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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Mallory Cave

Needing to get outside a bit, we went to NCAR in Boulder and hiked up to Mallory Caves. We couldn't get all the way to the cave opening due to them being closed April-September, but we'll come back some other time when they're open. It was a pretty easy hike, almost 3.25 miles and less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain. It took us just over an hour and a half.

Cloudy AfternoonBoulderHiking PartnerNCARTwisted Tree

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Dadd Gulch

We wanted to do two hikes this weekend because we had nothing better to do. Yesterday's hike was a little busy and had quite a few people on the trail. It didn't really feel much like social distancing. So this time we went up the Poudre pretty far all the way to Dadd Gulch. When we started, around 9:30 am, there were only 3 cars in the parking lot. When we finished, there were a few more, but still pretty empty. I'd say we limited our social interactions today quite a bit.

The hike was supposed to be 7.8 miles long, but the end of the trail was a bit hidden by snow. We turned around just short of the ending point, which was just a road, so I don't think we missed out on much. The hike was almost 1,400 feet in elevation gain and took us three hours.

StartFast Moving CloudsEmpty FieldSunny FaceOpened UpBurntRocky Hike

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Mount McConnel

Katie and I are trying to get in shape for a fourteener so we made a goal to hike just about every weekend. I even created a nifty site that has all of our adventurous hiking goals on it for us to be able to pick out hikes quickly. We really wanted to do Storm Mountain, but reports of other hikers said that it was still pretty snowy and cold, so we opted to go up the Poudre again, this time just a few miles East of the trail we hiked last week. I was a little worried that this trail would be so similar to Dadd Gulch due to the proximity, but this hike was completely different. This hike was surprisingly perfect. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous (in the kind of way that a burn area can be), was short in distance (but not too short), and challenging in elevation (online resources lied about the elevation gain, claiming it was in the 1,400 feet of elevation gain, where it was actually over 1,700).

There were two things that could have been better. First I wish there were bluer skies in the North. I guess I can't complain though because the overcast skies made for pretty perfect lighting during the entire hike. Second would have been less wind. But when you hike to the top of something, it's kind of expected to be windy.

There was a pretty treacherous spot along the trail as we were coming down that made it seem like we weren't on the trail at all for a good mile of the descent. There were also a few good spots where we were hiking pretty close to dropoffs, as well as hiking on the snow and nearly sliding off the dropoffs. Despite this trail trying to kill us, we survived the 5.2 mile hike with over 1,700 feet of elevation gain in just under 3 hours.

Burnt SticksAlmost Burned ThroughSome LifeCompletely GoneBlackWindy OverlookAlmost DiedTall RocksDead HillsideSummit AheadSummit PanoramaMummy RangeGoofball KatieBrokenIn the MountainsPrairie CrocusOn the PathCache La Poudre

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Spring Blizzard

Colorado tends to have some good spring blizzards. The combination of the precipitation that comes in spring plus it not being completely warm yet tends to lead to at least one heavy snow dump each April. I went out in the morning when it was still snowing to capture what it looked like as it fell, as well as an afternoon walk that I took photos during when the sky was starting to clear up and the sun was coming out.

HeavySpring BudsSlushyStill SnowingWhere the Sky StartsSnowy TreesWarmer AfternoonSetting SunBehind the MountainsSunset Portrait

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pawnee Buttes

Because of all the snow we got the previous week, we figured everywhere in the mountains would be snowy, icy, muddy, or all 3. So we decided to venture into the Pawnee Grasslands instead. It was a little bit further of a drive than we'd like, about an hour and a half, but the views were worth it.

The hike itself was pretty easy, just over 5 miles and only 600 feet of elevation gain. But you can't expect much for Eastern Colorado where it's pretty much flat everywhere. Just looking at the length and elevation, this isn't a hike we would have chosen, but I had always wanted to go back here after coming here in March of 2010.

Katie and The BluffLips BluffOverlook PanoramaColorul GrassWest ButteEast ButteLooking BackEast Butte PanoramaWeird Geology

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Graduating Doctor

Katie is finishing up her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in a few weeks. We wanted to take a few photos of her to mark her life in this exciting time of transition. I can't express how excited and proud of her I am for her to be completing this 8 year journey and to watch her transition into being a working adult. Over the past 9 months, I have seen how hard she has worked to get to this point and couldn't think of anyone more deserving. Congratulations, Katie!

On CampusColorado StateIn the OvalAgainst a TreeAt the Hospital

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Storm Mountain

We have been waiting for the weather to be nice enough to go up to Storm Mountain. It's a bit higher in elevation, starting at over 8,000ft, so we knew that there would be some snow on the trail. Someone submitted a post on a hiking website from the day prior saying it was snowy but well packed down. That hiker lied. The last mile of the trail was really soft snow that had us at some points stepping into snow that was knee-deep. The combination of the steep trail in itself plus the deep snow made this a really difficult and somewhat dangerous hike.

The name of this mountain didn't disappoint. As we were hiking up, something was rolling over the mountains. By the time we were almost back to the car, the storm had made it over storm mountain and was sprinkling on us a little bit. But the views were spectacular. Over the course of the hike, we got a full view of all the mountain ranges around Storm Mountain. Unfortunately, the storms coming from the West made the Western mountains pretty hazy.

Overall, the hike was 5 and a half miles long, took us two hours and 40 minutes, and was 1,400 feet in elevation gain.

Patchy RoadUp HillFirst View of the WestStormyLongs PeakNarrow SplitThe TrailWindy MeadowMeadow PanoramaOne Mile LeftSummit PanoramaRocky DropoffMade It!

April 2020

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