Are We Having Fun Yet?

Hiking takes time, effort, and some stamina. It’s not for everyone. But, for those who enjoy it, it’s addictive. I’ve not yet convince my daughter in the splendor of hiking. When she was a little thing—riding on my back—she loved it. I mean, how couldn’t she? It was a free ride, for several hours, with little to no effort involved. However, when she reached middle school age, her eagerness changed. I’d persuade her to suffer through one or two trips during the summer. About this time, we started asking her to “share the load” and carry her own pack. I think you can see where this is going. Once she reached high school…no dice. Hiking was boring. Hiking was not cool. Hiking meant the opposite of fun. Like I said, it’s not for everyone.

Have you ever started something, a book, DIY home-repair, or something more mundane (I’m talking about you laundry) and gave up on it. You couldn’t spend another minute, hour, or entire weekend, trudging through the same routine…again. You’ve tired of the process, or other things have become more important—finishing the newest season of Orphan Black is *very* important! The newness has worn off.  The once bright, shiny focus of your attention is now gone, replaced with apathy. You’re done.

Whenever I'm tapped out, drained, or any other metaphor for how I'm feeling, I rely on a good hike to recalibrate. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but the natural recharge more than makes up for the effort.

Add A Little Gray To Your Day

It’s finally happened. Springtime. I know winter gave up a long time ago, but I’ve been holding on; not ready to give up on the chance for more snow. But, now that the days are getting longer, the sunshine a little warmer, grass a little greener—I must admit—it feels good. However, this is Colorado, so you never know what the weather will be tomorrow … see, I still haven’t lost all hope for more snow.

Spring makes it a lot easier to get out and explore the mountains. Long, gray, cold mornings of winter are being replaced with warm, golden sunlight. Trails aren’t covered with as much snow anymore—that hasn’t been a big problem this winter because you need snow for that. Pre-dawn hours filled with the chorus of a multitude of happy chirping birds. Yes, I think it’s safe to say *“spring has sprung”*.

The high-country is still under a heavy blanket of snow, that part hasn’t changed. It’s going to take much warmer temperature—June and July temperatures—to melt feet and feet of the white stuff before you can hike those trails (unless you’re snowshoeing). So, I want to pick something closer to home; maybe a trail I’ve never hiked before.

Life-size Snow Globe

Do you like bad weather? Huh, I didn’t hear “Why yes! I love it!” replies. Understandably, most people will do whatever they can to avoid bad weather: watch the evening news, get alerts on their phone, or diagnosing the aches and pains in their eccentric neighbor’s knees—whatever works, right? I get it. It’s not something I’d seek out either. But, now and again, bad weather is a good thing. Bad weather generates amazing clouds for a setting sun. Bad weather gives us snow days from work or school (that’s always fun). Bad weather isn’t _bad_, only slightly inconvenient for a day or two.

Baby Mountains Are Mountains Too

I made a New Year’s Resolution to hike one hundred miles by the end of 2017. This goal of mine would double the amount of miles I hiked last year. All my logged miles took place between May and early November. So, starting four months sooner should make this goal a piece of cake.

I made a this bold commitment (after my Blackmer Loop Hike) with a nonchalant appraisal of a measly eight miles each month. Eight little miles. Well, it’s nearly the end of January, and I’ve only completed one hike. And, technically, I completed it before the new year even started. Ummm…I better get my butt in gear!

TRAIL TESTED: Leki Cristallo Trekking Poles

I’ve been hiking in and around Colorado—some other states too—for a while now. Hiking isn’t my day job, at least not yet, but it’s something I daydream about. I don’t believe I would take all this time to hike, camp and photograph, if I didn’t enjoy almost every minute of it. Can you “binge” hike? Kind of like watching every episode of “Stranger Things” on Netflix, but more healthy. That's something I should look into.

A Winter Hike Delight

The first day of winter—in the Northern Hemisphere at least—falls on December 21 or 22, and for me it’s a day of celebration. I love the cold and snow and the everything that the season brings. Colorado can get snow (in the mountains) as early as September. More often than not, in late October…unless you’re the fall/winter of 2016. This year, it’s been super warm—and downright hot at times. Kind of a bummer when you want it to snow.

Who Wants To Rake Leaves?

