Colorado and Out West

Got some trip suggestions at another National Park, or know of a great place in the middle of no where? Share them here, plan your trips, and hook up with other individuals on the forum.

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Tortuga
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Colorado and Out West

Post by Tortuga »

I've been a very irregular poster this year. I moved to Colorado in December, and for the first time since 2016 I won't visit Isle Royale this year. But I have been exploring what Colorado has to offer! Sending Instagram links since the photos are already available.

Mt Rushmore/Custer State Park/Crazy Horse: https://www.instagram.com/p/BuT17yNnk3d ... _copy_link
Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs): https://www.instagram.com/p/BxDpATfn4RQ ... _copy_link
Great Sand Dunes National Park (Arabia surrounded by snow-capped mountains): https://www.instagram.com/p/BxJjSPcnaV6 ... _copy_link
Rocky Mountain National Park (including a HUGE bull moose: https://www.instagram.com/p/BygksStANZZ ... _copy_link
Lost Creek Wilderness Loop Trail: https://www.instagram.com/p/BzGZZ_7A8j5 ... _copy_link
kolo
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by kolo »

I moved to Colorado in December, and for the first time since 2016 I won't visit Isle Royale this year. But I have been exploring what Colorado has to offer!
Tortuga, there is plenty to see and do in Colorado! Unfortunately, there are so many people moving to the state that many of the outdoor pursuits have become congested. I lived there during the 90's when many Californians migrated to the state. The migration continues today with many people from all over the country.

I am a teacher and during my summers off, I used to visit Colorado every summer to hike/climb 14ers. I haven't been there the last couple of years because of the population/traffic. On summer weekends, the trail heads closest to the Front Range are like Walmart parking lots. Although I miss hiking/climbing in Colorado I don't miss the congestion. I am grateful to still have Isle Royale!

This is a link to a good resource for hiking/climbing 14ers in case you are interested.

https://www.14ers.com/

Also, I am including a picture from the summit of one of the 14ers, Mt. Wilson. If you are looking for solitude, try hiking in some of the less known/popular areas, such as the 13ers.
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Tortuga
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by Tortuga »

I'm a guilty migrant and see every day exactly what you're talking about. Traffic sometimes as bad as Chicago, and backcountry sites and roads crowded. Just a month or so ago there was an hour-long backup to get in to RMNP and no parking once people did get in. Same with the 14ers. Inexperienced and unprepared people attempting to summit in the afternoon while storms are coming in? Yikes.

Technology is an amazing thing. It has helped people discover the natural wonders in their backyards. The problem is those same people are destroying those wonders in their effort to be the next Instagram influencer. Basic principles like LNT aren't followed or even known about. Situations like in Yellowstone where the girl got thrown in the air are becoming far too common. Even on Mt. Evans two weeks ago I watched as parents allowed their under-10-year-old child get within 3 feet of a baby mountain goat and its kit. Idiocy.

I'll check out some of the 13ers next month and in September. Thanks for that suggestion!
kolo
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by kolo »

Traffic sometimes as bad as Chicago, and backcountry sites and roads crowded. Just a month or so ago there was an hour-long backup to get in to RMNP and no parking once people did get in. Same with the 14ers. Inexperienced and unprepared people attempting to summit in the afternoon while storms are coming in? Yikes.

Technology is an amazing thing. It has helped people discover the natural wonders in their backyards. The problem is those same people are destroying those wonders in their effort to be the next Instagram influencer. Basic principles like LNT aren't followed or even known about. Situations like in Yellowstone where the girl got thrown in the air are becoming far too common. Even on Mt. Evans two weeks ago I watched as parents allowed their under-10-year-old child get within 3 feet of a baby mountain goat and its kit. Idiocy.
You are 100% correct in your assessment and what you are experiencing! I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, too many people don't practice LNT principles. Too many people don't want to learn them or practice them either. Our best places are being "loved to death." Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs has become so popular that they have put some limits/restrictions on seeing it.

I tried to include a picture of the sand dunes from summit of Crestone Peak, one of my favorite 14ers. I don't know why but I wasn't able to do it. Seeing the dry, arid sand dunes with snow on the mountains in the background is so contradictory and interesting! It is a picture I hope take in the future.
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by johnhens »

We were in CO the end of June. Spent half a day birding Pawnee Grasslands where we saw a lifer Burrowing Owl. Met up with family in Glenwood Springs. Camped along the Colorado at a site where we had sand bags to protect our site from the river. Went to Colorado Monument (cool place) and Hanging Lake (very cool place). Spent 3 days in RMNP. Had great weather and a great time there, our 3rd trip there. Picked up 18 life birds this trip (life bird being the first time seen). Love RMNP!!
kolo
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by kolo »

John,
How did it work at Hanging Lake? Did you have reservations to hike up to Hanging Lake? Did you have to take a shuttle to the parking lot? I had heard that they had to make some adjustments to accommodate the popularity of Hanging Lake. It is naturally beautiful place!

Pawnee Grasslands is off the beaten path and definitely worth seeing! Most people going to Colorado are unaware of it and never visit the area.

