Saturday, July 31, 2010
Tried out a new hike today over in Monument. It follows the watershed for the town of Palmer Lake and Monument. Its pretty well traveled so you will run into a lot of people, but for this type of hike that is okay. You start off on the edge of a canyon and follow the watershed. You pass two reservoirs and when you finish the second you are about a mile in. Then you have some choices, follow the access road or take any number of small trails up into the hills. Bridie took the hardest one, it was steep, but got us the best view. We ended up on an access road that leads to Rampart Road. This was the first time in a long time that I came across someone in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, an old Range Rover. We were probably 3 miles in now so turned around. Thank God Bridie was paying attention because we came on a very small and hard to see trail. I checked my GPS a few times and Bridie was right on all the turns. She has good hiking sense. I went farther than I wanted, but this has a lot of level hiking areas so it's not a constant grind until you get to the end of the second reservoir, then its steep and does not stop for over a mile. The geology is interesting. Lots of granite I would rate this easy to moderate. However, you can make it challenging by just picking one of the many side trails that seem to be everywhere. Be sure to take your GPS or know where you are going farther in this trail its easy to get lost as the roads wind and intersect all over the place.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
So this weekend I took the girls out for a 5 mile easy hike in the Spruce Mountain Open Space. This is a nice Sunday afternoon hike, the total elevation rise is around 400 feet so its not too steep. The Douglas County Open Space Program was created in 1994 with the passage of a sixth-of-a-cent sales and use tax. The Open Space keeps a nice separation between Denver and Colorado Springs. The top picture is from the top of Spruce Mountain looking back toward Castle Rock. You could almost film an old western movie out there as it still looks like you should be expecting to see a herd of Buffalo or an Indian Tribe crossing the plains. Spruce Mountain is just west of I-25 prior to Monument "pass". A few days before this hike we were wandering around Green Mountain over by the Academy and I could see the Crocus were just beginning to come out. They were in full bloom at Spruce Mountain. There is this little blue Crocus that comes up here every spring. I transplanted one to my backyard and it bloomed for several years until other plants edged it out. The rules for the open space are pretty strict--dogs are to be on leash--no exceptions. This is the third time I have been on this trail, up until this hike I was the only one leasing the dogs. I usually don't lease Bridie, she stays 10-20 feet from me at all times and comes back when I call her. She stays away from strangers, but I did leash her when people came by. I think the dogs like to get to the top of the mountains. Once we get there they love to stare off into the distance. Zamboni was watching the chipmunks, probably was thinking they would be a good snack.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Tried out a new hike. We hit the open space today. Actually there are several open spaces between Colorado Springs and Denver. This was the hike up Spruce Mountain--small by our normal standards, but the loop is advertised as being 5.5 miles. My GPS came in at 4.6 miles. This is a pretty easy hike, the trails are wide, the incline is pretty small, maybe 500 feet, then you do a loop on top of the mountain that is pretty level. This is a nice hike if you just want to put in miles and not worry about the elevation. You will run into a lot of people. From the looks of it, bikes are allowed as well as horses.Actually, I would take a horse over a biker any day. Mountain bikers just don't seem to respect anyone else. They think they own the trail. From Spruce mountain you can see Monument hill, Cheyenne Mountain to the south, and North to Castle rock. This was a windy day, but I think it's always windy up there as you can see from the sign that the far west end of Spruce Mountain is called Windy Point. Spruce mountain is a flat top, from the looks of the geology, much older than the Pike National Forest (that is made up of Pikes Peak Granite).
If you like to take along the dogs, note that there are several warnings posted about "Dogs must me on leash at all times---no exception". The fine is $50 if you are caught with your dog off leash. I came across a handfull of dog owners, none of which had their dogs leashed. Only one person (an idiot) had their dog with them (a St Bernard) not on a leash, or even a sign of a leash. I could tell his dog wanted to eat mine for lunch, he could hardly handle his dog.