Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Bridges of Summit County

In the woods of Colorado, you can always hear a stream long before you see it.  The sound of rushing water fills the air for what seems to be miles around each and every stream.  As soon as that sound comes into ear shot I begin to wonder what I will find when the stream comes into view.  Will it be a little stream joyfully flowing through a flower covered meadow?  Or will it be a torrent rushing down the mountainside carrying the melting snow of the last 6 months of winter?  And then my mind quickly jumps to the next question, how will we cross this stream.  And then many times in the midst of this wilderness tract, I am surprised to come across a man-made bridge that crosses the stream.

On Saturday as Zack and I made our way through the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area, we were following the course of two very significant streams - The Middle and South Forks of Willow Creek.  Though they are called "Forks" each of these watercourses is a major stream in it's own right.  Our hike weaved in and out of the water sheds of both of theses streams.


We crossed and re-crossed both of these streams numerous times.  Each time there was an unexpected surprise in the fact there was a bridge for us to cross these raging torrents.  Coming across these bridges is just the most marvelous experience.  I am not sure why they elicit such a feeling of surprise and amazement in me but they do.  Here's a few of the many bridges that we crossed yesterday.  By these pictures you can tell that the Gore Range is definitely one of the more wet mountain chains in Colorado.












Zack and I usually have no problem crossing the rushing streams on these bridges.  The dogs however, clearly do not like it.  Despite the extreme frigid temperatures of the water, the dogs will frequently plunge head first into the torrent to escape the difficulty of crossing the bridges.  Maybe it isn't so much that the bridges are hard for them to cross, it could also be that they just love being in the water!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!

Thanks and peace to all! ~ J.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Moose on the Loose...

I had a totally different subject that I was going to write about this evening but instead, I am going to write about our close encounter with a moose.

This morning when Zack and I went out for a hike, we hiked into an area of the Gore Range that is known for having a population of moose.  As we hiked through the dense forest we crossed and re-crossed the middle and south forks of a stream called Willow Creek.  Due to the spring snow melt, these streams are full to the point of overflowing their banks.  In many places the streams have spilled out and have turned meadows into marshes that are just filled with dense green vegetation.  This got me to wondering if we were going to see any moose while on our hike as the conditions were exactly what moose like.  But unfortunately we did happen to spy any moose.  Bummer.

After our hike we went back to our condo and spent the afternoon relaxing.  Both Zack and I managed to take naps.  It is almost unexplainable how great it feels to take a nap at the condo.  After a day of strenuous hiking it is the greatest thing.  My bedroom faces towards the forest and when I take a nap, I open the blinds and the window.  This allows me to get a nice breeze into the bedroom and see the tops of nearby aspen trees swaying in the wind.  Sunlight floods into my bedroom in the morning, but by the afternoon it is deep in the shadows.

It was almost 5:30PM when I awoke from my nap and got about the rest of the business of the day.  There wasn't really anything major to do except feed the dogs and taking them out into the forest so they can do the things that they need to do after eating.  Given the amount of space around and the fact that my dogs normally listen when I call them, for the most part I leave them off leash for these walks.

As we were coming back to the condo after this evening's walk, I was focused on calling the dogs and keeping them close.  For whatever reason as we get closer to the condo they tend to be less obedient, but today they were following my directions very well.  Given the focus I had on the dogs, I wasn't concentrating too much on the situation around me.  That lead to the big surprise.  As we were getting close to the steps to go up to the condo, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a massive shape coming around the corner of the building.  It was big enough that it caused me to do a double take and quickly realize that it was massive bull moose!  Once all this dawned on my brain, I practically jumped out of my skin.

Thankfully the dogs were close at hand and I managed to quickly grab them by their collars to keep them from rushing him.  Lex didn't seem to care at all.  He stared at the moose and didn't do a thing.  Finn on the other hand, decided he needed to make a fuss.  He got down on his haunches and started to growl.  At that point, Mr. Moose decided he wasn't too pleased with me and the dogs.  He gave us a thorough stare down and started to make some snorting noises.  The end result of all of this was that I kept a strong hold on the dogs and got them up the stairs to the condo!


