The Wind is Howling!

We have experienced a fair amount of wind during our first two months in Colorado, and we are told that this is typical for this time of the year.   Despite the blustery conditions, we got up this morning and headed to the Lady Moon Trailhead where we met Lynn, one of our hiking friends,  and Sophie, her dog…  Another incredible blue sky day..  The temperature was actually somewhat moderate… it is supposed to reach 60 degrees in Denver today, but the wind chilled things off a bit, particularly in the wide open area that was part of our hike.

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We opted not to bring our snow shoes, but  we could have used them in some areas  where we headed off of the trail…  after spending time in the meadow, we returned to the trail and followed it upward…  We intersected with some other trails which we had seen before..  we are beginning to get a grasp for how  many of the trails we have been on are all connected together…it is nice to finally be forming a mental map of the area between Glen Echo where we are living and working and Red Feather Lakes…     We did not see any wildlife today, but  I am not sure if I posted a pic of this cow moose that we saw last week..

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this was our second sighting of a moose in Colorado…  hopefully, many more to come!   jt

Bellaire Lake

We set out yesterday to explore an area that is new to us… Bellaire Lake –  in the same vicinity as Molly Lake, along Manhatten Rd on the way to Red Feather Lakes..  It was obvious that plenty of folks had been there recently .. the trail was easy to follow and is actually the access road during camping season.   We found both a camping area and a day use area when we made it to the lake.    It sure would be nice to come back here during the summer with our canoe!

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After we returned to our car, we drove to the library at Red Feather Lakes, one of our favorite hangouts…  and got caught up on world events..  then we headed to Beaver Meadows where we thought we might get a bite to eat before heading back to Glen Echo.. but we found that they were closed  😦      All was not lost, however, on the way back, we witnessed an incredible sunset… I am afraid that my phone camera was not up to the task of capturing it, but I tried!

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After a nice dinner at home, we rounded out the day by watching  both  “Steve Jobs”   and “A Walk in the Woods”    …   another wonderful day in Colorado!   jt

Tracks

After a light snow,  we decided to return to the Molly Lake trail with our cross country skis.  We have read that there are far more sunny days here in Colorado than we are used to back in PA, and we are totally loving that aspect of life here in the mountains..   molly-lake-trail-2

We are getting much more comfortable heading out ourselves, particularly when our destination involves trails that we have visited before with some of our local friends..  the theme for this outing was the different animal tracks that we noticed in the new snow..  While it looks rather remote, and it is sometimes a challenge to find wildlife, the numerous tracks that we saw suggest that it is actually quite the busy area for local wildlife!

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oops, those last ones are ours 🙂    We are a bit disappointed that the entrance to Rocky Mtn National Park is 100 miles away ( partly due to a road closure) … but we are finding that we can keep pretty busy in our own “back yard”  since we are practically surrounded by  national forest land..  what a great resource to have at our disposal!    jt   cp23_1983@yahoo.com

Molly Lake Trail

after a healthy breakfast of cherry pie .. with a pinwheel cookie for desert..  we loaded up the car and headed up the dirt road towards Molly Lake .. just a quick 20 minute drive from home.. and what do we find , strolling along on the road in front of us?   our first Colorado Moose!    It took a while to get the phone camera working, so you will have to peer into the woods in this pic to see it, but it was quite the sight as it broke into a run up the road in front of us before veering off into the woods…  moose

he is a young one… great way to start the day 🙂     a few minutes later

we met our friend, Lynn, at the trail head..  strapped on the skis and headed off…

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All together, it was a 4 mile trip..  a totally gorgeous day to be out on the trail..

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we are pretty impressed with the forest service facilities..  simple, but helpful…

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peering off into the woods along the trail.. we love this type of setting…

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we skied across molly lake… took a break and then retraced our way, saving the second part of the trail for another day…

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the snow started to get a little sticky on the way back.. no wonder, when we got back to the car, it was 51 degrees…   winter in Colorado is pretty nice!     jt  cp23_1983@yahoo.com

Day trip -Masonville, Lyons and beyond!

Today was the third of a string of four days off in a row.. we headed towards Lyons CO, by way of Masonville..  The last time we passed through Masonville we did not take the opportunity to stop at the store, but we certainly meant to this time around.. but, we were disappointed to find that it is not open on Wednesdays 😦    We did poke around a bit, and surely will return – we hear that the store is an experience all of its own,  and the structures and old farm equipment across the street definitely support that thought.

masonville-store-3we were fortunate to have temps in the low 50’s which made exploring this site quite comfortable…

masonville-store-2it is quite a collection of stuff!

masonville-store-1 we will surely pass this way again..  when the store itself is open…

