A Quick Hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park

Last Friday, husband’s planned hike to a 14-er didn’t work out, so instead, he and I went to Castlewood Canyon to do a simple hike, something I could handle. It was beautiful with the changing colors of the leaves. Where I’m looking toward in the photo was once a damn built in 1890. The dam broke in 1933 causing a disastrous flood. Now it’s land for homes and pasture for cows. Last time we visited we saw the broken dam, but this time we took a different route, a more scenic route, to appreciate the beauty and peacefulness of the land.


Drove Up to Mt. Evans

Husband took these gorgeous photos:

Daughter and I hiking up the last bit of Mt. Evans.  The lack of oxygen really did a number on me.  That’s me in the black coat with the hood on, initially hanging on to courage, but failed and never made it to the top.  It was cold and extremely windy.  Husband and the girls made it though.


At the summit, a varmint sits on a hanging rock overlooking the view.

We saw these mountain goats near the restrooms (center left).  They blend in with the environment so well that we didn’t even notice them.  I believe a few people were taking photos of them and that’s how we saw them too.MTEVANS0046_800

On our drive up to the summit, there was a small section near the road with these amazing bristlecone pine trees.  We decided to stop on our way back from the summit to stand among them and to snap some shots.  MTEVANS0058_800MTEVANS0056_800MTEVANS0055_600MTEVAMS0065_600MTEVANS0062_600

Hiking Pike’s Peak With An Unusual Twist

PPMAP20130615XOver the weekend the family decided to hike a 14-er, Pike’s Peak.  Husband hiked 10 14-er’s last year and said they were pretty simple to hike.  A bit steep but not stretched out so it didn’t take him very long to summit.  For some reason, Pike’s Peak was different from all that.  The hike was the most longest and tiresome thing I’ve ever hiked.  It was rocky and steep in some areas and very sandy and meadow-like in others, but overall, it was CRAZY.

The image above shows where we started and finished.  We didn’t summit, but we made it to about 13,500 feet, at which point it got super cold and windy and rain clouds were rolling in pretty quickly.  Our girls were worn out crying and we all were completely exhausted.  We decided to move from the hiking trail onto the road that lead to the top in hopes that maybe we can try hiking pavement or maybe even hitch a ride up.  We didn’t get too far before we realized we were in dire need of help.  We waved at cars heading up but they didn’t stop.  About 8 cars passed by slowly but kept going and we even met a man in his 60’s who was parked on the side taking photos of his Porsche but he didn’t seem to want to help us even though we probably looked as though we could all pass out any minute.  He wished us luck as we tried to keep going.  At this moment, I prayed to a higher power to bring us help.  Bring us someone who’ll not only take us up to the summit but helps us back to our car so that we didn’t have to hike all the way back.  After a few more cars passed by, a silver access cab Toyota Tacoma came to a stop.  An older Korean man, maybe in his mid-50’s, rolled down the side window and asked us if we needed a lift.  We were all screamy, “YES!”  He had a little boy about seven or so sitting in the front passenger seat so we put our two girls in the back seats while husband and I and our dog, Teddy, sat in the bed of the truck.  You can imagine our relief.

At the summit, we thanked the Korean man and though we’d be on our way but then he told us that if we needed a ride back to our car, he’d take us.  We told him that we were about 2 to 3 hours away and on the opposite side of the mountain.  He said he didn’t mind.  We agreed to let him help us.  The Korean man had arrived at Pike’s Peak with whom he told us were is friends.  They were in a minivan driving ahead ahead of us when we were heading up.  We met them at the summit and they all seemed very friendly (the driver of the minivan, his wife, an older couple in their 70’s whom were probably grandparents, and a  few teenage girls whom were probably their daughters).  The Korean man told us that he’d have the little boy go in the minivans so that our family could sit inside the truck.  It was hard to trust a stranger but we were aware that he was with friends with young kids and grandparents so we felt he was trustworthy.

After we took a bathroom break and looked at the view, which was pretty awesome, but we were too exhausted, cold, and hungry to really enjoy it, we headed down.  The Korean man really did drive us to our car.  We learned a little about him.  He was in the U.S Military stationed in Colorado in the 80’s but retired from it and now owns a few Schlotzsky’s around the US.  He lives in Texas and drove, with his friends (the minivan), all the way to Colorado to show them Pike’s Peak.  They didn’t enjoy it because their kids were dizzy, throwing up, and one of their girls passed out due to the elevation differences (Texas at about 300 ft above sea and Pike’s Peak at over 14K feet above sea).

