Hike to Nowhere

Hike to Nowhere, Rocky Mountain National ParkSometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off trail with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

We took a hike just such as this. With no goal in mind and no destination planned, the rule of the day was, just hike until it feels right. The trail had no real defining features. A well blended forest of alpine fir, lodgepole pine and aspen opening here and there with an occasional glimpse of snow-capped mountain peaks. A gentle rolling creek trickling alongside on our left fed by a high alpine lake in the far distance. Steep slopes rising to the right and dropping to the left, leaving just enough room for the trail and our unknown destination of a hike to nowhere.

We meandered our way up the canyon, stopping here and there, taking a non-aggressive pace and enjoying the quiet of nature.

At some point the trail turned away from the creek and headed uphill. We, on the other hand, did not. Following the creek, off the trail, we made our own way. Our trail to nowhere brought us to a small outcropping overlooking the creek, surrounded by dense woods and the perfect place to call it a day.

Hike to Nowhere, Trail FoodThere we were, all alone, despite the wildlife who possibly hadn’t seen humans for quite some time, if ever. We coexisted well with them and enjoyed each other’s company. For us, time didn’t exist.

While preparing lunch we looked up at a lone aspen tree that sat on the edge of the outcropping and were dumbstruck at our finding. Perfectly carved in its aging trunk, a peace emblem. Indeed, this was the spot we had been looking for. Perfect in so many ways, and yet, perhaps, unimpressive to anyone else.

Sometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off-trail, with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

Hike to Nowhere, Peace SignBirds singing, a gentle breeze winding its way through the trees and the creek running gently below us, we sat front row to a natural symphony while a flood of memories of our lives together danced through our heads.

Our hike to nowhere had indeed taken us to a very special place.

Peace,

MAD

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Backpacking Eccles Pass

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Eagle's Nest Wilderness, White River National ForestBack at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

What a beautiful late summer outing, backpacking Eccles Pass. Heading up into the Gore Mountain Range near Frisco, Colorado can be some what of an uphill battle, especially with a full backpack. Though, once out of the gulch the trail levels into picturesque meadows surrounded by mountain peaks. Simply put, the hike up is lush and quiet. Aspen groves give way to mixed pine woods with fresh running streams and a much more laid-back environment versus the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arriving in the high valley, you’ll find open meadows thinning out to rugged peaks and big open skies. Wildflowers abound here, while gentle creeks flow from snowmelt high above bring life giving waters to the valley below. There’s room for everyone and everything here, that is, man, nature and wildlife enjoy the pristine unmaintained landscape of the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, just the way it should remain.

We camped just below Eccles Pass, somewhere around 11,500′, out of touch and out of time with nowhere to go, no place to be, relaxing and allowing the natural flow of things to overtake our minds. A room with a view, if you will, positioning our tent to face west at the mountain range, prime for sunset and sunrise and a hopeful moose having dinner among the reeds.

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Marmot Tent, Backpacking TentThe nights were quiet, so much so you could hear a mouse chewing on a pine cone fifty yards away. Shadows danced all around the meadow under an almost full moon. We were alone with only nature as our cohabitant. We would drift in and out of sleep with anticipation of first light and exploring further.

“What was that?”

“A bear”

“What!?”

“A rabid moose”

“What?!!”

“An alligator…”

The next morning we would wander, aimlessly, exploring fields of wildflowers, cool running streams and eventually up to Eccles Pass for the view of a lifetime. From our vantage point the whole landscape disappeared into further untouched lands waiting to be explored. Trails winding in and out and over further mountain passes. If only we had more supplies we could just walk on in any direction letting our imaginations lead the way.

Back at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

Does a bear sh*t in the woods? I know we do! Finding that “spot” where you need to relieve yourself can be tricky at times. You obviously don’t want an audience, hell, we don’t even want a chipmunk watching, nor do you want someone to find your, well, you just don’t want someone finding “it.” Privacy, secrecy and no mosquitoes coming up behind you is what it’s all about.

“How deep should I make the hole?”

“I don’t know, how full of sh*t are you?”

