#60HikesDenverChallenge – Meyer Ranch Open Space

(For 2017, I had a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  While I didn’t make it through all 60 that year, I have carried this goal into 2018.  All the specific trail details can be found in the book or online, but I’ll highlight some things about each trail in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail here. The numbers below are associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #23 – Meyer Ranch Open Space – Lodgepole Loop
Completed: 5/30/18 | Number Completed: 21/60
Mode: Trail Run
Location:  Conifer
Distance: 2 miles (I probably did ~3 with two laps around the loop)
Difficulty: Easy
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt, balloon configuration
Exposure: Lots of shade!
Facilities: Pit toilets and picnic tables. No water

My Experience:
With a free Wednesday (finally!) I decided to get another hike from my book done. With an easy 20 minute drive from my house, I reached the Meyer Ranch Open Space. This small park is right off the highway and offers a few miles of trail (about 5 miles in total). I have been working on building my fitness back up and after the Bolder Boulder,  I was feeling pretty sore so I wanted to hike/run. The trail from the book is 2 miles in a balloon configuration. After I finished the first loop, I was feeling pretty good so I decided to do another loop and then head back to the car, doing 3 miles total.

The trail starts just be the highway and you hike by open meadows before entering a lush forest. The trail winds around and up as you pass through open clearings every so often. The trail is hard packed dirt with very minimal rocks or roots. I did encounter some people on horseback that I had to wait while for them to find a spot to pull over so I could go around without spooking the horses or going off trail. The whole time I could hear the highway noise and the trail kept winding under giant power lines; not very serene if you ask me. A friend of mine said if you add the Old Ski Run Trail, you lose some of the noise, but I didn’t take that trail this time.

Pros:
-Great for a trail run; there are some fun, small, rolling hills and it’s hard packed dirt with minimal large rocks or roots.
-Lots of shade!
-Close to town.

Cons
-Too easy for an actual hike.
-Short; not many miles.
-Not very serene; the highway noise is constant and there are power lines that run right through the middle.
-Pretty busy, even in the middle of the day on a weekday.
-Multi-use with bikers and horseback riders.

Tips:
-Bring water; there is no potable water here.
-If visiting from out of town, you’re not far from Tiny Town, a fun little tourist spot in Morrison.

Overall:
I’m sure this place is great for really, close living, local people, offering a great place to run some trails, however, I wouldn’t recommend coming all this way for a hike here. The trails are short and not serene, plus the views aren’t that great. Would I have included this trail in the book? No, probably not. I feel like there are way better trails to be included. Now, would I come back and get an easier trail run in? Probably! It’s a great place to do some laps.


Park info

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#60HikesDenverChallenge – Rabbit Mountain

(For 2017, I had a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  While I didn’t make it through all 60 that year, I have carried this goal into 2018.  All the specific trail details can be found in the book or online, but I’ll highlight some things about each trail in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail here. The numbers below are associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #39 – Rabbit Mountain: Eagle Wind Trail
Completed: 4/1/18 | Number Completed: 20/60 (One third done!)
Mode: Hiking
Location:  2 Miles north of Highway 66 and 53rd (north of Boulder and Longmont and just east of Lyons)
Distance: 3.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt with larger rocks, balloon configuration
Exposure: Not much shade
Facilities: Toilets, Pavillion with picnic tables and a barbeque (no water)

My Experience:
We’re already in April of 2018 and I’ve only had a chance to do a few hikes. Easter Sunday arrived and I finally had a free moment and decided to check off a hike from my book. Since I was up in Longmont at my Mom’s house, I ventured to a trail not far from there. About a 10-minute drive led me to Rabbit Mountain. It wasn’t that busy and the temperature was perfect for a quick hike. I chose to do this trail this time of year because I have been warned by my family that there tends to be a ton of rattlesnakes in the summer.

Pros:
-Close to the city
-Great for families – there are a ton of benches and educational signs along the way
-Bathrooms and a pavilion with a barbeque at the trailhead

Cons:
-Not much shade
-Lots of rattlesnakes in the summer

Overall:
While I did enjoy my hike, I probably won’t be too eager to come back. Would I come here just to hike? No. Might I come here to get a run in? Yes. It’s a relatively easy trail and would be great for a trail run. I also don’t think I would come here in the warm months since I was warned multiple times of snakes and I’m terrified.

So, was it worth it the one time? Yes, but I’m not jumping at the opportunity to come back and wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for out of town guests.


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Check out the trail

2017 In Review

Looking back on 2017

2017 has probably been one of the worst and one of the best years I’ve ever had in my entire life.

It was most definitely one of the busiest years I have ever experienced. But it had a lot of fun moments.

It was definitely the most stressful year. But it was rewarding.

Grand Teton National Park

There were a lot of tears. And a lot of smiles.

There were times I wanted to quit everything and give up. And times that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

It was one of those years.

A lot of the bad included losing a step-grandparent, stressful home/work life balance, a tragedy within our cross country team, hail damage with a shifty, unethical car repair shop, loss of two pets, and probably more that I have repressed.

The good included a lot of travel, realizing love sees no bounds, a successful second year for Golden Mountain Guides, being part of five weddings and lots of time with family and friends.

I really am ready for a new year, carrying lessons from this year.

Here are some highlights from the past year…

January… started off slow. I started training to be a race director, track pre-season started, I started my #60HikesDenverChallenge (trying to hike/run all 60 trails in the 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver Book), we did a little bit of snowboarding and I did yoga challenge.

Walden Ponds, Boulder. Start of my #60HikesDenverChallenge

February…I did my first race as the sole Race Director (the Heart Throb 5k in Longmont), track season really starts, and we went to see the Mummies exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

See me in the background?? Literally holding back the flag from the wind as the race started. Sometimes race directors do some random tasks.

