Alan and Jonna's 2011 hikes

As with the past half-decade, 2011 started off with hiking and carried on through the year.

Here are some quick reviews and photos of some of our favorite hikes of 2011:

1) Graeagle, CA - January 1, 2011 - The first hike of the New Year was our fourth annual trek to the top of the sledding hill in Plumas-Eureka State Park with Jonna's family (Jamie, Larkin, Brianna and Rosie). This year was a mini-expedition with nearly two foot of fresh snow on the ground and more falling the entire hike. Great fun and a great tradition! False North Peak, Plumas-Eureka State Park, Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2011. The hike was only two miles long but 1,000 ft of elevation in two feet of snow was a workout!

2) Hessie trail, CO - January 8, 2011 - We squeaked in this weekend's hike before a big storm which is scheduled to hit the next day. We intended to snowshoe but the trails were so packed down we just hiked instead. Still, it was a scenic hike on the Hessie trail to ring in a new year of hiking in Colorado. Four miles with a little over 600 ft of elevation gain.

3) Walker Ranch trail, CO - January 16, 2011 - Overcast skies and a stiff breeze accompanied us on this weekends hike. We wanted to try a new trail but couldn't find the trailhead so we headed to an old favorite instead, the Walker Ranch loop. 7.5 miles and 1,500 ft of elevation after a relaxed holiday break made for a very long hike!

4) Sourdough trail, CO - January 23, 2011 - Fresh snow tempted the hiking crew to switch over to cross-country skiing for this weekend's outing. Jonna and Holly are experienced skiers but this would be Alan and Lyle's first time skiing the back country. Looking for mild elevation we headed to Brainard to ski the Sourdough trail. Just under 3 miles in total but mellow with just 150 ft of elevation change.

5) Shelter #1 trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - January 30, 2011 - Jonna was out sick this weekend so Holly, Lyle and Alan headed down to Golden Gate Canyon State Park so Lyle could hike one of the new trails he missed last Fall. With a big snow storm expected tomorrow, we enjoyed the overcast but warm weather on the hike. 3.8 miles with 1,000 ft of elevation gain.

6) Fourth Of July road, Eldora, CO - February 6, 2011 - Lots of fresh snow (with more still falling) got the hiking crew out for another cross-country ski excursion, this time skiing up the dirt road from Eldora to the Fourth Of July trailhead. A very scenic route and a nice gentle climb to help Alan and Lyle learn the skills of backcountry skiing. 800 ft of elevation gain and then subsequent loss over a 5.5 mile ski trip.

7) Bluebird Loop trail, CO - February 13, 2011 - A warm but windy hike for Lyle, Jonna and Alan this weekend. Since Lyle missed the hike we did at Boulder County's Caribou Ranch Open Space last fall, we headed there today. A the loop includes both the Blue Bird silver mine and the Caribou Ranch homestead. 4.8 miles in length with a gentle 200 ft of elevation change.

8) Beaver Reservoir, CO - February 21, 2011 - Our friend Krista joined the hiking crew for a very cold and very windy (but, oddly enough, still sunny) hike up to Beaver Reservoir. A lack of fresh snow meant the trail was packed and that snow shoes were optional but one step off the trail and you were in up to your waist! A nice four mile hike through the forest with about 650 ft of elevation gain and with an equally nice vista of the reservoir at the turnaround point.

9) Caribou Creek, CO - February 27, 2011 - A short hike this weekend but fresh powder still made for a nice bit of snowshoeing. We explored a new trail from the old ghosttown of Caribou, the 4WD road over to Rainbow Lakes. 2 miles with 200 ft of elevation gain.

10) East Magnolia trail system, CO - March 6, 2011 - Another short but energetic hike, this one squeezed in just before the first flakes of a snow storm started to fall. Due to drifting snow, we ended up losing the trail and instead took off cross-country exploring the national forest. The threatening dark clouds in this photo gave the hike an eerie, foreboding light. 3 miles roundtrip with about 600 ft of elevation change but also with plenty of post-holing through knee deep snow.

11) Green Mountain, Boulder, CO - March 20, 2011 - Our friend Erin is starting training for Mt Kilomanjaro ascent in the winter, so we decided to redo some of our 2006 FIT hikes (Flemings In Training, which we did to train for Tibet) to train with her. First up, using Boulder's spring weather to hike some of the front range peaks. Holly couldn't make it but the rest of the hiking crew joined Erin for the climbing of 8,100 ft Green Mountain. 2,500 ft of elevation gain in a little over 5 miles. (Up Saddleback trail to Greenman trail and from there to the summit. Then down Ranger trail to the Gregory Canyon trail.)

12) Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder, CO - March 25, 2011 - Jonna and Alan decided to do a mid-week, after-work hike but weather delayed us until Friday. Still, despite the sun setting and some heavy, dark rain clouds overhead we managed to sneak in a hike up Flagstaff Mountain. The evening's "golden light" contrasted with the foreboding rain clouds made for an impressive hike. Just a tad under 4 miles in length with 1,200 ft of elevation gain.

13) Bear Peak, Boulder, CO - March 27, 2011 - Alan, Jonna and Lyle did another training hike with our friend Erin this weekend, along with two more friends Spice and Joanna. A beautiful day and a great hike up to the top of Bear Peak. We started at NCAR, went up Mesa trail then up Fern Canyon to the top of the peak. Then back down via the West Ridge trail to Bear Canyon and back out to NCAR. 2,700 ft of elevation gain over a 8 1/2 half mile hike.

14) Betasso Preserve, Boulder, CO - April 3, 2011 - After a couple of weekends doing training hikes with a friend on front range peaks, our regular hiking crew got back together this weekend. The weather forecast called for a winter storm to roll in around noon, so we were happy to start the hike in overcast but dry conditions. Over the course of our hike around the Betasso Preserve loop, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, it started to rain, then hail and then snow. We finished the hike in a full blown snow storm. 3.5 miles with 500 ft of elevation gain.

15) Mt Sanitas, Boulder, CO - April 8, 2011 - Another after work hike, this time a Friday evening dinner picnic for Alan and Jonna on top of Mt Sanitas, watching the shadows of the mountains slowly stretch out over Boulder and then eastward toward the horizon. 3.5 miles total with 1,300 ft of elevation gain.

16) Green Mountain, Boulder, CO - April 10, 2011 - With Jonna sick and Holly unavailable, Alan and Lyle headed out to re-hike Green Mountain but using some trails neither had ever hiked before: Long Canyon trail to Ranger trail to EM Greenman trail to Saddlerock trail and up to the top of Green Mountain. Then Green Mountain West Ridge trail to Green Bear trail back to Green Mountain West Ridge trail and then a short walk down a road. Whew! After an over-night snow storm left a layer of fresh powder, the weather rebounded to provide for a cool but sunny day for this weekend's hike. A little over 6 miles in length with 2100 ft of elevation gain.

17) Tenderfoot trail, Boulder, CO - April 15, 2011 - Another after work hike but this time one that Alan did by himself since Jonna had a prior Friday evening commitment. The initial goal of finding a geocache turned into a scenic hike up the west side of Flagstaff Mountain, culminating with a gorgeous sunset over the Rockies. 5 miles with 1,000 ft of elevation gain.

18) South Boulder Peak, Boulder, CO - April 17, 2011 - A big hike this weekend, hiking up South Boulder Peak from the South Mesa trailhead. A beautiful day for a hike, sunny but with a breeze to keep the heat down. We went out on the Towhee trail, then up the super steep Shadow Canyon trail to the peak. Then back down and a return to the parking lot via the Homestead trail. 8 miles of hiking with 3,000 ft of elevation.

19) Mesa Trail, Boulder, CO - April 22, 2011 - This Friday evening's hike was a mellow hike along Boulder's Mesa Trail, from NCAR to Chautauqua Park. A cool but pleasant walk through the woods ending with a nice view of the Flatirons. 3 miles with about 400 ft of elevation gain but with about 700 ft of elevation drop.

20) Burro Trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - April 24, 2011 - Spring in the Rockies, means unpredictable weather and we certainly got that today. Our hike started overcast with a light snow, then changed to clear then returned to a light snow but then ended in a comically heavy snow storm with big fat, wet, sticky flakes which turned us into walking snowmen. Jonna was sick with a cold but the rest of the hiking crew headed up a new trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park which turned into a great hike with scenic views down into two different valleys. 5 1/2 miles with a bit over 1,100 ft of elevation gain.