 Once I had the dogs on the steps up to the condo, I called out to Zack to let him know what was going on.  He came out of the condo and stood on the deck.  Of course he was utterly amazed when he saw the moose in the courtyard below.  When the dogs were safely in the condo we both went down to the deck of the unit below us to look at this amazing and beautiful creature.  Our neighbors, having heard me call out to Zack about the "moose in the courtyard" all came out to get a look.  Everyone stood around watching this massive animal feast on the lush green grass and dandelions that fill the courtyard of our condo complex.  It was amazing to watch him tear massive amounts of foliage out of the ground and devour them.  If he decides to keep coming back to our condo complex, our management company isn't going to have to mow the grass this summer!

video

He must have stayed in the courtyard gorging on the plentiful grass and dandelions for a good 30 - 45 minutes.  All of our neighbors were respectful of him and no one got too close.  He seemed to feel safe, comfortable and not threatened as he kept munching away without a sideways glance towards anyone.  When he was done with his meal, he causally meandered over to a small grove of aspen trees, lay down and chewed his cud.  It was an amazing experience to see all of this!

I managed to take a whole bunch of pictures with my camera, but unfortunately I do not have my memory card reader with me.  Instead, I can only post the pictures I took with my cell phone and a bit of video footage.  Regardless, I really wanted to share this story with you all!

I sincerely hope everyone is having a safe, happy and fun Memorial Day Weekend!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.



Friday, May 10, 2013

Another News Story to be Commented Upon: Why Vultures Devoured Hiker's Body in Minutes

Why Vultures Devoured Hiker's Body in Minutes

I must really be in a verbose mood yesterday and today, as I keep wanting to put things out there.  This one is gross but that isn't the real point of why I am commenting on it.  I have seen this story on several websites in the last 2 - 3 days and whereas most people feel revulsion by the whole story, I think there is a wider lesson to be discussed.

First off, here are the first couple of paragraphs as written on NBCNews.com.  (For the entire story, click on either the main title of this post or the line at the top of the entry.)

"A flock of vultures devoured the body of a woman just minutes after she fell to her death while hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. 

The woman, 52, had been hiking with two friends when she fell about 1,000 feet (300 meters) down the side of a steep mountain. Police believed she died from injuries sustained during the fall, the Daily Mail reports.

Vultures are known to be able to sniff out the gaseous chemicals emanating from a dead body more than a mile away.

"When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures, without realizing what they were doing," said Maj. Didier Pericou, of the local police, as quoted in the Daily Mail.

But by the time the police reached the body, there was little left to recover.

"There were only bones, clothes and shoes left on the ground," Pericou said. "They took 40 to 50 minutes to eat the body."

The Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) that consumed the body have been under considerable stress, as their primary source of food — the carcasses of cattle or other livestock — are no longer available throughout much of Europe."

Ok the story is gross.  It's not a pleasant thought to be eaten by a vulture.  Though on an interesting side note, for followers of the Zoroastrian religion that is how they traditionally depose of their dead.  However the Zoroastrianism tradition of placing their dead in "towers of silence" and letting vultures come and eat them is ending because in many countries where there are Zoroastrians, vultures are dying off in unprecedented numbers.  (If you are interested, here is a link to an article on the Zoroastrian "Towers of Silence".  Please be aware there are a couple of graphic photos of a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence in the article. Don't read the whole way to the end if you are squeamish. Zoroastrian Towers of Silence)

The key thing I took from reading all of this was the fact that you have an entire species of animal that are so desperate for food that they are beginning to stray from their pre-programmed genetic instincts just to survive.  Think of how desperately hungry those birds must be.  It's utterly horrible what happened to the woman who died.  (I need to make sure everyone understands that!)  But in a world that we humans are recasting as a man made creation, an even greater tragedy is occurring as an entire species is fighting for survival.  What will our world be like if it loses yet another species?  It is really sad to think.  And as much as vultures are gross-looking, scary birds, think of what it must be like to be one of those individuals - starving and finding no food.  The whole story is just a difficult one to read and process but I thought I need to share my thoughts.

