Coffee with Friends

Each day while I was in Colorado, I would take some time in the morning before breakfast and before the plans and logistics of the day’s hike become the prominent thoughts upon my mind.  I would make a cup of coffee and retreat to the patio behind the lodge to reflect, pray, read scripture, and generally just observe the quiet beauty of the world at the start of the day.

On several mornings, a family of deer would descend from the surrounding hills to graze on the grass of the camp.  As I sat quietly in the morning sun, the deer seemed to subtlety notice me but were not in the least bit alarmed by my presence.  I enjoyed my coffee while they enjoyed their breakfast, both enjoying the morning and perhaps even the company. Continue Reading →

Flattop Mountain

In 2013, my father and I attempted to hike to Flattop Mountain within the Rocky Mountain National Park.  While it was a beautiful and enjoyable hike, a sudden storm engulfed the top as we approached causing us to abort the pursuit due to the risk of lightning strike.

This year, we set a goal to return and complete our original plan and make it to the top. Continue Reading →

Moraine Park and Sprague Lake

One of the advantages of the YMCA of the Rockies is its shared border with Rocky Mountain National Park.  A large part of the park is accessible by hiking in directly from the YMCA.  This is particularly advantageous this weekend as the park is offering free admission for the NPS Centennial.

Today, my father and I decided to hike into the national park and explore the Southern edge of Moraine Park.  Moraine Park is a frequent wildlife observation area with a road along the Northern boundary.  The lesser known  foot path to the South can grant visitors a rich and abundant wildlife experience. Continue Reading →

Bierstadt Lake

Following yesterday’s challenging hike to Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon, my father and I were looking for a more relaxed trail on Saturday.  We also wanted to avoid the more popular hikes as this year is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service and entrance was free this weekend, resulting in a record number of visitors.

Reviewing the maps, we opted for a traverse from the Bear Lake trailhead up and over a mild ridge, then rounding Bierstadt Lake before descending into Mill Creek Basin and finally Hollowell Park.  This would give us a good cross-section of the park’s ecosystem. Continue Reading →

Mitchell and Blue

Following the first day’s acclimatization hike to Ouzel Falls, the weather forecast was slightly ominous but not prohibitive.  With only six days of hiking in my schedule, skipping a day for anything but the most serious circumstances is frowned upon and is to be avoided at all costs.  Accepting the risk of hiking through heavy rain, my parents and I opted for the trail to Mitchell and Blue Lakes.  Continue Reading →