After breaking camp, we fueled up, loaded up and began our decent back to city life. How we would love to just stay and never go back. Backpacking Eccles Pass, much less anyplace in the Colorado High Country, just seems to sit well with us. We always feel at home and as if the weight of the world and all its frustrations just lift off of us. Perhaps one day we’ll just take that one last look behind us as we disappear into the wilderness for good.

Peace,

MAD

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Hiking Lost Lake

Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell, MAD Hippies Life, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Wildflowers, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadWelcome to springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

The winter thaw is upon us, the creeks and rivers are running fast, the lakes are filling back up and the wildflowers are blooming like a fireworks display on the 4th of July. On the menu for today, four moose, three deer, a black bear and an amazing landscape! Hiking Lost Lake in Colorado is an adventure close to Denver full of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Many people are coming out from their long hibernation, along with the bears, and heading up into the mountains to enjoy the cool mountain air, the incredible explosion of colors and trade in their skis and snowboards for hiking boots and backpacks.

Hiking Lost Lake is an old favorite which never lets us down when it comes to an abundance of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls. And once again, we were not disappointed as indeed we were witness to several moose, deer, a black bear and an amazing breathtaking landscape full of the life we’ve come to appreciate that springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provides.

Hiking Lost Lake, Middle Boulder Creek, Waterfall, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hessie Trailhead, Lost Lake, MAD HIppies LifeNature’s air conditioner! Many of our hikes are broken into segments, not necessarily to stop and rest, although in the high country that is not such a bad idea! There are those places along the trail that pull you off the beaten path to explore rare opportunities to experience the wild and untamed landscape. When the snow melt begins in spring and the creeks begin filling, the rapids and waterfalls can be quite dramatic. Here, the Middle Boulder Creek bursts with an incredible volume of fast moving water creating a spectacular sight. The heavy mist fills the air and makes for a great spot to cool down. Exploring such a hidden gem is remarkable, while sitting and soaking up the roar is equally meditative.

As much as you might want to stay here, there is so much more to see when hiking Lost Lake. Though, a quick mental note to return again is always a good idea.

Moving on, the trail deepens into the sub alpine world as you climb higher and deeper into the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado. Snow capped peaks begin to emerge behind the tall pines and the trail resembles more of a creek than a footpath as the ever increasing evidence of snow melt overtakes the landscape. The land is alive and your curiosity begins to spark the imagination of what lies around the bend.

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking Lost Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD HIppies LifeAnd just as the sun rises in the morning giving way to a vast array of colors in the sky, you turn the bend, rise over the ridge and find yourself witness to an incredible landscape that could only be compared to paradise on earth. Beautifully adorned, Lost Lake is a deep blue wonder surrounded by sub alpine trees that reach high into the sky. The cloudless morning sky is endless, rich and clear and the breeze is ever so slight though crisp and cool. All around, snow capped peaks beg to be summited.

A few backcountry campers, still in awe of their find, begin to emerge from their slumber to fill their lungs with the mountain air while the birds serenade us all with songs of the high country. It wasn’t that long ago we were dumbstruck by a waterfall, yet now that begins to fade as this new encounter has stopped us dead in our tracks. Mouths wide open and our souls leaping with joy, we are now witness to an awesome natural wonder. Yes, let’s build our dream cabin right here and never leave!

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking, Backpacking, Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadAfter we collected our thoughts and got passed the awe of what hiking Lost Lake has to offer, we began exploring around and above. It is really quite amazing, while you can keep close to the shoreline, equally fun is to climb high above and look back down for a new perspective. Soaking up such a view not only gives you and bigger and much grander understanding of the landscape, but offers views that would otherwise never be seen. Alas, our time here was growing short, though not short on experience. We took one last good look around and chose the long way back out to the main trail.

Peace,

MAD

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Lake Isabelle Early Spring Hike

Winter Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

This is indeed why we hike, why we seek the solace of the high country and why we love sharing our experiences that others might be inspired to step out of their comfort zone and see it with their own eyes. Lake Isabelle is just such a place to step outside of everyday life and into the wild unknown.

