Feel the Energy

Our latest trip to Rocky Mountain National Park was all about the energy. From sunset to sunrise [literally, we camped overnight], the change of the colors brought with it an amazing sensation of energy that seemed to woo us into a profound relaxed state. But not only us, the environment itself, the wildlife…it all changes as the day gives way to the night in the evening, and again in the morning as night gives way to the day. It is these sensitive moments of waxing and waning that get our attention as you can just feel the energy shifting as the celestial powers that be merge and yield to one another. We seem to find much more life in these moments than any other time of day.

1558549_1433884846860456_5642669714989362998_n[Campsite Sunrise @ Rocky Mountain National Park]

After an amazing sunrise, we were dead set on getting on the trail early. There are so many trails to hike in RMNP, it may indeed take us several years to get through all of them. On this day however, only one would do, Deer Mountain, a 6 mile out and back trail that takes you from 8,930′ to 10,013′ and through several diverse landscapes, including [yes] a still snow covered trail. But enough of the boring stats, the trail affords incredible views of RMNP that can take your breath away! Each turn is a discovery all unto itself, as the views change from one mountain range to the next, far off places are put into perspective and you literally find yourself standing at the edge in awe of the landscape before you. Deer Mountain is a must for the adventurer who wants to get to know RMNP well, as a central peak you can see 360 degrees from its summit and plan your next adventure, not to mention get a good feel of the lay of the land, important to know if you ever get turned around.

1925183_1433884903527117_6366319704575276274_n[Deer Mountain Trail @ RMNP]

Did we say snow? Yep, still hanging around, and will probably do so well into June as more snow is predicted as we write! But, let’s be honest, as beautiful as it looks, it’s even more so in person. The camera is just incapable of capturing in full not only what we see, but more so, what we feel. Again, there’s an energy that accompanies hiking in the high country, as well as anywhere else we’ve been. From the high mountains, to the plains and to the coast, to surround oneself with nature is to cleanse the soul of the impurities of everyday life. We’ve hiked in many different climates and landscapes and still find them all to hold a common experience. Peaceful and tranquil are only words, words that can only desperately attempt to describe what is…and ‘what is’ is something that I would say is unable to describe the pure energy that is only seen and felt by the soul. Our eyes see the trail and its surroundings, but beyond that, differing results are accompanied via our heart, mind and soul. We are always commenting on the trail that snow seems to have a cleansing affect in more ways than one. Our minds tell us how good this is for nurturing the environment, whereas our hearts skip a beat in excitement of the challenge and adventure, all the while our souls grapples with them both and seeks to bring harmony as to just be in the moment.

10151133_1433884886860452_2830257140735116390_n[Deer Mountain Trail @ RMNP]

Put down your watch and live in the moment. There are places on this earth that just command us to stop and allow for the moment to fill us. Recharge if you will, but needless to say, we don’t take heed of this as much as we should in our busy day to day lives of just trying to get through life. But, honestly, which one is life…the day to day drudgeries that we have so commonly laden ourselves with in pursuit of life, or is it life that is already staring at us, under our noses begging for attention? Staring into the eyes of your own children, our pets, a loved one and yes, standing at the edge of a mountain looking at life from above…there is a whole world of wonder in those places that we believe hold ‘real life’ as we desire it. Perhaps this is why we hike often and yet, not often enough!

1959363_1433888153526792_2268152523842407092_n[Deer Mountain Trail @ RMNP]

We truly love scrambling up to higher places, perhaps it’s the challenge, or perhaps it’s the adventurer in us [probably both]. But, indeed we feel such places offer the best views and moments of solitude. It’s funny how each of us finds that solitude in the same place though. While one can sit peacefully and quietly, another tends to explore further within the space, climbing here and there to find more uncharted views. It seems relaxation comes in various packages, tapping it and experiencing it might just be the key, whereas actually allowing yourself to engage it is something of an art form. Dream a little, relax a little, but do take time and let go, there’s a whole world of wonder happening all around us begging for the energy of the moment to capture your attention…Hike On, Peacefully 🙂

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Time to Relax @ RMNP

MAD Hippies Life Cub Lake Rocky Mountain National Park

We were short on time today, but as always, the mountains were calling us! We set out on an early morning drive up the Boulder Canyon and made a quick stop at a new favorite bakery before hitting the trail. FYI, if you ever find yourself in Nederland, CO stop by the New Moon Bakery and Cafe! We don’t always look for a long endurance hike, nor do we always set a goal of even reaching a destination on our hike, sometimes just getting out and letting the wilderness’ beautiful offerings be your guide is all that it takes to enjoy a relaxing day on the trail. Today was one of those days, with no goal in mind [other than just getting lost in the moment with each other] we set off on the Fern Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park and let the wind blow us where it would…

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[Where’s Waldo?]

