Torreys Peak

Diane and I have done quite a bit of hiking over the last several months.  The idea was to get in shape to do our first 14er – after I turned 50.  I thought I was in pretty good shape – until I was put to the test by Torreys Peak.

Torreys is supposed to be one of the easier 14ers and many people summit both Torreys Peak and Grays Peak on the same day.  Now, maybe I am overreacting because we did hike about 10 miles the day before near Mount Evans on the Chicago Lakes Trail.  In retrospect, we probably overdid it and should have taken it easy the day before attempting Torreys Peak.  We probably should have gone to bed early and relaxed that evening, but we didn’t.  And did we pay….

Bill, Ben, Diane and Dan with Torreys Peak in the Background

Bill, Ben, Diane and Dan with Torreys Peak in the Background

Fortunately, we did make it to the top.  But it wasn’t easy.  My 17-year old son and his friend came with us and they scampered up the hill like mountain goats.  They were often waiting impatiently as we dragged our sorry butts up to their resting spot and then they just took off again like it was nothing.

Shortly before the summit we went through a short snow bank near the top and dealt with some pretty harsh winds as we crossed the saddle between Grays and Torreys.  The winds were so strong that our friend almost turned back because he was having trouble keeping his contacts in with the wind, but he hung in there.  Then a short climb to the summit and we were there.

Beautiful!  Love those 360 degree views.  I can see why so many people are enamored with climbing 14ers.

What a feeling!  What an accomplishment!

The climb down was fairly easy.  Your feet take a pounding, but your lungs and thighs have a well-deserved respite.

I plan to do it again, but I learned my lesson.  Next time, I will take it easy the day before!

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Hiking In and Around Mount Evans

Lincoln Lake Trail

Yesterday, we went for an extended excursion on the trail from Echo Lake to Lincoln Lake.  The hike is about seven miles each way and took us about seven hours.  We stopped for lunch and for an extended break at Lincoln Lake.  It was worth every mile and every minute.  Lincoln Lake is beautiful.  It is nestled on the side of Mount Evans.  The water is crystal clear and the trout were jumping.

Lincoln Lake

Lincoln Lake

The trail starts with a brief climb up from the Echo Lake campground, followed by about a mile long drop.  The rest of the way is a slow steady climb up to Lincoln Lake.  Most of the way is through pine forest but just before the turnoff to Lincoln Lake, it opens up into an old burn area with lots of beautiful silvery-gray gnarled dead trees coming up out of a grassy meadow.  The grass and underbrush was starting to show some nice fall color.  In fact, the mountains in the distance looked almost orange below treeline from the combination of green and red grass and brush.  It was beautiful.

We left at about 11:00 and got back just after 6:00.  We saw a total of seven people on the trail.  One couple got to Lincoln Lake shortly after us.  We passed another couple and then a solo hiker who were returning about a mile before we got to the lake.  Then, on our way back, we passed a couple of backpackers who were heading out to camp for the night.  On the whole it was extremely quiet and we had the trail – and the forest – to ourselves.

Chicago Lakes Trail

About a month ago, we hiked the Chicago Lakes trail with a good friend who was visiting from Washington, D.C.  We estimated that hike to be about 10-11 miles (round trip) with about 1,700 feet in elevation gain (although with the initial down and then up, the number was probably closer to 2,000 total elevation gain.

The Chicago Lakes trail was one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done in Colorado – and certainly the most impressive of the summer.  With all the rain we have been having, the fauna was still very green.

The First of the Chicago Lakes

The First of the Chicago Lakes

The initial climb of about a mile opened up to the Idaho Springs reservoir.  We stopped there for a little bit, but there were a lot of people coming and going, so we quickly moved on.  There were more people further on up the trail, but it definitely thinned out.

We thought about turning around about a mile before the first of the Chicago Lakes because we were planning to hike Torreys Peak the next day, but we pressed on.  When we finally made it to the Lakes the beauty of the scenery made it all worthwhile.  That is one hike that definitely want to do again.

Hells Hole

We do have one more hike in the Mount Evans area planned for later this fall when the aspen start to turn.  That is Hells Hole.  Good friends of ours have done it in previous years when the aspen  were peaking and rave about it.   Their pictures back up their story.  I can’t wait!


What are you doing for Labor Day in Denver?

There are so many things to do this weekend, i don’t even know where to start!

First Friday –

it’s every first friday – but why not go since you have an extra day off this weekend?

Santa Fe, RINO and Golden Triangle – I love first friday! A bunch of people get together and look at some really cool art!

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The Taste of Colorado

So many restaurants, such good food, a wonderful time to spend an evening or a day!

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Sniagrab –

going on

The World’s Largest Ski and Snowboard Sale – At Sports Authority! We have yet to get our buts there – but I hear the deals are phenominal!

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Ski REx

Starts Saturday but has a VIP day today (Friday) – just sign up for their mailing list and you get a ticket to get in!

Ski Rex

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Cirque de Soleil

– many deals –

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Flobots bowling

They are bowling for Charity this Friday!!! You could bowl with them!

Where will you be this weekend?


Brief Update from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

Love,
The folks at MBHQ

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Hiking in the Rocky Mountains!

