Monday, February 2, 2009

Hiking in Colorado – and an update on Happy Jack (i.e. Zack!)

One of the things that love so much about Colorado is the variety of environments in which you can hike. The state seemingly has it all – from prairies, to deep dark forests, to high mountains, to flowing streams and fetid swamps. There is just such a variety of different places that you can explore. As an avid hiker and explorer, I love to collect books about hiking in Colorado. I have gotten to the point that I literal have a entire portion of one of my bookshelves dedicated to hiking books. Most of these books provide detailed descriptions of places to hike. The books vary in the fact that some provide hikes in specific geographical areas while others provide types of hikes you can take. There are books on loop hikes (i.e. hikes in which you go in a loop), wildflower hikes, hikes with your dog, hikes with your kid, snowshoe hikes, quiet winter trail hikes – you name it there is probably a book that describes that kind of hike.
In a quest to see a variety of different places and environments, I am working on a list of all the hikes that I want to take this year. Here’s a brief list of the hikes that I want Zack and I to take this year. 1 - Buffalo Mountain – This is a mountain that is shaped like the hump of a buffalo. It is located in Summit County and our “mountain house” is located at the base of this mountain. It is a difficult mountain to hike in the fact that the elevation gain is huge in a short amount of time. This one can only be hiked after July when the snow has melted.
2 - Mount Bierstadt – Zack has expressed interest in hiking a “14er” with me. Mount Bierstadt in my opinion is the easiest 14,000+ mountain in Colorado to hike. It is located about 30 miles due west of Denver in the Mount Evan Wilderness area. It’s a challenge and it will take us a good 5 – 6 hours to hike because I don’t want to push Zack too hard and turn him off to “14ers”.
3 - Waterton Canyon – Though this is kind of an “urban” trail based upon the number of people on it, I think it offers such a great viewpoint and understanding of where all of Denver’s water comes from. Denver is located in a high-plains desert. The amount of effort that has gone into assuring we have a steady water supply is huge. The South Platte River runs through Waterton Canyon and a lot of Denver’s water infrastructure can easily be seen from the trail.
4 - Centennial Cone – As one of the largest county open space areas in the entire state, Centennial Cone offers some great hiking opportunities. Having seen the “cone” (which is a mountain) on some topo maps, Zack and I want to reach the top of this interesting mountain.
5- Great Sand Dunes National Park – This is the newest national park in Colorado as it was only “created” by legislation in 2004. This park is home to the highest Sand Dunes in North America. At over 750 feet, these dunes tower over the floor of the San Luis Valley. Zack and I want to hike far into the park and climb the highest of these dunes! Those are just a few of the hikes we have planned for 2009. We will add many more to our list and as we hike them – we will definitely write about them. As for my little happy jack (i.e. Zack) things are going very well these days. He really had a tough time with things at the beginning of the calendar year. I am not sure exactly why this is, but he experienced the exact same things during the beginning of 2008. Of course 2008 was a very different year from where we are now. At the beginning of 2008 Patty was still alive but was very ill and had been in the hospital for over 6 months at that point. It is amazing to see Zack being the happy go-lucky kid that he used to be. It is like he is enjoying childhood again. He has stopped getting in trouble every day at school and is doing a lot more laughing, smiling and just being happy. I am really hoping that he is finally starting to come out of the pall that has hung over him since Patty died. The happier Zack is, the happier I will be. He and I are starting to think of the future and all the fun things that we want to do. We really do plan to have a lot of fun together and we are going to work hard to have fun! I did just want to mention on this blog – if you have comments please leave them as both Zack and I love to get them. Additionally, in the coming weeks I am going to be starting another blog. This new blog is going to be about politics and lots of controversial stuff. I am sure to equal opportunity offender – whether your politics lean right or left. I’ll announce the website here once I have a post or two out there. Until later – peace!!

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