21) Jasper Lake Trail, Eldora, CO - May 1, 2011 - The late spring wintery weather continued again this weekend, making for a grey, overcast hike with periodic snow flakes drifting down. Our hiking crew headed up to the Hessie trailhead but to try out a different part of that trail system, specifically the trail to Jasper Lake. The snow was too deep to make the entire hike but we did get to explore a new, beautiful valley. Around 5 miles total with about 1,200 ft of elevation gain.

22) Betasso Cutoff Trail, Boulder, CO - May 6, 2011 - Alan did another solo Friday evening hike but a late exit from work made for the evening hike turning into a night hike. The Betasso cutoff trail is usually a banzai slalom run for mountain bikes but on the evening of CU's graduation day it is relatively empty. A climb up to the Betasso open space, the usual loop there and then a climb back down the cutoff trail in pitch black. 5.7 miles in length with around 1,100 ft of elevation gain.

23) Windy Peak, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - May 8, 2011 - A perfect day for a spring hike. Cloudless blue skies, warm sunshine and a slight cooling breeze. The hiking crew headed for the highest point in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, 9,200 ft high Windy Peak. Just under 6 miles in length, with 1,500 ft of elevation gain.

24) High Dune, Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO - May 15, 2011 - The first of four hikes in one weekend trip down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. A beautiful though windy morning for a trip out through the dunes to the top of the second highest one, confusingly called High Dune. 2.6 miles with 650 ft of elevation gain.

25) Mosca Pass, Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO - May 15, 2011 - Our second Great Sand Dunes hike, just an hour after we finished hiking the dunes, was up to the top of Mosca Pass. Afternoon clouds moved in and threatened to rain on us but held off until we were back in the car. Six and a half miles with 1,400 ft of elevation gain.

26) Zapata Falls, Zapata Falls BLM Recreation Area, CO - May 16, 2011 - A short hike under perfectly clear blue skies up to the very cool Zapata Falls to get things started on Sunday. A rocky 300 ft climb with a short, wet hike up a slot canyon into a hidden chamber to see the falls. Just under a mile round trip.

27) Sand Ramp trail, Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO - May 16, 2011 - Our final hike of the weekend was back in the National Park and it continued the great weather trend: beautiful blue sky with just a few puffy white clouds. We drove as far north in the park as our car would take us and then set out hiking on the Sand Ramp trail. Soft sand, lots of cactus and few small herds of deer all made for a very desert feel. Five and a half miles with a bunch of up and down making for around 400 ft of elevation gain.

28) Twin Sisters, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - June 5, 2011 - After a week off, and with Holly out of the country, Jonna, Lyle and Alan were back at it with another good hike this one to the top of Twin Sisters mountain just outside Estes Park. Smoke from an unidentified (by us) forest fire filled the air and clouded out the normal spectacular panorama but thanks to lots of snow at the top it was still an interesting hike. 7.5 miles with 2,500 ft of elevation gain.

29) Unnamed trail near Como Creek, CO - June 11, 2011 - With snow keeping us off the mountains, we decided to go back and explore the Como Creek basin, hoping to tie the Sourdough and Caribou Ranch Open Space trails together. Unfortunately, a section was closed for wildlife conservation so we had to turn back but we still enjoyed a nice spring hike with raging creeks, bright green aspens and some scenic views. 5.5 miles with 300 ft of elevation gain.

30) Mt Sanitas, Boulder, CO - June 17, 2011 - After a month off, we returned to doing an after-work hike on Friday evening by heading back up Mt Sanitas. This time our friend Desiree came along and we had a fancy picnic up top while enjoying the view. The clouds from an afternoon rain storm were just off to the east but we enjoyed clearing skies and a dry trail. 3.5 miles and with 1,200 ft of elevation gain.

31) Estes Cone, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - June 19, 2011 - With our friends all busy, Alan and Jonna went it alone for today's hike. The day started sunny as we explored the Eugenia Mine site but clouds started rolling in as we went up the ominously named Storm Pass. Thankfully, we made it to the top of Estes Cone and enjoyed the stunning view before a few sprinkles started to fall. 6.5 miles round trip with around 2,000 ft of elevation gain.

32) Comanche Lake, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Westcliffe, CO - June 25, 2011 - Alan, Jonna and Lyle hopped on our motorcycles and headed down to southern Colorado to do a hike in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness area. It was a perfect Colorado hiking day with blue skies, almost no clouds, warm sunshine and a slight cooling breeze. We had a beautiful hike through pines and aspens which ended at a alpine lake beneath a snowy mountainside. 8.5 miles in length with 2,750 ft of elevation gain.