The picture below is a Griffon's Vulture, which is the kind that ate the woman in France.  The funny thing is, they aren't that bad looking, they are actually kind of cute.  Usually you think of vultures as the kind that are always shown in movies with bald heads and totally black feathers.  In reality, the kind shown in movies seem to look more like California Condors rather than vultures.



Hope everyone is having a great Friday!!

Thanks and peace to all! ~ J.

TimeLapse

It's late on a Thursday evening and it's been a busy day - lots going on with work today, lots going on with Zack, had dinner with a friend of mine and Lisa stopped by after an evening out with some of her friends.  So I am quite surprised by myself in the fact that I am writing a blog post at 10:55PM!

The post is going to be short and sweet.  I was reading the headlines on NBCNews.Com and I came across this article that I thought was really amazing and I wanted to share with my readers.  The article, which you can find at this link http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/09/18150228-time-lapse-map-chronicles-decades-of-global-change-as-seen-from-space?lite, is about a new website launched by Google and the people who operate the Landsat satellites.

A brief background on Landsat is provided by the following selection, taken from Wikipedia.  "The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. On July 23, 1972 the Earth Resources Technology Satellite was launched. This was eventually renamed to Landsat.[1] The most recent, Landsat Data Continuity Mission, was launched on February 11, 2013. The instruments on the Landsat satellites have acquired millions of images. The images, archived in the United States and at Landsat receiving stations around the world, are a unique resource for global change research and applications in agriculture, cartography, geology, forestry, regional planning, surveillance and education. Landsat 7 data has eight spectral bands with spatial resolutions ranging from 15 to 60 meters; the temporal resolution is 16 days."

This website called "TimeLapse" presents time lapse imagines of major changes that have occurred on the earth's surface in the last 40 years as captured by Landsat satellite imagery.  Some of these time lapse movies are amazing.  One of the more interesting ones that I watched  was the development of the City of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  In the first images seen, Dubai is nothing more than a sandy desert.  Over time you can see the increasing presence of buildings road, trains and other man-made structures.  Much more significant change can be seen in pictures dating from the early 2000's.  In those images the development of the artificial made island chains called the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira can be seen.  To me this one of the most remarkable changes that can be seen in entire world - the development of entire chains of islands.

Other images that were developed in time lapse imagery include; the deforestation of the Amazon River Basin, the growth of major cities like Las Vegas and Shanghai, environment and way of life destruction with the development of Alberta's oil sand and deep rock coal mining occurring in Wyoming.

Spending some time looking at this website in any way might knock you right out of your socks due the shear magnitude of the changes that are occurring in the world today.

The bottom line is that many people of a right viewpoint, will view this website as just dragging  the Amercian public deeper into the hand of the left.  Seeing some of these images will be certain to drive the against the idea of more development.  How much development is constantly needed if we can already see and record these changes from space.

Here's the website for the Maps in TimeLaspe format.

http://world.time.com/timelapse/

Well - I really better get to bed.  I decided to write this on a whim after I had readed it on MSCBC.Com.  My body is still trying  to catch up from having only a few days this week in which I got a proper sleep!   Don't want my lack of sleep to linger on into the weekend as that would be not fru at all!

Please excuse the type and spelling errors in this post, as they are occurring because I definitely lacking sleep to.

Thanks and peace tol

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Changing of the Guard - Goodbye BodyBugg, Hello FitBit

Zack and I are some of the biggest technology wieners there are.  We are constantly using technology in our everyday lives and are always researching what is taking place in the development of technology.

Each of us have our various areas within technology that we like to use and research.  Zack's primary technology focus is obvious, video games and video game platforms.  He is able to give you an almost blow-by-blow history of the development of various video game platforms (i.e Playstation, Wii, Nintendo DS, etc.)  He can tell you the years that they came out, what their main features were and how successful they were.  The same holds true for various video game franchises.  For example, one of his favorite video game franchises is Nintendo's Mario Bros.  Zack know each of the many games in the series, who are the main characters and what platform for which it was released - Nintendo 64, Nitendo Game Cube, Wii or the WiiU.