We took some time to explore a bit, a large scree field was calling my name! Sometimes it’s very difficult to fully grasp the enormity of a location so I climbed up for a photo op, hence the caption above. The landscape in RMNP is vast and ever-changing. On the trail today, we discussed how many times the trails we hike on always seem to lead to a destination whereas RMNP is a destination in and of itself. You are constantly thrust into an alpine world that is as alive as life itself, teaming with many different species of animals and an ever-changing landscape, it’s as if the ground is moving under your feet.

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[Overlook along Fern Lake Trail]

Yeah, this overlook along the trail was one of those ahhhh moments. Being in the thick of the woods is certainly enjoyable and quite tranquil, but when you can climb out on an overlook and soak in the area from above it seems to change a person. I often feel a bit small, for lack of a better term, as the wilderness tends to expand before me letting me know how I am just a piece of a much larger puzzle.

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[The Pool]

And here we have it, The Pool, an amazing place to just sit, relax and soak in what nature has to offer. As I said earlier, sometimes there is no goal…the Fern Lake Trail continues past The Pool for another two miles to Fern Lake, however, today The Pool was calling our name. It was obvious to both of us this was just the atmosphere we both needed to let the worries of the world fall off. Packs off, we found a place to call ours and just let go…There is much to explore here, or one can just sit and let the energy serenade their soul.

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[The Tunnel]

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Heading back to the trailhead we were so happy we just let be what would be. We will definitely come back and head to Fern Lake, and a waterfall that is in between there and The Pool. Both sound inviting  for sure, but today’s agenda was to just relax, a goal I would have to say we met and accomplished well. The Fern Lake Trail has much to offer and has indeed captured our attention for return trips. Our youngest daughter is about to make us grandparents [yay!], I couldn’t help but think what an incredible place to bring our grandson and introduce him to the beauty of our world.

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[Rocky Mountain National Park]

As we were about to leave, a quick glance back to see where we had just been. It’s quite the debate sometimes, is this scene more beautiful than being deep inside it or not? Good luck with the answer! Amazingly, our early morning cloudy skies parted as we were leaving to reveal the Colorado blue we have grown to love. Hike on, peacefully 🙂

Early Spring in Rocky Mountain National Park

With an impending snowstorm forecasted for the Colorado mountains and front range we heeded the warnings by heading out early to get in a hike before the Spring storm dumps another foot of snow on our beloved trails. Deb and I have spent a good deal of time in the Indian Peaks Wilderness the past several years and want to move our adventures this year a bit further north into Rocky Mountain National Park. This is somewhat of a catch 22 for us, with over 415 square miles of incredible scenery, RMNP can become quite the spectacle in the summer months as people flock from all corners of our nation to experience the true beauty of the Rocky Mountains. This will be our first of many reports on this area, we hope you enjoy and will come visit and see for yourself what wonders await in the high country of Colorado!

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[Elk feeding in Moraine Park – RMNP]

No trip to Estes Park or RMNP would be complete without seeing the abundant Elk population. I can’t remember a trip to the area when we haven’t seen them! A very majestic animal to say the least. The herds can be seen throughout the area, not only within RMNP, but in neighborhoods, roads and all over town. If you happen to be driving around and see cars suddenly stopping you might as well get your camera out, another herd has found its way into view 🙂

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[Moraine Park – RMNP]

The center attraction within RMNP, so to speak, is an area known as Moraine Park. This majestic centerpiece acts as a conduit of sorts, as many roads lead here affording incredible views of the landscape and wildlife encounters. Our hike today to Cub Lake lies in the backdrop of this photo, buried deep in the woods as we climb to a small lake above the area.

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[Coyote @ RMNP]

As we made our way through Moraine Park heading towards Cub Lake we spotted a somewhat mischievous coyote having some breakfast…he didn’t seem to mind us, as long as we kept our distance [the feeling was mutual] and continued on our way. RMNP can be quite the experience for wildlife viewing in early Spring as the animals, like us, are waking from their winter slumber excited to roam about with the warmer temperatures slowly invading the high country. Look up as your walking the trails, you just might see a black bear in a tree of all places!

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[Cub Lake Trail @ RMNP]

Deb navigating the not so thawed Cub Lake Trail. Springtime in the Rockies can be quite tricky on the trail. With the snowpack melting comes much runoff, making for interesting hiking conditions. Down low at the beginning of our hike, we found dry conditions which gave way to mud and runoff, and as we climbed higher it was all snow. It can be a challenge to pack your needs for a hike knowing you might encounter just about every condition imaginable, all four seasons in one hike! No worries, we love the adventure and look forward to the challenge as it only enhances the trail.

