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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Bulwark Ridge

We ventured into Glen Haven to look for a hike this weekend. We've only done one other hike in Glen Haven, Crosier Mountain, and that hike was a lot of fun with spectacular views so we decided to give another hike in the area a try. We picked the Bulwark Ridge area because there were lots of options depending on how we were feeling. Our original goal was to make it to the Miller Fork Loop, but we decided against it after hiking up 1,000 feet and not wanting to hike down Bulwark Ridge just to hike back up to Miller Fork. And more importantly, we did not want to have a 1,000 foot ascent on our way back to the car - hikes should be easy on the way back! Instead, we stayed on Bulwark Trail and almost made it to the Wilderness Border.

The problem with this kind of hike is that we had no destination which kind of made the whole hike a little boring. The closest thing that we could have hiked to on Bulwark Ridge was Signal Mountain, which is out of our skill level (it's 3,000+ feet in elevation gain and over 10 miles long). Since there's no destination, there's no motivation to get to the "end" and you just turn around whenever you really like. Some people might like that option, but I really like hiking to a destination, be that a lake, waterfall, or top of a mountain. When you hike to a destination, it just gives you a sense of accomplishment and a good spot to rest.

There were some pretty great views early on in the hike. You start on a South-facing ridge that's pretty exposed, so you get to see all the Southern mountain ranges. It was pretty hazy, most likely from the Pine Gulch fire all the way in Grand Junction. That fire started a little over a week ago and is over 200 miles away from us. So the fact that we can see and smell it way over in Northern Colorado shows how big this 20k acre fire really is. Hopefully, they get in contained sometime soon.

We turned around after hitting the 3-mile mark, making for a total round trip distance of just under 6 miles and over 1,400 feet in elevation gain. We started the hike at about 9:30am, and the temperatures were already into the upper 70's. By the end of the hike, it was certainly into the 80's. My watch recorded a max temperature of 93°F, but that's my skin temperature which tends to be a little hotter than the outdoor temperature. The heat combined with the steep incline immediately and the lack of shade for a good portion of the hike made this a pretty difficult hike.

Bright MoonWestHazyBlooming GrassGrassyThe ForkIn the Shade of a Tree

Friday, August 14, 2020

Cameron's Peak Fire Sunset

This is the second evening of the Cameron's Peak Fire. Yesterday while Katie and I were on a walk, we saw a gorgeous sunset with a deathly looking sun, so I figured I should take some photos before the fire dies down or gets significantly worse. I decided to bike over to the Robert Benson Lake in the Pelican Marsh Natural Area since the views of the mountains from there are always pretty spectacular. The sun started setting to the South of the smoke plume and finished setting to the North of the smoke plume right below the smoke but above the mountains. This particular orientation of the sun relative to the smoke plume and the mountains gave some spectacular colors and views of the sun as the lighting changed and the sun passed through the smoke.

With no immediate end in sight to this fire, I hope that the fire becomes under control soon. Fires are a natural part of the ecosystem, but hopefully, this one doesn't burn too much of the forest since the Cameron's Peak area is such a beautiful area.

Smoke OffshootEaten By the SmokeBlood SunColorful SunsetIn FlightFleeing the Fire

Sunday, August 23, 2020

CSU Trial Gardens 2020

Every year I try and make a point to go to the CSU Trial gardens because they're close by, free, and always beautiful. This year is no exception. I feel like we hit the peak for a lot of flowers in the garden. There were still several flower types yet to bloom and some that were already starting to die but the majority of them were vibrant and gorgeous.

We would have typically gone on a hike this weekend since we usually hike every other weekend, but because of the Cameron's Peak Fire and the Rist Canyon fire, most of the mountains are covered in smoke. The Cameron's Peak Fire started a little over a week ago and has climbed to a massive 18,000 acres. The Rist Canyon Fire just started a few days ago and is only a couple hundred acres and already minimally contained. However, Rist Canyon is just 10 miles from the City, which means that no matter the size, the town will be smoky from it.

The one benefit to the fires is that the lighting is nearly perfect all the time for photography. You don't have to plan to be at a shooting spot right during the golden hour because anytime the sun is up is golden hour with the way the sun filters through the smoke. I would much rather the fires be contained and not burning, but you have to find something positive in things that are out of your control.

PetuniasAfrican daisiesBetween the FlowersEdge of the PetalPollinating UnexpectedCandidDrippingSea of VerbenaWater CupsSoft SunflowerWatercolorThree in a RowPurple SunStarting to BloomSurface of The SunDirty WhiteAway From the Sun

Monday, August 31, 2020

Coulson Gulch to Ralph Price Reservoir

We haven't gone hiking in a little while because of the smoke. This weekend the winds were blowing West, so it kept the East side of the mountains pretty clear so we decided to go for a hike. We were originally planning on a 5 mile round trip hike which would have been turning around once we hit a forest road but ended up walking down the service road to Ralph Prince Reservoir which added an extra two and a half miles round trip making the total hike just under 7.5 miles and just over 1,500 feet in elevation gain. The hike took us 3 and a quarter hours to complete. I'm glad we made it to the reservoir because it gave us a nice destination with some great views.

This hike was a lot different than all the others we have gone on because the hike started at the high point. So we hiked down 1,500 feet in elevation, and the hard part was the return back to the car. Typically hikes start low, you hike up high, and the hike back is nice and easy. Because of this, we were never given the point of turning around early from exhaustion since going down is always easier than going up. We paid for this in some sore muscles the next day, but overall it was a pretty good hike.

Along the RidgeSkinny PathRalph Price ReservoirIn the WaterDyingAbandoned CabinRusty NailForest Road

August 2020

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