Last month a friend came to visit for the weekend and we decided we should explore those big pointy things with white stuff on the top… (Rocky Mountain National Park)

MiniMapRMNP

I had a national park pass from a trip to the Grand Canyon a couple months ago so i got in for “free”.

Keep a look out – they had a few “free entry” weekends throughout the summer – that’s cool!

We headed in through the entrance by Estes Park.  I wanted to make sure that my friend could handle the larger altitude change – she was from sea level, so we had our bag lunch by one of the water falls.

After that, we headed down toward Bear Lake for some not too strenous hiking! Obviously the easy hikes and easily accessible areas will be the most populated. Rocky Mt NP has created a huge parking lot and a shuttle system to get you around the heavily traveled areas.

I must say I am very impressed with ease of transit, the limited wait times for the buses, and the ability to get away from the crowds! We did the mile-ish hike to Alberta Falls

And then the trail around Bear Lake. It was a beautiful walk/hike.

It’s a neat place to bring visitors or just head in yourself!

It is right there – under 2 hours from Denver… Seriously – go take a look!

I can’t wait to get up there and find some other hikes and enjoy more of what Colorado has to offer!


Health 4 Humanity – Peace Jam

Want a good way to give back to give back, do something good for you and have fun all at the same time?

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Bear Visits Our Foothills Home

Black Bear eating birdseed in Morrison/Evergreen, CO

Black Bear eating birdseed in Morrison/Evergreen, CO

Thursday morning at 2:00 am, my wife pushed me out of bed when one of our bird feeders crashed to the ground.  I am a deep sleeper and didn’t hear a thing, but I dutifully got up and walked groggily to the window to see what was up.

I found a bear crouching on the edge of our patio scooping up all the bird seed.  With my heart racing and adrenaline pumping I checked the sliding glass doors which we sometimes leave open.  Fortunately, they were closed and the bear didn’t seem to care about me.  Then I went for the camera and was able to get this photo before my wife told me to stop taking pictures and get that bear out of her garden…

I am not much of a match for a 400 lb black bear, but I grabbed the first thing I could find – a broom – and started to open the sliding glass door.  Fortunately, the bear was more afraid of me than I was of him.  He hopped over the wall and climbed a big pine tree about fifteen feet away.

By this time, my whole house was up and gawking.  One of our dogs got out and was racing around our deck barking her head off (fortunately, she never got close to the bear).  We all watched the bear watch us from the tree for the next 15 minutes.  It kept snorting and huffing – I assume to warn us to stay away – although we didn’t need much encouragement.  I kept my eyes on him while I made a few short dashes out to collect our bird feeders and sweep away the remains of the bird seed that he had started eating.

Finally, he climbed down the tree and ambled away.

We have lived in the foothills of Conifer and Evergreen for fifteen years and have seen several bears and even a mountain lion.  We just returned from a trip to Alaska where we saw lots of black bears and brown bears eating salmon, but this one was a little close to home.  I haven’t started looking for a realtor yet, but you never know.


Film on the Rocks – Ghostbusters – Tuesday August 4th!

It’s that time again!  Film on the Rocks – Ghostbusters!!!

Tuesday night – doors open at 6:45, movie starts at sun down!

See you there!

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My feet are sore

We had a busy two days of hiking this weekend.  On Saturday, we hiked the Meridian Trail.  This was a beautiful 3.3 hike (doubled on the return trip) and there was not another person in sight until we returned to the trailhead.  The elevation gain of 1,600 feet was good preparation for next weekend, when we plan to hike our first “fourteener” – Grays and Torreys.  As with everywhere we have been this summer, it was green, green, green.  We passed through two beautiful aspen groves with rich green clearings just below us.  Near the top, we were able to see the rock face of the next mountain which was just gorgeous.  The trip down the hill took almost an hour less time than the trip up.

Today, we went with Reynolds Park, much more familiar stomping grounds for us.  We did all the trails on the mountain side of the park including both Eagle’s View and Raven’s Roost.  This hike also included a lot of elevation gain, but not quite as much as the Meridian Trail.  There were lots of cars in the parking lot, but we didn’t pass a single person until we made it to the top of Eagle’s View.

All in all, a great weekend.  But my feet hurt….


Fun Filled Denver Weekend!

Again – another fun filled weekend!

So much to do, so little time!

Tonight at Barnum Park

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Tomorrow Night
at Skyline Park

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Saturday All Day:

Free Day of Museum of Art

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Saturday Morning:

2009 Neighborhood Conference

Mayor John Hickenlooper and City leaders will host neighborhood and community organizations in a day of community-wide networking and neighborhood leadership training on Saturday, Aug. 1, at Coors Field. For more details, read the press release here.
Or get another take on what will be going down here

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Saturday Afternoon:

Verso Cellars

Colorado Day Wine Tasting
DATE: Saturday, August 1
TIME: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
LOCATION: 4640 Pecos St.
MORE: Join us August 8 for our Grand Opening Celebration!
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Sunday Afternoon:

Avery Brewing Company – Anniversary Party!