Every fall, procrastination slowly creeps into my weekends. Sure, it starts off harmless and inconsequential, but we all know the outcome. I’ve got a massive silver maple in my backyard, and every autumn, as the healthy green leaves slowly change to yellow, an epic battle starts once again—my chess match of calculated procrastination.

Lost And Found

Fall. Autumn. Harvest. Football. Everyone has a reason to celebrate the autumn season. While Colorado is lucky to actually have all four seasons: Harbinger of Flowers (spring), Sweaty Heat (summer), Ooohh and Aaaahh (autumn), Super-fun-time (winter)…autumn is definitely one of the best.

Not only does the temperatures become tolerable again, but we are rewarded—for surviving the summer heat—with the most beautiful display of colors. And, one of the best ways to enjoy these colors is on a hike.

On The Road Again

Motivation is a powerful thing. I’ve been in super-motivation mode all summer. My goal the whole summer (something I believed to be realistic and doable) was to hike every weekend. Well, I’m going to end up with a “participation” trophy this year, but I give myself an “A” for effort.

Even though I didn’t hit my mark, I still hiked more this summer than any other. That motivation stuff can be a powerful tool, and now I plan on prolonging this mindset into fall and winter. But, summer isn’t done with me yet. Even though the weather may be cooling down in Colorado, it’s still good and toasty in the mid-west. Which brings me to my next topic: humidity.

We Need To Have A Talk

I’m a bit of a neat-freak. The car, house, computer keyboard…they’re always clean. You’ve probably seen a few of us in your lifetime—we’re easy to spot. When I was a kid, I would lovingly clean my sneakers after each outing…with a toothbrush, and not always my toothbrush (sorry to any family members who might just be learning this). The point being, my stuff looked good! I took care of my belongings, they meant something to me. I’m still the same way, maybe not as over-the-top, but I like to keep my things in their original condition.

Check That One Off The List

Do you have a “bucket list”? I do and it’s kind of out-of-control. It started off as this sweet, innocent list of countries (Iceland, New Zealand, Norway) typical stuff. But, it has slowly been sucking up anything related to the outdoors: National Parks like the Grand Canyon and Olympic (and yes, I am very aware that I live relatively close to the Grand Canyon), or a monadnock (don’t worry, I had to look that one up too…my vocabulary is not that impressive) like Shiprock in New Mexico. Of course I have lots and lots of hikes/backpacking trips on my bucket list. I finally got to check Crater Lake off my list.

You Don't Look A Day Over One Hundred

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) and what a achievement it has been. If you are not familiar with the NPS, they are responsible for management of all the National Parks —no surprise there—but they also manage a lot of our National Monuments (manmade - Statue of Liberty, and natural - Devil’s Tower) as well as other conservation and historical sites. The NPS has an enormous responsibility and it is one that is often overlooked.

A Walk in the Park

Do you have favorites? I know I do. I have lots of favorites: movie, color, spot on the couch—you get the idea. But, I tend to have multiple favorites, groups of favorites. For example, I love movies. I have many, many movies that are my “favorite”. But it goes farther than that. I have favorite directors and cinematographers and film composers. I have favorites within favorites. I can tell you are intrigued. More examples you say, ok…how about ice cream. Well, that’s a trick question, because vanilla is the best. And, just like my other examples, I have a “favorite” place to hike. It isn’t because it is the most epic, or least visited. A favorite just has to connect with you, and Cheyenne Mountain State Park is definitely a favorite.

Camp Robbers and Scary Rocks

Ok, full disclosure…I am not a master hiker. I’m just an average guy, who is a little soft around the middle, and has too much gray on his chin than I think I should have. I have a 9-to-5 job that keeps me behind a computer too much and I don’t always eat healthy-even thought I know I should be. I do not hike everyday and when I do go for a hike, I get tired.  Truth be told, I am sucking wind a lot. However, despite my “Average Joe” physique and my graying chin, I won’t let these things keep me from getting out on a hike. And all my hard work is starting to pay off.

Bend It Like Texas

Big Bend is not a National Park I ever planned on visiting. I had heard about it. I had even heard good things about it. But, it's just so far away...and in the desert...and it's hot. I don't like hot. I'm a winter kind of guy. I like the cold and the snow. My idea of high temperatures is anything above 72°, and Big Bend is most definitely above 72°.