Alan and Jonna's 2012 hikes

With the previous year being our most active yet in terms of hikes, we got 2012 started off right with a hike on New Years Day and then continued throughout the year.

Here are some quick reviews and photos of some of our favorite hikes of 2012:

1) Eureka Peak, Plumas-Eureka State Park, Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2012 - The first hike of the New Year was on the very first day of the year and was done during our annual trip to the Sierra Nevadas to visit Jonna's family. We again stayed in Graeagle, CA and again headed to the nearby Plumas-Eureka State Park for our annual New Year's Day hike. With so little snow on the ground we were more ambitious than in previous years and headed to the top of 7,400 ft high Eureka Peak. It was a trek through various depths of snow but resulted in beautiful views from the top. The hike was nearly 6.5 miles in length with just under 2,000 ft of elevation (including a few hundred feet through waist deep snow!)

2) West Magnolia trail system, Nederland, CO, January 8, 2012 - After an over-night snow fall Lyle, Jonna and Alan headed out early to get first tracks in the fresh powder. We strapped on the cross-country skis and explored the network of roads in the West Magnolia trail system. Clear blue Colorado skies made the white snow shine while a young moose provided a special animal sighting. Four miles of varying terrain with a touch over 300 ft of elevation gain.

3) Unnamed trail, Como Creek trail system, Nederland, CO, January 15, 2012 - A cold but clear day greeted us as we welcomed Holly back into the hiking group after she spent a month away. We headed out with three goals: find a place out of the gusting wind, with few people, and with hard packed snow. We ended up literally wading through knee and hip deep snow exploring a quiet, calm new trail and then bushwacked our way cross-country back out to the beginning. In the end, we accomplished two of our three objectives plus explored a new area. 2.3 strenuous miles with 250 ft of elevation gain.

4) Mud Lake Open Space, Nederland, CO, January 22, 2012 - With half the hiking crew feeling under the weather and with the wind blowing in freezing gusts we decided to make it a short hike this weekend. We headed just up the road to the Mud Lake Open Space and walked the loop there. Short, easy and at least a little protected from the bitterly cold wind. 2.5 miles with 250 ft of elevation gain.

5) Snowshoe Hare trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, CO, January 29, 2012 - Despite a lack of snow, the hiking crew was able to find a valley with enough crusty snow to allow us to knock the dust off our snowshoes. We not only found snow but we also found a new trail, one of the last two in the State Park not hiked before. It was cold and windy but the sun peaked through the clouds for the first half of the hike making it feel a little warmer. A 3.5 mile loop but hilly with 500 ft of elevation gain.

6) Heart Lake trail, Tolland, CO, February 5, 2012 - What to do during a blizzard during which three feet of snow gets dumped in 24 hours? Why read up on the South Pole expeditions of Amundsen and Scott (this winter being the 200th anniversary of those amazing adventures) then load up the cross country skis and head for the high country. Fortunately, our hiking group had beautiful blue skies and a clear trail to follow so we didn't face the same trevails of the early polar explorers. We had a great ski in a beautiful mountain pine forest covered with an incredible amount of fresh snow. 3.7 miles in length with a touch over 600 ft of elevation gain.

7) Rainbow Lakes Road, Caribou townsite, Nederland, CO, February 12, 2012 - Another layer of fresh snow got the hiking crew out on snowshoes to enjoy the new powder. It was cold and overcast but we found plenty of the fluffy stuff to explore including some massive snow drifts for us to climb. Perfect timing too, as we got back to the car just in time for today's snow storm to start. We broke trail through boot deep snow for about 2 miles before turning back making for 4 miles of relatively flat terrain with only 200 ft of elevation gain.

8) Wildwood Trail, Forest Park, Portland, OR, February 19, 2012 - While on a trip to Portland, Oregon to celebrate Jonna's birthday we gathered friends and family together for a hike in Forest Park. This beautiful, lush forest setting was a stark contrast to the dry, rocky landscape we usually see during our hikes in Colorado. Sarah, Lesa, Taylor, Tonya, Dean, Lorri, Alan and Jonna all ventured onto the muddy trails and did a loop up and down a ridge on the southern end of the park. 5.5 miles in length with a surprising 800 ft of elevation gain.

