Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tenderfoot Mountain

The weather in Summit County this weekend has been very questionable. Since we arrived yesterday we really haven't seen much of the sun at all. This morning we awoke to cloudy grey skies that did not bode well for a lengthy hike.
We were awoken to the sound of dog puking this morning. Bailey was ralphing something up. I haven't a clue what. Because before I could get up and clean it up, Lex had already taken care of it. Yeah - you got to love that about your dogs. Needless to say, both Lex and Bailey were forbidden to give kisses for the first half of today! As a result of Lex's actions I only had a little to clean up. It was a lovely way to start my morning!
Once we got up we took the dogs for their morning walk/hike into the National Forest behind our condo. Given the weakness in Bailey's hind legs we have trimmed this walk down from over 1.5 miles in years past to slightly over .5 miles. The walk gives Bailey more than enough exercise to tire him out, but it tends to leave Lex unsatisfied and ready to go. Zack and I have determined we just need to work harder with Bailey each day and essentially do "physical therapy" with him to try and get his hind legs stronger.
After the morning walk we came back to the condo and got some breakfast for ourselves. Nothing elaborate - cold cereal for Zack and oatmeal for me. While we were eating I was going through one of my hiking books to determine a good hike to take for the day. Given the weather I really didn't want to do anything that would put us way out in the middle of nowhere in case a major storm came up. So I decided on the hike up Tenderfoot Mountain. This mountain is on the outskirts of Dillon and isn't that tall - only 11,000+ feet. The total hike is only about 3 miles round trip so I figure it won't take us much more than an hour which given the weather was good.
We got to the trailhead without any problem as it is located right near the Dillon water filtration plant. The first thing that we noticed about our hike was that the first 1/3 of mile wound through a totally and completely devastated forest. This area of forest had been hard hit by the pine beetle and so to protect the water filtration plant in case the dead trees burnt - every single tree had been cut down. Here in Colorado we are not used to clear cuts the way you sometimes see them in the Northwest, but given the devastation caused by the pine beetle, I think we are going to be seeing a lot more clear cuts in the future.
(Zack standing in the midst of the devastation from the pine beetle and the clear cutting.) After walking through this clear cut area, the trail takes a turn to the east and heads up hill on a much more dramatic angle. Thoughout the hike we had a great view of Lake Dillon below. Unfortunately we also had a great view of Route 6 as it heads toward Loveland Pass. I guess for an easy hike, I shouldn't expect too much in terms of a view!
(Zack looking to the south over Lake Dillon and Peaks 1 - 7)
(Me sitting on one of the benches along the trail. Zack took the picture - he is getting better at taking pictures!)
Throughout the hike there were several benches positioned at various along side the trail. These benches were in places where there were great views of Lake Dillon and the Gore Range to the north. We would stop at each one and take some pictures and just enjoy the view. In many cases the peaks of the nearby mountains were totally obscured by clouds and mist.
After about 45 minutes we reach the "End of the Trail". There was a sign there that read "End of Trail" even though a trail continues further up Tenderfoot Mountain. Zack and I had a good laugh over the sign and we took pictures of each other next to it. I thought it would have been funny if the sign instead read "End of the Line". But - oh well.
Our hike back to the car was quick and easy as it was all pretty much down hill. As we got closer to the car the weather became more threatening and I expect us to be caught in a deluge. But thankfully we reach the car without the rain starting.
After our hike we headed to Frisco so that Zack could spend some time playing on the Frisco "Funtastic" playground. We got there and within 10 minutes we were running for the car as it started to pour. We got somewhat wet but we it was OK. We then headed into downtown Frisco and went to one of our favorite mountain eateries for lunch - The Butterhorn. We had a great lunch in the warm comfort of the Butterhorn while the rain came down outside.
It was still raining when we left The Butterhorn, but on the drive back to Silverthorne the rain let up and stopped. We made a quick stop at the Target in Silverthorne as we needed some supplies for the condo. Once we got back to the condo - besides for taking the dogs out and getting a take and bake pizza for dinner we were determined to stay in and have a relax late afternoon and evening. And that is what we are doing now. We have a nice fire burning in the fireplace, I am working on my computer and Zack is using his Nintendo DS. The Denver Nuggets game is on the TV and we are having a good evening.
We hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Thanks and peace to all! - J.

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