Southwestern US, US High Points

On Top of New Mexico: Wheeler Peak

Summer out here in the west has become very unpredictable. Afternoon thunderstorms used to be the main concern, but in the last couple years forest fires and air quality have become the two main factors that influence our travel plans. Colorado was lucky in 2021 to receive adequate rain and avoid a repeat of our… Continue reading On Top of New Mexico: Wheeler Peak

Midwestern US, US High Points

On Top of South Dakota: Black Elk Peak

After summiting the North Dakota high point the day before, Chelsea and I set out to conquer South Dakota. Our hotel was only about 30 minutes from the trailhead, so this one involved much less driving. The hike, however, was a little more substantial. The highest point in South Dakota is Black Elk Peak, formerly… Continue reading On Top of South Dakota: Black Elk Peak

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Estes Cone

Estes Cone was not plan A for Chelsea and me on this particular weekend. But April and May in Colorado are part of what we Coloradans call the “spring of deception.” No matter how warm and sunny it is, no matter how many days in a row the nice weather endures, make no mistake: it's… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Estes Cone

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits

Colorado Summits: Greyrock Mountain

The wild fluctuations and extremes of mountain weather is something that can be hard to grasp, particularly for someone who hasn’t spent much time in them. Hell, I’ve spent most of my life living near and exploring the mountains, and I still underestimate them from time to time. Mountains do weird and intense things to… Continue reading Colorado Summits: Greyrock Mountain

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Deer Mountain

It’s not every day that you hike a trail and find yourself nearly face-to-face with its namesake animal. But such was the case on Deer Mountain. (Better than coming face-to-face with a bear on Bear Peak, I suppose…) There were four of them, and they couldn’t have been more than 15 feet (4.5 m) away.… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Deer Mountain

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Twin Sisters Peak

2020 was a rough year for all of us, Rocky included. First, the park was closed for weeks in the spring due to the pandemic. Then it closed again for 15 days in October and November due to forest fires. In all, nearly 30,000 acres of the park burned. It was absolutely devastating to watch… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Twin Sisters Peak

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits

Colorado Summits: Bison Peak

Above tree line is one of my favorite places to be. I love the panoramic views and the tiny plants and the beautiful desolation of the tundra. Tree line here in Colorado is around 11,600-11,800 feet; above that elevation, you can generally expect to find either an endless jumble of rocks or a vast expanse of tundra. As there are well over 1200 mountains that exceed this elevation, there is quite a bit of tundra!

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits, Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Summits: Lily Mountain

Due to the pandemic, entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park was a little more complicated in 2020. In addition to a fee or pass, one needed to reserve a timed entry permit. This allowed the park to reduce the number of visitors and spread them evenly throughout the day to better facilitate social distancing. Plenty… Continue reading Colorado Summits: Lily Mountain

Colorado, Midwestern US

Fifty Lakes and a 12,000 Foot Summit – Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Wyoming

If you read the title of this post and assumed the “fifty lakes” is an exaggeration, let me begin by assuring you that it's not. If anything, it’s an underestimation. At one point, from where I was standing on the Medicine Bow Peak trail, I could see 32 lakes! At an elevation of 12,013 feet… Continue reading Fifty Lakes and a 12,000 Foot Summit – Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Wyoming

Colorado, Colorado Hikes, Colorado Summits

Colorado Summits: Chief Mountain

This happens to everyone, right: you do something wrong and you get corrected and then you can never remember which version was wrong and which one was correct? As a preteen I attended Chief Joseph Middle School and, in one of the more embarrassing moments of my time there, I misspelled the word ‘chief’ at… Continue reading Colorado Summits: Chief Mountain