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Sunday, January 1, 2023

New Year's Day Hike

We started the new year doing what we do best, hiking. We've made it somewhat of a tradition to spend the New Year holiday up at Valley View Hot Springs, which we've done 3 times now. On one of the days that we were there, we drove an hour North to Buena Vista to hike in the Collegiate Peaks. The Collegiate Peaks have always been a place we've both wanted to hike but it's a long drive (over 3 hours) to any of the hikes from our house. The mountains we have in the Northern part of the state gradually build up to taller mountain ranges, but the Collegiate Peaks jump up high from the flat valleys between mountain ranges, which makes them a stunning mountain range.

We woke up at the hot springs, ate breakfast, and went on our way. Since it wasn't a normal morning getting ready for a hike (most of our gear was already pre-loaded in the car), I forgot one critical item; my camera. I realized it only a couple of minutes after we left, but it was too late since we had already left the hot springs premises, which are marked by a one-way gate during their closed hours. They wouldn't be open for another two hours for us to get back in. As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have on you, so I used my camera phone on this hike. I haven't had to use my camera phone on a hike in nearly two years, and just like the last time, my phone camera doesn't even compare to what my DSLR can do.

The hike itself was a good hike to ring in the New Year. It was on the moderate side of our hiking level - so not too easy but also not too difficult. It started off with a small dusting of snow where we hardly even needed our microspikes. About a mile in, we threw on our snowshoes for traction, and by the time we made it to the second lake, we were trekking through 2 foot deep fresh powder making our own trail. There were only 2 other groups in front of us that broke the trail for us, but neither decided to make it all the way around the second lake. Feeling adventurous, we used up a great amount of energy hiking around the second lake which was absolutely worth the views. We found a spot on the lake to eat lunch and have a cup of tea (using a new hiking thermos Katie got for Christmas) in front of Mount Columbia and then made our way back to the trail.

Since it's the new year, we decided to make some New Year's resolutions, and just like last year, one of ours is hiking-related. We crushed our 2022 New Year's resolution of beating one of our hiking stats from 2021 in November, and for most of the last few months we've talked about making hiking a 14'er our 2023 New Year's resolution, but that's not what we landed on. With our wedding in late July, wedding reception in mid-August, and our Icelandic honeymoon in late August, there aren't that many weekends that we could hike a 14'er that would be in good 14'er hiking season. In order to not set ourselves up for failure, that will likely be our 2024 goal, but this year in 2023, here's our New Year's resolution:

2023 goal: Beat our all-time records for mileage, elevation gain, and time hiking by 15%.

Current RecordHike AchievedDate Achieved2023 Goal
Mileage11.18 MilesBlue LakeSept. 4, 202212.86 Miles
Elevation Gain2,589 ftMount IdaOct. 17, 20222,977 ft
Time Hiking5hr, 47min, 42secMount IdaOct. 17, 20226hr, 39min, 51sec

Elevation gain sounds the easiest of all 3 of those goals. The hike we did today is about half of what we need to do to complete our new years resolution. I don't expect to beat all 3 of these records in one hike, and that's not part of our 2023 goal. In terms of my personal all time records, what's shown above are my personal records except for elevation gain which is a record of 3,973 ft back in 2018. I will absolutely not be beating that record by 15% this year.

This New Year's Resolution was completed on October 21, 20203 on our hike to Mirror Lake (completing the distance and time hiking portion of the 2023 goal) in conjunction with our hike to Spectical Lakes on September 16th, 2023 (completing the elevation gain portion of the 2023 goal).

Hiking Along the RiverTea on the LakeColorado TrailSmaller Havard LakeStorm Rolling In

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Timberline Falls

We opted to do a more leisurely hike this weekend a hike with only 1,000 feet of elevation gain and almost 7 miles long. The length was a little more than what we would normally do for a leisurely hike, but wouldn't be something too difficult for us to do. Even though we've done much harder hikes than this, the hike to Timberline Falls from Camp Dick took a lot out of both of us and left us both completely exhausted, and neither of us knows why. Our best bet is because there weren't any good views along the way which usually fuels our excitement to push ourselves further. Sadly, though, the best view was near the parking lot since that was the only spot where we were far enough away to see the towering mountains in the distance.