Next stop along the way was a farm museum in Loveland.. but that was closed as well 😦   not sure if we will still be in Colorado when it opens for the season, but they serve tea in period costume, so we will keep in touch…

on to Lyons.. my son, Erik, suggested that we make a point of visiting Lyons.. a very nice small town on the way to Estes Park by way of rt 36.   We parked and walked down the main street and found  The Stone Cup Cafe…  stone-cup-cafeit was hard to believe, but we found it very comfortable to sit outside and enjoy our tea..  also chatted with a cyclist who filled us in on the impact that that F O Stanley ( one of the brothers of  Stanley Steamer fame) had on Estes Park.. including the Stanley Hotel which has quite a haunted history…

next.. on to Estes Park, but only after stopping in at the Colorado Cherry Company colorado-cherry-company-2colorado-cherry-company-1

one of our coworkers alerted us to this place…  totally worth the stop..  we made it a point to stop here for dinner on the way back.. and we were very pleased with the BBQ sandwiches that we ordered..  as well as the cherry pie that we brought home…

estes-park-2Estes Park is surrounded by incredible beauty.. but there is no doubt that it has been “discovered”    it is a bit of a tourist trap.. with more t shirt shops than Bar Harbor..   on instagram, I suggested that I will consider it to be the Bar Harbor of the west from this point on!

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It certainly is a beautiful setting…   and on the way out of town we were treated to this view…

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we were pretty excited to see them, but they were not the least bit interested in us…

After out stop for dinner, we headed home..   arriving well after sunset, and pausing briefly to look up at the star filled sky…  glad to be home and anxious to crawl into our bed after a long day on the road!   jt    cp23_1983@yahoo.com

Moose Visitor Center – revisited

 

moose-visitor-center-snowshoe1This was our second visit to the Moose Visitor Center  – this time on snow shoes instead of skis, and we had the pleasure of sharing the experience with members of the Red Feather Library Hiking Group ( not sure of the official title, but this will work for  now) ..     This is a pic of Janet and our leader, Darlene as we headed out on the trail from the visitor center..  the ride over Cameron Pass to this location was spectacular, but we were so busy talking  with new friends that we did not think to stop to get out to take a photo!

moose-visitor-center-snowshoe2… the path ahead.. snow on either side of this trail was three feet deep..  we might have gotten away without the snowshoes on the path, but  it was wise to have them for the trip…

moose-visitor-center-snowshoe4..  members of the group waiting for the rest of us to catch up..   we  took a break to enjoy hot chocolate and snacks before turning back..  it was a grey day, but very comfortable..  there were some moose tracks along our path – presumably, the moose find it easier to walk on the path too!   But, another day has passed in Colorado  without a moose sighting… we will keep trying!

moose-visitor-center-snowshoe3 peering off into the woods along side the trail..  the landscape varies considerably in this area..  some heavily forested sections followed by rocky expanses with few trees leading into vast grazing lands….  no wonder there is such a variety of wildlife within a short distance of our home base at Glen Echo Resort..    All told, we did just under 4 miles…  great scenery, great company..  another wonderful day in Colorado 🙂    jt

Hewlett Gulch

We were headed into Fort Collins where we thought we might do a long walk, but we were prepared for anything, and along the way, we found that the lower elevations of the Poudre Canyon were no longer snow covered…  spontaneity is a great thing!   We decided to delay our arrival in Fort Collins and  tackle the Hewlett Gulch trail!hewlett-gulch-7

it is a popular trail, although there was just one other car in the parking lot when we arrived.   hewlett-gulch-5along the trail there are ruins from cabins where families lived many years ago…

hewlett-gulch-4the trail follows a creek through the valley.. lots of crossings.. some easier than others!   At one point, we decided to turn around, not quite feeling confident about a stream crossing that faced us, but only a minute or so after heading back, we happened across a young couple who had done the trail before, and they offered to show us the way..  we enjoyed their company for the next 20 minutes or so as we took their lead across the stream and continued on a bit.   Natalie and Simon are students at Colorado State College and have a fair amount of experience hiking in the Poudre Canyon.  It just so happened that I mentioned a book that I just finished about a couple who spent 6 years living on a Shanty Boat along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in the 1940’s… Natalie is interested in the book, so we traded information so that I could pass the book on to her next time we travel to Fort Collins..

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We decided to head back to the trailhead before reaching the end of the hike so we wished Natalie and Simon luck and turned back..   as we retraced our steps, we ran into Caroline from Fort Collins who was hiking with her very well-behaved dog.. we stopped and conversed a bit, always eager to pick up tips from local hikers..

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we talked about appropriate dress for this time of year.. Caroline informed us that her husband ran a used outdoor gear shop in Fort Collins..  we later visited the store..  quite a neat collection of stuff!

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After saying good bye to Caroline, we made our way back to the trailhead.. enjoyed a snack in the car and headed into town … the highlight was finding some items at the Gearage and at some other thrift stores in town.. and then, of course, spending time at Mugs Cafe where we enjoyed a nice cup of tea and internet access..    what a great way to spend a day off!   jt