Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tales from Kobi: Gem Lake

Yesterday Mom and I went on an adventure with her friend, Susan. Originally we were going to hike the Anne U. White Trail in North Boulder, Colorado. We got there and not only was there a "trail closed" sign, but there was a ranger to remind folks that the trail was closed. So I guess that meant we couldn't go hiking there. :-)

So Mom suggested we go hike Cub Lake, near Estes Park. Susan was game so off we went on an hour excursion. We decided to stop at the Visitor's Center and learned Cub Lake was in the Rocky Mountain National Forest and there would be a $20 fee. If we didn't want to do that we could go to Gem Lake. That trailhead was only a few minutes away and no fee. 3.6 miles/ 1090 ft elevation gain.

So here we are at the Lumpy Ridge trailhead that would take us to Gem Lake. Mom is practicing with her brand new Osprey Aura 65 AG pack with a 23 pound load including water. That's a good start since she'll be carrying more than that on The Colorado Trail. As you can see, it's another beautiful Colorado day, but I'm getting impatient. Let's get going already!

The view up ... where we're going is somewhere up there. It seems to be a popular trail. We saw quite a few people, but at least it didn't feel like a super highway.

Mom's first effort at a foot bridge with a pack on her back. She did great. That bridge was too arrow for me to navigate. I didn't like it. Notice I'm just plodding through the water. Ahh, cool on my little paw pads.

The smell of pine is heavenly high in the mountains with a little breeze. Nice.

And the views are stunning!

Look there, rock shelves that look like they will slide right off.

The climb was steep. Stair steps. Mom did great. She must be getting stronger.

We made it to the lake. There were folks sitting on rocks enjoying the sunshine, having a snack. There were others climbing that rock wall on the other side of lake.

Mom taking a picture of Susan,

who taking a picture of these crazy people climbing the rock face without ropes or any protection.

We went around the lake a bit to stop for a sit. Mom and Susan snacked on plums. Suddenly the wind blew sand at us which made it less pleasant than we would have liked, so we didn't stay long before heading back down the mountain.

While Mom and Susan snacked a man came through and told us dogs were not allowed here (mind you he was about the 5th person to do so), that when we go down I should be put in Mom's pack so rangers don't see me. He proceeded to suggest that maybe Mom didn't speak English ... but what she was doing was illegal! Geez.

Susan and Mom had fun with that on the way down, calling him Mr. Obnoxious. Coming up with all kinds of retorts like, Sprechen si Deutch? Parlez vous francais? No hable Englais. At least we turned it around and had a bit of fun.

By the way, Mom never takes me on "no dogs" trails, but it seems she and Susan were too busy talking to notice the signs!!

This land is full of beauty at every turn.

And interesting rock formations.

There are Mom and Susan doing the double selfie thing. Gotta get a picture together and I sure can't take it for them. I can't figure out how to hold the camera. Haha.

On the way home after a great hike there were about a half dozen elk beside the road. Mom had to stop and get some pictures. Of course. So there we were stopped in the middle of the road.

Then Mr. Elk just sauntered in front of us. What a sight!

Tales from Kobi: Skunk Creek Trail

Monday, 3/23/15 ... catching up

We're out hiking more challenging trails now and Mom's having trouble keeping up with letting you all know about these beautiful places. So we're starting with Skunk Creek Trail about a week ago.

This trail is easily accessible and follows a dirt road to the trailhead. It was a great day. Sunny. Blue skies. Puffy clouds. Mom wore her old boots since my new ones broke and she was waiting for the replacement pair. She was reminded what a properly sized boot can do for you. :-)

A bit hard to see here, but in the above photo a trail runs horizontally about center and there are a few people trekking there. This ridge almost looks like a dinosaur's hump.

On the rock in the foreground there is some beautiful lime-green lichen. We are just trekking along. Not too many folks since it's mid-afternoon. Another of Mom's late starts. That's going to have to change when she's on The Colorado Trail! Unfortunately, I won't be going on that trip. She says she needs to focus and will have enough trouble looking after herself, let alone me!

Looking back toward Boulder at a switchback.

Hey, there's me! I got my leash caught in that little bridge there. It took Mom a few minutes to get me unstuck. I guess I can be a little trouble, but I just love hiking with her.

Waiting for her. I do like to run ahead sometimes.

We're standing at the switchback ... the trail on the lest goes back from where we came ... the one on the right continues on Skunk Creek Trail.

This is where Skunk Creek Trail meets Mesa Trail. It's kinda funny how on way is a dirt path and the other is flagstone. We wondered if that was rebuilding after the flood of 2013.

Looking over Boulder again.