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[Scars from the Fern Lake Fire of 2012]

Most of the trail to Cub Lake is spent in an area that endured the largest forest fire to date in RMNP. It is believed that a careless campfire started this blaze that burned approximately 3,500 acres in the Cub Lake and Moraine Park area. It was kept under control, though the obvious damage is seen all along the trail as we headed for the high lake.

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[Cub Lake @ RMNP]

There’s nothing like coming around that last corner or climbing over that last ridge to find yourself standing in awe of the scenery. High lakes supported by surrounding snow-capped mountains are certainly on our list of things to do and see. Cub Lake, though small and secluded, certainly doesn’t lack when it comes to that jaw dropping moment when you finally reach its shores. Primarily fed by snow melt from high above, it can sit dormant all winter covered in snow and ice. We dared not venture onto the lake today as temperatures have been rising and the shoreline showed many signs of thawing. Never the less, a nice walk along its banks did plenty to inspire our curiosity giving us tremendous views and an incredibly quiet setting making it one of the perfect destinations for meditative peace and quiet. We can’t wait for our next adventure in RMNP, there’s so many to choose from!!! Hike on, peacefully 😉

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What a Difference a Day Can Make [Bipolar Colorado Weather]

One of the things that we have had to get used to over the years in Colorado is the constant weather changes that can swing from one extreme to the other from one day to the next. Hell, some days it seems those swings take place in within hours. There have been times we’ve hit the trail in winter gear and returned back in short sleeves! Needless to say, the swing in the weather from yesterday to today lives up to a typical Colorado Spring.

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[Castlewood Canyon S.P.]

Yesterday we had taken our dogs out for a quick hike at one of the close by State Parks [Castlewood Canyon] to get in a quick hike and some geocaching knowing weather was “predicted” to move in overnight. I say predicted, Colorado weather has a tendency to drive the weather forecasters a bit crazy at times. None the less, we headed out to get a “dry hike” in before the [predicted weather] moved in. It’s not always about heading out to an exotic place or driving hours to get away from the city. Sometimes staying close and changing your immediate surroundings is all it takes. We are lucky to have two state parks near us that allow for such outings. The pictures that follow will be from the second one [Cherry Creek] 12 hours later after the “predicted weather” actually showed up and left the weather forecasters with smiles for getting it right.

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[Cherry Creek S.P.]

After returning home from our hike at Castlewood Canyon yesterday, Debbie and I wondered if the weather forecasters had been duped again by Mother Nature. Hey, it happens, and we all love to make fun of the forecasters, and or yell at them! But when we woke up this morning and glanced out the window, I had to rub my eyes and refocus to make sure I was indeed looking at a fresh blanket of snow. Indeed, it had. Seems that interest in weather storms runs in the family. I remember my grandfather running out the door in Arkansas any time there was a serious storm upon us. I knew he was doing his normal routine of checking on the neighbors and the property, but I also eventually figured out that he loved the beauty in the danger of storms. I too have grown up with that same excitement, as this morning had me itching to put on my boots and head out the door to see what changes had been made to our landscape overnight.

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[Wetland Trail @ Cherry Creek S.P.]

We love being able to hit the trail early after a snow. Not only is it generally the quietest time, but the snow is still untouched and makes for incredible scenery. Today was just that, a winter wonderland untouched just waiting to be explored and discovered. Careful walking through the woods though, any slight breeze and you’ll receive an unwelcome gift from above!!!

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[Wetland Trail @ Cherry Creek S.P.]

So quiet, so peaceful and yet not so far from home. Another reminder that you don’t have to go far to “get away” and just take a quiet walk in the woods [or beach, mountain, plains…] to relax. But, you still might want to watch for those elusive snow bombs from above. If in fact you are the chosen one, grin and bear it and laugh at yourself for being so lucky to have nature play a little joke on you 😉

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[Robin]

I’m probably not the only one who loves changes in the weather. And while the robin in the picture above is probably wondering what happened to Spring, perhaps even missed the “spot on” forecast, it didn’t seem to phase him one bit. Jumping about amongst the snow covered branches seeking out breakfast just seemed to excite this little guy all the more. Indeed, I was entertained.

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[Canadian Geese @ Cherry Creek S.P.]

Granted it can be done safely, the next time the weather changes head out to one of your favorite places and take a nice walk. Explore and discover what you will! It’s amazing how much more the natural settings and their inhabitants come alive. Nature to Debbie and me is not always a perfect blue sky day, granted those are beautiful as well, but rather, it’s the raw unfiltered events that set the stage to create what it has become. None of the beautiful places we visit happened by happenstance, indeed they were formed and continue to be formed as time, weather and all such anomalies continue to work their magic as a painter does so on canvas. I can’t say that every hike on the same trail has ever given me the same experience. Weather, mental state and unseen events will always win out on the trail dictating the days events. Hike on, peacefully!

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