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By Matt Payne, Examiner.com 

This is the third and final installment of my tips to hiking in Colorado series. You can go back and see my beginner tips and my intermediate tips for a refresher course. These tips are for the advanced hiker, someone that is experienced with hiking and backpacking, and clearly understands the basics outlined in the other two articles.

1. Blister avoidance

If you’ve ever been on a long hike, you have probably had a few blisters in your day. Avoiding blisters is not as hard as it may seem. A lot of hikers swear by putting duct tape over their heels before putting on their boots. Some claim this will prevent blistering. Try it out  – you might be surprised. Secondly, wear liner socks. These help wick moisture away from your feet, making it harder for blisters to form. Lastly, wear good boots and make sure to break them in before you go hiking. This may seem like a beginner lesson but I’m always surprised to see people wearing flip-flops or tennis shoes on long and arduous hikes. Good boots provide ankle support and keep your feet dry. Additionally, Moleskin is a great product to use in the field if a blister should begin.

2. Research your hike before you go. Again, this may seem elementary, but you would be surprised at how many people just go hiking up into the mountains before actually familiarizing themselves with a map of the area. If you’re planning a long hike, take the time to look at the routes and trails and any escape routes you may need to use if the weather gets bad.

3. Avoid hiking in the afternoon above treeline. Lightning does not kill a lot of people in Colorado, but it does have the potential to. Lightning safety is very important and its also really simple. If you can, start your hikes as early as possible, even before sunrise. This will ensure that you are down from treeline before the afternoon thunderstorms. Granted, there is always the possibility for morning storms, so be sure to research the weather report before you begin hiking.

4. Pace yourself. The key to a long and steep hike is to keep an even and slow pace. A lot of difficult hikes are accomplished simply through mental endurance. A slow pace will ensure that your mental attitude is positive.

5. Learn wilderness first aid and bring a first aid kit with you. Wilderness first aid is a different type of first aid class that teaches you first aid techniques for wilderness situations. For example, you might learn how to create a sling out of materials found in the woods. You will also learn about how to recognize the signs of altitude sickness and how to treat and prevent it.

By Matt Payne, Examiner.com 

One of my favorite parts of living in Colorado is the fall colors that come each September and October. Over the years, I’ve come to note in my mind the best areas to view fall colors around the state, and I thought I’d share my top five areas with you!

1. Dallas Divide

Not only is the Dallas Divide home to some of my favorite mountains to climb, it is also home to some of the most breathtaking areas for fall foliage. Start in the town of Ridgway, which is located south of Montrose. You will see the mighty 14er, Mount Sneffels as you enter Ridgway. Mount Sneffels is one of my favorite mountains to climb. From there, head west on Colorado Highway 62 over the Dallas Divide. You will be afforded incredible, classic views of the Sneffels Wilderness Area and a bounty of color will explode before your eyes from the aspen trees. At Placerville, drive southeast toward Telluride on Colorado Highway 145. From here, you will head towards Lizard Head Pass and see incredible views of Wilson Peak, which I climbed back in July. Did you also know that Wilson Peak is featured on the Coors Beer can?

2. West Elks and Kebler Pass

I’ve not had the chance to visit this area yet, but through my admiration of one of Colorado’s best photographers, Kane Engelbert, I feel like this is one of the best areas for viewing fall colors in the country. To get there, head west out of Crested Butte on Gunnison County Road 12. You will be immediately pleased by the fall colors in this area. The aptly named Ruby Range add contrast and more color as you continue. This would be a great area to stop and hike in. At Colorado Highway 133, you should drive north toward McClure Pass for more incredible colors and opportunities for incredible fall hiking.

3. Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness Area

The Maroon Bells are quite possibly the most photographed mountains in the world, and it is really no wonder as to why. The fall colors, as seen in this area, are quite splendid indeed. I feel that this area needs no further introduction, and examples can be found in the slideshow. According to the Colorado Tourism website, on weekends in September, access to the Maroon Bells is limited to shuttle buses that leave Aspen on a regular basis. But if you reserve a campsite along Maroon Creek Road, you can drive your vehicle all the way to the scenic Maroon Lake. This whole area is incredible – I visited it twice this year, once to backpack to Snowmass Lake, and another time to climb Snowmass Mountain and Hagerman Peak.

4. Cottonwood Pass

The mighty Sawatch Mountain Range is home to several 14ers and 13ers, including some of the best fall colors around. When driving in from the east on Highway 285, the majestic Mount Princeton greets you with huge groves of aspen at its base. Driving up to Cottonwood Pass places you between both Princeton and Mount Yale, another huge 14er. As you pass beneath the 14ers, you’ll find yourself in a valley full of aspen trees ranging from green to gold. Last year, I was able to view all of this from the summit of six 13ers, all in one day!

5. Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway

To reach this superb area, drive south out of the historic town of Georgetown to the summit of 11,699 ft. Guanella Pass. The changing aspen are pretty amazing, especially on the south side of the pass. Turn right on US Highway 285 and take the highway for 15 minutes to the top of Kenosha Pass, where you will be afforded more incredible views of aspen trees near South Park.

By Margena Holmes, Examiner.com

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you in many different ways.  It can lower your blood pressure, it can help you lose weight, it helps build stamina, and can help build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat.

Walking is an easy way to get exercise.  You don’t need any special equipment except good sturdy shoes.  Walking can be done almost anywhere-the mall, the grocery store, around your neighborhood, or around your office during your break at work.  If you need more of a challenge, or you’re stuck at a weight loss plateau, you can try hiking.

I recently went on a hike at the Ute Valley Park in Colorado Springs.  It was very easy to get to, and the park itself was beautiful.  The hike, on the other hand, was pretty hard for someone who has lived at sea level for her entire life until a year ago!  There are quite a few trails to hike on, and at first it seemed like it would be pretty easy.  The first part of the hike was fairly even and flat, but as we went on, it gradually got steeper and more rocky, but you don’t notice it too much if you’re looking at the beautiful scenery.

When you hike, the terrain plays a big part in how much you burn.  Hiking up hills, on rocky terrain will burn more calories.  Two hours, four miles, a steep uphill grade, and 8000+ steps, the parking lot was back in sight!  According to the American Council on Exercise, hiking burns between 4.5 and 6.7 calories per minute, so that adds up to approximately 1200 calories burned.

You may want to gradually work up to hiking four miles, hike at a slower pace, or hike an easier trail if you’re not accustomed to hiking.  Check with your doctor first before you tackle any trail, and remember to bring a bottle of water with you.

By Deb Stanley, Examiner.com

It may just be one of the best problems to have, how do I find a good hiking trail? Colorado is a beautiful state with breathtaking places, but how do you pick a hike that’s not a dud? Here are some of the best places and hikes to consider:

Rocky Mountain National Park. There aren’t many dud hikes in the park. Mills Lake, Calypso Cascades & Ouzel Falls,  Flattop Mountain, Gem Lake, Bridal Veil Falls,  Nymph, Dream & Emerald Lakes,  Fern Falls & Fern Lake,  Finch Lake, Mount Ida,Spectacle Lakes, Ypsilon & Chipmunk Lakes, Shelf & Solitude Lakes, Jewel Lake, Timber Lake,  Arch Rocks/The Pool,  Spruce Lake, Alberta Falls, MacGregor Falls.

There are two wilderness areas just south of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Indian Peaks Wilderness and James Peak Wilderness. Both are filled with dozens of trails to scenic lakes and mountain peaks. Two of the easiest hikes to get you started in this area are Lost Lake and Diamond Lake. Or hike to Isabelle Lake, Mitchell/Blue Lakes, Crater Lakes, Forest Lakes,Arapahoe Lakes and Woodland Lake & Skyscraper Reservoir.

Want to try something different, how about hiking to an arch? There’s Harmonica Arch in the Pike National Forest, Royal Arch in Boulder and the Rattlesnake Arches near Grand Juction.

Interested in history? Then don’t miss the chance to see several homesteads from the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Homestead Meadows is in Larimer County, just about 10 miles south of Estes park. There’s also the Shafthouse hike (a failed reservoir project) in the Pike National Forest.

Want something even more unique? Check out the dinosaur tracks at Dakota Ridge in Golden. There’s a castle at Lair O The Bear that you can see from the trail, especially in the winter when the trees lose their leaves. And there are the castle ruins at Mount Falcon. You can even hike to an old fire lookout tower on Squaw Peak near Evergreen or at Devil’s Head in the Pike National Forest . Or try a “hike” underground by exploring Fulford Cave.

Dreaming of climbing a 14er? One of the best for first timers is actually two peaks, Grays & Torreys.

Traveling to the high country? Don’t miss South Willow Falls in Summit County. Or visit Hells Hole in the Mount Evans Wilderness. In Glenwood Springs, there’s the very popular hike to Hanging Lake or try the trial at the next exit at Grizzly Creek. You can also hike to Doc Holliday’s grave and the Storm King Memorial.

While in town hikes may not be as exciting as mountain hikes, two of the best areas to hike on the front range are the Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks and the Jefferson County Open Space parks in Golden, Morrison and Evergreen. Boulder and JeffCo have informative Web sites with good maps and easy to use information on their trails. Hikers often choose Jefferson County hiking trails because they are so well marked, with easy to find and read signs.

Like waterfalls? Here are my favorite waterfall hikes and my favorite waterfalls to visit with little to no hiking. Here are some waterfall hikes: Bridal Veil Falls (RMNP), Alberta Falls,  Lost Lake (Indian Peaks Wilderness),  Maxwell Falls (Evergreen), Horsetooth Falls (Ft. Collins),Boulder Falls.

