Snowshoe Adventures on Squaw Pass

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Hiking Squaw Mountain. Click on the picture to check us out on Facebook. Make sure to hit that Like Button! Photo Credit: Denverspeax, 2015.

Once again, we rented a few pairs of snowshoes from REI (roughly $25 bucks per pair for the weekend) and made the run from Denver to Squaw Pass.

These are the same directions for heading to Echo Lake, however we stopped about 12 miles early at a parking area off of the Pass in front of a large, open grassy area.

We parked, got our gear on, (visit our first Snowshoeing Adventure post to learn what gear will keep you warm and happy!) and headed across the Pass from where we were parked, and picked up a trail in between the cabins that lie a little off of the pass (you can see them from the road).  Continue reading

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Echo Lake, A Snowshoe Adventure

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Beauty and motivation in the morning, downtown Denver. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, 2015. Click on the photo to check us out on Facebook.

This Snowshoeing Adventure began with this beautiful, motivating, downtown Denver sunrise you see pictured to the left. I grabbed my coffee, my gear, put on some great tunes, and headed over to pick up my good friend, Kathleen. Continue reading

Help End Water Poverty with The Colorado 54

 

Growing up in Michigan, a beautiful place surrounded by (what seems to be) an endless supply of water, it’s easy to take for granted how incredible of a resource the Great Lakes truly are. When I was much younger, I didn’t really understand why my parents were constantly reminding my siblings and I to conserve water; it was everywhere, wasn’t it? It’s not like it would run out! Silly parents. What I didn’t understand at that time was how precious clean, accessible water is for a healthy, sustainable living.

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Beautiful Lake Michigan. Photo Credit: Jackie Balcom, July 2013.

In such a prosperous, developed nation-state as the United States, it’s hard to think about water as a limited resource; it’s difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that, worldwide, 783 million people are in Water Poverty, meaning their closest source of water is far away, or possibly unsanitary/unclean, or just not affordable.

According to National Geographic, Americans spent $21.7 billion on bottled water in 2011, finding it convenient, appealing, and healthy (click Nat Geo link for article). Honestly, I’m not including this information to shame people into not buying bottled water, but instead to bring to light an incredibly prevalent issue:

There are individuals in the world who do not know when they will have their next drink of clean water.

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Women carrying water in Central America – photo is courtesy of National Geographic, accessed June 2014. Click through for provided image.

Late last month, Denverspeax was contacted by a group with not only big hearts, but an amazing plan: The Colorado 54. Organized teams of 500+ men and women will ascend 54 total 14er’s (14,000 vertical foot mountain) simultaneously throughout Colorado in an effort to end water poverty for 1000+ families in Nicaragua.

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Click on the logo to visit The Colorado 54 Official site! Photo Credit: The Colorado 54, June 2014.

 

While the actual hiking event takes place on August 2nd, 2014, registration is required ahead of time for a cost of $50, which guarantees the arrival of each participant’s welcome kit, including a Colorado 54 athletic shirt, stickers, and snacks from Colorado 54’s sponsors. Each participant can join or start their own campaign team to raise $500, which is the cost for a permanent, clean you hike two familieswater solution for two families in Nicaragua.

Register fast as the limit is set to 540 participants!

To find out more regarding the actual event day including awards, how individuals will be tracked, etc., please check out The Colorado 54 Official site.

Nervous about campaigning? Don’t be – they’ve made it easy to get donations from friends, family, and coworkers. Sponsors donate directly to your customized campaign page and receive an email confirmation with their tax deductible receipt.

 

Even though the hiking event is taking place in August, register and participate now to be a part of interviews and exclusive give-aways!

This is an incredible opportunity to not only unite as a Colorado community, but also to help end a serious issue. What I think is amazing is that both can be done by banding together and hiking – definitely something Coloradans are known for! Why not hike for a cause? Why not make a difference in others’ lives with this special 14er on August 2nd? Think about it – what an extraordinary feat we can all accomplish together.  

 

Special thanks to Kayleen Cohen for getting in touch with us regarding this event; we appreciate all information and pictures you all have provided, and look forward to spreading the word regarding this awesome event moving forward!