Lake Isabelle hidden from the outside world lies just to the south of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. And while many do seek an alpine experience here during the summer months, few will make the trek through the deep snow of the winter season which can linger well into June.

Winter Lake Isabelle Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

At just under 11,000′ in elevation, Lake Isabelle sits protected from the hustle and bustle of the modern world, surrounded by three spectacular peaks, Navajo (13,409′), Apache (13,441′) and Shoshoni (12,967′) and fed by the Isabelle Glacier (12,000′) via the St Vrain Creek.

While getting here is not like climbing Mt Everest, the altitude is something to respect if you’re not used to its effects. Patience is the key as you climb steadily along the trail past vast mountain views, clear running streams, lush forests and the ever present Indian Peaks which stand guard over the area.

Our latest outing was nothing less than amazing. The traditional summer trail is not passable in winter and early spring, as it is buried deep under a blanket of winter snow.

One must take precautions by understanding the lay of the land and be quite familiar with route finding and topographical maps. While the use of a GPS device can be helpful, if the batteries ever fail, you’d be on your own. Add to this technical aspect of finding your way there and back, and knowledge of unpredictable weather in the high country is a major plus to a great experience in the Colorado high country.

Lake Isabelle Winter Hike Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

Our route took us away from the summer trail and across Long Lake’s northern shore. Long Lake is itself a beautiful destination, and fed also by the St Vrain Creek as it cascades down the mountain out of Lake Isabelle’s eastern outlet.

Following Long Lake to the this drainage point out of Lake Isabelle was indeed our route. The final ascent up the drainage is demanding, as it is typically a beautiful waterfall in the summer, though in winter resembles more of a narrow ski run, steep and well covered in pristine snow. Once we made the ridge, the peaks around the lake began to appear and our excitement grew.

Getting here can be a challenge in the winter, but the reward is overwhelming. Being in the presence of such a place is breathtaking. Pictures can do no justice, neither can our words, it just simply is an exhilarating alpine experience that has to be seen and explored to understand.

From this vantage point, if your able to turn away from the lake, you can see the entire route from which you came and be able to put it all into perspective.

St Vrain Creek Winter lake Isabelle Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

From the Isabelle Glacier, Lake Isabelle, the St Vrain Creek, down through the valley and into Long Lake, this is indeed why we hike, why we seek the solace of the high country and why we love sharing our experiences that others might be inspired to step out of their comfort zone and see it with their own eyes.

Being in the wild untamed wilderness has a way of reminding us of how beautiful the natural world is.

To see more photos of the Indian Peaks Wilderness visit the MAD Hippies Flickr page. We hope to see you on the trail 😀

Peace,

MAD

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Overcoming Personal Challenges

The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

 The Loch Rocky Mountain National ParkHave you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place? Our latest adventure had us in just such a place of overcoming personal challenges.

Which way should we go? I don’t know. One is obvious and unfamiliar, the other is obscured but the only way we’ve ever gone. Both are daunting, difficult and quite intimidating.

There we were, only a half mile away from fulfilling a dream of backpacking in a winter setting to The Loch, an amazing gem hidden deep within Rocky Mountain National Park. There was no way we were going to stop now! Only accessible by hiking in, or in our case, snowshoeing. The Loch is a picturesque mountain setting. Complete with a beautiful lake, clear running streams and surrounded on three sides by towering mountains dressed with glaciers and pristine white snow.

It was the first weekend of spring in Colorado and unseasonably warm in the high country, 20s overnight, 50s during the day. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pack in and surround ourselves with the raw and untamed wild of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Backcountry camping can be a bit overwhelming at first, as you are far from services, your vehicle and people. Cut off, you’re on your own.

Camping at The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Not only was it the first weekend of spring, indeed there was something else brewing in the air. It was to be the vernal equinox accompanied by a supermoon and solar eclipse. Say what you will, but the energy in the air just seemed to have an intriguing sensation to it. The area we were in, part of Glacier Gorge, is known for extreme winds, and yet the air was still, calm…deafening. We sat in the pitch black of our campsite awe struck at the innumerable stars, twinkling and shooting across the night sky. The silence was intoxicating.

