Long Over Due… Updates

Well, it looks like my last post was in August. And it was only a book review.

Dang. Where has the time gone? August, September, November and now we’re into DECEMBER!? Geez!

I just wanted to post that I’m still here! I’m still writing. I’m still travelling. And I’m still running (mostly). Somehow I’ve managed to fit those things in with all the work I’ve been doing. Sorta.

In August, cross country started in full swing, I went to New Orlean’s for a bachelorette party, and worked four races.

What else do you do in New Orleans??

September, I worked A LOT, somehow got out to Moab, TWICE, for a scouting mission and guided trip for Golden Mountain Guides, and attended a friend of our’s wedding in Estes Park.

Scouting some canyoneering

October brought more work, finishing up the cross country season (we went to State!!), another trip to Moab for Golden Mountain Guides, two more weddings (one on a Cruise Ship) and a Florida/Cruise vacation. Somewhere in there, I managed to finish up a second freelance job for 10Hikes.com.

Hiking Chasm Lake for 10Hikes.com in Rocky Mountain National Park

We got back from our Cruise in November, work got busy with the running company as we geared up for our Thanksgiving Day Race, our biggest of the year, and we finally got to relax after the Holiday in Estes Park.

Relaxing in Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake

So here we are, in December, and I am trying to get back to some of my hobbies that have been shoved to the back burner and covered up with a kitchen towel.

Well, that sounds dangerous.

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My First Freelance Writing Job (and It’s now live online!)

I’ve always liked writing. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved it. When I was in 2nd grade I used to write stories about a dog name Scruffy that smelled of cookie dough and went on adventures (If I ever find these, I will definitely show you all).

Later, I used to write stories about haunted amusements parks in a journal I kept. They were never very good, but I loved to imagine what would happen to my characters (think: the shy, smart girl gets the cute, popular boy).

In high school,  my english teachers loved my writing and one saved my re-telling of a mythology story for future classes. However, It wasn’t until I started this blog, and mainly in the last few years, that I realized how much I really liked writing and thought about doing anything with it.

I started writing some stuff for a novel and have thought of freelance writing jobs. I have submitted articles to different publications, none of which got accepted, but finally I saw a great opportunity that was perfect for me! I’m not sure where I first found out about the job, probably social media, but I applied to be a contributor for 10hikes.com

After exchanging some emails, I got the chance to write about the best hikes in the Denver region!

10hikes.com is part of 10Adventures.com,  a Canadian company (you’ll see everything listed in kilometers!). For 10Hikes.com, they select the 10 best hikes for major, popular regions like big cities or national parks. Contributors, like myself, compile the list based on experience, research and physically going out to find the best hikes. We hike them, recording the map data, take pictures and write about each one.

I get paid to hike! How sweet is that!?

My first region, Denver area hikes, is finally live on the website and I want to show you all! Check it out!

My favorite of the 10 hikes I chose is number 1 on the list, Beaver Brook to Chavez Trail.

I just got assigned the Rocky Mountain National Park region! I’m so thrilled and already started hiking them while trying to pick the 10 best ones (a very hard job).


Look! It’s me!

Follow along in real time of where I’m hiking on Instagram! 

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Bear Creek Park

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #16 – Bear Creek Lake Park: Bear Creek Trail
Completed: 5/2/17 | Number Completed: 13/60
Mode: Running
Location: Morrison/Lakewood, CO – C-470 & Morrison Exit (CO – 8)
Distance: 4.42 miles
Difficulty: easy
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt, balloon configuration
Exposure: half of the trail is in the shade
Facilities: Pit toilet restrooms along the park (none at the trailhead)

 

My Experience:
There’s really not much to say. I wanted to get a run in after track practice and drove a few miles to Bear Creek Lake Park, parked in the free lot, and ran the trail from the book.

This trail isn’t all that special. Submersed in the middle of the city, it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle without a far trek. The trail system can get a little confusing, but, there only so many miles, that if you did get off track, you’d just loop right back to the main park. There are also lot of trail races here and I’ve done a 10k around the lake.

To follow the trail from the book, park in the free lot just north-west of the C-470 and CO-8 (Morrison Rd) intersection. Carefully cross the street, and hang a left on the biking trail. This takes you under the highway and is the walk-in access to the park. Follow the sidewalk until the bridge, crossing over the river and make a quick left on the trail. This leads you through a parking lot (a paid access lot), across the street and you’ll enter the Owl Trail on the other side. Parallel the river until the Fitness Loop Trail (a looped trail that used to have exercise equipment). This is will loop around, giving you views of the lake, Mt Carbon and the area camping. It will reconnect to the Owl Trail and you’ll retrace your steps back to your car.