Personally, I wish Zack had some other technology area of intense interest other than video games.  But given he is a 14 year-old boy, I guess it just is what it is.  I am sure as the years pass he will develop other, more worthwhile interests in technology.

As for me, my primary tech interests are GPS technology and body performance tracking.  GPS technology is pretty well self explanatory.  Body performance tracking is not so self-explanatory.  This term is not necessarily even an industry accepted term, instead it is just a term I use to describe what I attempt to do.

Body performance tracking is how well your body is working to accomplish a goal.  For me the goal that I want to track is how well I am getting to or maintain the weight I want and ensuring a high level of activity to meet fitness goals.  The tool that I use in this effort is my trusty BodyBugg.  Essentially, the BodyBugg is a wearable microprocessor that tracks how active a person is and then translates this into how many calories they are burning.  My first notice of the Bodybugg was when I saw a clip of the show "The Biggest Loser".  I noticed that each contestant on the show was wearing a band around their biceps.  Not sure of what it was I asked person who I knew watched the show if they were aware of what it was.  They were, and told me all about the BodyBugg.  Given that I am such a numbers guy, the thought of tracking all the things that the BodyBugg tracked was an instant hit with me and I knew I had to have one.  Luckily for me, the BodyBugg was sold by the health club chain I belong to, 24 Hour Fitness.  So for Christmas of 2009, I got my first BodyBugg.

Immediately taken by all the data the BodyBugg provided me, I set out to track as much information as I could about myself using the device.  Ever since I first slipped that band around my arm in December of 2009, I have rarely been without a BodyBugg on my person.  I did stop using it for about 7 months from the time of my leg surgery in October 2011 until after my final back surgery in April of 2012.  But other than that period of time, I have tracked how many calories I burn, how much I walk and when I burn the most calories through my BodyBugg.  I am currently on my third device as being on my body 24 hours a day, with the exception of when I shower, tends to beat the crap out of them.  Based upon this constant usage I have expected to buy a new device once a year.

Despite my love of my BodyBugg, I recently made a fateful decision that it was time to replace the BodyBugg with a different device.  My decision to do this has been driven by the fact that the BodyBugg hasn't evolved much over the last 4 years.  Whereas there are other types of equipment that are entering the market place that capture even more information about you, the BodyBugg hasn't really changed over the years that I have owned one.

After doing some research I made the decision to migrate to the FitBit Flex technology.  I won't be able to transfer my old BodyBugg data to FitBit but so far none of the companies in this space have focused on making your data very portable.  So the transfer of data hasn't really played a major part in my decision.  (I mention the transfer of data, because it is something that I will discuss in another post this week about GPS's.)

The were several factors that made me decide upon the FitBit as opposed to another platform.  The first is that it is a wrist worn device.  The BodyBugg has to be worn around your bicep and it looks kind of goofy.  The elastic band by which you wear the BodyBugg is notoriously crappy.  Velcro is used to clasp the band together, but the Velcro patches are secured to the band with a sticky glue that doesn't hold too well.  The end result is that after about 4 weeks of wearing the band, the Velcro patch comes lose and then you either have to get another band or jury rig something to fix it.  For me, this has meant wrapping this patch in duck tape, which is not an attractive option.  With the constant pressure of the band around my bicep over the years, my arm has gotten to a point that it hurts, therefore I wanted to move to a band that sat on my wrist.

Another factor is the data that the FitBit tracks.  In addition to  how far I walk it also tracks things like how well I sleep each night.  The BodyBugg has no similar capability.  There are also a variety of different reports about how well your body performs available on the FitBit website.  Along with these reports, the FitBit does a much better job tracking your "Lifetime" statistics than does the BodyBugg.


(The old - my well worn BodyBugg.  Notice the silver duck tape on the strap.)

(My brand new FitBit Flex, notice how much smaller it is as compared to the BodyBugg.)

It's been a long run, but the time has come for me to bid my BodyBugg adieu.  I purchased my FitBit Flex on Saturday and for now I am doing a side-by-side test between it and the BodyBugg to understand the differences between the two and how they are calibrated.  Neither of these tools is 100% accurate, you just need to try and understand how they are different in the nuances by which they capture the data.

