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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Lion Gulch

We ventured into Estes in hopes that we could go hike Bridal Veil Falls, which starts at McGraw ranch. Since McGraw ranch is in Rocky Mountain National Park, the parking lot was closed, not even allowing up to get to the trailhead. We pulled over on the side of the road and did some quick Googling to find an appropriate substitute and we landed on Lions Gulch, which was just a 15 minute drive from where we were at.

After arriving at the trailhead, we immediately went the wrong way and spent the first three-quarters of a mile trying to find the trail again. Once we found it, everything was great until a few miles in when Katie started getting blisters on her feet. It was a painful rest of the hike for her, and a hot rest of the hike for both of us. The temperature was in the mid 70's, plus being exposed for a good majority of the hike made this the most sweaty hike of 2020 (so far).

The hike itself was okay, not really that spectacular from what we've been hiking recently, but it was still a challenging 7.75 mile, 1,500 foot elevation gain hike that took us three and a half hours.

Flowing WaterEating LunchMany River CorssingsInto the MeadowSarahMeadow PanoramaDestruction

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Prairie Ridge Natural Area

The City of Fort Collins put in a new nature trail that connects up with Coyote Ridge. It's not a hard hike, and not really a hike per se, but with Katie's blisters we decided not to do anything with too much (or any) elevation gain. The walk was about 5 miles and took us an hour and a half. We didn't make it all the way to the coyote ridge trail, we turned back a little early. I didn't take many photos because the area is a little bland and not all that exciting to me anymore. My main takeaway from this was that I'm definitely going to have to come back here to bike this winding trail sometime.

Trail to Coyote Ridge

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Gray Rock

The hiking gods were against us today. Well at least me. As soon as I left the car, I turned on my GPS on my watch and the screen went blank. It's done this before and usually takes me plugging it in to get it to turn back on. I didn't have the charger with me so I was out of luck. The thing was at full battery so I was pretty disappointed that it decided to not work for this hike. As such, I don't have accurate geotagging for any of the photos, along with accurate mileage or elevation. Oh well.

the second thing that went wrong was after I took the first photo. I realized that there was a pretty fuzzy section in the corner of the photo. Turns out my UV filter was completely shattered. Easy enough fix, I just took the filter off. But it was still pretty baffling to find a shattered UV filter considering that takes a pretty hefty drop to break one of those and I think I would remember dropping my camera like that.

This was the hardest hike we attempted. With over 1,000 feet more elevation gain of any other hike we've done, this hike comes in at half a mile of elevation gain in 4 horizontal miles of hiking (round trip just over 8 miles). Considering it took us four and a half hours, I'm just glad we survived. We got lost a few times including one time when we were full-on mountaineering down some very steep rocks trying to find the trail. The hike itself had some spectacular views at the summit. It was pretty hazy, so I'm sure the photos don't do it justice, but other than the panoramic views there were some blooming wildflowers and a gorgeous green meadow. On the other side of the loop trail, we hiked through a burn area (from the Hewlett's Gulch Fire in 2012) that was starting to recover.

Crossing the PoudreUp HighTaking a BreakWild FlowersGray Rock MeadowSummit LakeSouthern PanoramaTrail SplitSummit Lake PanoramaHalf Way DoneLittle ScavengerHighWrong Way DownTent CaterpillarHundreds

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Freed Horses

There are about a dozen horses that typically roam and graze on the 100-acre pasture that Katie boards Cookie (her horse) at, but for a few months in the spring every year, the horses go into a small area where they're fed hay instead of being able to eat fresh grass whenever they want and aren't free to run around. They do this to let the pasture grow out so that the horses can actually live off the property, but the horses don't like being pent up without anywhere to go. We went out to watch the horses get set free onto the pasture this year. Once they realize the gate is open they all run out and graze.

Running FreeOne Slow PokeLooking at her FriendsGrazing

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Wildflowers at Young Gulch

Knowing that we had to keep going on hikes if we were to make our goal of hiking a 14er, we decided to go on a hike. We've been in the middle of doing some home renovation which takes most of our physical strength. But the hikes must go on.

We picked Young Gulch because we knew that we would be able to get a parking spot (it's not a very popular trail and it's a bit further up the Poudre than other hikes). We got to the trailhead pretty late, almost noon, because then we went out to take photos of the horses at the barn Katie boards her horse at (hence yesterday's post). The barn closes the pasture for the horses for a month and a half which at the end results in some pent up horses running wild.

The best and worst thing about hiking through gulches is that there's no real destination. Young Gulch ends at another road, so there's really no incentive to go all the way. So even though the trail is 10 miles all the way out and back, we only did a little over 6 miles in the course of 2 hours and 19 minutes. I'd like to blame it on the weather (it did start raining pretty good right when we turned back), but the reality was that we were both pretty tired. The best part of the hike was the wildflowers. I've never seen so many varieties of wildflowers on a single hike. Most of this post is filled with the wildflowers.

Field of YellowBridge CrossingsPerfect SkyBlue ColumbinesBurn AreaPollinatingStormyGolden BannerLupine (Cow Killers)BurntFull Panorama

May 2020

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