Calling anything “lumpy” is… well, usually not intended as a compliment. But in this case it’s an apt description of the haphazard rock ridge rising above the northern edge of Estes Park, Colorado. Nestled within a low spot amongst the rocks is Gem Lake, the first hike Pat and I did when we moved to… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Lumpy Ridge Loop
This past fall, my friend Savannah diagnosed herself with FOMOOL: fear of missing out on leaves. Peak fall colors season is generally sometime in the last couple weeks of September, although it varies throughout the state and depends on the weather. A wet summer followed by a dry fall is apparently the ideal combination… which… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Pitkin Lake
While finally getting to see Independence Pass (which I’ve talked about in my last two posts) was lovely, the real reason for our weekend trip was because I had secured us an entrance permit for the Maroon Bells. These two iconic 14ers are the centerpiece of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area near Aspen, Colorado. This… Continue reading Colorado Bucket List: fall colors at the Maroon Bells
My Colorado readers can verify this: no matter where you are in the state, there’s always that one person who somehow manages to make it up a terribly rough dirt road in their low clearance car. Trailhead parking lots will inevitably be filled with trucks and SUVs… and a Toyota sedan. The very first thing we did when we moved to Colorado was purchase a Subaru… mainly so we didn’t have to attempt to maneuver my Corolla up these kinds of roads. And also because Pat’s old car wouldn’t have made it to Denver in one piece. Nearly three years in, we’re still pleased with our decision. Though there are a handful of roads in the state that are too rough to navigate even with a Forester, we’ve so far been able to get everywhere we’ve wanted to go without issue. This hike was one such example.
Autumn in Colorado is never going to be the same as autumn on the east coast. We just don’t have as many trees that turn so many vibrant shades of color. But we do have cottonwoods and aspens and willows, all of which turn yellow… usually some time around mid-September. As we probably should have expected, given the utter chaos that was 2020, the status of Colorado’s fall colors was thrown into question when the mountains got a dusting of snow at the end of August. And then another storm rolled in immediately after Labor Day weekend and dumped up to 14 inches of snow. The cold and snow – coupled with the previous two months of drought – meant we were now at risk of the trees turning from green straight to brown. But all hope was not lost.
There’s nothing more Colorado than hiking through beautiful fall colors with hundreds of other people and then drinking some beer in the backcountry. Well, okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. To truly do it Colorado-style, you’d have to climb to the top of a 14er before drinking the beer. But they like to make this… Continue reading Beer + hiking + fall colors: Upslope Backcountry Taproom 2019