Today was a pretty relaxing day in general. We actually got to sleep in to 8AM. Our bodies are still on eastern time apparently. The boys and I headed out to do a short hike on TK Mountain near the Dillon Reservoir. The hike was short, but it offered some awesome views of the lake from the edge of a cliff. It also gave us a little time to learn how to use my hiking GPS.
Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and rafting summed up our Colorado Springs portion of the trip, but now it is time to move on; to Keystone/Breckenridge. Contrary to the “continuous” advice GPS (“Make a U-Turn in 400 ft”) to take the interstates, I decided to drive SR24 and SR9 to Breckenridge. About an hour into this drive, we arrived at Wilkerson Pass in the Pike National Forest. From this point you can look out and see the entire South Park high plain, before driving through it.
After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we headed out to Canon City, Colorado to raft Bighorn Sheep Canyon on the Arkansas River. Apparently, this past winter’s snowfall was unusually low, thus the snowmelt has been low. The Arkansas is a free flowing river, unlike most of the dam controlled rivers in the East. While the rafting was a true class III-IV, like it would be normally, it was still a blast. The lower flow still provided quite a few good rapids and more time to enjoy the sights. On a humorous note, the outfitter we used named all of their rafts after the family members of the Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.
After our brief stay at YMCA of the Rockies, we’ve headed off to Colorado Springs for a couple of days. I’ve traveled here for work a few times, but Jennifer has not seen the area at all, less a quick trip to the Air Force Academy in 1995. On the way to the “Springs”, we decided to drive Boulder to check it out. I’ve always have been interested in moving there. Kiplinger’s ranked Boulder the best cities for the next decade. It sounds like a great place to live.
Today began with a plan. A plan that we trashed yesterday; and how thankful we are. One of the benefits was free guided hikes. Today there were three or four hikes schedule, so when we arrived yesterday I signed us for the Bierstadt Lake hike. After doing a little more research on it, we discovered while it was the shortest they offered, it also began with the first mile having about 1000 ft gain of elevation. While under normal circumstances (e.g. North Carolina) this would be taxing but not a show stopper, at 10,000 feet it is a whole different story. So late last night we cancelled our reservation through YMCA and decided to hike another on our own. The hike I selected was the Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake trail. It was 90% downhill and only three miles. It was probably the most enjoyable hike I’ve ever taken. In …keep reading …