A Travellerspoint blog

Mountain Vacation - Bonus Day/Outtakes


As I mentioned yesterday, on our way home today we detoured to Loveland pass. As we drove we were passing a ton of cyclists. So much so that we figured it had to be a race. It was the 78-mile Copper Triangle Ride. It took the riders from Vail Pass, to the Tennessee Pass, to Fremont Pass, with a 6,000ft gain in elevation - talk about dedication.


On our way to Loveland Pass we drove through the Keystone ski area, which looks like it might be a good beginner place for us to try. We also drove by A-Basin ski area, which looks like they must drop you out of a helicopter and make you sign an accidental death and dismemberment release before you go. I think we'll skip that one.


We climbed and climbed and finally reached Loveland Pass. Holy crap - it's really up there and it's such a cool site! There were so many people pulled over to take pictures. It was only 63 degrees - crazy how the sun was out and it's August, but we were scrambling for tennis shoes and jackets. What a great end to our vacation.


And here are some outtakes and ridiculous photos from our week:


Posted by juliejakicic 18:30 Comments (1)

Mountain Vacation - Avon, CO - Day 7


Happy Birthday Colorado!!! Today Colorado is 138 years old. We celebrated by enjoying Colorado's beautiful scenery.

It was raining when we woke up this morning so we waited it out. Thankfully the skies cleared and the sun came out. Because it was later than we usually hike, we decided to hike "close to home" and check out the trails at the local ski resort, Beaver Creek. The resort was so much larger than we were expecting. They have a ton of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, ATVing, you name it. At the top of the mountain there was a lake called Beaver Lake. That of course, became our destination. Because the resort is so huge it's not easy to find trailheads. We asked an employee running a lift and surprise, surprise, we were given wrong information. We ended up hiking a mile out of our way, but we eventually ended up on the Beaver Lake Trail thanks to the map security gave us when we entered the resort (I have to say, even the map wasn't that great. You'd think a ski resort, of all places, would have a better map and clearly marked trails.)

"Where are we going?!"

"Where are we going?!"

But when we found it, wow, what a trail it was. We hiked straight up for almost 3 miles gaining over 1,600 feet of elevation. I was struggling; I think because of the altitude and because the other hikes finally caught up with me. We saw a mule deer munching on some foliage (it was so close!) and a random old furnace from, of all places, Waynesboro, PA. About halfway up we saw a small "lake" and I tried to convince Tim it was Beaver Lake so we could turn around. No go.


Tim motivated me to keep going and I'm glad we did. When we did finally reach the lake it was like looking at a postcard. A lot of people hike up with fishing poles to fish the lake. We could see the trout swimming around, eating surface bugs.

D16EC95E2219AC6817C062582EA5E71C.jpg"We made it!"

"We made it!"

"Weee. Maaade. It."

"Weee. Maaade. It."


While taking pictures we could hear what sounded like a waterfall but we couldn't see it. We'd made it that far, why not keep going.... said my brain. My legs said, "Noooo! You're crazy!!! Turn around!!" We found a makeshift trail and headed towards the rushing sound.... and there in the forest, was a big waterfall feeding the lake. Tim of course had to Spiderman around the boulders so he could plank. Is it back yet? He's desperately trying. It'll come back. Just you wait.


We got some great pictures of the waterfall and the lake. In total, we hiked 8 miles for our last day. We finished our day back at Gondola's for some more of that delicious pizza.


Tomorrow, on our way home, we are going to skip the Idaho Springs tunnels and check out Loveland Pass. We may or may not post one more entry. Thank you for joining us on our trip and we hope you enjoyed the pictures! Until our next trip!

Posted by juliejakicic 21:47 Comments (0)

Mountain Vacation - Avon, CO - Day 6


We finally had a rain-free day! Today we drove partway through Glenwood Canyon and hiked Hanging Lake. It has its own exit off of I-70, it's that popular. We got there early as we knew this was going to be a crowded trail, and it was. We read so many conflicting reviews about the difficulty of the trail - some said it wasn't that bad, some said it was really hard, so we had no idea what to expect, but we prepared for the worst.


The trail is listed as difficult but it's only 1.2 miles long. It starts out VERY rocky and you gain 1,000 feet in elevation from the trailhead to the lake. It was definitely a climb but not nearly as difficult as Booth Falls - probably because it wasn't as long. The trail followed a creek and crisscrossed it the whole way up. The end of the trail was so steep and rocky they actually installed a handrail; as much to help people get up the rocks as I assume it was to prevent people from falling to their deaths. People of all ages and physical abilities were hiking the trail (even Mennonites in dresses). We even saw a family in flip flops.... that's not something I'd recommend. The hike up was pleasant as you walked next to the clear creek, mossy waterfalls, under the cover of trees.

9AB86F7B2219AC681730293516D70AE9.jpg9AC399A22219AC68171B567E2CA9B1A2.jpg9ABE83BD2219AC6817CEE9657E7051AB.jpg"This looks like a picture of the ground, but it's actually the creek. That's how clear the water is."

"This looks like a picture of the ground, but it's actually the creek. That's how clear the water is."

"This picture is to show how steep the last portion of the hike is, not to prove that Mennonites were hiking, haha."

"This picture is to show how steep the last portion of the hike is, not to prove that Mennonites were hiking, haha."

