Alan and Jonna's 2017 hikes

Here are some quick reviews and photos of some of our favorite hikes of 2017:

1) Los Lagos Reservoir Trail System, Rollinsville, CO, January 1, 2017 - Jonna and Alan kicked off 2017 with a short hike on New Years Day with our friends Desiree and Holly. We headed to a local favorite, the Los Lagos Reservoir trail system where we crunched and slid our way over the crusty snow and slick ice. We didn't climb quite high enough to get a view of the mountains but, as always, we enjoyed the hike through the impossibly thick pine forest in the area. 2.7 miles with 400 feet of elevation gain.

2) Ceran St. Vrain, Jamestown, CO, January 8, 2017 - A big mid-week snow storm blanketed the mountains around Nederland with over 2 feet of fresh powder so this weekend was our first chance this winter to strap on our cross-country skis. Lyle's friend Roger joined us for Lyle's birthday weekend hike. To avoid the blowing wind we decided to head somewhere with a lot of trees and Lyle picked the Ceran St. Vrain trail. Just as we started skiing the sun broke through the clouds which warmed the snow just enough to make it very sticky. We did our best but snow build-up on the skis made it a struggle. Still, the snowy forest along the South St Vrain Creek valley was beautiful so it was a good way to celebrate Lyle's birthday! 2.6 miles with 300 feet of elevation gain.

3) Sourdough trail, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Ward, CO, January 15, 2017 - Desiree again joined our hiking crew this weekend to play in the copious mass of snow that has accumulated over the past couple of weeks. We drove into Brainard Lake Recreation Area winter parking lot, strapped on the snowshoes and headed south on the SourDough trail. The forest was amazing - all the snow in the trees and a grey sky all blended together to really highlight the tree trunks. It was a perfect day to be out in the snowy mountains. 3.1 miles out and back with 250 feet of elevation gain.

4) Ralston Roost, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, CO, January 22, 2017 - It was clear but cold and windy this weekend but Lyle and Alan decided to hike anyway. In an effort to get in some elevation training we decided to do one of our favorite hikes in Golden Gate Canyon State Park - the climb up to Ralston Roost on Black Bear trail. The trail was a mixture of packed snow and glass ice which made for tricky footing but also kept away the other hikers. The view from the top onto the Continental Divide was grand but the wind prevented us from enjoying the scene for long. We came back down via the Horseshoe trail which was much more heavily trafficked which contrasted with the relative solitude we'd enjoyed on the first half of the hike. 4.5 miles round trip with 1,300 feet of elevation gain.

5) Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, January 29, 2017 - It was just Lyle, Jonna and Alan for this weekend's hike. Since Alan was on call at work we couldn't go to far afield so we decided to hike Chapman Drive up and over Flagstaff Mountain just outside Boulder. Jonna had to turn back early to run some errands but Lyle and Alan continued up the icy west side to the top of the mountain. From there we decended down the muddy east side to Eben G Fine park where we met back up with Jonna. 5.2 miles with 1,250 feet of elevation gain.

6) Mount Sanitas, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, February 5, 2017 - Our friends Desiree and Gaelin joined the hiking group for the second of our Spring training hikes - Mt Sanitas. We met up at Settler's Park, made the climb over Red Rock's Trail, went up Dakota Ridge and then climbed the east ridge to the summit. From the top we enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather and expansive views out over Boulder. After that we decended the south ridge and returned to the trailhead. 5 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.

7) Betasso Preserve, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, February 12, 2017 - It was again just Lyle and Alan for our weekly hiking outing. We decided to avoid the ice in the mountains and headed back down to Boulder, this time to Betasso Preserve. We hiked the normal loop here, plus the Benjamin Loop extension that was added a few years ago. It was unseasonably warm and sunny for most of the hike but surprisingly cool down in the shady valleys. 7.1 miles with 700 feet of elevation gain.

8) Shanahan Ridge, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, February 19, 2017 - Jonna and Alan drove back down to Boulder to meet Desiree, Gaelin and Philippe so they could show us a new trail. Hidden in the middle of a neighborhood in south Boulder is the Shanahan Ridge access trail which leads out through a beautiful pine forest into the web of trails around the Mesa trail. Unseasonably warm weather was nice but the lack of moisture this early in the spring could make for a nerve racking summmer. 3.7 miles with 800 feet of elevation gain.