March…Ran the Erin Go Braugh 7.77k (my favorite of all the races the company I work for produces), and went to a Bridal Shower for Ben’s sister (which means wedding madness for the year starts).

Oh yeah, my outfit was AWESOME!

April… lots of work between all my jobs and my birthday month (wooo… 30 – that’s sarcasm in case you’re curious). But 30 did come with a zombie-themed escape room (we didn’t escape, for the record).

May… was full of the State Track & Field meet (one of my jumpers missed state by just a few inches – literally), running of the Bolder Boulder, and got hired for my first freelance writing job (10Hikes.com)

June…a ton of hiking (for my #60HikesChallenge and 10Hikes.com), a typical bachelorette party, and the first wedding of the year (Ben’s youngest sister) gets married. I also got a spot on a Ragnar Trail Snowmass team at the last second.

July… brought wedding #2 (Ben’s Cousin), a trip to Pennsylvania, lots of work (finished up my first 10Hikes project which reviewed the 10 best hikes in the Denver Region), and another Bridal shower (for my friend this time).

August...included another bridal shower (Ben’s other sister), a Trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, a bachelorette Pary in New Orleans, and Cross Country season starts.

September… Held wedding #3 (my friend), I race directed my biggest race yet (a 500 person 5k), and two trips to Moab with Ben (one for scouting and back again for guiding a 12-women group).

October…was wedding #4 (Ben’s other sister), I finished up my second freelance writing project (reviewing the 10 best hikes for Rocky Mountain Nation Park which is not live online yet), we did another Moab trip, we travelled to Florida and on a cruise for wedding #5 and I ran the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon.

November…Cross Country season had ended but work with the running company picked up for our biggest race of the year (Broomfield Turkey Day 5k/10k). Then Thanksgiving brings some nice time in Estes Park as we prepare for the holiday season.

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

December…here we are, in December. This is when we try and play catch up with all of our jobs. Christmas was busy travelling between all of our families and we travelled up to North Dakota to see my friend and her new baby (baby #2 for her) and on to Dakota, IL for New Years and to visit Ben’s Grandparents. We even hit up TWO National Monuments on the way!


In the beginning of 2017, I set a few goals to focus on for the year. Let’s see how I did….

Running Goals –
1. To love running again (I do enjoy the sport again, but I’m not on a meticulous plan; I’ve going a week or more between runs sometimes.)
2. And work my way through hiking/running all 60 trails in the “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles” Denver Edition (I got 17 of the 60 done. I did take on a freelance writing job involving hiking for 10hikes.com which involved hikes that are not in this book. I hiked 50+ different hikes this year. Maybe 60 was pushing it, but not bad for how busy the year was.

Other fitness –
I like to be active in general and play in the great outdoors, but I have one specific goal in mind:
3. Climb 5.10s consistently (I got ONE 5.10 done!)
3a. I guess that means I better start strength training regularly again…too. (Well, I definitely worked out more than I did the previous year, but not as much as I had hoped. I did climb a 5.10 in the gym just a few weeks ago, which felt pretty good.)

Career –
4. I would like to see more clients with Golden Mountain Guides than last year
5. Learn more about the tourism industry, in particular, marketing. (We did see more clients than last year! It’s pretty awesome to see your own company grow! And I did learn  a little bit more about tourism, mostly through our own company.)

Other –
6. Travel to FIVE new places, in or out of Colorado. (Check X5! See above and all the travel we did this year! We even made it to at least 8 National Parks of Monuments).
7.  Learn about a new topic every month. (This gets 1/4 green. We started out strong, learning about Egyptian History, oceans, and I took a month to study Jumps Coaching (track and field). But as our business got busier, we put this one hold, only to pick it up in November, studying Mayan History)

Overall, I am truly glad this year is coming to a close. I’m ready for a “new start” of sorts in 2018.

Chasm Lake – One of my favorite photos from 2017.

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Roxborough State Park

(For 2017, I had a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  While I didn’t make it through all 60 this year, I’m going to carry this goal into 2018. You’ll see these posts all 2018 as well. 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 labelled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #59 – Roxborough State Park: South Rim Trail
Completed: 12/3/17 | Number Completed: 17/60
Mode: Hiking
Location:  South of the city Roxborough Park (Highway 121 until it turns into Rampart Ridge Rd)
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt, balloon configuration
Exposure: Lots of shade
Facilities: Toilets, Water fountain, and picnic tables at the Visitor Center
Extra info: Park Closes at 5:00pm in the winter. Has an entrance fee, $7.00 I believe, but we have a state parks pass.

My Experience:
It had been awhile since I’ve opened up this book due to many reasons. I was grateful to have a day off a couple of weeks ago and Ben and I decided to journey somewhere we’ve never been. Roxborough State Park is about 30 minutes south of where we live. It wasn’t busy at all (given it was December), and there are a lot of quick, easy trails to choose from. We chose the trail from the book, about 3 miles long, the South Rim Trail This was a looped trail and a good option to see what the park has to offer. The rock formations here a lot like those at Red Rocks or Garden of the Gods. These beautiful reds rocks stand out against the backdrop no matter the season and color of the foliage.

Pros:
-Not crowded. I’m sure it gets more crowded in the Summer, but I still feel this park is off the beaten path.
-Scenic
-Variety of difficulty options

Cons:
-It’s not a huge park. There are only about 15 miles of trails within the park

Tips:
-Bring a refillable water bottle. They no longer sell plastic, bottled water. They do have a water fountain to fill water bottles.

Overall:
I would love to come back here and go for a run! It’s a great park, good for a day hike, scenic drive, and off the beaten path.


Roxborough Website

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