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 →

Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon

When I think about my favorite destination hikes, the one that comes highest on my list is Mount Ypsilon.  It was first recommended to me by a friend and Colorado Hikemaster as a challenging but logistically accessible entry into 13,000+ foot summits.

My first attempt was in 2010 when my father and I navigated the unfamiliar course and misread the topography, mistakenly summiting nearby Mount Chiquita instead.  With weather approaching, we choose to turn around and claim Chiquita as our accomplishment for the day.  The following year, we returned with a better knowledge of the mountain range above the end of the marked trail and successfully submitted Ypsilon.

For this trip, I set a goal to complete the CCY triple summit:  reaching the tops of Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon in succession.  Continue Reading →