Vacation in Fort Collins! dear friend, coworker, and local guide, Marilyn, invited us to come down out of the mountains for an overnight in Fort Collins.. what a great idea!   We packed a few things and hit the road.  Our first stop – our favorite cafe,  Howling Cow, where we enjoyed a cup of tea, caught up on internet news and got great tips for hikes in Fort Collins and for a local pie shop..   Me Oh My  Coffee and Pie..     we could not resist that!..

the fact that it happened to be PI day only heightened our interest 🙂    In side, we found a great selection of homemade goodies… settled on little hand pies..  appropriately priced for the day at  $3.14 …   so tempting, we took a bite before I could reach for my phone to take a pic!

I was struck by some of the signs hanging in the shop.. could not resist taking a shot of this one…

Next stop was the trail head for the Foothills Trail.. coincidentally, just across the street from Marilyn’s home!   This trail is located by the “old”  Colorado State University stadium.  It did not look all that old to me, but a new one will be ready for the 2017 football season…   the pic at the top of the post is  of the mountain behind the stadium..  complete with the letter A painted on the hillside… Although the mascot for the university is now a Ram,  in the old days the school was known as the Aggies, and the A is a tradition that has continued to thrive..  apparently the freshmen football players are tasked with the job of refreshing the paint each year.

This is where we need to insert the interesting part… Marilyn’s father, a mountain man through and through, cautioned her to never hike this hill because of the resident rattlesnake population… if you happen to know Janet.. you understand that this kind of story sparks considerable anxiety!   But it is March, and the snakes are still snug in their dens… we hope!

so off we go!   a very nice path, very popular with the locals…  I wonder if they understand how fortunate they are to have so many recreational opportunities so close at hand!

no, Janet.. this is not a rattlesnake hole!    try a prairie dog 🙂  .. lots of them.. right behind the stadium …

look closely, and you will see a little head checking out the world…

made it to the top!   That is Horsetooth Reservoir behind us… a 10 mile , narrow body of water that is filled with snow melt each year ( provided a good snowfall in the mountains)  and which provides lots of boating recreation in the summer as well as water for Fort Collins..

looking down at Fort Collins..  we are at the tippy top of the “A”  thus the white stones in the foreground..

After we completed the hike, we went in search of another pie place, but we were not successful.. instead, we stumbled into an amazing yarn shop..  folks were gathered around a table, knitting and chatting, while in another room people were weaving on small looms…  it was a totally cool shop- wish my daughter could come out and visit.. so much to show her.. this shop would be near the top of the list!

We then met Marilyn at her home and decided to conclude the day with dinner at El Burrito – a local restaurant with a longstanding reputation for authentic Mexican food..  what a treat that was!

This brings a fun-filled busy day to an end… stay tuned for day two!   jt

























The difference a day makes!

When we awoke this morning we were greeted to snow and howling wind.. it sure was cold compared with yesterday when we were treated to temperatures breaking 50 degrees and sunshine and blue sky!

We made the most of yesterday’s weather by hiking Dadd Gulch, a trail which begins just 2 miles down the road.   We have passed it numerous times on our way to other trails, but we discovered that this is our newest favorite!   The fact that local friends joined us made the experience all the nicer…  and their dog had a blast!

dadd gulch 1Janet and Lynn at the trailhead..  Sophie saying ” why are we standing here.. let’s go!”

dadd gulch 5We were warned that we would run into snow in the shady sections of the trail… the dog loved it… spent lots of time rolling in it…dadd gulch 4

I guess this is why it is a gulch!    some pretty steep sided sections of the trail…

dadd gulch 3some open areas as well…  we were pretty protected most of the way..

janet and me dadd gulch

took time for a photo… life is good in Colorado…

dadd gulch 2

headed back down , after hiking 3 miles in…   just a bit short of our goal, but we were quite satisfied with the experience and will revisit the trail again in a few weeks…

sunset 3-5-17

at the end of the day, we were treated to a beautiful sunset…  with just over a month to go before we leave this spot,  we have a lot to pack in…    stay tuned!     jt


Grey Rock


A beautiful day for a hike in Colorado,  and we found our best trail yet!   Grey Rock is located in the eastern section of the Poudre Canyon.   It is quite popular, in part, because it is one of the first trails that you run into after turning on rt  14, but even more so, because  it is simply spectacular.    The opening photo is the approach to the summit,  after about 2 miles of hiking…

The approach to the trailhead:


bridge across the Poudre River…


looking east from the bridge:


looking west from the bridge:


the climb:




from the summit:






Elevation is right around  7600  feet with an elevation gain of nearly  1900 feet.    We met some nice folks along the way…   and now we are enjoying  lunch at the Howling Cow Cafe… life sure is good in Colorado!

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.



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..


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!


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!



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


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!





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

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