Archives for November 2013

5 Tips for Hiking to Chasm Lake

Chasm LakeWinter is almost here and snow is on the way!  So yesterday my brother and I decided to hike to Chasm Lake from the Long’s Peak Trailhead.  We left Fort Collins around 5:45am, drove down I-25 to Highway 66 toward Lyons, and took Highway 36 up to Estes Park.  Not to side track, but if you haven’t driven up Highway 36 since it’s been opened after the flash floods in September, then be prepared.  The amount of destruction and loss caused by the floods is really overwhelming, and there’s still so much to rebuild.

We arrived at the Long’s Peak Trailhead off of Highway 7 at about 7:00am, but in my early morning rush to leave the house with all my hiking gear, I had forgotten one important piece of clothing…my jacket!  So instead of getting an early start, we went to grab a “second breakfast” and waited until the Estes Park Mountain Shop opened at 8:00am.  They had a huge selection of jackets and other outdoor gear, and their staff was so helpful.  Mission accomplished, so it was time to head back to the trail.

Now this leads me to my important tips for hiking to Chasm Lake this time of year (late November):

1.  Gear up!  If you have ever hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park then you know the weather can change very quickly and you should be prepared for changing temperatures and trail conditions.  Not only should you dress in layers, but you should bring the essentials like a jacket, beanie, gloves, and insulated hiking boots.  I also recommend trekking poles and MICROspikes® because much of the trail is snow-covered this time of year.

2.  Get hydrated!  The trailhead starts at an elevation of 9,405′ and Chasm Lake sits at approximately 11,803′, so you will gain a couple thousand feet in elevation during this 8.4 mile round-trip hike.  So yes, plenty of water is essential!  And if you’re over 21, don’t drink too much the night before (wink, wink). 

3.  Go early!  Plan to be at the trailhead no later than 7:00am.  The parking lot is generally not full this time of year (compared to the summer months), so you should have no problem finding parking.  The reason you want to get an early start is because the weather can change very quickly, and afternoon storms are very common, so it’s best to be finished with your hike by noon or so.  Also, Chasm Lake sits at the base of Long’s Peak, and when the afternoon sun sets below the summit of Mount Meeker, Chasm Lake lies in the shadows, which means the temperature drops dramatically!

4.  Grab a camera!  The hike to Chasm Lake is beautiful no matter what time of year you go.  Take plenty of pictures along the way.

5.  Gripe later!  As with any moderate or strenuous hike, your adventure can by physically demanding.  Your muscles might cramp, your head might ache, and your motivation might dwindle away.  I would never suggest you put yourself in danger.  I am simply suggesting you push yourself to the destination if you can and stay positive about the entire experience.

On that note, happy hiking and be safe!

Beautiful Views from Horsetooth Mountain in Fort Collins, CO

Horsetooth RockI posted this picture to my Facebook page and several friends commented on how it reminded them of the movie Rocky.  Seems appropriate.  After all, from the top of Horsetooth Rock in Fort Collins you do have a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains!

It’s going to be another beautiful weekend in Fort Collins.  Weather forecast shows that temperatures will be in the 60’s.  So if you haven’t planned anything yet, get outdoors and enjoy your Northern Colorado lifestyle!

Halloween, Candy, and Pumpkin Seeds!

Smashing Pumpkins“What do you think about this one, Dad?” asks my son after picking his prize pumpkin at Bartle’s Pumpkin Patch in Fort Collins, CO only a couple of weeks ago.

And now the sugar high is here.  Candy wrappers are plentiful.  And what to do with all of those pumpkins and pumpkin seeds?

Smash the pumpkins!  At least that’s what my kids want to do.  But I just wanted to share a blog from Whole Foods Market in case you need some ideas for making the best out of your pumpkin seeds.

But seriously, you’re probably still eating all of that Halloween candy, aren’t you?!

Family Photos on the Poudre River Trail Bridge

BridgeFall in Fort Collins, CO is one of the most beautiful times of year.  Leaves are changing color, the temperature is dropping, and the air is crisp with anticipation of snowfall.  In my opinion, the landscape is absolutely stunning!

Like many of our friends in Fort Collins, the changing seasons also means that it’s time to take our family photos for our holiday cards.  There are so many options for family photos – parks, Old Town, Colorado State University campus, pumpkin patches – you name it.  But this year our photographer Ryan Levander of Colorado2 Photography introduced us to the west bridge on the Poudre River Trail.

If you haven’t been on this bridge yet, it’s time to see it!  Walk, run, or bike your way over it and enjoy the amazing architecture and the colorful scenery around you.  Take Overland Trail north toward Laporte to Lions Park Open Space just past Bingham Hill Road.  The bridge is on the east side of Overland Trail.

If you are taking pictures, I would suggest going during sunrise or sunset because the shadows of the bridge cast many shadows throughout the day.  And even if you aren’t in it for the photos, go for the experience, hold someone’s hand, and enjoy it.