33) Petrified Forest trail, Flourissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Flourissant, CO - June 26, 2011 - While this doesn't really qualify as a hike, it was interesting enough to at least get noted on the page. On our way back from Westcliffe, we stopped off at the Flourissant Fossil Beds to look around. We did a quick self-guided walking loop through a meadow looking at the petrified stumps of 35 million year old redwood trees. These massive remains indicate giant prehistoric trees which were once 250 ft high and which have been slowly turned into rock as minerals leeched into the wood. 1 mile in length with maybe 50 ft of elevation change.

34) Big Bluestem trail, City Of Boulder Open Space And Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO - July 1, 2011 - Alan and Jonna went for another Friday evening hike and picnic, this time doing the southern end of the Mesa trail. We started at the South Mesa trailhead, went up Big Bluestem trail and then north on Mesa trail up to NCAR. A nice 5 mile hike, a gradual 900 ft of elevation gain, a tasty selection of deli salads and fruit for dinner and then the whole thing finished off with a colorful sunset over the Flat Irons.

35) Heart Lake, Toland, CO - July 3, 2011 - Our last hike before leaving on our summer vacation. Our friend Krista came along for her first hike after moving back to Colorado while regular Holly (back from her summer trip to Asia) joined for the first half. We hit snow at the halfway point but we persevered to slip and slide the rest of the way up. We found beautiful sunshine and incredible wildflowers up in the bowl at the top making it a challenging yet beautiful hike. 9 1/2 miles total with 2,250 ft of elevation gain.

36) Kahlpahlim Rock trail, Davies Creek National Park, Queensland, Australia - July 12, 2011 - Vacation for us, still means hiking! While in Australia, we did a day hike through thick rainforest on the Kahlpahlim Rock trail. What a drastically different environment compared to our hikes in Colorado: stinging plants, clinging vines, massive Eucalyptus trees, screeching Cockatoos and rainforest water so clear it is invisible in the creekbeds. We climbed up to the highest point in the Lamb Range, called the Lamb's Head. 6 miles in length with around 2,500 ft of elevation gain.

37) Buchanan Pass trail, Peaceful Valley, CO - July 31, 2011 - For our first hike back after vacation, we attempted a big hike but the trail was closed. Instead, we headed up to Camp Dick to hike the Buchanan Pass trail (we did this earlier in the spring but didn't have a working camera). Blue skies, warm weather, a rushing creek and an explosion of wild flowers made for a very nice hike. 4.5 miles with a little over 500 ft of elevation gain.

38) Frazier Meadow, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - August 14, 2011 - Our friend Holly's three nieces were visiting so the hiking crew headed out to introduce them to geo-caching. We headed up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park under threatening skies and hiked up to Frazier Meadow, collecting two geo-caches along the way. The dark clouds sent down a few sprinkles but nothing to dampen our spirits. 4.5 miles total with just under 800 ft of elevation.

39) Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI - August 21, 2011 - Jonna and Alan made a quick weekend trip to visit relatives in Madison, WI but that didn't prevent us from squeezing in a weekend hike. Heath, Abby, Baby Brenna and Whinston the Golden-Doodle brought us up to Devil's Lake State Park for a bit of sightseeing and an afternoon walk around the lake. We started on the south shore, went up to Balanced Rock, then around to the north shore and finally back down the west side. Approximately 4 miles in length and around 500 ft of elevation gain.

40) Sourdough Trail, Peaceful Valley, CO - September 3, 2011 - The hiking crew got out to enjoy a perfect early fall hiking day: Clear blue skies, cool weather and the first of the aspen leaves starting to turn yellow. We headed up to Beaver Reservoir and did an easy hike south on the Sourdough trail to it's connection with Wapiti trail. 4 miles with 300 ft of elevation.

41) Estes Cone, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - September 11, 2011 - We returned to Estes Cone again but this time from the Lily Lake trailhead. Unlike our last visit to Estes Cone, this was a wonderful day for hiking: no rain, no thunder, not too hot and not too cold. Instead it was clear, cool and the views onto the Rockies were stunning! 7.5 miles with big 2,000 ft of elevation gain.

42) Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA - September 17, 2011 - We're getting in some great non-Colorado hikes this summer, this time while visiting Jonna's Brother's family in California. Our brother Jamie, our niece Rosie, their two dogs Leo and Bella, Jonna and Alan all headed up to a nearby park for an afternoon hike through the redwoods and eucalyptus trees. On a warm, sunny day we got out and connected the Sequoia Bayview trail, the West Ridge Trail and the Graham Trail to make a 4.5 mile hike with around 500 ft of elevation gain.

43) City Lights Ridge, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO - September 25, 2011 - Holly was out of town but Lyle's wife Selma and son Dax were visiting so the hiking crew headed out for a short hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. With warmer than expected weather and the aspens just beginning to change colors, it was a hot Summer-like day to enjoy some nice Fall-like views. As a bonus, we also found two geo-caches along the way! Just under 4 miles in length with just under 800 ft of elevation gain.

44) East Maroon Creek trail, Maroon Bells National Recreation Area, Aspen, CO - October 1, 2011 - We've had hiking in the Maroon Bells on our list for quite some time but it jumped up the list at the beginning of this year after hearing some great things and then jumped to the top of our list once some friends posted photos of their hike a couple of weeks ago. We spent seven hours with our friends Krista and David enjoying the most spectacular hiking we've ever done. Perfect fall colors with the aspens every possible shade of gold, stunning peaks dusted with snow, the sound of cascading creeks and even striking clouds filling the sky. Just incredible! 13 miles up and back with a 1,800 ft climb in elevation.

45) Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, CO - October 2, 2011 - While we were in the Glenwood Springs area, we decided to do another hike that has been on our list for a few years: Hanging Lake. A nice climb up a slot canyon with a creek tumbling alongside ending at a lake so beautiful it seemed surreal. 3 miles with 1,000 ft of elevation gain up a narrow, slot canyon.

46) Storm Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - October 9, 2011 - With Holly out of town and Jonna sick, it was just Alan and Lyle for this weekend's hike. We headed up into Rocky Mountain National Park (past herds of elk and herds of crazy tourists!) to hike Storm Pass from Bear Lake road. It definitely felt like winter with fresh snow on the ground, grey clouds overhead, leafless aspens and dead pine trees on every hillside. However, at the end the clouds broke up, the sun shone down and the beautiful mountains lit up the horizon. 9 miles in length with 1,750 foot of elevation gain.

47) Unnamed trail near Como Creek, CO - October 16, 2011 - For the first time in a few months, all four of the regulars in our hiking crew were available for this weekend's hike. We again tried to hike the Arapahoe Glacier trail but again found it closed for repairs so no hiking there. Instead, we headed to the Sourdough trail parking area but skipped Sourdough and headed back to the Como Creek valley. It was a beautiful warm fall day: sunny with some clouds way up high in the sky. Naked aspen trees and the leaf covered ground showed that we are firmly in Fall with Winter knocking on the door. 5 miles with 400 ft of elevation gain.

48) Caribou Ranch Open Space, Nederland CO - October 23, 2011 - Holly wasn't feeling well so Lyle, Jonna and Alan took advantage of a weekend hiking without dogs to head to Boulder County's Caribou Ranch Open Space (which doesn't allow dogs on the trails). We did the Bluebird Loop, which we've done before, but then also headed out to a new part of the park which tied the trails in Caribou Ranch to the Como Creek trail that we did last weekend. Fortunately, we had perfect Fall hiking weather with an equally perfect cloudless blue sky. Seven miles round trip but relatively flat at only 300 ft of elevation gain.

49) Bierstadt Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO - October 30, 2011 - Once again without Holly and the pups, Lyle, Jonna and Alan headed into Rocky Mountain National Park to try out a new trail. From the Bear Lake trailhead, we hiked down to Bierstadt Lake, looped around lake and then headed back to encircle Bear Lake before returning to the car. A couple of feet of packed snow meant we didn't need the snowshoes we carried the entire hike. On a sad note, we got to see firsthand just how destructive the pine beetles have been in this part of the park with more than 50% of the trees dead in some sections. A little over 5 miles in length with a 400 ft high ridge in the middle which had to be climbed both ways for a total of 800 feet of total elevation gain.

50) South St Vrain trail #909, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, CO - November 6, 2011 - Just Lyle and Alan for today's hike so we headed out to try out a new trail: South St Vrain from County Road 96 to the Brainard Lake parking area. A nice, if cold, snowshoe through the trees along South St Vrain creek. Interesting weather for the hike as we were on the edge of a snow storm so a mix of blue skies with intermittent clouds and snow flurries. 1,200 ft of elevation gain over 4.3 miles.