And yet, we stood in between two avenues. We had come so far and were getting excited that our destination was close at hand. Following a familiar route we came to an abrupt stop on the trail. The summer route we knew well was buried deep in snow, obscured and hidden under the winter snowfall. We had never attempted this in the winter and were not familiar with the winter trail that followed The Loch’s outflow stream that usually is running fiercely through the gorge from snow melt in the summer months.

Snowshoeing The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Although we saw evidence of other hikers heading that way, we had never taken it and did not exactly know where it led. It could be to The Loch, or it could be to another valley away from our destination putting us even further away. The winter route dubbed Icy Brook is more of a steep icy / snow climb that didn’t sound too inviting to two weary backpackers who were carrying heavy packs and were all too ready to be at their destination. We opted for the summer route instead.

With no visible trace of the trail we relied on our GPS device to lead the way. Granted we were “supposedly” on the trail, we were also knee to hip deep in snow drudging up the side of a mountain. Indeed, a workout! Once we made our way up the steep snowy slope we came to an area we knew well. Just below The Loch now, we resumed our hike in by our own intuition of the lay of the land. Incredible views all around, we left our uncertainty behind us and made the final ascent to The Loch.

Snowshoeing to The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

We spent some time reacquainting ourselves with our old friend [The Loch], whom we’d only visited in the comfort of summer. A now frozen over lake and deep snow in all directions, finding a suitable campsite might seem difficult. We’d talked about it before even beginning our trek, we wanted a room with a view! After a short while it’s as if the clouds had parted, the birds began to sing and a ray of beautiful golden sunlight came down from the heavens and shown down on an outcropping above the lake that was free of snow and provided 360 degree views of The Loch and all its beauty. We were there.

Snowshoeing Rocky Mountain National Park, Icy Brook

When it was time to leave we begrudgingly packed up our tent, sleeping bags and belongings, stuffing them back in our packs to make our way back to the trailhead and home. But we weren’t done yet. We had spent some time exploring around The Loch during our stay and discovered that the Icy Brook route was indeed the winter trail that would take us back to where we would meet up with what we already were familiar with. It was like looking over a cliff. We met our fears, took it slow and prepared ourselves for the steep descent. Once at the safety of the bottom we just looked at each other and smiled, let’s do it again…but another day! Exhausted, though happy to have made the trek, we were thrilled to have gotten through some learning curves and uncertainty. It was another one for the books that filled us with new found joy of experiencing the wild untamed backcountry of the Rocky Mountains.

To enjoy more photos of this outing and others like it, visit our MAD Hippies Life Rocky Mountain National Park Flickr Album

Peace,

MAD 😀

That Was an Ass-Kicker

Crater Lakes Trail

Crater Lakes TrailFinding a word or short phrase to best describe our outings usually comes naturally as the experience defines itself. But when we both agreed on  “that was an ass-kicker!” we just had to laugh.

Our recent snowshoeing adventure lead us up into the James Peak Wilderness of Colorado to hike up to a series of small lakes called Crater Lakes. Not necessarily a very long hike, at just over six miles round-trip, but more along the lines of a good workout from the elevation gain [1,400′ from 9,200′ to 10,600′], all the while snowshoeing.

In 2014 we made the decision to hike every week come rain, sun or snow. Unfortunately the last several weeks we have been unable to get out for time crunches and unforeseen events.

With the weather being more like spring-like in Colorado, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head up into the mountains this past weekend and were so happy we did.

Mountain Sunrise

We arrived just as the sun was rising on the mountains, which we took as an open invitation to high country adventure.

On the trail we made our way to the trail split that would take us up to the Crater Lakes area. It had been easy going up till this point. But, once on the Crater Lakes trail, all bets were off. After not hiking for several weeks we were feeling it.

Thank G-d for snowshoes, otherwise we would have been post-holing our way hip deep in snow. Hearts pounding, legs burning and our minds trying to tell us to go back home to sit on the couch and eat ice cream, we pushed on.