The Korean man told us that when he saw us on the side of the road waving, he had to stop.  There was no way he wouldn’t.  He mentioned that when he was in the military he would hike up mountains (not Pike’s Peak but the others) and knew how exhausting it was and he was a fit man then, so to see our little family on the side of the road looking like death, he just couldn’t pass us by.  We thanked him again but felt very guilty for not giving him something in return so husband asked him if we could pay for his gas since it would be a long ride to our car.  He said to husband, “If you pay me for gas, I will stop right here.”…which was in the middle of no where.  Then added, “All I ask is that you pay it forward.”

I believe he was an angel.

Mesa Verde National Park

The family went on a one day and two nights trip to Mesa Verde National Park this week.  We drove 7 hours to Durango, where we stayed,  then drove another 45 min to Mesa Verde through amazing beauty for a full day of viewing and touring.

Mesa Verde was extremely beautiful and took my breath away.  It was fascinating to learn about the Indians that lived there over 1400 years ago (from 550 A.D. to 1300), and seeing their dwelling places left behind like ghost towns, was awe.

Here are photos from that trip:

  ^ This is the view from our first hotel.  It was tucked off the side of the main road and was surrounded by this gorgeous golf course and cliff.

^ Kida just waking up.  She didn’t want to be in the photo.

^ The furniture was a bit outdated but the view made up for it.

^ Kylie jumping around and took a second to pose for this shot.

^Another view from the hotel.

^ Getting sunscreen on before heading out into the heat for the tours.

^ View before heading to the tour sites.

^ Everything was not all beautiful.  There was a stretch of land that looked like this.  It was a quiet, sad, and almost ominous drive through this area.  We learned from the tour guides that this was the result of a fire caused by lightning in 2002.  It will take at least 300 years to grow back to the what it originally looked like.

^ We visited the museum where we saw dioramas, displays, and watched a short video on the history of the Indians in Mesa Verde.  Kida had seen the video already at school so she rolled her eyes and complained for the 20 minutes I was watching with my mouth opened…LOL.

^ This was the first dwelling we saw called, Spruce Tree House.  It was a self-guided tour.

^ We went inside a Kiva, a large circular underground area made out of rock walls and clay and is used for ceremonial rituals/daily living.  In the photo, Kylie is climbing out.

^ View while waiting for our first tour: Balcony House.

^ On this tour, we climbed a 32 feet ladder to the dwelling.  We also went through doors which were just tiny crack or openings between rocks.  The spaces were so small I almost thought I wouldn’t make it across but there were people who were much bigger and they made it without a problem.  I did put a few scratches on my camera though.

^ An open Kiva.

^ There were quite a few people in this tour group.

On our exit, we climbed two 10-foot ladders and then the side of a 60-foot cliff with stone steps carved in.  It was pretty steep and I was scared for the girls but they enjoyed it.

^ The second tour: Cliff Palace.

^ Down in the dwellings looking up.  The top right corner of the photo is where we had waited for this tour.

^ On our exit from Mesa Verde.

^ This is what it should look like.

^ This view was during our drive back to Durango.  Words cannot describe how breathtaking this area was.

It was a wonderful trip full of history.  It warms my heart to have experienced this.

Hiking Mt. Bierstadt

Husband has made it a goal to hike all 14ers in Colorado after having hiked Mt. Bierstadt over the weekend with a friend.  That’s a total of 53 mountain peaks.  He wants me to do this with him but I am out of shape and probably won’t make them.  I hope to at least hike up a few easier ones.

Husband used Sports Tracker App to track his hike.  The orange line shows start to finish and the camera icons are where he stopped to take a photo (the photos pop-up with touch on iPhone or Android, or mouse-over on the Sports Tracker website).  Just above the map are his stats.

The goal.  It doesn’t look too bad from this angle but from what husband has said, it’s pretty rigorous.  Btw, that’s husband’s friend in the photo.

This was the top (elevation: 14,060).  There were already others enjoying the view.

Panorama view.  Click on it to see it slightly larger.

When I go on one of these hikes, I’d like to go really early and be at the top to see the sunrise.

[All photos taken by husband with his Samsung G2]