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Saturday, March 16, 2024

Hiking Around Chautauqua

Between Katie recovering from a broken ankle and moving into a new house, we haven't had time to hit the mountains until this weekend. There's still plenty of stuff we need to do around the house, but for the most part, everything is unpacked. Katie's recovery is going well, and although the doctor told her she wouldn't be hiking until Spring, we squeezed in something that resembles a hike this weekend in Boulder. We weren't quite sure how far we could go and how much Katie could push it without having significant soreness the next day, so we were conservative and just did a short loop. We probably could have done a little more, but it was good to go easy on Katie.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Boulder after a snowstorm that left Boulder with a foot of snow. Since we were hiking in Chautauqua, we knew the trail would be packed down, so we didn't bring our snowshoes, just microspikes. The trail was a little slushy but the microspikes were appropriate. We probably could have used full spikes but neither of us have those and microspikes did just fine for keeping us from slipping too much. As always in this area, there were many people but we were just excited to be out in nature again.

FlatironsAt it AgainSmall ShelterBoulder Foothills

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Well Gulch in Lory State Park

It was a warm Spring weekend, so we hit the trails. Building off the difficulty (or lack thereof) we had done last weekend, we chose something with a little more distance to see how Katie would do.

Our hike was in Lory State Park where we did the Well Gulch short loop. We were hoping to find some early wildflowers, mainly the Pasque flowers that tend to bloom first. Wildflowers start blooming at lower elevations first (since it's warmer at lower elevations earlier). We didn't have any luck with finding flowers, but there was some other greenery starting to pop up. We also chose this area because we didn't want to drive far to do a short hike and we had some stuff to do in Fort Collins afterward. Driving far is only worth it for full-day hikes (which we won't be doing anytime soon).

We forgot our poles and spikes, but we didn't need the latter. Katie could have benefited from poles, but even without them, she did great with stability in her bad ankle. After the hike, we did some errands in Fort Collins now that we're no longer residents of that city. Based on the significantly fewer amenities we have in our new town, we'll likely be in the Fort Collins area frequently.

Little Bit oF HorsetoothOn The TrailLittle Bit Of Life

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Emerald Lake

We finally got a sense of normalcy by going on a real hike since Katie's accident. The past couple of hikes haven't been "hikes" because they didn't have much distance or elevation gain and felt more like long walks. But this weekend we went up to the Bear Lake corridor and hiked to Emerald Lake (stopping at Nymph and Dream along the way). The views were gorgeous and it was a refreshing hike. The trail conditions were great with only needing microspikes. The last time we hiked this in 2021, the wind was so strong that snowshoes were necessary to cross Dream Lake, but luckily for us that wasn't required this time. We still brought our snowshoes but left them in the car after talking to one of the rangers at the trailhead about the trail conditions.

The weather was spectacular, and the weather forecast kept people away. We couldn't see the mountains when we woke up, there was a thick cloud between us and the mountains. But Rocky itself wasn't bad. When we got to the parking lot just before 9 am, it was lightly snowing with it forecasted to clear up shortly and be sunny for a few hours before starting to snow again mid-afternoon. That mid-afternoon forecast must have kept the people away because the trail wasn't packed as normally. Instead, it was busy, but a manageable amount. With the temperatures in the upper 30s and little wind, it was a gorgeous day for hiking.

At the trailhead once we finished the hike there was an avalanche information truck from the Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. We stopped in to see what it was about. We got to ask a few avalanche questions about types of shovels and probes, as well as some things for snowshoers to specifically look out for since a lot of avalanche information is geared towards skiers (and we don't ski). I don't think we'll be in avalanche danger zones anytime this season as Katie heals up, but maybe next season.

Hallet PeakDream LakeStellerEmerald LakeGlacier Gorge

March 2024

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