 

 

 

 

June Hike Challenge – Hike #1: Deer Creek Canyon Park

Since moving to Colorado, we’ve really developed a true love for hiking. Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful places to explore all around the state. To reinforce this new passion and work on staying in shape, I (Kirsten) decided to challenge myself to hike 50 miles in Colorado by the end of June.

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Photo Map courtesy of Jefferson County Website – Click on the Map to be brought to their site for more information.

Yesterday evening, I took off to meet a friend after work at Deer Creek Canyon Park in Jefferson County, CO. Because it was so hot (over 90 degrees F still after 6:30 pm!), the 3-mile loop we took was a great mix of sunshine and shade, winding through rocky hills with plenty of wildlife.

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Check out the amazing views along the hike! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

Many others had the same idea to get outside yesterday – we ran into hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers along the different paths. Dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed, so of course, I brought Moguls. As usual, Moguls was a trooper regardless of the heat.

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Furry friends are allowed as long as they’re kept on a leash – make sure to pick up after them as well! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

The hike yesterday knocked off 3 miles, so 47 miles left to go in order to complete the June Hike Challenge. This hike is an easy-to-moderate trail. At times the path narrows and more rugged terrain is present; nothing too difficult, it is just important to wear proper footwear.

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View of one of the trails at Deer Creek Canyon Park. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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View of one of the trails at Deer Creek Canyon Park. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Check out all of the great shots I got on our hike! I especially loved the variety of wild flowers along the trail – very nice to see that summer is in full bloom.

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Neat Rock Ridge! I wonder if anyone has Mountain Biked down THAT before? Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Beautiful wildflowers growing alongside the trails. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

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Sometimes it’s still hard to believe what a beautiful place we live in. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting hikes for the June Hike Challenge; I hope this motivates you all to get outside in our wonderful state and explore!

Have a great hike to share with us? Comment below! We would love more ideas.

You can also follow our adventures on Twitter & Instagram: @denverspeax
We also have a Facebook Page! 🙂

Be Inspired: Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Yesterday, Steve and I (Kirsten) journeyed to Colorado Springs for the first time since moving to Colorado a year ago. Equipped with snacks, water, cameras, and a little dog, we hiked for a few hours throughout Garden of the Gods.

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Steve & Moguls, checking out the view. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark located about an hour south of Denver on i25. There are about 15 miles’ worth of trails throughout the park, all of which outlined on a FREE map provided by the Visitor & Nature Center Information Desk. For our first trip, we stuck to the paved walkways and took note of interesting looking trails for next time. We couldn’t have asked for better weather!

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

Climbers are allowed in designated areas of the park with proper permits and equipment. Honestly, one of the coolest experiences at the park was watching climbers clench to the side of these massive, jagged rocks.

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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A Boy and his Nikon. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

Garden of the Gods is a great place for all ages! The views are spectacular, and the hiking is amazing. There are all levels of trails throughout the park with maps posted throughout. Also, it’s a great workout for you and your furry friend, just remember to keep them on a leash at all times.

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Steve and Kirsten exploring Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Steve looking for the best shot in Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

If you’re ever in the mood for being inspired by more of Colorado’s natural beauty, check out Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Visit their Visitor and Nature Center, climb the massively jagged rocks, or hike one of the several trails.  They have tons of events relating to geology, tours, and more. Also, check out the other sights in the park, like Balanced Rock.

HAPPY 100th POST! Snowshoeing – Trying Something New

A few of us have been talking about trying Snowshoeing for a while now, and just never got around to researching it… until today!

Step One: Gear
While scouring the inter webs, we gained a pretty good understanding of what will be needed for our snowshoe excursions:

  • Waterproof Hiking bootsREI Denver has a great supply of hiking shoes that will also work for snowshoeing. Because of my (Kirsten) wide feet and love for the brand, I went with Keen’s Women Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots. They’re weatherproof, breathable, and wide. I purchased a half-size bigger as they’re noted to run a half-size small.

