Our Favorite Hikes

In honor of our 30 year anniversary we’d like to show you some of our favorite places to hike to, enjoy! If you want information on any of these pictures drop us a line and we can get you on the trail 🙂 Click on each photo to enlarge…

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[Shelf above Lake Isabelle, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

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[Long Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

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[Mt. Audubon 13,223 ft]

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[Devil’s Thumb, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

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[Royal Arch, Chautauqua Park, Boulder]

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[Surprise! Rocky Mountain National Park]

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[Hello! Rocky Mountain National Park]

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[Guanella Pass]

Well, that’s the short of it. There are so many incredible places to experience here in Colorado posting a few pictures could never do the beauty justice. Our advice, hit the trail! We’re always looking for places to go, so come on along with us here or in person, there’s always room for one more. Hike on, peacefully 🙂

Click here to view more photos and hikes!

Elk Meadow Geocaching

Our love for the outdoors is not only limited to rigorous hikes in the high country and snowshoeing through deep powder. We also have a new found activity that incorporates those things plus adds and element of adventure to our outings. Geocaching is an excellent way to get out and about all the while adding a mystery to your expedition, be it in town, the country or high on a mountain. While there are several sites out there, we chose Geocaching.com for its far-reaching worldwide cachers and online tools. You can download an app for your smartphone,or use a GPS device as we have for its far better reach when there is no reception for phones in many remote places. And while a phone would work well in town, in the backcountry there’s no denying satellite service.

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[View from the trail in Elk Meadow]

Our latest outing was one of just getting out on a beautiful day in the nearby mountain town of Evergreen, CO. The first day of Spring lived up to its name as we ventured out. After a long harsh winter a 60 degree, blue sky day is just what the doctor ordered. That, and knowing full well Springtime in the Rocky Mountains can bring sunshine in the morning and a blizzard by dinner time! Luckily that was not the case today and we headed out to thaw, take a lazy walk through the woods and do a little geocaching.

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Heading off down the trail in Elk Meadow we find ourselves quickly surrounded by Logpole Pine and their sweet smell. Look right, look left…in Evergreen you never know when you’ll run across Elk!

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[No Room at the Inn – Cache]

We love the creative ways people hide their caches and the fun names they give them. This one was about 20 yards off the trail up a small hill and hidden in a crack in some boulders. You never know what you’ll find, if in fact you’re lucky enough to find the cache in the first place. The title itself can be a clue to what you’re looking for. However, in this case it was just a simple explanation about the actual cache container, a small ornamental inn. In this case, there was only a log book inside to log your visit.

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[Paper, Rock, Scissors – Cache]

Our second cache was a bit more elaborate. Not only a log book to sign, but we found several interesting “tradeable and collectable” items inside the container. But the owner of this cache didn’t stop there, we also were given a geological lesson that helped greatly in our being able to find the cache. As the owner describes, “The cache is located on a small hill that formed at a pegmatite outcrop. A pegmatite is a band, or outcrop, of coarse crystalline rock (usually quartz, mica and feldspar)intruded in finer-grained “host” rock. Coarse pegmatite crystals are more resistant than their host rock and often form hills and ridges as the host rock weathers away.”

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[Dead or Alive – Cache]

Our third and final cache of the day left us, as the owner explained in his description, not being afraid to get on our hands and knees! This one was a bit tough, to say the least. In a grouping of live trees just off the trail was a large fallen tree that obviously had been there for quite some time, hence the title of the cache, Dead or Alive. But that’s not where the fun began, we had to literally get on our hands and knees and start peering into whatever nooks and crannies we could find all along this old guy that is slowly fading back into the earth as time goes by. Low and behold, in a fork we found hidden underneath a small container. Geocaching is certainly a fun and exciting addition to any outdoor activity, get out and cache!!!

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[Mountain Bluebird]

Aptly so, as we were hiking along in search of chaches in Elk Meadow we were given a sign that Spring indeed has arrived. The Mountain Bluebird has returned!!! Perhaps the smell in the air, the mild temperatures along the trail or even the return of the Mountain Bluebird it felt very Springlike on our adventure. While out minds keep reminding us winter is not so far behind us, and that the weather can change on a dime in Colorado, today was indeed a day to be out in our beautiful mountain region and enjoy nature on its terms. We enjoy hiking in all conditions, but today was certainly a bonus to say the least. Hike on, peacefully 🙂

Perseverance is the Key

Our latest hike is one we have wanted to take for some time, And while it is an area we have hiked several times before, we had never been there in the often avoided deep cold of winter. Add to the difficulties of winter hiking in the high country, we have personal reasons for our trek as the area we were heading for is dedicated to the memory of a dearly departed family member whose love for life was, and continues to be, an inspiration to us. As such, perseverance was the key to successfully reaching our destination. Our goal, Long Lake (10,600 feet) just below the Continental Divide deep within the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Sunny and blue conditions invited us to trek on and push through deep snow to reach our goal. Our trusty snowshoes and a positive attitude and off we went in search of not only an incredibly magical destination, but as much, another spiritually fulfilling adventure.