This has been somewhat of a mundane narrowly focused post, but it is something in which I have a tremendous interest.  If anyone ever wants to know anything about BodyBuggs or FitBits or any kind of body performance tracking - drop me a line as I might be able to help you out.

In a completely different line of thought, I haven't mentioned the H7N9 Bird Flu in over 2 weeks.  That's because there has been a let up of the news coverage of what is occurring.  If I were all "conspiracy theorist" I would say it was because the situation is out of control and the Chinese government is working with the UN to keep a lid on how bad it is.  Thankfully I am not a conspiracy theorist!  The reality is that according to all published reports the spread of this flu has slowed.  Hopefully it means that my alarmist blog posts of 2 weeks ago were wrong!  Though more people have died and the World Health Organization has pretty much admitted that over 40% of the known cases seem to have been caused by human-to-human transmission.  I am hoping that the news article that popped up today isn't indicative or more flu activity and deaths!

Happy Tuesday to everyone!

Thanks and peace to all! ~ J.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Re-Cap!

It's Monday evening and another weekend has flown past.  It is really unbelievable to me how quickly time can go by when you are not committed to doing things for work.  For most people when it comes to work, time seems to crawl.  I guess that is indicative of whether or not you love your work.  You can be the judge of what I think of my work.

Our weekend was busy and fun.  We had a bunch of things going on and we made it active.  The weather was great - though a little chilly for the beginning of May.  At least we did not have any snow as our May 1st snow storm has left most Coloradans wanting for the snow to end.

Saturday morning started bright and early with our first activity of the weekend - The Denver Furry Scurry.  The Furry Scurry is a fundraiser for Denver's Dumb Friends League (DDFL) which is the largest animal shelter in the metro area.  Basically it is a two mile dog walk around the lakes at Denver's Washington Park.  It's not a race or anything like that.  You just bring your dogs, give your contribution of however much, get a T-Shirt and walk around the park.  Of course there are hundreds of vendors hawking anything and everything that has to do with dogs.

From the estimates on the DDFL website it was anticipated that there would in excess of 5,000 dogs and their humans at the park for the event.  Have you ever walked two miles in the midst of 5,000 or more dogs?  It is an adventure!  All the dogs were exceedingly well behaved and every human was armed with several bags to pick up whatever the pups left behind.  So it wasn't crazy from either of those viewpoints.  It was crazy from the perspective of trying to keep your dog walking in a coherent manner when there are so many other interesting thing (many other dogs) around.

Both Finn and Lex did well.  I had imagined that Lex was going to be a handful, but once we started walking he was calm and well behaved.  Finn on the other hand gave Zack a workout.  (I was handling Lex on his leash and Zack had Finn.)  Finn just wanted to investigate everything!  He was amazed by all the smells, sounds and sights around him and had to check each one out.  In no way was he bad, he was just rambunctious.  Lisa came with us, so it was a very enjoyable early Saturday morning activity for all three of us!

(The pups, the boy and me.  Zack is only about 2 1/2 inches shorter than me!!)

(Zack and Lisa)

After the Furry Scurry, Zack and I spent some time at home just getting things done around the house.  In a departure from the normal, Zack actually agreed with me and did his homework on Saturday as opposed to waiting until Sunday.  I was truly amazed.

For Zack, Saturday evening's activity was unfortunately an over 21 affair.  Chris Hardwick the comedian from Comedy Central and the host of AMC's Talking Dead, was performing at the downtown Comedy Works on Saturday night, and Lisa had gotten tickets for us and her oldest son.  The three of us headed downtown around 5:00PM so that we could have dinner before the show.  We ate at a restaurant to which I had never been before called Tom's Urban 24. It's located right in Larimer Square in the same building as the Comedy Works.  They have an eclectic menu with a wide variety of choices.  It's a good restaurant, and we will go back again I am sure.

After dinner we spent some time wandering around the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop.  It was fun to see all the old time candy and all the very unusual kinds of soda that they have.  They actually sell a Buffalo Wing flavored soda!  I love Buffalo Wings, but that just sounds gross to have in a soda.  Needless to say, they have just about every flavor of soda under the sun in the store - some good, some bad and some just horrible, like the Buffalo Wing flavored soda.