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our country's best parks and a beautiful place to visit. My buddy and I were able to hike/climb in RMNP without seeing anyone else for 24 hours, in July! We bushwhacked off trail to camp right at tree line and then climbed the original route, Keplinger's Couloir, to climb Long's Peak.
Tortuga
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by Tortuga »

johnhens wrote: Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:48 am We were in CO the end of June. Spent half a day birding Pawnee Grasslands where we saw a lifer Burrowing Owl. Met up with family in Glenwood Springs. Camped along the Colorado at a site where we had sand bags to protect our site from the river. Went to Colorado Monument (cool place) and Hanging Lake (very cool place). Spent 3 days in RMNP. Had great weather and a great time there, our 3rd trip there. Picked up 18 life birds this trip (life bird being the first time seen). Love RMNP!!
Were you east or west of Glenwood? I just did a rafting trip there last weekend and rafted past some sites along the Colorado with sandbags (to the East of Glenwood). Our river guide joked that the sandbags wouldn't do much against that river. Beautiful land all around though.
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by johnhens »

kolo wrote: Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:53 pm John,
How did it work at Hanging Lake? Did you have reservations to hike up to Hanging Lake? Did you have to take a shuttle to the parking lot? I had heard that they had to make some adjustments to accommodate the popularity of Hanging Lake. It is naturally beautiful place!

Pawnee Grasslands is off the beaten path and definitely worth seeing! Most people going to Colorado are unaware of it and never visit the area.

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our country's best parks and a beautiful place to visit. My buddy and I were able to hike/climb in RMNP without seeing anyone else for 24 hours, in July! We bushwhacked off trail to camp right at tree line and then climbed the original route, Keplinger's Couloir, to climb Long's Peak.
I live in IL. Hanging Lake was amazing. There is a quota system and the only way to get there is via bike or taking the shuttle. I heard from a cousin that is was getting overused and abused. The shuttle gives you a 3 hour window to explore. If you go beyond the 3 hours, you may have to wait to get on a shuttle. You are given a lanyard with the time for your shuttle. The hike kicked my flatlander ass. 1000' elevation gain over a mile. Took me about 1.5 hours to get up. The last part of the hike is steep, there are railings to help and keep you safe. My brother who lives in CO said the hike was hard. We did not have any issues with altitude while in CO (my sister did and does when she goes there). Wanted to hike Storm King Mtn. to see the tribute to the firefighters who died there. Ran out of time. Loved Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork Valley.

Pawnee Grasslands was cool. Neat to see habitat and glad it was preserved. Also had lifer Chestnut Sided Longspur and Lark Bunting. Missed Mountain Plover. Saw a few Antelope (exciting for this visitor).

This was my 5th trip to RMNP. Wish we had more time. First time seeing moose on the East side (Sheep Lake) and near Moraine. Birding was great. We went out early and late to avoid crowds. In a prior trip camped at Longs Peak CG and hiked the area. Congrats on Long's Peak. Would like to try that when I have more time to acclimate. Ran out of time to spend a day on Trail Ridge rd. Wanted to see a White Tailed Ptarmigan.
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by johnhens »

Tortuga wrote: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:48 pm
johnhens wrote: Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:48 am We were in CO the end of June. Spent half a day birding Pawnee Grasslands where we saw a lifer Burrowing Owl. Met up with family in Glenwood Springs. Camped along the Colorado at a site where we had sand bags to protect our site from the river. Went to Colorado Monument (cool place) and Hanging Lake (very cool place). Spent 3 days in RMNP. Had great weather and a great time there, our 3rd trip there. Picked up 18 life birds this trip (life bird being the first time seen). Love RMNP!!
Were you east or west of Glenwood? I just did a rafting trip there last weekend and rafted past some sites along the Colorado with sandbags (to the East of Glenwood). Our river guide joked that the sandbags wouldn't do much against that river. Beautiful land all around though.
We were east of Glenwood Springs in No Name. While we were there, had snow (this was 6/22). Our tent site flooded from rain (our tent did not leak though!!) There is a rafting company that operates out of the CG. I had not spent time in the area, kind of like Arches!! Indeed, beautiful!!. Went to a good microbrewery in Glenwood Springs!! I did not bring a fly rod or spinning rod...wished I would have to fish the Roaring Fork!!!
Tortuga
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by Tortuga »

We definitely rafted past those sites! Our river guide took us into the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado and it was so much colder, but he promised they had great fishing on that river. We were both getting snowed on 6/22. I was backpacking the Lost Creek Wilderness that weekend and got caught at ~12,000ft in a thundersnow. Temps dropped rapidly, thunder and lightning with snow--truly surreal for this flatlander. I had to pitch quickly on uneven ground and ended up with a layer of ice on the old Double Rainbow.
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Re: Colorado and Out West

Post by kolo »

We were both getting snowed on 6/22. I was backpacking the Lost Creek Wilderness that weekend and got caught at ~12,000ft in a thundersnow. Temps dropped rapidly, thunder and lightning with snow--truly surreal for this flatlander. I had to pitch quickly on uneven ground and ended up with a layer of ice on the old Double Rainbow.
Tortuga,

Like you I am a flatlander, born and raised in North Dakota. I have never been or lived any where in which the weather can change as quickly as it does in Colorado, especially in the mountains. You can literally experience all four seasons within an hour! When hiking in the mountains, the rule in Colorado was to be off the summit by 12:00 before the thunderstorms rolled in. My personal rule was to be at tree line by 12:00 and it usually served me well! Having lived in Colorado, I can attest to the weather during the spring/summer. Like clockwork, the thunderstorms rolled in 1;00-2;00 every afternoon. Like most places, the best part of the day was usually the mornings.

I have read that the Lost Creek Wilderness is less congested than other parts of Colorado, and thus, a good place to hike and backpack.
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