Here are some quick reviews and photos of some of our favorite hikes of 2009:
1) Graeagle, CA - January 1, 2009 - We started off the year in great fashion, visiting Jonna's brother Jamie and his kids Larkin, Brianna and Rosie at his in-law's cabin in Graeagle, CA. We did three short hikes in three days, including two hikes to the top of the abandoned Eureka ski resort to go sledding and a rainy hike around the town of Graeagle.
2) East Magnolia trail, CO - January 4, 2009 - For our first Colorado hike of 2009 we went for a short hike with Holly and Buster to explore about three miles of the East Magnolia trail system.
3) Heart Lake trail, CO - January 10, 2009 - Our hiking buddy Holly had her niece Megan visit so we took her out for her first snow shoeing experience. It was a cold (18F!) and windy day, so we headed to our old stand-by Heart Lake so we could get out of the wind. It turned out to be a great hike up in the trees with plenty of fresh powder. We did about five miles total, then headed back to town for Indian food and then home for hot tubbing!
4) Caribou, CO - January 17, 2009 - What started a plan to go snowshoeing turned out to be a hike when we found all the snow had been blown off Caribou hill. We expanded our hiking pack with the addition of Todd and his pups Jake and Rita to our regular crew of Alan, Jonna, Holly and Lyle. We hiked up a couple of the hills then back down through the valley via forest service road 505...about 3.5 miles total.
5) Sourdough Trail, CO - January 25, 2009 - Our friend Desiree again joined our usual hiking team for a snow shoe hike on the Sourdough trail. It was typical Colorado weather: We met under blue skies, started hiking with light snow, went through near blizzard conditions and then ended back under blue skies with bright sunshine. Through it all, the powder was perfect and the weather relatively warm. We hiked in about 2 1/2 miles, then headed back for a total of around 5 miles.
6) Eldora Mountain Resort Nordic Center, CO - February 1, 2009 - Lyle and Alan headed over to Eldora to take a cross-country ski lesson while Jonna and Holly took their new cross-country skis out on the Sourdough trail. Two hours later, Alan and Lyle were wobbling around under beautiful blue skies atop long, skinny skis and sort of gliding across the snow.
7) Forest Lakes, CO - February 8, 2009 - Our regular hiking crew was able to add another guest to our weekend hikes as our friend Krista wanted to try out her new snowshoes. In an attempt to find snow we headed up to the Moffat Tunnel trailhead but with the intention of hiking the Forest Lakes trail this time rather than our usual Heart Lake trail. Unfortunately, Jonna and Krista only hiked the first miles in and the warm, sunny weather had made the snow too wet and hardpacked to use the snow shoes. After Jonna and Krista turned back Alan, Lyle, Holly and Buster continued on for another mile and a half before running out of trail just short of the lakes. All in all, a fun hike totalling around 5 miles and with some good elevation as well.
8) Caribou, CO - February 14, 2009 - Valentine's Day with the ladies! Lyle was out of town for the long weekend but Krista returned for a snow shoe hike with Alan, Jonna and Holly. We headed up to Caribou to do a three mile loop around Caribou hill. Blue skies and warm weather on the east side of the mountain, grey and snowy on the west side. A delightful hike!
9) Corona Pass, CO - February 20, 2009 - Lyle and Alan decided to turn the annual company Ski Train trip into something different. They took off from Corona Bowl (given a lift up from Winter Park by some snow-mobiling co-workers) and then hiked the old train route over to the Needle's Eye tunnel. Then along the Rollins Pass road to the Forest Lakes trail. Then down the Forest Lakes trail to the Moffat Tunnel. A total of 9.3 miles in 5 hours, with a total elevation change of 2,529 ft.
10) Eldora Mountain Resort Nordic Center, CO - February 22, 2009 - With Holly out of town Alan, Jonna, Lyle and Krista decided to head over to Eldora for some cross-country ski practice. We did a quick three mile loop on the Green and Blue trails, as that was about all Alan had the energy for after Friday's big snow shoe.
