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Saturday, March 4, 2023

Long Lake

The weather wasn't great either day this weekend, however, the weather on Sunday was forecasted to be blizzard conditions in the mountains, so we figured Saturday was the day to go hike. We haven't been to the Brainard area in over a year, so that was our choice. The weather wasn't bad, but it was overcast during the entire hike and windy at Long Lake. Surprisingly, it wasn't windy at Brainard Lake, which is something that Brainard is known for. This was the season's first hike that felt cold and required us to bundle up; It's been so unseasonably warm on all our other hikes this year that we haven't had to worry about that yet.

Before going, I read my blog entry from the first time we snowshoed at Brainard Lake and it was comical to us both because I said that "this is one of the hardest hikes we've done in a long time". This isn't an easy hike, but with less than 1,000 feet in elevation gain, this hike shouldn't be (and wasn't) something that should be a hard hike. But it puts into perspective how much more snowshoeing we've done this year, and shows that we've kept some of our summer hiking endurance.

That being said, this was a moderately difficult hike. We decided to take a different trail than the one we took last year and made it all the way to Long Lake before stopping at Brainard Lake on the way back down. The most difficult part of the hike was when we were breaking trail between two trails which made that section brutal. Since this trail isn't hiking up to a summit and back down, the way back was a little torturous since we had some elevation gain heading back to the car. Since we already got the views we just wanted to be back to the parking lot without having to do any more ascent.

Tasty SignTrail GuideOpen MeadowLong LakeColdPicnicBrainard Lake

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Windy Hike to Stone Mountain

It's been too long since we hiked last. But we haven't had many opportunities to go hiking this month due to the weather, Katie getting a cold, and work schedules. This is only our second hike this month, but that's twice the number that we did in this month last year, so I guess it's not that bad.

But even though the weather was forecasted to be horrible this weekend we knew we had to get out since it had been 3 weeks since our last hike. So this week's hike was to Stone Mountain, which is just outside of Loveland. By staying closer to the city (and lower in altitude), the hike was considerably warmer than if we went all the way into Rocky. By "considerably warmer", I mean that the temperatures were above freezing when you don't account for the wind chill. With the wind chill, there were a couple of areas along the hike that were miserable, including the summit with gusting winds that almost knocked me over a few times. But the views were decent (considering our low altitude) and worth the hike.

Other than the views, the lack of people made this a good hike for both of us. There were two other cars in the parking lot when we started. One person went on a different trail and we never encountered them. The other car was a couple around the same age as us that started hiking at the same time. We leap-frogged a few times on the trail with this other couple during the hike, but we were in front of them for the majority of the hike and we stayed out of each other's way. We were breaking the trail from the snowfall from the night before which meant that we were the first ones to the summit for the day which is a special accomplishment having the first view of the day. But since we hike to be out in nature away from people, the lack of people on this trail was fantastic.

This is the second time that we've done this hike, but Katie didn't finish it the first time we hiked it in 2020. But we were both determined this time since we haven't hiked in a while. The hike itself is a moderate hike, but the majority of the elevation gain is in the first half of the hike which makes this a killer hike. By the time we were 2 miles from the trailhead on the way back we were both ready to be done, but to be fair, that's pretty typical for most of our hikes.

Hwy 34Mile Marker 2Summit PanoramaHiking Log

March 2023

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