(Buffalo Wing Soda... Really???)

 (Love the name - spaz juice)

After getting some laughs looking at all the weird sodas and vintage types of candy, we headed over to the Comedy Works.  The place was absolutely packed as everyone seems to think Chris Hardwick is one funny dude!  The guy who was "hosting" the show really sucked if you asked me, but that could just be me.  The two opening acts were good.  They kept us laughing a lot!  Chris was in a league unto himself however.  I've seen numerous live comedy shows before, but he was unique in the fact that it seem he walked on stage with out knowing what he was going to say.  Yeah - he probably had some themes or ideas flushed out, but most of his act really involved in playing off of the audience.  He was amazing in terms of how quickly he could respond to something put out by an audience member with a really funny take on it.  Anyway - he was great and all three of us really enjoyed the show.

That was it for our Saturday.  Sunday wasn't as eventful of a day. Our only major activity for this day was going to see Ironman 3.  Having heard different reviews about the movie - some people liked it while others didn't, I was surprised to find that I liked it no questions asked.

After the movie, we caught a quick dinner at Noodles & Company with Lisa and her one son and then it was home to hunker down and get ready for the week.  Though Zack never likes when Sunday night rolls around, he was happy to note that he only has 4 more weeks of school remaining before summer break arrives!

I hope the week has started well for everyone.  And as always - thanks for reading!

Thanks and peace to all! ~ J.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Some of Our April Hikes

The old saying "April Showers bring May flowers", certainly is not coming true this spring in Colorado.  Rather than April showers we experienced a steady stream of April blizzards and snowstorms.  Keeping this theme going from April to May, the first day of this new month brought another snow storm that has dumped at least half a foot of snow.

Though the moisture is desperately needed to rectify the drought conditions that have plagued Colorado for the last 2 - 3 years, it has turned hiking trails into morasses of mud, dirty snowy slush and plain old muck.  Trail conditions have dampened my enthusiasm to get out and hike in the mountains.  Slogging through mile after mile of slippery, goopy mud is a miserable way to enjoy the Colorado's beautiful outdoors.  In addition to the unpleasantness of the situation, the conditions frequently lead to sprain or hurt ankles and knees as it is very easy to slip, slide or fall.

Since mid-April, Zack and I have only gotten out for two hikes in the wilderness.  Instead we have chosen to spend much of our weekend hiking time churning out miles on the relatively good surface of Denver's Highline Canal Trail.

The two hikes we have done in the wilderness have been memorable as they resulted in reaching the summit of mountains which we have never before climbed.  The first of these two hikes was to the top of Evergreen Mountain in Jefferson County's Alderfer/Three Sisters Open Space Park.  The weather for this hike was wonderful!  After a week of cold weather and snow, Saturday April 13th dawned clear and warmer.  Setting out on the trail around 10:00AM we experienced temperatures in the sixties and a slight breeze blowing from the southwest.  Despite the great weather the trail was a mess, with swamp like conditions in many places.  Where the trail wasn't a swamp we found deep piles of snow remained from the snowstorms of the previous days.

Though the parking lot was filled with many cars, the trails leading to the Evergreen Mountain were lonely and desolate.  The relatively poor conditions of the trails explained the dearth of people in that part of the park.  Instead of heading to the heights, most of the visitors to the park that day stayed in the meadows at the lower elevations.  In total we only saw four other people on our hike to the summit of Evergreen Mountain.

The trail was nondescript, winding through a forest of mature lodgepole pines.  One section of the forest has been systematically thinned to provide a test environment for forest management.  There were many fewer trees in the area that had been thinned, but they did look a bit more robust than the forest that was overgrown.

The top of the mountain is relatively flat with one large mound of boulders and rocks that rise about 30 feet above the surrounding terrain.  It is not a magnificent summit by any sort of the imagination, but it was still wonderful for us to get out and complete this hike!  The views to the west were worthwhile as Mount Evans, one of Colorado's fourteeners dominated the horizon in it's snow capped beauty.