9) Flatirons Vista trail, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, February 26, 2017 - Alan was on-call again so we needed to keep this weekend's hike short. Jonna and Alan drove back down to Boulder to meet up with Desiree and Gaelin to try out a new trail for all of us. The Flatirons Vista trail located in some Boulder County Open Space just south of town. The sky was overcast but it was still a pleasantly warm day for a hike. Part of the trail system was closed but we were still able to do a circumnavigation around the park space. A 3.7 mile loop with a mellow 300 feet of elevation gain.

10) Pinewood Springs trail system, Pinewood Springs, CO, March 12, 2017 - It was just Todd and Alan this weekend for another hike in the network of trails in the Little Thompson River valley in Pinewood Springs. Snow clouds covered the mountains to the west and periodic gusts of wind sprinkled us with flakes but at one point the sun broke through the overcast sky to give us a treat with a snow rainbow. 2.2 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain.

11) Green Mountain, Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, March 19, 2017 - Just Desiree and Alan braved the smoke from a nearby forest fire for this year's Hikin' O' The Green. Normally, a march climb of Green Mountain, the third of the annual spring training hikes, is an adventurous affair since the trail is usually covered in icy snow pack. But this spring has been dry and hot, as the Sunshine Canyon fire was illustrating, so the trail was bone dry. The view to the north was filled with a fire's smoke plume but the view to the west showed stunning snow-covered mountains of the Continential Divide. 5.9 miles with 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

12) Mallory Cave, City Of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, March 26, 2017 - Lyle and Alan went down to Boulder for this weekend's hike in order to dodge the rain storms that were covering the high country. We planned to climb Bear Peak but unexpectedly found that Mesa trail was closed which blocking our route. As a fallback plan we made the climb up to Mallory Cave where we enjoyed the incredible views out over Boulder. Best of all we made it back to NCAR just as the raindrops started to fall. 3.8 miles with 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

13) Shadow Canyon, City Of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, April 2, 2017 - Jonna and Alan joined Desiree and Gaelin this weekend for another loop in the Boulder park system. It was perfect hiking weather - sunny but cool and with just a few puffy white clouds highlighted against a beautiful blue sky. We started at the South Mesa trailhead and made the familiar loop up Homestead and Shadow Canyon South trails to the bottom of Shadow Canyon. We looked up the steep steps at the bottom of the canyon but decided to leave the climb to the peaks above for another day. We came back via Shadow Canyon North, Mesa and Towhee trails. A great loop with many scenic views of the mountains along the Front Range. 5.7 miles with 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

14) Long Canyon, City Of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, April 8, 2017 - All of our hiking buddies were busy this weekend so it was just Jonna and Alan for the weekend's outing. We chose the Long Canyon trail on the south side of Flagstaff Mountain from Flagstaff Road down to Green Mountain Lodge. The trail was covered in snow slush left over from last week's storm but the warm Spring weather was melting it quickly which had Boulder creek swelling. A peaceful hike through one of the best parts of Boulder's Mountain Parks. 3.3 miles with 800 feet of elevation gain.

15) Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak, City Of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, April 23, 2017 - Lyle and Alan decided to finish off our spring training hikes with a two-fer this weekend. We initially just planned to hike Bear Peak. Since found out a few weeks ago that our normal route was closed for trail maintenance so this weekend we started at the Green Mountain West Ridge trailhead. Up the side of Green mountain then turned south on the Green-Bear connector trail. From there we picked up the Bear Peak West Ridge trail and did the big climb through the old burn area up to the top. I've said it before but I'll repeat it again. The view from on top of Bear Peak is the best on the front range. We could see the entire panorama of snow covered peaks from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak. We then decided we might as well finish off our spring hikes so we then went down the saddle and then to the top of South Boulder Peak. Then it was the long hike reversing the route back up Bear down into the valley then back up Green and finally back to the car. Thankfully, it was a stunning day for hiking so we got our fill of vitamin D and some awesome views for our long day of hiking. 10 miles out and back with a little over 2300 feet of elevation gain.

If you enjoyed these you may also enjoy checking out some photos from our 2016 hikes.

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Alan Fleming