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    Check out the reviews on the Keen Targhee II Mid Women’s Hiking Boot online and shop around for a pair for yourself! Credit: Google Images, Jan 2014

  • hiking bootWarm clothing – both outer layer and underneath. Luckily, we have plenty of wool socks (SmartWool socks work really well), warm hats and gloves, waterproof snow pants, and different weight jackets from skiing and snowboarding. Depending on where you’re snowshoeing, you’ll need to pack a daypack with changes of clothes to adhere to weather conditions.
  • Snowshoes and Poles – did you know that many places provide snowshoe rentals? REI is one of those places, so while we bought hiking boots, we checked out the rental situation. You can pick up snowshoes and poles at REI on Friday, drop them off the following Sunday before they close, and only be charged a one-day rental of $18 for members, or $22 for non-members. There are a ton of places in Colorado that rent snowshoes – try googling it to see who has equipment available for rental in your area.
  • Snacks – Not only have we read, but we’ve also been told that snowshoeing can be pretty labor intensive. Make sure you bring a daypack with not only changes of clothes, but also water and snacks. Hydration and carbs are going to be key in generating energy to keep going, just like while hiking.

Step Two: Trails
While checking out at REI today, we came across an area by the checkout that had FREE trail maps for snowshoeing. Of course, the internet is a great place to find trails and read through reviews of people that have experienced them firsthand. Here is a list of trails that we’ve found that accommodate both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter:

Bemrose Ski Circus
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Burro – FDT 80
Difficulty: Easy

Keystone Gulch Road – FSR 175
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ifficulty: Easy to moderate

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The majority of ski resorts have snowshoeing equipment rental, classes, and trails available for patrons. Above, snowshoers enjoy the trail at Steamboat. Credit: Steamboat Resorts, Jan 2014

Meadow Creek – FDT 33
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Peru Creek Road – FSR 260
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Even Van Bibber Park in Wheat Ridge has a trail perfect for beginning snowshoeing. Also, check out Arapaho National Forest and Roosevelt National Forest for additional snowshoe trail ideas.

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Snowshoeing was even cool in 1907! Credit: Wikipedia, Jan 2014

Step Three: GO! 
Next, we need to plan when we are actually going on our first snowshoeing excursion. We will watch the weather to prepare according clothing, snack, and traffic-wise. Additionally, while we are snowshoeing, we will make sure to use the Strava App to track our progress.

Snowshoeing looks to be an incredible, aesthetically pleasing and fitness providing adventure. We’re excited to try out the REI rental process and get out there in the next few weeks to experience this firsthand and report back to you all. If you have any comments or suggestions as we plan for our first Snowshoeing adventure, make sure to comment below! We’d love your feedback.

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Red Rocks – FINALLY!

Yesterday, my friend Jeff took me to Red Rocks. To tell you the truth, I’ve tried to visit Red Rocks multiple times: I wanted to check out a concert at the amphitheatre, but didn’t act quickly enough to purchase tickets. I wanted to participate in fitness events at Red Rocks, but always forgot to check their site for when Yoga on the Rocks was happening.

FINALLY – we hiked Red Rocks yesterday!

Not only a venue for concerts, weddings, and other events, Red Rocks has tons of trails for hiking and biking. Also, dogs are welcome! Red Rocks not only satisfies your appetite for much-needed exercise, but is also immensely aesthetically pleasing. We hit the trails around before dusk to catch a beautiful sunset over Denver. Check it out below!

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View from near the stage – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Hiking a trail at Red Rocks, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Red Rocks – view at dusk. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Jeff and Moguls, following the path. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Kirsten and Moguls, check out that view! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Jeff and Moguls posing for a “Senior Picture”. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

Weather permitting, Red Rocks will definitely be another destination to bring visitors. The hike Jeff, Moguls, and I took was pretty relaxed – not too tough, but we definitely huffed and puffed during segments.

Definitely a must-see, make sure to visit this beautiful park and amphitheatre; don’t forget to bring your furry friends!

Continental Divide – Loveland Pass, Colorado

Continental Divide - Loveland Pass

What do you do when you have visitors? Running out of things to see, or tired of going to the same spots with each out-of-towner? Here’s one spot that never gets old – take 70 West out of Denver to Loveland Pass and drive up to the Continental Divide. From there, you can take long or short hikes to various peaks. Bringing visiting friends to the Continental Divide is sort of a tradition now – our friends brought us here when we first moved to Denver, and now we all continue to bring our friends and family there to see the incredible sights. Try it out! You won’t be disappointed. Also, you might be able to throw a snowball or two.