple alien-Manta Rays.

Note, we sorta went off trail a little bit here and crossed the river- not an easy feat when carrying a toddler in your arms, but we did it and if the CPS is reading this, please look at the photo above and note it was a small creek, not a raging rapid scene out of The River Wild (another fabulous movie). While we started on the Lake Gulch Trail, we ended crossing over to the Inner Canyon trail, which ended up at the same Canyon Point parking lot, so no worries.

The Details: 1.98 miles, took us 1:40:05 and elevation gain of 171 feet. Starting elevation was 6618, max elevation was 6621. (it's okay, this confused me at first too, until I looked at the elevation tab on and realized we descended into the canyon first 177 feet, walked along the bottom and then climbed back out to the max elevation of 6621.)

The Directions: Parker road south, past Parker, through Franktown, then follow the signs for Castlewood Canyon and turn right (west) into the park. Follow signs for Lake Gulch trailhead.

The Dawg?: Yup, leashed and since it's a state park, probably a higher chance you'll run into ranger-man, so keep him leashed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Coyote Song trail, South Park

You know those Where's Waldo books? If it was Where's Milehighkermama?, it would look something like this: a beautiful Colorado *almost* spring day, red sandstone foothills, my MileHighkerHubby and MileHighkerMunchkins all loaded up in the jogger stroller. We skipped the striped shirts and fruity hats, by the way...

We packed it up this morning and headed out the door to South Valley, a Jeffco park lined by towering cliffs, dotted with mars-like sandstone formations and with scrubby (pine?) trees of some sort. Sorry, didn't major in Botany! Bout the only tree I can name on sight is a palm tree and there aren't too many of those around here.

Ha. Anyhoo...

It was a great, hour long loop with rolling hills and nice scenery. Not too shabby for a 20 minute drive! We kept our kids in the double stroller, but we did pass two families with kids the same age that were walking. Note, the trail had deeper ruts than a boring relationship, so if you are going the stroller route, go with the knobby tired variety.

Details: 1 hour, starting elevation of 5802, highest point of elevation 6024, gain of 230 feet, 2.88 miles. (I got me a cool new iPhone app called imapmyhike that shows and records all those nifty stats) nifty_app_link

Directions: C-470 to Wadsworth, south to Deer Creek Canyon Rd, take a right (west) to South Valley trailhead on right.

Dawg: yup, leashed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Awesome hiking app!

I am a new, and totally i-ddicted iPhone user... My weekly obsession is free apps from the app store. I was so excited to find the Alltrails app- check it out if you have a smartphone and are thinking maybe you should get out and flex something besides your thumb muscles!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Birthday Bucket List

For your reading pleasure, a non-hiking post...

So on the eve of the eve of my 33rd birthday, I thought to myself "hmmm, what can I do to mark the occasion? Okay, really I am just procrastinating on rewriting my screenplay, (See bucket list item #7) but I thought, hey if you're going to be procrastinating on writing THAT, why not at least write SOMETHING?

So, here's my bucket list...

I know what you're thinking... why celebrate life with something that sounds so death-y? But really, if you think about the true essence of a bucket list, it's ALL about living. I think the long title is actually a "what-to-do-before-you-kick-the-bucket-list". But that didn't fit on the marquee with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. (Great movie, btw.)

It's not about the end. It's about what you want to do with the in between. And hopefully, there's a lot of in between!

In no particular order... Oh and yes, I know most of these involve travel. I LOVE travel.

1. Walk on the Great Wall of China.
2. Do THIS on the Uyuni Salt Flats. Hot damn, this place is cool. It deserves another photo link. And another. bwahaha these people are funny!
3. See my kids as happy, well adjusted, fair-minded, beautiful adults.
4. Go on a luxury Kenyan Safari with a really good camera.
5. Klimb Kilimanjaro.
6. Read the books of some of my favorite movies: Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, and Legends of the Fall. Note, I did this with my all time favorite movie, Last of the Mohicans and was endlessly disappointed. This leads in to why I want to do #7
7. Write a screenplay and submit it. If there is anything I love like my family and travel, it's MOVIES. I get a thrill when the lights go down, I snuggle into my seat and BOOM. I'm transported. Sometimes the movie can be so well made that it's BETTER than the book. Or in my case, so good you wrote the movie instead of the book, heh heh.
8. Hold a grandbaby. (Duh, mine...)
9. Learn to play guitar. Why is this on so many people's bucket lists by the way? What is it about the frigging guitar that is so enticing? Why isn't it this way with say, the piccolo or accordion?
10. Climb more fourteeners. I used to want to climb all of them in CO... until I realized how technical and dangerous some of them are. I would really like to climb the ones that are hike-able and don't conjure up thoughts of puke-inducing vertigo, heli-rescues or sweaty palms on a fraying climbing rope.
11. See Iguacu Falls
12. oh and Victoria Falls. No, mom, I don't want to do the bungee jump that Victoria Falls offers off the bridge to the left. I did that sort of stupid shit here when I was childless and in college. Please note that skydiving is also not on the list for the same reason. And yes, I would want to strangle my child with the bungee cord too now that I have kids and know how I made you feel when I called you from 6000 miles away telling you what I just did.
12. Kayak amongst calving glaciers and surfacing orcas in Alaska. No grizzlies please. Well maybe from a helicopter, but yeah, I'm not into being shredded. See my camping posts.
13. Sleep here.
14. And here. They have a bar in the lobby too. Now that's the kind of place you do a vodka ice luge. NOT a frat party.
14. See this in real life, of which I made a 1/500th clay model out of my sophomore year of high school, fired and handpainted. I wanted to poke out my own eyes after all that handiwork. Thanks Mr. Dingle for the A+!
15. Keep making fun memories with my wonderful friends.
16. Take my husband and kids to Australia, one of the places that ignited the fire in me to travel. Such a beautiful, diverse, foreign land. And a lot of places I couldn't afford to see then, so pony up, honey.
17. Continue to take photos of charming stray dogs on vacation, give them all witty names and hang 8 x 10's in my house someday of my collection. I already have Pompeii Pooch and Peruvian Pup. Thanks to my mom for her recent submissions of Beijing BowWow and Cairo Canine.
18. Write books about my mom's and dad's family histories. While my days highlights are often something concerning boogers or ballet classes, my parents' backgrounds are pretty fascinating!
19.Wear a bikini again someday. And not wear a ski mask along with it. Scratch that. ROCK a bikini again someday.
20. Walk on the Grand Canyon SkyWalk. I just dig the booties you have to wear. The view sucks.
21. Float here. 
22. See more of the United States... Hey BooBoo, let's start with Jellystone, Uh Yogi, it's Yellowstone.
23. And these guys. And them too. But I'll skip the backside.
24. And more in my homestate. It's embarrassing I live here and haven't been here or here.
25. Kiss my husband on our 50th anniversary. Yes, sweetie, of course I mean you.

So here's to wishing and making those wishes come true... Happy 33rd to me!