9) Anchor Mine, Caribou townsite, Nederland, CO, February 26, 2012 - Our friends Alexander and Angela were visiting and joined our hiking crew this weekend. We headed back up to Caribou to check out a trail we'd seen in the past but had never explored. With the wind whipping we were glad the trail was protected by a thick pine forest and extra glad that those trees provided the extra benefit of fluffy, deep snow for snowshoeing. It turns out the trail lead to an old mine site, called the Anchor Mine, which was quite scenic. 3 miles with 400 ft of elevation gain.

10) Canyon Loop Trail, Betasso Preserve, Boulder, CO, March 4, 2012 - With our quiet mountain town overrun with masses of crazies for the annual Frozen Dead Guy Day festival we got the heck out of the mountains in order to find a peaceful place to hike. To that end, we met our friends Desiree and Gaelin at Betasso Preserve and went for a short hike (and to search out a geocache). 3 and a half miles in length with 500 ft of elevation gain.

11) Flagstaff Mountain, City Of Boulder Open Space And Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, March 11, 2012 - We headed back down to Boulder this weekend to start our spring training: hiking down out of the snow and where we can start hiking some elevation. We climbed from Chautauqua Park to the top of Flagstaff Mountain and then back down Gregory Canyon. It was a little overcast but that made for perfect hiking weather: a little cool but no wind. A great start to our getting in shape for the summer. Just under 4 miles with 1,200 ft of elevation gain.

12) Green Mountain, City Of Boulder Open Space And Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, March 17, 2012 - What to do for St. Patrick's Day? Why the hikin' 'o the green, of course. In this case, that means the annual spring ascent of Green Mountain. With Jonna unexpectedly called into work and Holly busy, that left it to Alan and Lyle to trek up to the snowy summit. The hike started out with bright sunshine and dry trails but soon the sky became overcast and the trail changed to slushy snow. It was a slog but we made it all the way up and enjoyed the amazing view from on top. 5.5 miles in length with 2,500 ft of elevation gain.

13) Mt Sanitas, Boulder, CO - March 19, 2012 - Since Jonna missed this Saturday's hike due to work, she and Alan took advantage of her being off on Monday to hike Dakota Ridge and Mt. Sanitas. As has been the trend this past weekend the day started out sunny but steadiliy became overcast throughout the morning. It was cool with a periodic breeze, just enough to keep us from stopping too long while enjoying the view from the top. On the way down, we saw the first sign of spring: a tree covered in fresh blossums. 3.5 miles total with 1,300 ft of elevation gain.

14) Bear Peak, City Of Boulder Open Space And Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO - March 25, 2012 - Lyle, Jonna and Alan continued our series of Spring front range peak hikes with the big climb up Bear Peak. As with other recent hikes, the weather was increasingly overcast throughout the hike but that made for the perfect hiking temperature (and the sun continued to melt out the snow/ice left on the north face of the mountain). We started at NCAR, went up Fern Canyon and then returned via the West Ridge trail down to Bear Canyon. Beautiful, plus the 360 degree view from on top of Bear Peak is the most spectacular in the area. 8 miles in length with a climb up the mountain of 2,500 ft, plus enough extra up and down to make for 2,700 ft of total elevation gain.

15) Colorado National Monument, Fruita, CO - March 30, 2012 - Lyle, Alan and Jonna decided to do something different this weekend so we jumped on the motorcycles and headed over the Rockies and into far western Colorado. Specifically, we headed to Fruita so we could do a couple of days of hiking in the beautiful canyons of Colorado National Monument. First up, was a combination of short hikes along the upper rim (including find a geocache!). It was unseasonably warm and sunny so we got a double dose of vitamin D. 5.5 miles over three different trails with just under 800 ft of elevation gain.

16) Colorado National Monument, Fruita, CO - March 31, 2012 - Our second day of hiking in Fruita was just stunning. We headed back into the park to hike the Ute Canyon trail. There are imposing cliff walls a 1,000 ft high at the start of the trail. Once you climb them, you end up in the beautiful, desert filled Ute Canyon which winds for miles. Then, at the end of the trail, there is another 600 ft climb to the upper-most rim. Spectacular views all during the hike and surprisingly few people. 11 miles in length with 1,600 ft of elevation gain.