11) Mt Sanitas, CO - March 7, 2009 - Despite having a head cold, Alan headed down to Boulder to meet Lyle for a short hike. It was sunny but the temperature was hovering around freezing and snow was in the forecast. We started at Eben G Fine park, hiked over Red Rocks ridge at Settler's Park, opted for the Sanitas valley trail to the bottom of the eastern face of the peak. Then it was the short steep climb up to the top. After a short break enjoying the view, we headed back down...about 4 miles round trip and with about 1,300 ft total elevation gain.
12) Ceran St Vrain, CO - March 14, 2009 - On a beautiful sunny spring day, our hiking gang went out to find a trail devoid of snow and mud. We found partial success with a short hike on the Ceran St Vrain trail. We had a pleasant 5 mile hike and even saw a moose cross the trail near our turn-around point.
13) Wild Basin, CO - March 29, 2009 - Just a couple of days after a big blizzard, we headed up to the Wild Basin section of Rocky Mountain National Park for a snow shoe. However, the 50 degree weather made it a slushy hike instead. We hiked in from the winter parking lot, then hiked in three miles to the Calypso Cascades.
14) Brainard Lake, CO - April 5, 2009 - After a week of fresh snow the hiking gang headed up to Brainard Lakes to enjoy the powder and blue skies. Jonna and Holly opted for skis while Alan and Lyle stuck with snow shoes. We split half way around the loop with Jonna and Holly heading back downhill will Alan and Lyle continued the climb, with us meeting back up at the car. About 5 1/2 miles total.
15) Caribou, CO - April 11, 2009 - A combination of low energy, questionable weather and unknown trail conditions had the hiking crew opting for a short hike. We headed to Caribou, thinking wind may have blown the recent snow off the mountain top but found mixed trail conditions and overcast skies. However, crusty snow meant we did the three mile loop as a hike, no snow shoes necessary.
16) Sourdough Trail, CO - April 19, 2009 - The day after another blizzard (this one even bigger than the one back in March!), the hiking crew donned our snowshoes and headed out to the Sourdough Trail to enjoy all the fresh snow. With temperatures up in the 50s and clear blue skies overhead we hiked in to our usual turnaround spot, 2 1/2 miles in, and then looped back for a 5 miles hike in total.
17) Flagstaff Mountain, CO - April 25, 2009 - Lyle and Alan headed out on a cold, misty, foggy day for a hike without the ladies. We headed up Flagstaff Mountain and managed to lose the trail three different times in the fog! Despite the setbacks, we eventaully made it up all 1,177 ft and did about 4.5 miles total.
18) Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - May 3, 2009 - The hiking crew got together for a sunny but cool spring hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. We started at Lyle's house and then hiked into the park. We looped up to Panorama Point, where Jonna and Alan got married nine years ago, had a snack and then returned to Lyle's place. Around 4.5 miles of snowy trails with a mix of elevation and plenty of beautiful views.
19) Betasso Preserve, CO - May 9, 2009 - A beautiful, sunny spring day made for a nice, if short, hike around the 3.2 mile long Betasso Preserve loop.
20) Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - May 16, 2009 - After a foot injury put Jonna on the sidelines Alan, Lyle and Holly headed to Golden Gate Canyon State Park for one of our favorite loops: Start on Mule Deer trail at Old Barn Knoll and climb up to Frazer Meadow. Then take Coyote trail out to the ridge and then down to Bootleg Bottom. Pick up Elk trail and return to Old Barn Knoll. About four miles total. It was a cool but sunny day, perfect for hiking!
21) Diamond Lakes trail, CO - May 31, 2009 - The crew got together with the optimistic goal of hiking up to Diamond Lake, just off the Arapahoe Pass trail. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for hiking, but we underestimated how much snow was still up in the high country. We only made it about a mile and a half up the trail before big snow banks and an unmarked trail turned us back. Still, a nice (if short) hike with great views of the snow covered mountains.
