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Wordless Wednesday – Hanging Lake, Colorado

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Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5301076.pdf

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Mt. Flora

1My husband is an avid mountaineer. He has over 40 of Colorado’s 14ers under his belt as well as many, many 13ers. He gets up above tree line and at elevation on a regular basis. Me on the other hand – I may live at 5,280 feet but I am pretty much a flatlander. I don’t get up to the mountain nearly as much as I would like to. So, I was so excited when my husband suggested that we hike Mt. Flora. Mt. Flora is a 13er near Berthoud Pass.   Mt. Flora stands at 13,146 feet and the majority of the 7+ mile hike is on a ridge high above tree line. According to SummitPost the total distance from Berthoud Pass to Mount Flora is 3.6 miles one way with about 2200 feet total elevation gain and 350 feet elevation loss.

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We got to the parking lot at Berthoud Pass around 9:00 a.m., coated ourselves in sunscreen because we would be walking directly next to the sun, and headed up the old Berthoud ski hill towards Colorado Mines Peak. Instead of continuing up the road to the radio towers on the top of Colorado Mines Peak we took the trail pointing towards Mt. Flora. From this point Mt. Flora is 2 miles away. The trail was very easy to follow and was mainly made up of fine gravel and stones. While you are pretty constantly climbing upward the incline never seems overwhelming. The higher we climbed the more mountains you could see and the views were incredible. There were vast open fields that made you think you were in a scene from The Sound of Music. You expected Julie Andrews to start running across the field singing The Hills Are Alive at any moment.

3On this hike you get a lot of bang for your buck. For a relatively easy hike you get to see a lot of mountains. The higher we climbed the more beautiful our surroundings became but the higher we climbed the windier it got. At times there was probably a 30+ mph sustained wind. The wind was definitely the most difficult part of the hike. Because it was a relatively warm day the wind wasn’t freezing cold but it was just constantly blowing in your face. Before long my eyes and nose were running and at times it was hard to catch your breath.  But, we tucked our heads and continued upward!

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Along the way we saw so many wildflowers. Colorado’s rainy spring and summer has lead to an amazing wildflower season and the greenest I’ve ever seen Colorado. There are a few of what some might consider false summits along the way (or in my case I had no idea which mountain we were going to summit so when we passed over one and headed to the next I didn’t even realize and just thought it was part of the hike). We hit the summit in about two hours and spent some time taking pictures and visiting with a friendly marmot before heading back the way we came.

5We passed a lot more people starting up the trail as we were headed down then going up which always makes me worry a little bit. Living in Colorado you need to be thunderstorm aware and get up and down mountain as early as possible in the day before the thunderstorms roll in. I think this summer has been one of the most dangerous for lightning strikes and its hard to go more than a week without seeing another news story about people getting struck while hiking above tree line. So my PSA for the day – don’t be an idiot, hike early, and keep your eyes to the sky!

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It took us significantly less time to get back down then heading up and before noon we were back at the truck and ready to head to Idaho Springs for pizza at Beaujo’s.  There is nothing more satisfying after a day of hiking or skiing then pizza at Beaujo’s!

 

What is your favorite hike and what makes it so special?

 

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Happy Knitter to Jolly Runner

11745352_10205682082023823_4659982871437127151_nHello from the Jolly Runner, formerly the Happy Knitter.  I blogged on and off (more off than on) as the Happy Knitter for a couple of years.  I shared my growing knitting skills and over time I realized I am never going to be as talented a knitter as my amazing family members who can knit a pair of socks in a day and sweater over a long weekend and my trusty readers can only take so many pictures of hats and scarves (my specialty).  When I was blogging before I often get sidetracked with other projects and just life in general so I wanted to redirect my blogging energy towards my entire life instead of just my knitting life.  Over the past years I having been getting further and further from knitting topics so I am taking the leap in a new direction.

This is from my new “About” page and hopefully will give you an idea about who the Jolly Runner is.

According to Merraim-Webster the definition of jolly is:  adjective jol·ly \ˈjä-lē\ : full of happiness and joy : happy and cheerful : very pleasant or enjoyable.  When I run I am jolly.  When I don’t run I am the opposite of jolly…and it isn’t pretty – I believe the opposite of jolly is gloomy.   So while I may not always be The Jolly Runner it is my goal to get to a place when I am more jolly than not.  Running keeps me balanced and makes me feel more confident about myself so I am going to stick with it.

I realize the word jolly often goes hand in hand with visions of plump Santa Claus and happy go lucky elves and sadly I also fall in to that category as well.  I am not your typical runner.  I have never been called skinny and while I am never last in a race I am also never first – I slide in to the middle of the pack and contently run my own race working on beating my own records instead of completing against everyone else.  I remember always struggling with my weight and wishing I was thinner so I consider myself a work in progress.  In the past couple of months I have recommitted to running after some time off because of an injury and several bouts of bronchitis and am actually watching what I eat instead of just shoveling food in to my mouth like a backhoe.  It was a sad break up with Ben and Jerry but it had to be done.  I have lost some weight, built so muscle and continue building my confidence.

So, while I want to keep my jolly attitude it would be okay with me to shed the jolly physique.

But, this blog is about more than running.  It’s about my life, my family, my love of the outdoors, my insane love for my dogs and everything else that comes up.  I will also have some “things to do” in Colorado as well as trail reviews and other fun hiking stuff…I live in Colorado and love it so you’re going to hear all about it!  I am opinionated person who doesn’t always have the favored opinion.  To many I may seem quiet and reserved but I don’t really believe that is who I really am.  In the past I have been afraid to share my thoughts and ideas but I am trying to be more open.  I know that not everyone will agree with me but I have just as much of right to share my ideas as everyone else.

What do you want to see on this blog?