Hiking in Colorado: North Lone Pine Trail

The Colors in Colorado

The North Lone Pine Trail outside of Red Feather Lakes, CO, is a lightly used, mostly one-track trail in the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest. It’s almost 9 miles out and back trail.

 

Sitting by a Creek Colorado

This trail is all pine trees so if you’re going for colors (which we were), you won’t see any. There’s a fallen down “experimental station”, which in essence is a screened in patio with holes. You follow the North Lone Pine Creek the entire time and the stream crossings were fun. Cool in the mornings and no sun, so bring a jacket.

Be on the lookout for the Trail Head. There’s a sign, but you have to go around the corner and the parking area is a campsite as well. It’s easy to miss.

Final impressions: fun hike, hardly any other hikers, all shaded, no deciduous trees, cool rock formations and stream crossings, well maintained, and easy hiking.

Hiking in Colorado: Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Yesterday, my daughter and I went hiking very close to our home in Arapaho Bend Natural Area. Known for its bald eagle sightings, Arapaho Bend Natural Area encompasses ponds and Rigden Reservoir. Located right off of I-25 in Fort Collins, this hiking area is perfect for those not wanting to travel far for a short hike.

Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Sights to see in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

  • Strauss’ Cabin. A cabin built and owned by George Robert Strauss, it used to be the
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    Strauss’ Cabin

    third oldest structure in Larimer County. Sadly, it was destroyed by arson in 1999. However, the ruins are still accessible and visible.

  • Wildflowers. We saw tons of wildflowers and sunflowers all along the trails.
  • Bald eagles. Visit in the winter when bald eagles migrate to this area for the winter. Truly a magnificent sight to behold, bald eagle sightings are almost guaranteed at Arapaho Bend Natural Area
  • Fishing. Lots of ponds, fishing is allowed. Bass, bluegill, yellow perch, or sunfish populate the many ponds in this natural area.
  • Wildlife. Other wildlife viewing opportunities at Arapaho Bend Natural Area include: 80 species of birds including American white pelicans, prairie falcons, and cormorants.
  • White-tailed deer call this natural area home.
  • Trails. About 4 miles of natural surface and paved trail follow the edge of the ponds in a loop and encircle Rigden Reservoir.

Very beautiful and peaceful, this area was a delightful surprise. I’ve driven by it hundreds of times and finally decided to visit. Close trip if you live in Northern Colorado. Beautiful views. Nice trails. Big enough to feel in nature. Highly recommended!

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Hiking Trails in Colorado

 

Hiking in Colorado: Button Rock Trail

Today’s hike: Button Rock Trail outside of Lyons, CO, and on the way to Estes Park, CO.

I chose this one because it was close to my house, and I needed one easy and quick. This one fit the bill.

Button Rock Trail

A dirt road off of the Highway 36 to Estes Park, Button Rock Trail was easy to find. Part of the Button Rock Preserve, Button Rock Trail leads to Ralph Price Reservoir. We parked at the trailhead and started on our way. It was a cloudy, cool day, high around 60 degrees at 7:30 am when we started–perfect weather for hiking in Colorado.

There were several trails that connected to Button Rock Trail. You could hike to Sleepy Lion Trail, another trail system in Button Rock Natural Area or take another loop that led to Ralph Price Reservoir as well.

Ralph Price Reservoir

We chose to stay straight and follow the service road to the Reservoir because it was flat. The entire hike we followed North Saint Vrain Creek. It was picturesque with boulders causing many cascades and waterfalls.

Waterfall Button Rock Trail

Near the end, you climbed a very short switchback trail to the top of Ralph Price Reservoir. The view was amazing:

Ralph Price Reservoir

We headed back the way we came in order to return to Windsor, CO, in time for my son’s karate graduation. Total distance: 4.5 miles. Total time: 1 hr, 40 min.

Great hike for those looking for a quick, easy trail. Lots of wildflowers and butterflies. Soothing sounds of running water. Dog-friendly with off lease hiking areas. Highly recommended!

Loving Your Pet Through Death…

My cat has lost weight recently and has not been eating.

We took her to the vet.

Diagnosis: kidney (or renal) failure.

Prognosis: not good.

There are things we can do to make her comfortable: give her fluids, change her diet, maintain low-stress environment.

But, ultimately, she’s dying. She could have months. Or a year.

Yet, somehow, I’m grateful.

Grateful that I know so we can not take her for granted. Grateful I can love her more. Grateful for the years she has given us.

This doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s never easy to watch a pet die. I’ve held two of my dogs in my arms when they were dying. And I knew a little ahead of time it was coming.

The worst part is the helplessness of it all. Not being able to help. To make her better. To do anything. Except hold her and love her and cherish her.

While she’s here, we’ll make the most of it.

Love her till death and beyond.

We love you, dearest Emerald.

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Our precious, precious kitty

Hiking in Colorado: Kruger Rock Trail

Hermit Park Natural Area

Kruger Rock Trail is an enjoyable hiking trail near Estes Park, CO. It’s 2 miles up and 2 miles down, slightly inclined the entire way up and then decline on the way back. It sits in Hermit Park Natural Area, which is a fee area.

The entrance to the trail is by a huge pavilion and camping sites. Open fields in the very beginning with a lot of beautiful wildflowers and butterflies and then up the mountain! Lots of shade. Trail very easy to follow. Amazing views of the town of Estes Park.  Great for families.

Town of Estes Park, CO

 

Hiking in Colorado: Mount Margaret Trail…

Mount Margaret Trail

“Bear!”

We all freeze and turn to look at the outcry of my middle daughter. Out of the shrubbery emerges a….cow.

We all breathed a sigh of relief. None of us wanted to meet a bear.

Near Red Feather Lakes, CO, Mount Margaret Trail is an easy out and back trail. My kids and I hiked this trail that was relatively flat and had amazing wildflowers, butterflies, and pine smells. Burnt trees from fires a few years back (along with some beetle kill) dotted the landscape along with large rocks and boulders.

As opposed to Red Mountain Open Space, this trail had lots of shade and was a bit cooler because of it.

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Fun, easy trail that got me yearning for our forthcoming camping and ATV trip!

Digging at Magic Mountain Archaeological Site…

My kids and I had the opportunity to work side-by-side along archaeologists at the Magic Mountain dig site in Golden, CO.

Located near Apex Park, archaeologists are trying to answer the question: “Just how many people did live here in CO and how long ago?” The answer could prove that early humans were here long before we thought in this area.  Hunter-gatherers lived here as early as 5000 BC but could it be before then?

For the second year in a row, the archaeologists were granted funding and the public has been invited to help them in their search for early artifacts such as clay shards, glass, pottery bits, arrowheads, and more.  Over 80,000 artifacts have been discovered here so far and we now have the opportunity to add to that number!

For 45 minutes we were hosted by volunteers in association with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and were informed of the history of the area, early Native Americans lives, and the archaeological history here.

Then we were escorted onto the site where we got to dig in a plot and help excavate! This was the best part as we got dirty and dug and sifted through dirt to uncover hidden truths and shards of history.

I personally don’t have the patience to do this day in and day out.  It was a great experience and my kids had a blast! Thank you!