22) Crater Lake, CO - June 28, 2009 - On a spectacular summer day, our friend Sabrina joined the hiking crew for a trip up to the East Portal trailhead. We decided to try a new trail: the Crater Lake spur off the Heart Lake trail. We climbed up to the main lake and enjoyed lunch on a lake-side rock before heading back down. The total was about five miles round trip with about 1400 foot of elevation gain.
23) Blue Lake, CO - July 5, 2009 - Our niece Brianna came to visit and we took her for a hike. The day started out looking grey and overcast but turned into a glorious, sunny day. Perfect for a hike! It was a muddy but gorgeous five mile hike with about 900 ft of elevation gain.
24) James Peak Lake, CO - July 25, 2009 - Our regular hiking crew was joined by Jonna's brother Jamie for a trip to the James Peak Lake valley. We bounced our way up the 4WD road and then spent three hours hiking down in the valley. Three miles of spectacular scenery, lush wildflowers and beautiful waterfalls. Afternoon clouds made for comfortable hiking temperatures and we lucked out with only a few sprinkles at the end as we did the 1/2 mile long, 500ft climb back up out of the valley.
25) Arapahoe Lakes, CO - August 23, 2009 - For our first hike back from our summer vacation, we brought Lyle's daughter Allia out for a taste of hiking in the Rockies. Since Holly was buried under her disertation, she couldn't make it but we brought Buster along so he could get some exercies. We headed up to Moffat tunnel to explore a new trail, the spur off to Arapahoe Lakes. We didn't quite make it but still got in a four mile hike before giving Allia's feet a break. It was a great day for hiking and a good chance to get back into our weekend hiking routine.
26) Ouzel Lake, CO - August 29, 2009 - With Holly and Buster still tied up in the final throes of disertation grind, Alan, Jonna and Lyle haded up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a hike. We ended up doing a great 10 mile hike with 1,700 ft of elevation gain up to Ouzel Lake. A band of dark clouds moved through, sprinkling for a few minutes, but otherwise it was a perfect day for hiking. All in all, a long but excellent day of hiking.
27) Manitou Incline, CO - September 5, 2009 - For Labor Day weekend, we headed down to Manitou Springs, CO, where we joined our good friend Bill for a hike up the Manitou Incline. 2,000 ft of elevation gain in just 1 mile! We came back down via the longer 4.5 mile Barr Trail. A sunny and warm day for a hike but very hazy due to all the forest fires in California, Utah and Colorado.
28) Heart Lake trail, CO - September 7, 2009 - To celebrate Holly submitting her disertation, Jonna and I joined Holly for a long hike up to Heart Lake. Perfect hiking weather, sunny but with good cloud cover to to keep the temperature down. We had a gorgeous hike with plenty of stops to enjoy the view. A little over 10 miles long and with about 2,000 ft of elevation gain.
29) Arapahoe Pass, CO - September 13, 2009 - On a crisp Fall day, the hiking crew headed up to the Fourth of July trailhead to try out luck on this notoriously crowded trail system. We lucked out and found the cool weather and intermittent clouds kept the crowds away. We had a nice hike up to Arapahoe Pass and then on up to Dorothy Lake. A little hail at the lake and then some rain for the last 1/4 mile but otherwise great hiking weather. 6 1/2 miles round trip with 2,000 ft of elevation.
30) Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak, CO - September 20, 2009 - For the last day of summer, Lyle and Alan down to Boulder to hike Bear Mountain. We made it a 2-for-1 by doing both Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak. It was sunny but windy. The wind blew all the smog and clouds away, which made for beautiful clear views down onto Boulder. The hike was around 10 miles in length, by going up Fern Canyon but down Shadow Canyon, with about 2,500 ft of elevation gain.
31) Barr Trail, CO - September 26, 2009 - Alan headed down to Colorado Springs for a hike with longtime friend Bill. We'd originally planned to do the long hike up to Barr Camp but instead did a great 3.5 mile round trip hike up Barr Trail while doing a couple of geocaches along the way. 7 miles with about 2,500 ft of elevation total.