17) South Boulder Peak, Boulder, CO - April 7, 2012 - Spring has truly sprung in Boulder so Alan and Lyle headed out to enjoy the fresh buds and blossums. We also used this as an opportunity to climb the last of the five Boulder area peaks that we use as spring training hikes. With a perfectly cloudless blue sky we started from the Mesa trailhead near Eldorado Springs and headed up the Homestead trail. From there it was the steep climb up Shadow Canyon and then on up to the top of South Boulder Peak. After enjoying the awesome view, we headed back down Shadow Canyon and then out the Towhee trail in order to return to the trailhead. 7.5 miles in length with 3,000 ft of elevation gain.

18) West Magnolia trails, Nederland, CO - April 8, 2012 - Since Holly hasn't been able to make any of the recent hikes, Jonna and Alan joined Holly for an evening dog walk/hike. This was also probably our last chance to hike the West Magnolia trail system before they are closed for the summer in order for the forest service to remove dead trees. It was a perfect evening for a walk with the three C's: cool, clear and calm. We had great views the local aspens and of the South Arapaho Peak. A little over 2 miles of length with about 300 ft of elevation gain.

19) Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder, CO - April 15, 2012 - An overnight snowfall turned the mountain trails into a slushy, muddy mess so the hiking crew headed back down to Boulder to look for better hiking conditions. We decided to hike back up Flagstaff Mountain but to do so via a new trail to us, the View Point trail starting at Eben G. Fine Park. Once we got up to the top, we did a loop around the amphitheater, before heading back down. We had stereotypical Colorado weather, a constantly changing mix of sunshine, sleet, snow and wind. A bit over 6 miles long with 1,700 ft of elevation gain.

20) Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, Ft Collins, CO - April 22, 2012 - Lyle, Jonna and Alan ventured further afield than normal for this weekend's hike by heading up to Ft Collins to join our friends Katya and Bongo to explore the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. We lucked out with perfect hiking weather...sunny but cool and not a cloud in the sky! We headed up to Horsetooth Falls, then went up the Stout trail to Tower trail and then to Westridge trail. At the highest point, we turned downhill and returned to the parking lot on Horsetooth Rock trail. In total, the loop was a smidge under 8.5 miles in length and a smidge under 1,500 ft in elevation gain.

21) Tilted Rocks Auto Trail, Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, UT - April 27, 2012 - We decided to spend another weekend exploring hiking options outside our normal stomping grounds. In this case, by driving over to Dinosaur National Monument to re-visit the Carnegie Quarry Fossil Hall but also to explore some of the hiking in the area. We did a few short hikes along the Tilted Rocks Auto Trail but our favorite by far was the hike from Josie's cabin into the nearby box canyon called Hog Canyon: an idyllic oasis of cool air, clear trickling streams, fresh green grass and towering cliff walls. It was easy to idealize the life of Josie Bassett Morris (and intentionally glossing over the incredible hardships she undoubtedly encountered homesteading this place in 1914...) A total of around 5 miles spread across three short hikes with maybe 500 feet of elevation gain.

22) Jones Creek trail, Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, UT - April 28, 2012 - Wow, another spectacular hike in the park! We started at the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery and hiked down Jones Creek, past Ely Creek and then all the way to the confluence with the Green River. The landscape was a fascinating mix of desert (cactus, sage and juniper) and lush riparian (box elder trees, cottonwood trees and reeds). Along the way we saw 1,000 year old petroglyphs, waterfalls, red rock cliffs and lots of butterflies. A beautiful hike! 8 miles round trip but relatively flat with only 600 ft of elevation change.

23) Harper's Corner trail, Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, UT - April 29, 2012 - On our drive back from Vernal, UT we decided to stop in and re-visit a part of the park that we'd last explored back in 2003, the Canyon Area. What we did can't really be called a hike but it was a pleasant walk with some fantastic views (including the iconic Steamboat Rock, Green River and even a look down onto the Jones Hole area we had hiked the day before!) 2.2 miles out to the overlook and back with just about 250 ft of elevation gain.

24) Thunder Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO - May 6, 2012 - A big hike this weekend! It was just Alan and Lyle with an ambitious goal of hiking to a back country lake in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. We made it to within .2 mile of our goal but huge snow drifts, downed trees and incoming weather turned us back just short of Thunder Lake. It was disappointing to come up short but ultimately it was the safe decision. On the hike back to the car, a storm rolled in dramatically dropping the temperature and dumping big fat snow flakes. 14 miles with just under 2,500 ft of elevation gain.

