I’m sitting enjoying the first morning of the year where I could open up the doors and windows downstairs, one of my little traditions when it is nice and I’m having my morning coffee. I haven’t been doing everything that I said I would put into practice in last year’s Thanksgiving post, with respect to spirituality and all. But I have kept my promise to myself that when it comes to outdoors stuff, this will be a year of less planning and more getting out there. I’ve had some great hikes this last month. Here are some highlights. You can click of the pictures to open them up in a larger size – that is good for some of the panoramas.
Second Colorado Skiing Trip
I went out for close to a week, and skied four days with one day off. Unfortunately, I am still battling issues with boots that make it tough to really enjoy, so I had to focus on the beauty and the thrill of just being out there. It was an interesting trip. I spent the first couple of night in a cheap place with “motor lodge” in the title, trying to save some money. It was okay, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. I skied Winter Park the first couple of days. I found some good food and drink in the town. There was one place that specializes in putting green chiles on everything because the owner is from New Mexico. I love green chili, and I found out that it goes great on a burger. Good stuff. On my day off, I visited some apartments near Central City (an old mining town that is now a bunch of casinos) that I have been on a waiting list for. The apartments were nice looking, and they had an almost 360 degree view! I could definitely live up there. Adjacent to the apartments is a KOA campground, so I can go camp there if nothing else. I then picked up Stef in Denver and we spent a couple of days skiing at Copper Mountain. All in all, a great trip!
I enjoyed these easy blue runs at Winter Park.
It was nice to see some sun on this trip!
Chaos after one of the lifts closed because of wind and they told us to walk back up the mountain. Thankfully, they changed their minds and ran the lift slowly up.
A view of the apartments from the middle of the KOA campground.
Here is the view from the back of the apartments. Wow!
And here is the view from the road on the way to the apartments. Wow again!
Hiking around Lake Russell, Chattahoochee National Forest
I took off early one Friday afternoon to go hiking. I had been to this lake several times, but I had never made the hike all the way around it. I would definitely do this hike again. The area was technically closed, but you could walk into it. Amy-dog got to do a bunch of off-leash hiking. She was good – she stayed relatively close. She’s turning out to be a good little hiker-dog.
Looking down Lake Russell from on top of the dam.
Amy checking on me. “Dad, why are you so slow?”
I’m cute, even when I’m out of focus.
Signs of beaver!
The moon never looks near as big in pictures as it does in person.
Hike up Mt. Yonah
I have been wanting to hike up Mt. Yonah ever since I saw it in a trail guidebook. Every time I drive up to the mountains, I see Mt. Yonah off in the distance. I decided to continue my Friday afternoon hikes by climbing it. It is only 4.4 miles up and down, but it is steep enough to get the blood pumping. The hike reminded me a cross between Stone Mountain, GA and Rocks State Park, MD. It was a crisp and windy day, or I would have stayed and watched the sunset (well, if I had a headlamp that is). Amy was pretty tuckered out after the hike. A good summary of the hike along with some good pictures can be found here (my pictures are washed out because the best views were looking into the setting sun).
Mt. Yonah looming off in the distance.
Amy dog posing, sort of. I can hardly ever get a shot of her looking at me.
There was a little bit of scrambling. Amy almost got stuck in between the rocks.
A look up the mountain from a clearing about 25% of the way up, and the first good glimpse heading up.
The summit is a big grassy bald surrounded by trees. You have to walk along the edge to get the good views.
Like this. There’s a heck of a drop-off just over that ledge.
A big old hunk of granite, just like Stone Mountain.
Washed out by the sun, but you get the idea.
On the way down.
A nice view of where you just were on the way down.
The mountain being lit up by the setting sun, from the parking lot.
Watson Mill Bridge State Park
Yesterday’s hike was supposed to be easy, a nice little stroll through the woods to recover from the Yonah hike (and the little fall I made from one granite boulder to another). However, I got bored and we decided to go off-trail hiking. This was fun until we wandered off park land, and ended up getting turned around (not quite lost – I knew where I was but couldn’t figure out how to get back to the park) and stuck between a bunch of electrified fences on farms. Eventually, we found out a way out to a road, having to scoot under the electric fence. It turned out to be more of an adventure than we were planning on, but was fun nonetheless.
The falls and bridge nearing sunset.
I think this is the highest I have ever seen the river downstream of the bridge.
All sunny at the start of the hike.
“We’re lost? I’m still having fun!”
Links to more pictures :
2016 CO skiing #2: https://goo.gl/photos/1u7meHGoKcMvg86P7
Hike around Lake Russell: https://goo.gl/photos/1JtScbbpv7srb7FC7
Hike up Mt. Yonah: https://goo.gl/photos/mmJGGcqU6n1WfXr56
Hike in Watson Mill Bridge State Park: https://goo.gl/photos/ceuDEwPENwu3RdqPA