The term “ass-kicker” quickly became the established theme of the day. It’s amazing, when you don’t workout, hike or snowshoe [what’s the difference] for a few weeks it’s crazy how much you notice it. We took a few breaks, professed our condition to each other and mother nature, then sucked it up and pressed on.

Once we reached Crater Lakes we were exhausted but elated, grinning ear to ear at our ability to overcome and then be witness to such an amazing landscape. It was tough, but it was worth every drop of sweat!

Crater Lakes

Sitting down on a boulder overlooking the frozen and snow covered lakes we just had to laugh as we both looked at each other and said, “that was an ass-kicker!”

Peace 🙂

MAD

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God My Wife is Hot

MAD Hippies Life Golden Gate Canyon State Park ColoradoI am constantly amazed at my wife’s ability to remain sane as a woman with all the struggles she has faced in life. From the pressures of society to the unique attributes of being female, she has dealt with so much in every season of life and remained someone I constantly am inspired by and look up to. Indeed, I am proud to be her husband and best friend in this life and the next.

Of late, she has had to endure a cruel and unjust phase of life for no other reason than she is a woman, menopause. What’s interesting to me is that we have read up on and listened to so many points of view of what women go through when that dreaded day comes and menopause becomes part of everyday life, but it’s all from a woman’s perspective, and most assuredly should be, as they are the ones dealing with it on such a deep personal level, physically and mentally.

Rarely, if ever, do I hear from the men. And when I do it’s generally in a joking manner laden with so much ignorance, and sad to say is quite insensitive. The last thing a woman needs to hear is some quick and insincere response to her heartfelt needs.

Though I can joke about it, and do at times, but from a position of knowing and understanding what my wife is going through. Perhaps as a way to shed light on her struggles, let her know I do understand, am listening and am willing to help. Is it frustrating? Very much so. But I’m learning.

One of the most difficult aspects I deal with are her repetitive questions that seek reassurance. At first it was maddening to me to be asked the same question over and over…within a short period of time, sometimes within the same hour. But seriously, that’s one of the cruelest conditions of menopause, she normally would never need constant reassurance, but for some ungodly reason menopause does! I finally made the recommendation to her, jokingly, that I would make her a set of flash cards with her questions and my answers.

Reliving all the difficult memories of past experiences in life with her is tough, too. While she gets to go back through all the past emotions again, and not just as they were, we’re talking an “erectile dysfunction pill” for emotions, they will last more than four hours and be much harder than before! Those memories can be difficult to deal with all over again. Moreover, her memories of times I wasn’t a part of, how am I supposed to be a support when I don’t even know the trigger source of the emotion.

Indeed, to me, menopause is far more a traumatic mental affliction than it is physical.

That is not to say the physical is any walk in the park. My wife is hot…and cold, and hot, and cold. If you see a woman with her head out the window driving down the highway in the middle of winter with sweat running down her face, well, that’s us.

Sleeping at night is like an aerobics class. We start off all snugly and the next thing I know it’s like someone put an electric blanket between us set on ultra-high! Blankets flying, not to mention our little dog somewhere lost in the now flying blankets, we’re seeking the cool air away from the sauna of our not so distant quiet and relaxing sleep. Sleep? In short spurts, maybe. This was no gradual warm up either, instant heat. Perfect I think for winter camping in the mountains. But just as soon as you’re looking to turn the ceiling fan on high, open all the windows [mind you it’s 20 degrees outside] she’s grabbing for the blankets as the heat dissipates and the grueling cold moves back in. Talking about AC/DC!

Where does all this leave me? Hoping I can at the very least bring some peace to her life during this rather evil punishment she must go through, that we’re going through. It does affect me, not as it does her, but indeed, it does affect me, we’re going through this together, like every other stage in our 33 years together.

As crazy as it sounds I love going through it with her. But that’s just as it should be, we should always be there for each other. The key being, together. We are doing this, we are finding ways to cope and we are holding strong against what life throws at us not willing to let the negative penetration of life’s dark side destroy what we’ve made together.