25) Bridal Veil Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO - May 13, 2012 - For this weekend's hike we returned to Rocky Mountain National Park to try a new hike. However, we found this one should be called Bridal Hail Falls because we were pelted by ice for over an hour during the hike. The falls that were the the destination were nice but the valley we hiked up was gorgeous: a rushing creek through a grove of aspens. We slogged back with two inches of hail covering the trail! A little over 6 miles round trip with 1,000 ft of elevation gain.

26) Lily Mountain & Cub Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO - May 20, 2012 - For a third week in a row, we pointed our car north to Rocky Mountain National Park for our weekend hike. This time we mixed things up by doing two short-ish hikes rather than one big one. For the sunny morning, we did the climb up Lily Mountain to enjoy the beautiful views onto the mountains to the west. Then, after lunch, we headed down into the valley for the hike to Cub Lake. A couple of short, spring rain sprinkles kept us changing in and out of our rain gear but the real sign of spring was our catching a Elk cow just as she gave birth to a tiny spotted calf. A truly magical moment! The two hikes added up to 9 miles of total distance (4 miles for one and 5 for the second) with 1,600 ft of elevation gain (1,000 ft for the first and 600 ft for the second).

27) Timber Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO - June 3, 2012 - Lyle and Alan headed over to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park to try out a new trail. The hike started under dark clouds with ominous thunder rumbling in the distance but the rain stayed away and, at least for awhile, the clouds broke up to show a bright blue sky. Snow banks made the final climb to the lake challenging but it was such a beautiful scene it was worth it! Then back down under more dark clouds and finished up the hike with a glimpse of a majestic bull elk. 11 miles in length with a 2,200 ft climb.

28) James Peak, Apex, CO - June 10, 2012 - We got the whole hiking crew together this weekend, plus a visitor, for a breathtaking hike up onto the Continental Divide. The high alpine tundra and peaks of the Divide are just spectacular. It is a whole other world up there where you are looking down on high mountain lakes...heck, you are looking down on flying birds! Little mosses and small flowers struggle to survive in the cold temperatures and low oxygen. Except for some crazy wind, it was a beautiful day to be in the high country. Sadly, a massive smoke plume from a 20,000 acre wildfire burning unchecked about 60 miles north kept those less fortunate today close in our minds. A 8.5 mile loop with enough up and down to total 2,700 ft of elevation gain.

29) Ralston Roost, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, CO - June 17, 2012 - More crazy wind, now combined with hot temperatures, kept the hiking crew to a short hike this weekend. We headed up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park to climb Ralston Roost. From the top, we got a to look upon James Peak which we'd hiked the previous weekend. With the heat, the green trees, the wildflowers and the blinding blue sky it definitely felt like summer. 3.5 miles with 1000 ft of elevation gain.

30) Mt Sopris, Carbondale, CO, June 23, 2012 - Biggest hike so far this year! We escaped the sweltering heat effecting most of Colorado by hiking up into the high country. This one had it all: meadows of wildflowers, aspen groves, alpine lakes, scree fields, high altitude tundra, cloudless blue sky and spectacular views from the peak. Amazing...and the memories should last longer than the sore muscles. 13 miles with 4,500 ft of elevation gain.

31) Sourdough Trail, Ward, CO, July 8, 2012 - With Lyle, Jonna and Alan all recently returning from trips this weekend's hike was really more like a relaxed stroll than a serious hike. A recent series of thunderstorms left the ground (thankfully) saturated and woods full of dripping water. The Sourdough trail was empty so we had a short, easy and peaceful walk. A touch over 3 miles in length with 600 ft of gradual elevation gain.

32) Maroon Bells, Aspen, CO, July 22, 2012 - My mom and dad came to visit and we did a drive up into the high county, over Independence Pass and into Maroon Bells Recreation Area. While there, we did a short hike around the lake. It was a beautiful day to get out and enjoy the mountains. 1.0 mile with 50 ft of elevation change.

33) Pandora Mine, Nederland, CO, July 29, 2012 - Another short hike this weekend but to a neat new destination. We took a side trail off one of our common hiking spots and wandered up to the old mine site for the Pandora mine. There are a few bits of old heavy machinery left over from the mine, as well as a very deep hole (covered by a grate). We finished up just as dark storm clouds rolled in and just moments before it started to rain. An easy 3 miles in length with about 300ft of elevation change.