Coming down from the summit was quick and easy.  The only issued we faced was the slipperiness of the wet, muddy trail.  There were several times in which both Zack and I nearly ended up face down in the mud.  The worst we received however was some wet and muddy shoes.

The other mountain that I "climbed" I did on my own during my lunch hour 2 Friday's ago.  The weather was crappy but after a long week of difficult conference calls and heads down work, I decided I needed to get out and do something.  Green Mountain on the west outskirts of Lakewood, a suburb of Denver, was calling my name.

Green Mountain isn't a mountain that stands out because of it's height and majestic visage.  It's shear size and bulk is the reason that most people notice it.  The mountain is really one of the first major foothills directly to the west of downtown Denver.  Two of Denver's major highways, I-70 and C470, intersect in it's shadow.  Though so close to civilization, Green Mountain does retain a sense of wildness and isolation.

There are numerous points from which you can attack this mountain.  I choose the most direct route - a steep ascent from the western side.  The parking lot for this trailhead is located on the western side of C470.  To reach the trail, you must cross the highway on a pedestrian bridge that also is part of the C470 bike path.

Once I crossed the bridge, I realized that I was in for a little bit more of a difficult hike than I had anticipated.  The major cause of this difficulty was the amount of slushy snow that covered the trail. Green Mountain is close to 700 feet higher than our home in Centennial.  Though it is only 700 feet, it does make a tremendous amount of different when it comes to whether snow will melt or not during many of spring snow storms.  Snow had fallen for much of the previous day and while it had all melted off at our house, the trails on Green Mountain were a mess!

The trail leading from the western side of the mountain does not pussy foot around.  Instead of taking a slow meandering approach through back and forth switchbacks, the trail leads in almost a straight line up to the summit of the mountain.  It's a quick hike but it does leave you huffing and puffing for air!

With the crappy weather on hand, I did manage to have the entire mountain to myself.  That is the benefit of going out and enduring the nasty weather, you can actually find some solitude.  I reach the top in about 45 minutes and took the obligatory panoramic picture with my iPhone, checked myself in at the summit on Facebook and was headed back down.  There was no reason to linger at the summit and I wanted to be home before Zack arrived there from school.  Regardless of the crappy weather and the fast speed that I hiked this mountain, it was still a very good thing for me to do.  Literally I have driven by this mountain hundreds of times and I have never climbed it.  Now I can say I have!!

 (The panoramic picture I took from the top of Green Mountain.)

Besides these two jaunts into the mountains, if you can call them that, Zack and I have been going out each Saturday and covering a lot of miles on the Highline Canal Trail here in the city.  I have written extensively about the trail before, so I won't give another overview.  We are definitely on track to hike the entire 66 mile length of the trail this calendar year.  We are tackling some of the least spectacular parts of the trail first.  Most of the distance we have covered so far this year has been at the eastern end of the trail in Aurora.  I am certain that this section of the canal probably hasn't seen water in it for at least 4 or 5 years.  Therefore, the canal has a somewhat run down appearance to it.  This matches the neighborhoods that line the trail/canal as they are certainly not the best.  Last Saturday when we parked, I couldn't find a park or school by which to leave the car - which is my preferred approach.  Instead I ended up parking near a very rundown apartment complex.  I wasn't sure if we were going to come back to find the car stolen or broken into.  Thankfully that didn't happen, but these sections of Aurora through which we have hiked/walked over the last 2 weeks have certainly been sketchy.  Regardless we still love getting out and exploring the trail!


(A few of the mile markers we have walked past on the Highline Canal Trail.  My goal is to take a picture of each of the mile markers along the entire length of the trail.)

Another work week has come to an end and we will be getting up to some adventures for the weekend.  Saturday morning will see us up early and headed to Washington Park as tomorrow is the Denver Dumb Friend's League (DDFL) annual Furry Scurry.  It's a 2 mile walk in Washington Park that is used to raise money to support the DDFL's mission of providing care and shelter to lost and abandoned pets.

Well - it's getting late and I am getting tired - so off to bed for me.  I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.