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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Devil’s Head Trail (2nd attempt)

Devil’s Head Trail, Pike National Forest
Getting There/Parking: from Sedalia, Take 67 West to Rampart Range Road.  Head South on Rampart Range for about 9 miles on a washboard, dirt road.
Distance: 2.8 miles, there and back
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Features: forest, awesome views, fire tower
Day hiked: July 19, 2014
Dog friendly? Yes, on leashes, but I don’t recommend taking them up the fire tower.  It’s crowded and narrow.

This was our second attempt at this hike.  Our first attempt, we got one mile in before the weather forced us to turn around.  We should have arrived much earlier in the day for this hike.  By the time we got there, the parking lot was full and we had to park pretty far down the road.  (Still…when you have a nine-year-old who is still sleeping at 9:00 a.m., you take advantage of it!)  This time we we determined to make it to the top.  The boys were cranky and struggled the whole way up.  The first time we did it, there wasn’t a single complaint and we didn’t have to stop once.  This time we had stopped for breaks three times before we reached the point where we had turned around last time.

Once we finally got to the fire tower, attitudes had improved and the boys were excited to climb to the top.  It’s 143 steep stairs to the top and it was very crowded this day, but the views more than made up for it.  I was very glad we did not bring our dog with us.  The hike would have been fine, but taking her up those steps would have been iffy (and annoying for other hikers!)

On a side note, the tower at the top actually sells t-shirts.  Had I known, I would have brought cash to support the Forest Service, but I had no idea.

The hike back down was easy.  I still think this is a beautiful hike, but the crowds just killed it for me.  And it still irritates me when I see people hiking WITHOUT water or in flip-flops.  And, just like our first attempt on this trail, we passed a hiker in a skirt.  The trail isn’t *that* easy, people!  At a minimum put some sneakers on and bring a water bottle!  I know I sound like a cranky, old woman, but this trail was way too crowded to really get to enjoy nature.  Now that we’ve crossed it off the list, I won’t be in a big hurry to repeat this one.

For more information: Devil’s Head Trailhead

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Colorado, Hiking

 

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Dunes Overlook Trail

Dunes Overlook Trail, Great Sand Dunes National Park
Getting There/Parking: In the park, follow the signs to camping loop 2.  Trailhead is in this loop.  If you aren’t camping, you’ll have to park at the amphitheater lot and walk in.
Distance: 2 miles, out and back
Difficulty: easy
Features: scrub grassland, mountain views, sand dunes views
Day hiked: July 12, 2014
Dog friendly? yes, on leash

This wasn’t my first choice for a hike while we were camping at Great Sand Dunes National Park, but the trailhead was right in our campground loop, so we kind of had to!  (For the record, I wanted to hike to Zapata Falls.)  This was an easy hike through some interesting scrub that’s very different from other trails we’ve done.  You have great views of the sand dunes and surrounding mountains for most of the trail.

The last half-mile of the trail heads uphill in a series of switchbacks that finally end up at a bench that overlooks the Sand Dunes.

For more information: Great Sand Dunes National Park

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Colorado, Hiking

 

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Mineral Springs Loop Trail (Pennsylvania)

Mineral Springs Loop Trail, Raccoon Creek State Park
Getting There/Parking: from Colorado go to Pennsylvania.  Find park.
Distance: 1.2 mile loop
Difficulty: easy
Features: forest, waterfall
Day hiked: June 21, 2014
Dog friendly? no idea, although we did see a few dogs, so I’ll go with yes.

Kids hike Pennsylvania this time!  We went to visit family in Pennsylvania, and Aunt Tracy picked out this hike for us to do at Raccoon Creek State Park.  This park is awesome.  We went back later in our visit to go canoeing and swimming.  This trail is an easy loop trail that has a beautiful waterfall at the halfway point.  It was so different from the hikes we do in Colorado since it is so green!  I felt like we were in a rain forest.  The trail was narrow and muddy in spots, but none of us had a problem avoiding it (except for one of us.  Ahem…talking to you, Elliott.)  You cross the creek a few times by jumping from rock to rock or crossing logs that have been laid down.  The boys, of course, loved those parts.

And we all loved the waterfall!  It was so pretty and we had a good half hour to play and explore by ourselves before other hikers showed up.  (And they just walked right past, with barely a look at it.)  If you ever find yourself near Pittsburgh, be sure to check this park out!

For more information: Raccoon Creek State Park

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Hiking, Kids

 

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