34) Arapho Glacier, Ward, CO, August 5, 2012 - A beautiful, clear day for hiking allowed us to safely head up above tree line to enjoy the views of the high mountains. We headed up the newly re-opened Arapho Glacier trail, where we sat on a mountainside and enjoyed the sight of the lakes down below and the mountain peaks up above. A little under 5 1/2 miles in length with 1,100 ft of elevation gain.

35) Windy Gap, Nederland, CO, August 12, 2012 - Another incredible day for hiking in Colorado but unfortunately Jonna and Holly were both feeling under the weather and couldn't get out to enjoy it. So it fell to the two guys to venture out and explore a new trail for this weekend's hike. We returned to the old Caribou ghost town site but then drove the 4x4 road to Windy Gap. From there, we explored the connector trail from that valley up to Arapho Glacier. Due to time restrictions, we had to cut it short before connecting the two trails but we did get up to treeline. Recent rain also had the flowers, berries and mushrooms exploding! 3.5 miles with just under 1,000 ft of elevation gain.

36) Arapho Glacier trail, Eldora, CO, August 19, 2012 - A big hike this weekend and one that I've had on my "must do" list for at least 15 years: Miles of alpine tundra climbing up to the Arapho Glacier overlook from Rainbow Lakes trailhead and then down the Arapho Pass trail to the 4th of July trailhead. The tiny plants that struggle for live above treeline were already changing colors, giving the mountain sides above treeline a reddish tint. Gorgeous views north to the Indian Peaks, west to Arapho Pass, south to James Peak and east down onto Caribou. 10 miles with a climb of 2,700 ft up to the overlook, then back down.

37) Mud Lake Open Space, Nederland, CO, August 26, 2012 - I was on-call at work so this weekend we kept the hike super-short and super-local. We headed to the nearby Mud Lake County Open Space to hike the trails there...well, really more of a walk than a hike but still a pleasant time spent enjoying nature. More early signs of autumn were evident: grasses which were browning, reeds which were yellowing and the late summer flowers which were wilting. A mellow 2.2 miles round trip with an equally mellow 300 ft of elevation gain.

38) North Fork Trail, Glen Haven, CO, September 2, 2012 - This hiking crew headed north this weekend to explore a new trail in an area we haven't hiked before: The Comanche Peak Wilderness area. Specifically, we headed to the Dunraven Trailhead to check out the North Fork Trail. We can honestly claim it was a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park but really only a small part was in the park, while the majority was in Roosevelt National Forest. A nice long hike with three different distinct environments: The first with the trail alongside a nice rushing creek, the second climbing through a series of meadows and the final bit going up a heavily forested hillside. A little under 11 miles roundtrip with a little over 1,500 feet of elevation gain.

39) Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, CO, September 15, 2012 - Fun day to start the weekend...starting with a colorful hike up to Hanging Lake in the morning: Beautiful blue skies, the crazy colors of the lake and the lush green of all the moss. Then a wild cave tour in the afternoon involving two hours of crawling around in Glenwood Caverns (sorry, not photos or GPS data available of that adventure). 3.5 miles but with 1,300 ft of elevation gain.

40) Willow Pass, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, CO, September 16, 2012 - Okay, I've gone through the thesaurus and I just can't find words to describe this hike so I'm afraid I'll have to fall back on teen-speak. This hike was "OMG, like Tots Awe-some!!!" (and, as it turns out, was tots exhausting too.) Lyle and Alan headed up, up, and more up into the spectacular high country in the Maroon Bells Wilderness area. We eventually topped out on Willow Pass where we got views down into two stunning valleys. We had perfect hiking weather, the beginning of the golden aspen colors and the beautiful Maroon Bells mountains so the script was ideal for an amazing day enjoying Colorado. As I said, OMG. (LOL, LMAO). 10 miles round trip with an impressive 3,200 ft climb up to the pass.

41) Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO, September 23, 2012 - Another weekend with Alan on call at work meant we had to find another hike that would have cell phone signal coverage. To that end, we headed down to Boulder to climb Mt. Sanitas. At the last minute, Jonna decided to recover from her big hike the previous week rather than hike, so it was just Alan and Lyle for the trek up and over Settler's Park and then up to the peak of Mt Sanitas. The views from on top were hazy due to smoke from far away forest fires but it was still nice to get out for a good hike. 4.3 miles with 1,500 ft of elevation gain.