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[Approaching the Long Lake trail head in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Bucket lists, desires, goals, needs…we’ve all got them. This hike falls in between pretty much all of those. We’ve tried before only to get turned back by weather. A winter hike in the high country can be difficult in and of itself, add harsh winter conditions and you have to ask yourself if the safety risk is worth the effort. Several weeks ago we tried this very same hike, at the trail head we were met with severe winds, blowing snow and a temperature of 6 degrees making for near whiteout conditions. Halfway into the hike we turned around and headed home. There’s no doubt it was still a good hike, but safety was the key to our being able to return another day. As I’ve stated before, I used to be hell bent to reach the destination no matter the end result. Nowadays I appreciate what I can do in hopes of fulfilling my goals at any given time, responsibly and respectfully for not only myself, but all those involved.

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[A stop sign near the trail, shows the amount of snow in the area]

Perseverance was certainly a key factor to this hike. Hiking in deep snow, even though well equipped with winter gear, is no easy task. Physically demanding, and perhaps even mentally demanding, we pushed on weighing the balance of safety and our own desires. Our hike was 7.5 miles round-trip, which equals about 10 miles in dry snow free conditions in energy output. Given our winter gear and good weather conditions it was really a matter of can we physically do this. Our love for the outdoors and the area we were hiking in was certainly a great selling point, but even more so was the desire to go to a place that has a much deeper impact on us than just a hike. As was said before, the memory of a departed family member and how great an impact they had on our lives was more moving than the most beautiful hike we could ever venture on. Just knowing their spiritual presence was in the air made the day all the more magical. Indeed, with this in mind, the most daunting of tasks in life can bring out strength we never knew we had. In the end, our hike was not only successful, but every bit fulfilling in body, mind and spirit.

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[Long Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

There’s no way a picture can convey the actual experience. Indeed, in this case that notion holds true. Long Lake in the backcountry of the Indian Peaks Wilderness is a special place. The energy one feels here is otherworldly and so calming it is hard to leave at the end of the day. An infectious and captivating peace comes over you as you enter into this area. Perhaps the obvious beauty, perhaps the elements of nature themselves or perhaps even the spirits of the Native Americans whom protected these lands in years past and the peaks who are aptly named for them, this area draws deep into the individual who is blessed to have experienced it. It is here one can spend ours exploring, meditating or just absorbing the soul-cleansing nature of paradise on earth. Long Lake is not only a destination, but a gateway to further expansive adventures into its beginnings. High above in the backdrop the snow deepens and slowly melts all year feeding the streams that flow into Long Lake as if the veins of the of the spiritual world breathe life into the earth. Yes, there’s more here than meets they eye…

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[St Vrain Creek outflow from Long Lake]

A deep blanket of untouched powder adorns the Long Lake area all winter. Perhaps a bit of OCD, but I love leaving snow untouched, allowing its natural beauty and cleansing effects to be left to the eye and not the foot who tramples its serenity. Places such as this bring peace to a weary soul and the traveler who finds it, to this I would add, the traveler in this life and the next. It’s no wonder Debbie and I frequent this area every chance we get. Being able to come here in the winter has been a long time dream of ours that is no doubt to us been worth the effort. Indeed we will be returning, not only in winter, but all seasons. And not only for ourselves, but to engage the memory and energy of our loved ones who not only live on, but walk with us daily.

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[Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Our hike is dedicated to our beloved Rosemary Rogers Olsen whose infectious love for life, people and nature continues to be an inspiration

Click here for more photos of this hike!

MAD Hippies Life Indian Pekas Wilderness

Being in the Moment

This is our first entry into a new adventure of blogging about our experiences and adventures in the Colorado high country. We sure hope you’ll enjoy coming along with us. The following is just some thoughts that come to mind when we hit the trail. Certainly you’ve heard the question, “is it the journey or the destination?” and wondered to yourself if you could actually answer it. However, an often missed side of this debate is just stopping to be in the moment. We’re all on a journey, and at different times in our lives we’ll have a destination. But every once in a while it’s good to just stop and be in the moment.

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 [Long Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

 Deb and I often find ourselves coming across places on the trail that stop you dead in your tracks where you stand in awe. Sometimes it’s an incredible view of a mountain, sometimes a surreal forest that is so quiet you can hear your heartbeat, could be a flowing creek or even a majestic lake surrounded by all of the above. There’s an energy to such an environment that we believe to have healing properties, natures vibrations if you will, that penetrate deep within the soul and mind to ease the tensions of life.

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 [Trail to Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

I love walking the trail being quiet, just listening to nature and absorbing as much as I can before heading home. For me it’s a recharge of sorts, trying to bring myself back to center before returning to the weekly grind and all it’s challenges. When I first started hiking years ago I was always about getting to the destination, hell I couldn’t get out of the driveway fast enough and on the trail. Since those early years I’ve spent more time allowing for space and time which has afforded me the ability to discover more and how complex nature really is (in a good way).

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 [St Vrain Creek in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Let it flow, just breathe, relax…How many times have I heard that? I couldn’t even tell you who I heard it from, if it weren’t my own voice in my head 😉 telling me so. None the less, water along the trail in any form has a supreme calming affect. It’s no wonder people build homes on the edge of water sources just to have as a view. The sound soothes and the image calms.

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 [Shelf above Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

This life is indeed an epic journey, from birth to death and all points in between. We hope you’ll take time to relax, take it all in and enjoy the ride. Certainly we’ll all go through ups and downs whether we like it or not, having a cool head on your shoulder just makes it all the easier. Maybe one day I’ll master that…until then I keep plugging along and taking long walks to recharge, rethink and relax. Enjoy, maybe we’ll see you on the trail…

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 [Deb and me along the trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Click here to see more photos of our hikes!