Tag: Colorado

Colorado Trail, Day 2: Feel the Burn!

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Knowing that today’s stretch of trail is known to lack shade and that temperatures are expected in the high 90s, we wake up at 4:15 a.m. and begin the task of packing up and taking down the tent, making coffee, recovering the bear bags that we hung from a tree limb the night before, and then, as I like to say, putting Humpty Dumpty (aka our backpacks) back together again. It really is remarkable how much we are able to fit into those portable sacks! (more…)

Backpacking Colorado’s Chicago Basin, Day 3: Damp but Not Done Yet!

Backpacking Colorado's Chicago Basin_Day 3

It rains all night long, and it is still sprinkling at 6 am when we finally begin to stir. We pack up all that we can inside the tent and then head back to our dryish spot under the trees for breakfast. The tent is soaked! Once we are all packed up, we head down to the river to take a few shots of our lovely watering hole before hitting the trail to catch the train back to Durango. The train stops at Needleton on the way back to Durango at 3:55, so we take our time heading back down the trail trying to notice things that we might have missed when we were coming in the opposite direction. (more…)

Backpacking Colorado’s Chicago Basin, Day 2: Billy Goat’s Gruff

Backpacking Colorado's Chicago Basin_Day 2

Matt and I are eating breakfast admiring the view from our spectacular campsite when we suddenly hear the gallop of hoof steps fast approaching. I turn just in time to see a giant male goat charging at full speed right at me! I stand up just in the nick of time, and it barely swerves around our tent. Another goat is in hot pursuit, and the two gallop a mere five feet past us and out to the next rock ledge. Almost getting stampeded by two mountain goats sure is a memorable way to get your heart going in the morning! (more…)

Backpacking Colorado’s Chicago Basin, Day 1: Beware of Porcupines!

Backpacking Colorado's Chicago Basin_2.1

We have been at this hiking thing for quite a while now. We count ourselves lucky to have done some truly incredible treks over the years, but the summer of 2016 was definitely shaping up to be our biggest and baddest backpacking adventure yet. After years of thinking that the John Muir Trail was too long (211 miles!), too high (14,508 feet to the top of Mt. Whitney!) and too tough (7-day food carries, treacherous river crossings and a constant supply of 5-figure high passes!), we decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. Life’s short, right?

We got a permit to start hiking the JMT northbound beginning on the 4th of July. We planned our route, mailed off our resupplies, packed up our bags and finally set off on the long drive out to California at the end of June. So, how did we end up in Colorado? (more…)

There’s Something about Telluride

Charming mountain towns are practically the norm in Colorado, but, to me, Telluride somehow seems a cut above the rest. Tucked into a narrow valley with glorious mountain views on all sides, Telluride was established in 1878 and is full of historic buildings, attractive houses, hip restaurants and cozy cafes. With local street fairs celebrating anything and everything, weekly farmer’s markets and major international music and film festivals, you’ll find the atmosphere in Telluride hard to beat.

This is southwest Colorado, so it goes without saying that Telluride is an outdoor paradise. In addition to offering world-class skiing in winter, there are oodles of hiking trails—many leading right from town—to keep the outdoor enthusiast occupied all summer long. And for wildlife lovers, there’s even a herd of resident elk and a pond right in the middle of town with an active beaver lodge. How cool is that? Like I said, there’s just something about Telluride.

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Backpacking Colorado’s Four Pass Loop

Maroon Bells

This four-day, four-pass backpacking trip is often featured on lists of the world’s classic hikes, and it certainly is worthy of all the hype. Beginning at Aspen’s magnificent Maroon Bells and traversing four 12,000+ passes over its 26 miles, the hike offers magnificent scenery and a good physical challenge. You might think that starting at the Maroon Bells—one of Colorado’s most photogenic peaks—would make the the remainder of the hike somewhat anti-climatic, but each pass offers a new set of vistas that are just as spectacular as the next. The Four Pass Loop is awesome from beginning to end. We highly recommend it! (more…)

A Tent with a View: Backpacking to Colorado’s Blue Lake

Above Blue Lake

We were compelled to do the Blue Lake hike outside of the southwest Colorado town of Ouray after seeing a Backpacker Magazine article touting it as having “one of America’s best secret campsites.” Blue Lake also happens to be located just below 14,150-foot Mt. Sneffels, which is named after the Snaefellsnes peak in Iceland. At the time, we had just returned from six weeks in Iceland, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to do this particular hike based on that fact alone. What can I say? I guess we’re suckers when it comes to travel nostalgia… (more…)

Hiking Colorado’s Ice Lake

On the Trail to Ice Lake

Have we ever mentioned how much we love Colorado? In the summer of 2012, Matt and I attended a college friend’s wedding in Denver and then went hiking and backpacking for two weeks. Last summer, I returned for my annual end of summer trip with my mother (sadly Matt was already back at work in Chicago and green with envy). My mother and I stayed just outside of Telluride, and, even though I only had a few days to explore the area, I was ready to convince Matt that we needed to sell the house in Chicago and move out there. As teachers, I am pretty positive that we wouldn’t be able to afford a house— much less a shoebox in Telluride—but we’re so smitten with Colorado that we might just be willing to live in a tent to make it happen. Ahh, another dream of moving out west… (more…)