42) East Magnolia trail system, Nederland, CO, September 30, 2012 - Holly, Jonna and Alan got out for a short hike this weekend for a little post-Soup Party calorie burn. What the trail lacked in length it made up for in colorful aspens, with us hiking through three or four different groves, all of them glowing gold from the yellow and orange leaves. The weather started with dark clouds and ended with rain but we had a few rays of sunlight as well. A 3.7 mile long loop with 500 ft of elevation gain.

43) Miller Rock, Ceran St. Vrain trailhead, Ward, CO, October 14, 2012 - Our hiking crew got out to enjoy a beautiful hiking day: Clear blue skies, the air cool and crisp, the last few yellow leaves left on the aspens and south St. Vrain creek trickling through the forest. We headed up to the Ceran St. Vrain trailhead, hiked the trail and then did the loop on the 4WD road to Miller Rock. All total, a loop that was a touch over 6 miles in length with 800 ft of elevation gain, including the climb up to the top of Miller Rock.

44) Pikes Peak and Garden Of The Gods, Colorado Springs, CO, October 21, 2012 - No hike this weekend but a great day spent with a cousin who was visiting from Alaska. We had perfect Fall weather so we took the opportunity to drive to the top of Pikes Peak and walk around at the top enjoying the view. Then lunch followed by a short stroll around the beautiful rock structures in the coolest city park in Colorado - Garden Of The Gods just outside Colorado Springs. Maybe 2 miles of walking over the course of the day and probably no more than 50 ft of elevation but still a great day to be outside and made better by the rare visit of family.

45) East Magnolia trail system, Nederland, CO, November 18, 2012 - For our first hike back after a long vacation (and the fact that Alan was on call at work) was short and nearby. Fortunately, we had a great weather so it was a great way to get back into the hiking routine. We started at the East Magnolia trailhead, did a side loop we rarely use and then extended the hike out towards the area we hiked back in September. A nice hike through the trees, a good dose of vitamin-D and a chance for us to bore Lyle with all our tales of Morocco. 3.9 miles in length with around 500 ft of elevation gain.

46) Frazer Meadows, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, CO, November 25, 2012 - Another weekend with Alan on-call at work meant another hike close to home so the hiking crew headed to Golden Gate Canyon State Park to hike an old favorite: the loop from Old Barn Knoll, up the Mule Deer trail to Frazer Meadows, down Coyote trail to Bootleg Bottom and then back onto Mule Deer trail to where we started. A beautiful cloudless blue sky with a slight Fall chill in the air made for a nice seasonal hike through bone white leafless aspens and small meadows of golden brown grass. A 5.8 mile loop with 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

47) South St. Vrain trail #909, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Ward, CO, December 2, 2012 - Another great day for a hike with unseasonably mild weather: cool with clear skies and no wind. The hiking crew headed to a little used trail for a peaceful hike through the thick pine forest and aspen groves on the edge of Brainard Lake Recreation Area. 5.5 miles out and back with 1,000 ft of elevation gain.

48) Mud Lake Open Space, Nederland, CO, December 9, 2012 - Yet another weekend with Alan on call so we went out for another short hike near home this weekend at the Mud Lake Open Space. This was also our first winter hike of the year with a dusting of fresh snow on the ground and with the temperature just barely into the double digits. BBbbbrrrr.... A quick two and a half miles with a modest 300 ft of elevation gain.

49) Benjamin Loop Trail, Betasso Preserve, Boulder, CO, December 16, 2012 - It was chilly and overcast this weekend but despite threatening skies it didn't snow. So Lyle, Jonna and Alan headed down to Boulder's Betasso Preserve to hike the relatively new Benjamin Loop extension. A nice hike spent dodging mountain bikers and watching a fog bank hover beneath us over the city of Boulder. Another highlight was finally getting a picture of a black, fluffy ear'ed Abert's Squirrel. 7.2 miles of hiking with about 700 ft of combined elevation gain.

If you enjoyed these you may also enjoy checking out some photos from our 2011 hikes or 2013 hikes.

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Alan Fleming