Even though this hike didn't have any good sights and isn't one we'll be doing again anytime soon, it was good to get out and wander through the mountains for a few hours.

Middle St. Vrain CreekPoking Out of the TreesClear and ColdFrom Camp Dick

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Lake Haiyaha

Since last weekend's hike was a little bit of a bummer, we planned to go into Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend since hikes in Rocky never disappoint. But the only problem is that we've done just about all of them, well at least the ones that we can physically get to in the winter. I've wanted to hike to Lake Haiyaha again since the June 2022 rockslide that changed the color of the lake. Of course, since it's winter, I wasn't expecting to see much of the color since it's all frozen over, but the colors were still spectacular and well worth the grueling 6-mile hike. We didn't get very much of the green color that the lake had in the summer, but it was a gorgeous crisp blue that was more brilliant than ice we've seen at other alpine lakes.

We decided to make the hike longer than the 4-mile out and back as we did in early 2022. Instead, we made it a loop starting from the Bear Lake parking lot to Glacier Gorge, turning before branching off to the Loch to get up to Lake Haiyaha, then back down to Dream Lake, followed by Numph Lake, and finally ending our loop back at the Bear Lake parking lot. The hike started out on easy terrain with well-packed down snow since the Glacier Gorge trail is quite popular. But it was apparent that this particular loop isn't popular since the trail was nonexistent between The fork to the Loch and Lake Haiyaha. For that mile of the trail, we were completely on our own breaking trail. Equipped with COTrex on Katie's phone, we made it without wandering too far from the trail (but the map is quite funny to look at because of us squiggling back and forth around the trail in a few spots). Breaking trail isn't something I ever expected to do in Rocky Mountain National Park since it's such a popular place. But it was great to be on our own and away from all the people during that mile, even if it was extremely strenuous. By the time we were hiking back from Dream Lake, there were people everywhere you looked since that's the number one most popular trail in Rocky. That amount of people ruin the hiking experience, but we didn't care since we were physically and mentally done with the hike by that point and just trying to make it back to the car.

Smiling for the ViewsOtis PeakSunnySpine ShadowPerfect BlanketWaves of SnowIce CrashPiles of IceClearLake HaiyahaGenuine SmileThickLunch SpotGlacier GorgeDream LakeNymph and Bear Lake

Monday, January 23, 2023

Camelback Mountain

While visiting Katie's family in Arizona, we decided to take some time to enjoy the outdoors since this is the only time of the year that you can be outside in Arizona without melting. With the temperatures in the mid 40's it could have been a little warmer, but that's still more than double the temperature that we're used to hiking in this time of year.

Katie picked the hike and it was a lot of fun. This hike packed A LOT of elevation gain in a very short distance, and that's apparent from the big caution sign at the beginning of the hike with two black diamonds on it with big bold letters saying that this is an "extremely difficult hike". But since we were hiking at a much lower elevation than we're used to, the hike seemed fairly easy considering what it was. We haven't done a lot of hiking near sea level, but it amazes me how much easier it is to catch your breath after doing a strenuous section. But the main reason that this hike was a lot of fun was because of the amount of rock scrambling that was required. The last half-mile to the summit we were using our hands in order to make it to the top. There aren't typically a lot of hikes in Colorado like that which made this hike extra fun. The worst part about this hike was the proximity to the city. We never really got far enough from the city where we couldn't hear city noises, but to be fair, this hike is right in the middle of Phoenix. But because of this, we got fantastic views of the city from the summit, which is a lot different than the views that we're used to getting at the summit. So I appreciated the different views than what I'm used to (let alone the cactus instead of the trees, which was cool too).

This hike has two different trailheads that one can start from. We started from the East side of the Cholla Trailhead because it was a little less elevation gain than starting on the West end. The hike to Camelback mountain from the Cholla Trailhead was also a little bit longer than the other trailhead, but that extra distance was probably better to spread out the elevation gain anyway.

Papago ParkAlong the TrailPerchedLooking BackRoadrunnerSummitTallPointy

January 2023

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