County Web sites: Boulder open space trailsJefferson County open space trailsLarimer County parks & open landsDenver parksDouglas County parks & trailsSummit County open space & trailsEl Paso County parks & trails

Federal government Web sites: Rocky Mountain National ParkIndian Peaks WildernessBrainard Lake Recreation AreaArapahoe & Roosevelt National ForestsPike & San Isabel National Forests.

State Web sites: Colorado State Parks Web site

By Deb Stanley, Examiner.com

Need a trail? Pick one of these! I have them organized first by area – Jefferson County, Douglas County, Boulder County, Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness, State Parks, Colorado Springs, Pike National Forest, Summit County, Holy Cross Wilderness, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Northern Colorado, Grand Junction, urban areas and others.

Then I have the hikes in different categories – waterfalls, homesteads, arches, fire lookouts, snowshoes and odd/interesting hikes.

Let’s go!

Jefferson County Open Space & nearby area:

Douglas County:

Boulder County:

Rocky Mountain National Park:

Indian Peaks Wilderness & James Peak Wilderness:

State Parks:

Colorado Springs:

Pike National Forest:

Summit County (incl. Leadville):

Holy Cross Wilderness:

Glenwood Springs area:

Aspen area:

Northern Colorado including Steamboat Springs & Fort Collins:

Southern Colorado, near Silverton:

Grand Junction/Fruita:

Urban trails:

Other areas:

Waterfalls:

Homesteads:

Arches:

Fire lookouts:

Snowshoes:

Odd/Interesting hikes you have to check out:

RANDOM POSTS

Nothing about it was easy, Shawn Baumgartner said. In fact, he said standing in front of the Hayden High School football team Tuesday night and delivering the news was as difficult as anything he's ever done.

70 — Shawn Baumgartner's teams won 70 times in his 12 years as head coach. He finished with a 70-50 record.

7 — The Tigers made the state postseason seven times in his career. Those trips included one semifinals appearance, in 2007, and two quarterfinals games.

8 — Hayden improved by eight wins from Baumgartner's first season to his second, from 2-9 in 2003 to 10-1 in 2004.

9 — That 10-1 season was the start of a special run. The team lost just nine games from 2004 to 2007, making the playoffs each season.

As painful as that was, Baumgartner, head football coach for the Tigers since 2003, said stepping down from the program and away from the school was something he had to do.

He's been commuting — 50 miles roundtrip — from Steamboat Springs for a decade, and with both of his daughters now in school in that district, the convenience of a job there was simply too much to turn down.

Baumgartner will take over as a physical education and health teacher at Steamboat Springs High School and work as offensive coordinator for the Sailors' football team.

“We thought this was something that would be best for the family,” he said. “The opportunity came up, and it was one of those you can't pass up.”

Baumgartner, who's taught at Hayden since 2002, was planning for the looming football season in Hayden, which begins Aug. 17 with the first fall sports practice of the season.

Those plans changed early this month when the job opening in Steamboat was listed. His daughter, Naomi, is seven years old and will be in second grade, while his youngest, five-year old Ella, starts kindergarten this fall. His wife, Melissa Baumgartner, works at and owns Center for Sports Medicine in Steamboat.

“The girls are getting older, and the schedules are getting more hectic,” Baumgartner said. “This will definitely help the situation here at home, and living here in Steamboat, being more active and involved in the community is something I am looking forward to.”

He leaves a Hayden program that finished 4-5 last season, a step up from 2-5 in 2013.

That's been a low point for the program, however, and Baumgartner presided over plenty of Hayden wins. His teams won at nearly a 60 percent clip, finishing 70-50 in 12 years. They made the playoffs seven times in that span.

He also coached the boys varsity basketball team from 2002 to 2007, but football was his main focus.

In 2004, his second year as head coach, the Tigers bounced back from a 2-9 record to go 10-0 in the Western Slope league. “Baumgartner's Boys” went 7-3 a year later, 9-2 in 2006 and in 2007, 9-3, winning two playoff games to advance to the state semifinals.

The team also made the playoffs and won a game there in 2010 before declining school enrollment forced the team to drop from 11-man football to eight-man in 2011. Hayden quickly left its mark in that division, making the postseason in 2011 and again in 2012.

He took pride in a spread offense, but more than that, in changing the team's style to suit its personnel. What was a wide-open passing attack one season could be a grind-it-out rushing machine the next.

He was named Class 1A coach of the year by the Rocky Mountain News in 2007 and the Steamboat Pilot and Today's coach of the year in 2012.

“We had a lot of great teams,” he said. “When you start thinking back, all these different faces and memories start popping back in your head.”

For Hayden, the move means a quick search for a replacement. Athletic director Zach Wuestewald — brand new to the job himself — said the search will begin immediately.

“It's tough, because Shawn spent so much time with the program," he said. "He wasn't just a great coach, but a great man, a great person to be in our district.

“It won't be easy to replace him, but we're excited about the kids we have coming up who are wanting to work hard and want to learn, so it's going to be alright.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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