SIXTEEN years in business and its time to celebrate! Join us and the rest of Boulder at the brewery for this annual summer event.  As always, we'll have dozens of styles of your favorite Avery Brews, a BIG pig roast (with vegetarian options too), vertical tasting and bands all day long!  Make your plans now.  

Featuring the sounds of 6 great bands: 

Felonius Smith Trio
Acoustic Hotfoot
Lost Alamos
Cari Minor & Ray Smith
Chris and Bardusco of Meniskus
The Alltunators
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Conifer and Aspen Park

Yesterday, Diane and I hiked to the top of the hill at Meyer Ranch Park Open Space in Aspen Park.  There are about four miles of trails to the top.  We went late in the afternoon after the rainstorm.  It was beautiful – and quiet.  We didn’t meet a single soul on the trail.  I think we may start hiking more in the late afternoons after a heavy rain.

Near the top there is an overlook with a bench that looks out over Aspen Park.  We both noted how much Aspen Park has grown since we first moved to the foothills over fifteen years ago.  In addition to Conifer High School, we saw the huge King Soopers complex, the rebuilt complex that used to house the drug store and City Market.  There are many other new buildings along the frontage road as well.  Not in view, but also there, is the new Conifer Safeway shopping center.

It is still beautiful though with great views of rock outcroppings and mountains easily visible from almost every vantage point.

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The Evergreen Jazz Festival

If you haven’t already done so, check out the Evergreen Jazz Festival.  Today is the last day to experience some great jazz in the town of Evergreen, Colorado.  The annual Evergreen Jazz Festival started on Friday and goes through today.  You can see and hear Jazz at five locations – although the Little Bear only participated on Friday and Saturday.  The other locations include the Evergreen Lakehouse, the Elks Ballroom, the Elks Patio, and the Evergreen Christian Church.

The 2009 lineup features the Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Festival Feetwarmers with Anita Thomas, After Midnight Jazz Band, Gypsy Swing Revue, Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra, Marty Eggers’ Ragtime Quartet, John Royen Trio, International Sextet, Joni Janak and Centerpiece Jazz with special guest Rich Chiaraluce, Celebration Jazz Band, Gremoli, and Colorado favorite Queen City Jazz Band with vocal great Wende Harston.

If you live in the foothills and are looking for something fun and different to do, check it out.  It is a good time and great music.

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Recycling at Frontier

I am in Alaska on vacation right now. Amazing! To quote one of my friends, “It’s like Colorado on steroids”. But it sure is a lot wetter….

But that is not the reason for this post….

On my Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Anchorage last Monday I learned that Frontier recycles all of the aluminum pop and beer cans from their flights. I had noticed that the flight attendant was pulling the tabs off the cans and separating them from the rest of the trash. When I asked why, she told me about Frontier’s recycling program. In addition, she told me that her grandson’s Cub Scout troop was collecting the tabs on the cans for the Ronald McDonald House. Apparently, Ronald McDonald is recycling those.

I continue to be impressed with Frontier Airlines. I hope Frontier is able to survive in this difficult economic environment. It has been a godsend for Denver to have a decent alternative to United Airlines.

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Food Glorious Food

It starts today!!!

Do you like to eat – as you may have notice I love to eat and I love to talk about it! And I love Yelp – great reviews, honest opinions, tips and tricks!!!

Coming this month similar to 5280 week is Yelp Eats!

7 days. 15 restaurants. 3 courses. $25 per person.

yelpeats

Yelp Eats. Yelp Eats. Yelp Eats…Yelp Eats!

Monday, July 20, 2009 – Sunday, July 26, 2009

Participating Denver restaurants will offer special 3-course prixe fixe menu for $25 (+ tax and tip) during dinner time. Woohoo!!!

FYI:
1. Reservations are not required, but they are highly recommended. When you call to make reservations, request the Yelp Eats menu! (booking early is highly recommended)
2. $25 does NOT include tax/tip or additional items.
3. Spread the word, this deal is open to all, yelpers and non-yelpers alike!

Here are the participating restaurants:
Duo
Juicy Lucy Steakhouse (Denver location only)
Tambien
Root Down (Menu is subject to change according to season)
Olivéa
Mezcal
Marlowe’s
Le Central
Jonesy’s
LaLa’s Wine Bar
Citron Bistro
Argyll Gastropub
1515 Restaurant (Menu is subject to change according to season)
The 9th Door
Sketch

Hooray food!

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Midnight Classic – Saturday July 18th

Midnight Classic

Picture this – it’s dark, the streets are blocked off, and 5000-6000 people are cruising around hooting and hollering on their bikes.
How frickin cool is that?

I’ll be there with the hubby and a couple friends! The bands start before. There are 2 session of riders – the family set or those who don’t want to be up so late, and the later ride for the rest!

It does cost to do it, but all the money goes to Seniors Inc – “a non-profit agency dedicated to promoting independence and enriching the quality of life as we age.”
I think that is a pretty darn cool charity- and i hope to be independent and enriched when i get up in years!

We didn’t get going early enough – so we don’t have a team or an outfit, but we’ll be there to enjoy the night and ride the streets in the dark! Woohoo!

Check it out – you can register at REI or online!

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