Friday, August 20, 2010

An hour in beauty to relax and unwind

This is San Diego University.  I was up there for two reasons; I have seen it from the Highway and always wondered what it was, and a friend working on a project asked for me to take pictures of Churches that had letters he could use in posters.  I needed to find letters to spell things like Love, Christ, Catholic, etc.   I got a lot of O's. You know how hard it is to find A's or C's?  I wish I had traveled up here sooner.  It provides a nice view of San Diego.  I think I will figure out the shortcut from the Air Port to the Spectrum center so I can spend a few moments here when I arrive.  

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hike up Palmer Watershed

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

New Morning Exercise--Hiking the Ramparts

So I decided that since the sun comes up so early every morning, and the dogs need a good walk to leave me alone, and I work well into the night sometimes, I have started a daily hike up Stanley Canyon.  I don't go all the way, that is 2 1/2 miles and about a 3 hour trek.  I only go up to what I call the twisted tree--that is a huge log that is all twisted.    Here are some photos.  In the early morning you see more wild life; wild turkeys and deer.  The bears are still staying up high, they start coming down in September to gorge...  I link this hike because there is a nice stream and the dogs love that!  Starting to see the summer amateurs.  Entire families not prepared for the day.  For the most part they are lucky and they don't have to deal with the weather or poor conditions.  Some still wearing sandals on a medium grade hike--unbelievable.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nice Hike Ruined by Carless Bikers

Today I took the girls up Green Mountain for a hike.  I like this hike because few hikers are ever on the trail and the ones that are, are serious and respect the environment.  Few know of the trails.  Today I found one of the shortcut trails to the top was vandalized by mountain bikers.  Trees were cut down, rocks pulled from the trail and moved (you know what that does?  It starts new erosion).  You could see freshly cut trees, branches and large rocks dug up and moved.  There was the tale tale sign of mountain bike trails.   This is a path that needs to be gently used, they now created a new potential wash out.  This is a National Forest where cutting trees and moving large rocks is forbidden.  Sad.  Then when I got to the top there were what I call the "Beer Guzzling, Red Neck, Outdoorsmen" on their ATVs tearing up the mountain some more.  Again this is an area that is clearly posted "NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES".  This was a dad in his 4X4 Ford and his two kids following in their ATVs.  From the looks of it they all needed to get out an walk, they all looked like they were pushing 300lbs.   Why do people have to tear up the environment for their own selfish enjoyment?  I took a few pictures of the area to remind me what it looks like before these idiots ruin it all.  With all the rain we had last year, there is a lot of dead vegetation---those hot exhausts will surly set off a fire...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring is here--well almost

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.
This is a good hike if your from out of town, just want an easy go of it, don't want to drive too far and don't want to mess with the crowds. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spruce Mountain Hike

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 pictures, this is the place,  I noticed several falcons using the updrafts off of the "mountain" to hover above the green space looking for food.  The rock formations are unique, the open views are great for "field of view" shots---it just offers a lot of opportunities for the photographers.  I took these with my sony Cyber-shot, because I wanted to hike the trail rather than shoot the trial.

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.  
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hiking Video

Just a short clip of hiking photos, as we enter the last phase of Winter, some of the best conditions of the year are coming.