Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Winter Hikes are my favorite. We took a hike up Stanley Canyon, then once there took the access road that leads another 2 miles up to a set of microwave towers that serve the city of Colorado Springs. In the winter the dogs seem to have much more stamina and energy, I don't have to carry as much water, and normally it keeps the amateurs at home. I don't mind other people on the trail, I just mind the ones that try to do a hike like this in sandals while carrying a lap dog (that really happened). For the most part today was a great day. Met one family from Alaska, they were loving the hike and were well prepared. There was one guy that was hiking with his pit bull---really, that dog has no business on a hike. It was obviously struggling, was sliding all over the place and my biggest problem--it was not leashed, nor did it have on a collar or any harness. We got by it okay, but I made a mental note that I might want to take a tazer on these public areas. People don't think, they do things that just don't make sense, hence, I like the hikes were only experienced people will go.This was a great day for the hike. Clear weather, temperatures varied from 50 degrees in the sun to about 30 in the shade. You have to be prepared for all conditions. I came across one group ascending around 1:30 pm in sweat shirts. Winter hikes need to be done early in the day when the sun is high. There were portions of the trail where I had to take off my sunglasses because the sun was way below the horizon and the tall pine trees made it very dark.
I came across some of the tallest Aspen trees I have ever seen. I am a Colorado Native, so I thought I have seen it all here in Colorado, but these had nearly every other grove beat--even in the Aspen/Vail area. These trees were huge! Mental Note: Get back here next fall.....
Sunday, November 8, 2009
On our hike today we decided to crash through the woods and follow the bear trails. Usually, by this time the bears are dormant, so the chances of us running into one is slim. We went way past where we normally do and found plenty of signs of bears; scat, footprints, splinttered logs and we found this (see picture). This tree obviouslly had some good insects in it the bear stripped the whole bottom of the tree down to where it was about to fall. This was no small tree either. I could probably just get my arms around the trunk and it was at least 75 feet tall. One kick and I think that thing would have crashed down. I did not do it, I would have had to tie up the dogs somewhere and you never know where a tree would fall. There were clear signs everywhere that this is bear territory. After about 1/4 mile (past some trees cut and wrapped in plastic) there were no longer any signs of "people trails". We followed a narrow gulley that goes all the way to the top of the Ramparts. I estimate we were about 1/2 up the gully. However, it started getting steeper and thicker--not impassible, but I do think we could easily find our way to the top and to the trail between Eagle Peak and Green Mountain. Someday we will do that. We will have to go light because of the brush we would have to crash through, and definately pick a time when the bears are asleep. A good winter timer crashing hike. I think 2 hours to the top would be sufficient.