IMG_0493
Sunrise at 14,000′ on Mt Evans

I love the picture above. I love to see her finding, if for just a moment, peace. Be it meditating, staring blankly into the sunrise or just absorbing the short time when menopause leaves her alone, I just want to go up and grab her from behind, wrap my arms around her and encourage, embrace and relish in the moment with her. Unfortunately I fear that it might trigger something that would somehow reverse the bliss she is enjoying.

Alas, I stand back and have my own moment of seeing the most beautiful person in the world creating a special and most unbelievably serene setting with her physical and spiritual energy aligned with the universe at peace.

Peace,

The “M” in MAD

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Failure or Fulfillment?

 MAD Hippies Life Rocky Mountain National Park ColoradoIf it’s not obvious to you by now, we love the outdoors! We love full immersion of our body, mind and spirit into the raw and unfiltered wild that surrounds both man and machine.

Our goal is to one day leave the hustle and bustle of modern society and transition into wilderness living. Unfortunately that can’t happen soon enough. Alas, until that time comes we continue to trek often, as much as possible, into the environment of our vision of life together in the untouched and unviolated areas of our nation’s backcountry.

Until that day comes we plan, we dream and we take each failure not as a loss but as a fulfillment of experiences that will provide the essence of a life without  the conveniences that are at the fingertips of everyday life in the big city. Instead of quick solutions that are prepackaged we will become innovative, creative and proud of our accomplishments to overcome what many now see as primitive survival.

Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park
Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park

A recent hike in Rocky Mountain National Park gave us time to think a little more and consider some of these life changes. The trail, environment, weather and energy output to thrust oneself into an alpine setting in winter, much less any season, is no easy task. Planning, education and preparedness are essential to a safe and enjoyable outing. But that challenge is our gain, forget the positive results we get from each and every trek we head out on, those are just bonuses carrying out in the background. Being in such a place just seems to invigorate us, cleansing our souls, calming our minds and leaving us in such a physically pleasing state that we are able to just sit back and know well the feeling of fulfillment.

Time spent together learning, growing and making memories to share and think back on in years to come.

Taking Shelter From High Winds in Glacier Gorge
Taking Shelter From High Winds in Glacier Gorge

What an amazing day in the high country of Colorado. We knew it would be windy, we knew there was a storm brewing… Prepared as we could be we headed off for a few high lakes to get in a good hike before the weather came crashing down with yet another good ole fashioned Colorado snowstorm. Packed powder underfoot, drifts to the side, we made our way up the trail.

The wind howled over head giving clues to what lay ahead. The views nothing short of high quality postcards around each corner as we managed our way forward going ever higher and deeper into the wilderness.

What came next was just amazing… semi-clear skies and hurricane force winds stopped us dead in our tracks! Knowing full well where we were on the trail and where we needed to pass though to get to our destination it was a no-brainer that we needed to abort this hike and turn back. Bummed? Perhaps a little. But as we like to say, “live today to hike another time.”

We sat behind a large rock out of the incredible winds and realized how, once again, the experience was amazing. Nature was at its finest [raw and real] and we thoroughly enjoyed what we had done, seen and witnessed. There was no failure here, just more fulfillment of life, love and the desire to be in an environment we find so much peace in. Indeed these are the feelings and life lessons we want to go forward with as we continue our life together.

Watch a video of this experience [Don’t forget to turn up the volume on your device to hear the wind in all its fury!].

Peace,

MAD 🙂

Life, Love and Experience

 

It’s not just about hiking…it’s about spending time together, it’s about being in an environment that promotes tranquility, it’s about surrounding ourselves with natural and raw energy, it’s about life and love and how small we are in the eternal and unimaginable universe. Hiking just sets the stage for experiences, memories and discovery.

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Peace,

MAD 🙂

See photos and videos of our experiences MAD Hippies Life

Dream a Little Dream

MAD Hippies Life Mule Deer Roxborough State Park Colorado Can you believe it, we actually took a nap today? Wow, really, are you going to sit there and read the rest of this after an opening line like that? Seriously though, we just had one of those days where we had planned the night before to sleep in, didn’t happen. And when we did get up we were going to go snowshoeing, didn’t happen. And then, after all that we were going to come home and have a old time favorite meal [Frito Pie] and an amazing microbrew [Yeti from Great Divide] to end the evening, didn’t happen. So what did happen?