Now we're on our way back down. It was a quick trip. Just under 2 hours, 3.27 miles, 748 ft elevation gain.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tales from Kobi: Flagstaff Trail

Yesterday, Mom and I had another adventure. We hiked Flagstaff Trail with friend Meredith and her dog Toby, called Mr. T so as to not confuse us.

The hike was from Panorama Point to the Wood Shelter near Artists' Point. 2.83 miles/1115 elevation gain.

It was such a beautiful day here in Colorado that there were many hikers out, but not so many that it was crowded. Meredith stopped to talk with another hiker as Mom and I marched on up the trail.

There were lots of sweet vista pit stops. With the elevation gain, Mom found herself stopping quite often. She hopes this will ease up as she does more treks like this.

Meredith on the rock and Mr. T hiding in the shadow in the foreground.

The Boulder trails are very well maintained for pretty easy crossing even with the elevation gain.

And on the way back we were blessed with this awesome view of Boulder through the trees. Now we can say we hiked to the top of Flagstaff Mountain!

Before heading home after this pretty short hike, we stopped to enjoy the breeze. Mr. T decided he wanted to climb on the table, but didn't quite make it. Meredith said he was just acting silly. Kobi was enjoying lying down in the table shade.

The good news is I didn't feel like I needed couch time after this hike. I love my new boots!

Oh, and about boots. I went to put on my brand new Vasques (week old with 18 miles on them) later in the afternoon and one of the leather loops broke. Bummer!! The good news is Amazon will replace them at no cost and I will have another brand new pair of boots on Tuesday. :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tales from Kobi: Walker Ranch Loop

Monday, March 16: Mom and I took our second challenge for elevation gain. We'll have to catch up on the first challenge, or maybe not. We'll see. For now, we'll start here.

We hiked Walker Ranch Loop ... 7.6 miles clockwise with a total elevation gain of 1470 ft (920 + 550). Walker Ranch map and elevation graph provided by Boulder County, Colorado.

Mom and I started at the trailhead at 11am figuring it would be cool enough in the mountains. As it turned out it was great when we arrived, but heated up a bit along the way regardless of some latent snow on the the trail (seen later). Headed out on the trail on the left and returned on the trail on the right (above).

Panoramic vista from very early on the trail.

"Kobi, you're going the wrong way. We need to go up," Mom said, but as you can see I wasn't paying much attention. She had stopped to take pictures, so I got confused.

That's the trail we came up, looking back. These kinds of pictures give a great perspective of distance and terrain.

There's the snow! It was a bit slushy and slippery, but Mom kept her balance. She figured we must be on the North side of a mountain here.

"That's one big paw print." Mom always gets a little nervous for me when she sees such big prints, but truth be told she doesn't know how to recognize mountain lion tracks. Figured it must just be a big dog. We did see a Newfoundland later, but not sure they hiked this part.

The sound of the rushing Boulder Creek here was lovely and refreshing.

Crossing the creek.

Here's were things got interesting. Mom must have missed the trail or a switchback or something and we ended up scaling the mountainside there on the left. Rocky and sandy and a bit scary. It was hard for me to keep traction, but Mom kept saying keep going ... up. So I did. Suddenly we made it to the very well maintained trail and that's how Mom realized she'd missed something. I keep telling her to stop looking at her feet ... look up once in a while! She says she knows. OK.

She loves those rocky mountain configurations and look at that blue sky. Wow!

She loves the long shadows. See her walking sticks there? She needed them on this trip. Definitely made it easier to do the elevation, but she still had to stop a lot to get her breath and rest her legs. I'm proud of her though. She kept going.

While she's stopping and taking pictures, I wander ahead. See me there, right in the middle of the snow. That sure helped my little paws. Felt nice and cool.

This is only the fourth person we saw on the trail all day. This guy was definitely not wearing proper footwear. Sandals! But he was trucking a lot faster than we were.

This is what a lot of the "looking down" looked like. Not unusual for hiking a mountain.

More rock formations.

Hiking along Boulder Creek for about a half mile was the most pleasant part of the entire trip. The gurgling song of the water flowing over and around rocks. Shady path. The potent smell of pine. Lovely. But the water level is quite low for all the snow we've had recently.

Almost there. To the right of those trees and rocks on top of the hill is where our car awaits our arrival. Mom couldn't wait, but she couldn't walk any faster. I went on ahead occasionally, but I was tired too.

And I think she was seeing spots. Six and half hours later we finished. We didn't take too many breaks and when we did, not very long. I'm really proud of her and always enjoy our walks.

I slept all the way home and crashed on the couch when we got there. Regardless, it really was a beautiful day.

Thanks for coming along.