32) Caribou, CO - October 18, 2009 - Lyle's wife Selma, and her two dogs, joined our usual hiking crew to a short but windy Fall hike up at the Caribou ghost town site. In addition to a pleasant hike, we also took a moment to celebrate Holly's official graduation from Harvard's doctorate program. Congrats to Dr. Holly!
33) Ceran St Vrain, CO - October 24, 2009 - A sunny but cool hike along South St Vrain creek. Holly couldn't make it but Lyle's wife Selma and her two pups did join us. We stopped for a snack at the 2 miles mark but then wind and snow flurries joined the party, so we decided to turn back. A pleasant and easy hike.
34) Sourdough, CO - November 1, 2009 - Just a few days after a blizzard rolled through dumping three feet of snow on the mountains, our hiking crew got together for a short hike. Jonna was feeling sick so she skipped the hike but Lyle's wife Selma and her two pups were still in town. We ended up doing a very short hike, perhaps two miles total, on trails packed down enough that snow shoes were not needed.
35) Walker Ranch, CO - November 8, 2009 - With Jonna still sick and Holly at a conference, it was just Lyle and Alan for this weekend's hike. We chose to head down to lower elevations to stay out of the snow so we opted for the Walker Ranch loop. It was another perfect day for hiking. All total, it was a 7 mile loop with about 1,500 ft of elevation total.
36) West Magnolia, CO - November 15, 2009 - With Jonna finally recovered, our hiking crew was back up to full strength. Above, actually, as Holly's friend Jennifer also joined us for our first snow shoe of the season. We decied to start the season's winter sports out easy by winding our way through the maze of trails in the West Magnolia system. It was over-cast and snowing but all total, we hiked about two and a half miles through about 8 to 10 inches of beautiful fresh powder.
37) Caribou, CO - November 22, 2009 - With Holly out of town and Lyle busy, Alan and Jonna brought our friend Desiree up to Caribou for a short afternoon hike. It ended up being a short and very windy hike but it was great to spend time catching up with our good friend.
38) Windy Peak, CO - November 26, 2009 - For Thanksgiving Alan, Jonna and Lyle got together for a hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. On a quiet and peaceful morning we hiked in at the Rifleman campground and hiked down almost a 1000 ft in elevation into Forgotten Valley, then climbed back up 600 ft to near the top of Windy Peak. All total, the hike was 6.2 miles long with about 1500 ft of elevation gain. Beautiful!
39) Sourdough Trail, CO - November 28, 2009 - For a little post-holiday hike Alan, Jonna and Lyle headed up to Brainard Lake. In this case, it was to try something different, hiking south on the Sourdough trail from the Red Rocks trailhead. (We usually either hike Sourdough northward from further south or heading north from the Red Rocks trailhead.) We actually headed out on the wrong trail, hiking the Lefthand Reservoir road but then cut over to Sourdough on the Little Raven trail and continued south. A nice, short hike on new trails...about three and a half miles total with about 400 ft of elevation gain.
40) Lost Lake, CO - After various folks traveling the past few weekends, our hiking crew reformed for a snowshoe hike up to Lost Lake at the Hesse trailhead. Snow was coming down fast but the temperature was actually quite nice for hiking. All total, the hike was around five miles round trip with about 1,000 ft of elevation gain.
41) Sourdough Trail, CO - For our final hike of the decade, we decided to do a "through hike" on the Sourdough trail. We've done in-and-back hikes going north from the southern end of the trail and going south from the Red Rocks trailhead in the middle. For this hike, we decided to leave a car at the south end and then hike all the way through from Red Rocks, finally connecting the two sections of the trail we've done previously. It was a windy day with the tops of the trees swaying about but it was nice and calm down in the woods. The total hike was about 6.5 miles of mostly downhill losing about 800 ft of elevation in total.
If you enjoyed these you may also enjoy checking out some photos from our 2008 hikes or 2010 hikes.
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