Well, as fate would have it, or better put, after a long bitterly cold week in Denver we just made it up as we went along. We got up early instead of sleeping in, had our usual morning routine of single syllable words, or grunts..not sure what you’d call it…but after 32ish years we seem to understand each other just fine. Feed the pups, though we never remember who did it, and then rendezvous at the coffee maker for [hopefully] a life awakening experience. We then moved to the couch to drink our miracle elixir and watch the same news over and over again until we can recite it before they repeat it [again].

Finally the question gets posed, “well, are we going snowshoeing?” Crickets ensue as the life giving elixir has yet to kick in as the early morning insanity wears on with the repeating news, repeated drinking of coffee and now a full sentence in the English language is heard as if the world were about to come to an end amongst the echoing sounds of crickets. The response…back to one syllable words, and an often overlooked quote by Jeff Spicoli, “I don’t know.” Nodding our heads in unison as if an agreement of the unknown, we respectfully return to our news, coffee and prehistoric ramblings until one of us would make a decision.

And then it happened, a moment of sheer ingenious inspiration, let’s skip the snowshoe outing with the weather predicted to get bad in the mountains. Ah, yes, we were more than watching the news, we were actually listening too! Instead of throwing all the winter hiking gear in the truck we grabbed our cameras and headed out for a drive instead [fully clothed of course]. The plan now had become an expedition of gathering information about nine of the state parks close to Denver that would be great alternatives to those [like us today] that don’t want to travel in the high country during a winter storm [go figure] and stay close to home while still getting out and enjoying the outdoors. Flash forward, those nine state parks were quickly whittled down to five…then four…and finally three. Is there a pattern forming here, maybe more coffee would help?

Off we went to make good on our plan to do a write up on four, well, three amazing places to go near Denver when the weather is not necessarily cooperating in the cold winter months. Needless to say, it wasn’t really cooperating for us either. Our first step out the front door and we were met with the fresh breath of old man winter, frosty and frigid it was. Determined we headed off, clouds hanging low, icy wind blowing and now snow falling, but wait, we memorized that forecast, we have time before the snow falls…alas, it’s Colorado and the weather will do what it wants when it wants. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful.

Our first park, Eldorado Canyon State Park. The sign at the entrance said 4-wheel drive or chains required, no problem, we have the 4-wheel drive part covered. Deep, white Colorado powder had blanketed the area for several days and even more was now falling. How wonderful we thought, and it was. We stopped, soaked it all in, walked a little and decided to head off to park number two, Roxborough State Park to the south. A winding hilly foothills highway, with the lanes now obscured by snow and we were beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful. We got to the park and drove through stopping to take a few pictures and admire the ever present mule deer grazing in the meadow as if time really didn’t exist, and why should it? After enjoying the peace of the moment, and now stomachs growling for food, we headed off to our last and final destination, Castlewood Canyon State Park, further yet to the south. Once there the serenity of a cold winter day was really setting in, not to mention our hunger level was beginning to outweigh any and all decisions being made! A short walk, a few pictures and we were off, headed home to finish off our great plans for the evening, or so we thought.

We stopped off for a few food items before getting home. Our illustrious plans now were more of a make it up as we went along, sound familiar? Frito Pie, hmmm, lots of work there. We aggressively attacked a bag of chips as we heated up onion rings and vegetarian [chicken style] sandwiches in the oven. After devouring that we hit a little ice cream we usually reward ourselves with after a long hike…and hey, it was cold outside, all that driving..and well…it tasted good! Our bellies now full we were determined to have a nice imperial stout, didn’t happen. We both made for the bed and took a long nap listening to the sounds of a show we like to watch, Buying Alaska. We love to watch shows like that and dream a little, OK, a lot. And now it only seemed to woo us into a nice late afternoon nap as we fell asleep dreaming of living in a small cabin in the mountains, deep in the woods. We couldn’t believe it, all of our plans pretty much out the window and now taking an afternoon nap. What an awesome day of doing nothing, or not much anyway, and cuddling up to dream a little dream.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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