51) Ceran St Vrain trail, Jamestown, CO - November 13, 2011 - Lyle, Jonna and Alan headed out for a short hike to work off some of the soup from last night's party. The real hold over from last night, though, was a handful of downed trees from the crazy wind storm. We had a brief ray of sunshine early in the hike but then snow moved in so we finished the hike with flakes quietly falling. (Sadly, the peace was broken by what sounded like a small army unleashing an arsenal of guns on a nearby hillside!) An easy 4 miles with 400 ft of elevation loss and then the same on the climb back out.

52) Mud Lake Open Space, Nederland, CO - November 20, 2011 - Alan and Jonna managed to over come low energy and low motivation to get out for a short hike at the nearby Mud Lake Open Space. Fortunately, we had the three C's: Clear skies, calm air and cool temperatures. As a result, we rallied and found the energy to explore all the trails there. 4 miles with 300 ft of elevation gain.

53) Annie U White trail, Boulder, CO - November 25, 2011 - We merged the post-Thanksgiving hike in with a chance to meet our visiting friend John and his friend Rachel. We headed to North Boulder for a stoll and a picnic on the Annie U White trail. A short, chilly hike but redeemed by the nice scenery and the wonderful camaraderie. 3 1/2 miles with 500 ft of elevation gain.

54) Lefthand Reservoir, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, CO - December 4, 2011 - Two days worth of fresh snow meant we could break out the cross-country skis for the first time this year. We headed up to Brainard Lake to get some easy ski practice by taking the road up to Lefthand Reservoir. As soon as the skis hit the trail, snow started falling and the temperature dropped to an eventual 15 degrees! Brrr... 4.3 miles with 700 ft of elevation gain and then (wheeeee!!!!) decent.

55) Rock Creek trail, Roosevelt National Park, Allenspark, CO - December 11, 2011 - A beautiful day for a snow hike (on a trail too packed down for snowshoes). We headed up to Allenspark to try out a new trail (for us) on the grounds of an old 1940s ski resort. A steady climb up a valley alongside a frozen creek and through thick pine trees. 4 miles round trip with 900 ft of elevation gain.

56) Benjamin Loop trail, Betasso Preserve, Boulder, CO - December 18, 2011 - Jonna, Lyle and Alan headed down in elevation to explore the new expansion trail in the Betasso Preserver Boulder County Open Space. A beautiful blue sky contrasted with the very white hard packed snow on the trail. We walked and slid our way nearly halfway around the new loop but had a time commitment which forced us to turn before completely exploring the new trail. 6.1 miles in length but relatively flat with only a couple hundred feet of elevation change.

57) South Saint Vrain Creek trail, Brainard Lake National Recreation Area, Ward, CO - December 22, 2011 - One of the few advantages of being unexpectedly unemployed is the ability to get out mid-week for a hike. Good buddy Todd Unpronounceable and I got out on a Thursday morning with snowshoes to enjoy the 18 inches of fresh snow which dumped overnight. We did the Sourdough-South Saint Vrain Creek-Waldrop loop to Brainard Lake and then hiked back on the road. Halfway through, the snow storm dropped in altitude bathing us in bright sunshine and giving a very cool cloud layer to look *down* upon. 5 and a half miles with 600 ft of elevation change.

58) Fourth Of July road, Eldora, CO - December 29, 2011 - Another mid-week outing, this one a spur-of-the-moment cross-country ski excursion for Alan and Jonna up the Fourth of July Road. A snow storm dumped a couple of inches of fresh snow while we were skiing making for an authentic winter wonderland environment. A touch over 4 miles with a touch under 700 ft of elevation gain.

59) Long Lake trail, Graeagle, CA - December 31, 2011 - Jonna and Alan's last hike of 2011 was a beautiful hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with family. Specifically, Jamie, Rosie, Larkin, Hannah, Jonna and Alan headed out on New Year's Eve Day to hike among the manzanita and pines near Long Lake. The lack of snow made for a mostly clear trail with only a few patches of ice. It was a sunny, if cool, day so we had nice views hiking up the valley which made for a great way to close out the year. 3.3 miles total with 500 ft of elevation gain.

If you enjoyed these you may also enjoy checking out some photos from our 2010 hikes or 2012 hikes.

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Alan Fleming