When we finally reached the lake - WOW. It was definitely worth the hike and we made sure we relayed that to anyone on the way down that looked like they weren't going to make it. There was a waterfall that fed the crystal blue lake which was a home to rainbow trout. They built a deck around the lake so you could walk around the whole thing and see it from all sides. Beautiful. Just amazing that it's hidden up on the side of a mountain. We sat on a rock bench and a chipmunk came over to say hi. I fed it some of my almonds. It got a little greedy.... but of course I loved it, see below:


There is another short, rocky trail that leads above the lake to Spouting Rock - a waterfall that shoots right out of the middle of a rock wall. Crazy spectacular. Spouting Rock feeds the creek, which feeds the waterfall, which feeds Hanging lake, which feeds the next waterfall, which feeds the creek which empties into the Grizzly Creek that runs along I-70; all from water shooting out of a hole in the wall!


We hung out around the waterfall, got some pictures, then headed back down and had lunch by the creek. I highly recommend this hike and would tell anyone that's in the area to make time in your day for the trek. I think the pictures speak for themselves.


For dinner tonight we went to the town of Minturn and ate at Magustos. We had good burgers from locally sourced beef and some beers. Tm had a pesto burger, which he said tasted much better than it sounds. The rest of the town shut down early so we called it a night and headed back to the lodge....UNTIL....we saw a rodeo off the highway at our exit. Sure, why not? When we walked up it didn't look like they were selling tickets. I asked if there was a charge to get in and was told no. Woo hoo! We sat on the bleachers, watched three cowboys get thrown from a bull in the matter of 3 seconds each (the announcer noted that no one qualified) and that was the end! No wonder they weren't charging....haha. Then we officially called it a night.


Tomorrow we are going to do another hike, we just have to decide where. Tune in!

Posted by juliejakicic 19:55 Comments (0)

Mountain Vacation - Avon, CO - Day 5


We got up early today to try and get a hike in before the rain came. Today's hike was Shrine Ridge Pass on Shrine Mountain, just outside of Vail. The road up to the trail was 2.5 miles of muddy red dirt/clay and the first sign we saw said, "Caution: Historic Military Weapons Area. Do Not Touch Or Remove Unknown Objects." Grrrreaaat. The road was an old logging trail from back in the day when the mountain was logged to support the mines and growing mining community, and apparently the Army also used the area to test artillery.


The beginning of the trail started at 11,100 feet of elevation and we gained about 600 feet by the summit. The day started out beautiful. The trail was a little muddy and the busiest trail we've been on yet. The 2 mile trail quickly ascended to a 360 degree view of the area. From the top, you could see a beautiful view of Mount of the Holy Cross, the Tenmile Range and the Gore Range. Mount of the Holy Cross is named for the cross shape on one side. It's said that in the 1920's pilgrimages were made to the mountain to pray while viewing the cross. Unfortunately, it was too foggy for us to see the cross.


The mountains have a different blooming season than the foothills and while flowers have been blooming at our home for some time, you could see the wild flowers in the mountains have only recently bloomed. The hills were filled with Indian paintbrush, harebell, and a bunch of other flowers I can't identify. Oh and of course, snow. It just doesn't seem to want to melt.


We took several pictures of each other on the ridge. Check out these two. It was too foggy on the pass to see if we were getting the shots we wanted, so we didn't notice the oddity until we were reviewing our pictures over dinner. Of course once we saw these, we frantically started Googling for deaths on the pass (hence my historical knowledge of the pass from paragraph one) but we couldn't find anything. Odd blur? Or something standing next to me? You be the judge:


We didn't get to spend too much time on the ridge before the rain came, so we slogged back down and decided our next stop. According to Tim's Roadside America app (that alerts him when there are sites in the area that I would never want to see) Leadville is the highest town in the United States. It wasn't far so we decided to check it out.


This fun fact was noticeably absent from town signs, banners, t-shirts, etc. which makes me wonder if it was true. The town was much bigger than we were expecting. Main street was still functioning in original buildings but held sporting goods stores, restaurants, antique stores, etc. The most interesting store was Melanzana. It's a clothing store that caters to outdoor enthusiast and all of the clothes are HAND MADE. They also had a resident dog, which of course scored points with me. Colorado is so dog-friendly!


We also checked out a large, two-story antique store. Tim said it was like Pawn Stars meets American Pickers. We spent a lot of time there and one could easily lose an afternoon browsing.


To reward ourselves for a trail well-done, we had a DELICIOUS pizza in Avon, CO at Gondola's. It was hands down the best pizza we've had since we moved to Colorado. I really wished it was closer to home. Or maybe that would be a bad thing....


The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow morning so we are going to try and get a hike in before the rain. It's supposedly a very beautiful but very hard hike. Wish us luck..... or look for me on the 6:00 news.

Posted by juliejakicic 21:18 Comments (1)

Mountain Vacation - Avon, CO - Day 4


Sore muscles = site seeing. Today we explored Vail. It was just what I imagined a ski town to be. We strolled through two Vail "villages", Lionshead Village and Vail Village. Vail also has a free bus if you don't want to walk the half mile between shopping villages. Very tourist-friendly. There were a ton of stores and restaurants, you could eat and shop for hours. Both villages run along a large creek and there are a lot of walking and biking trails along the slopes.


After exploring the villages, we went to the highest botanical gardens in the world: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Next door to the gardens was the Gerald Ford amphitheater but it was closed for a rehearsal so we couldn't tour it. They have free summer concerts but of course they took the week off! Maybe next time.


We finished our day in Edwards, CO. at Crazy Mountain Brewery. This brewery is set up behind a strip mall but once you're there you'd never know it. They did a really good job of making the most of what they've got. They have an indoor and outdoor seating area, a food truck, corn hole, disc golf and horseshoes (they are next to a grassy area). Plus a few dogs running around always scores points with me. Tim and I agreed their best beer was their holiday ale (Christmas in July!). The food from the food truck was really good too.


The weather is going to decide what is in store for tomorrow!

Posted by juliejakicic 21:32 Comments (0)

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