Pros:
-Close to town
-Easy miles (unless you add in Mt. Carbon)
-Lots of other things to do
-Dirt trails making it a nice soft surface

Cons:
-Crowded
-Not that scenic
-Can still hear the noise from the roads

Tips:
-Tip avoid crossing the major street from your car, you can drive into the park, and pay a few bucks to get in. State parks passes don’t work here.
-There’s a lot of stuff to do in the park: camping, horse back riding, water sports
-If you’re a runner, check your local racing calendar for races inside the park. A great one is the Bear Chase Series.
-To actually get a HIKE in, add Mt. Carbon into your journey.

Overall:
A lot of tourists flock here for some reason, same with locals. No offense to them, but there’s much better, scenic, more relaxing places to camp and visit not far away. For people coming from out of state, you’ve already come this far, just drive a bit longer and go into the mountains! If you’re a local, yes, run here, play here, etc. It’s a great, close by area to squeeze in some activity to a busy life. But if you have more time, just add a bit more to your travel time for a much better place to play. As for being in the 60 Hikes Within 60 miles of Denver book…. It’s not much of a “hike.”

Bear Creek Lake, Mt Carbon


#60HikesDenverChallenge – Chautauqua Park, Royal Arch

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #6 – Chautauqua Park – Royal Arch, Boulder
Completed: 4/12/17 | Mode: Hiking
Location: Chautauqua Park, Boulder
Distance: 3.5 miles
Difficulty: Hard, steep climb
Surface: Hard packed dirt with a few bigger rocks in parts
Exposure: Lots of shade!
Facilities: Water, restrooms, and information at the Ranger Station

My Experience:
Back in April, I headed out the door to Boulder to get in a birthday hike. Afterward, my Mom met me for dinner in Boulder and it was a great 30th birthday! As I find some free time, I’m going to keep posting about my 60 Hikes Challenge and the ones I have gotten done during the last few months.

The beginning of the hike, looking out at the Flatirons.

Found at the base of the Flatirons, Chautauqua is a well-used park. People come here to hike, climb, and to simply hang out. There’s also a dining hall, theater, and more trails just behind the Flatirons. I went hiking in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week and it was still crowded. Although, once I was past the beginning trails that go up to the Flatirons, the crowds thinned out and I was left to the Royal Arch trail mostly by myself.

This is hike is not easy by any means. You climb the whole time to the arch, increasing in steepness during the last half mile as the trail turns into stairs. Just as you think you’ve made it to the top, you realize you need to hike down a little and then back up, again, to the arch. For me, that day, my quads were taking a beating and cramped up on me after the first summit. As you round on the last switchback, the arch comes into view and all of a sudden it’s looming over you. Hike right through the arch and see a beautiful view of Boulder and surrounding areas.

Pros:
-Restrooms
-Ranger station with maps, information, and gifts
-Lots of shade!

Cons:
-The biggest con is the crowds. This is a very overused park and needs a lot of attention!

Tips:
-If visiting on the weekend, there is now a free shuttle service from New Vista High School to help alleviate the parking issues.
-When you reach the first summit before the arch, climb the rocks there for a faraway view of Royal Arch.
-Please, please, please practice the Leave No Trace Principles and STAY ON THE TRAIL! I can’t believe how many people I saw hiking off to the side on a DRY day, next to a very wide trail. #InDisbelief

Overall:
I really wish this park wasn’t abused as much as it is. It’s a beautiful place in the heart of Boulder, but because of its location, so many people flock to the trails for a dose of nature. Many of those don’t respect the “rules” of the outdoors and it is getting pretty frustrating. While I was there, I watched two people walking off the side of a trail that was literally wide enough for TWO cars! No joke.

I hike here a lot to get to the climbing areas of the Flatirons, but for just for hiking alone, I tend to avoid this area like the plague. If you’re visiting from out of town, and don’t mind the crowds, it is definitely worth the trip.  Or you can climb a Flatirons while you’re there! Hire a guide: GoldenMountainGuides.com (#shamelessplug #sorrynotsorry)


Check out the book for yourself!