Quandary is a Bitch. There, I said it.

Some of us honest folk even shout it while we curse the never-ending scramble and shale of this delightful 14er.

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Short Weekend Hike in Front Range: Lookout Mountain

It’s confirmed – the Lookout Mountain trail from Windy Saddle in Lookout Mountain is short-term visitor approved. Not too long, not too high in elevation (reaches just over 7k feet), and has some of the best views!

Seriously the best views for such a short hike! DenverSpeax, April 2015.

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Belmar Park – Do Yourself a Favor & Get Outside

If you find yourself in the Lakewood area and are in need of a nice leisurely walk, check out Belmar Park. Not only can you take walks, utilizing the numerous trails throughout the park, but bikes are also allowed. It’s super easy to rack up some miles and get a good sweat with all of the intertwining trails throughout the park.

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Cool trails for walking, running, and biking at Belmar Park. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, 2015.

Full of nature’s life, meandering around the pond and watching the sunset is such a beautiful way to end the day.

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The pond reflects the beauty of this serene sunset. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, 2015.

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A winding path runs through nature, wrapping around the centered pond. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, 2015.

Like a lot of the other parks in the surrounding Denver area, there are nice picnic areas set up for you, your friends, and family to have lunch while you hang out in this gorgeous place. Last but not least, Belmar Park is animal friendly, so make sure you bring your furry friend.

Looking for more parks and trails to visit? Check these out:

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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

Windy Saddle Park & Lookout Mountain

As part of the June Hike Challenge, we’ve been scouring the area for hikes that are both challenging and beautiful. Windy Saddle is a part of the Jefferson County in Lookout Mountain. It takes about 35 minutes to get there from downtown Denver after rush hour has past (this is when we went for cooler temperatures, and great sunset shots!).

Also connecting with Windy Saddle is Buffalo Bill Trail as well as Lookout Mountain Trail. The park provides hikes of all skill levels, and includes some pretty spectacular views at approximately 7200 feet. Here are some of our favorite shots from the few times we’ve visited Windy Saddle in the last 2 weeks:

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Looking down at how far we had come. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

 

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Exploring Windy Saddle Park. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

Try taking different trails and paths for different perspectives and views. Also, give your body a great workout by stepping it up to trail running.

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Check out this cool mule deer that was hanging out by the Windy Saddle Park parking lot. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

The wildlife and plantlife are aplenty! We saw this mule deer leaving the park one night after a 3 mile loop. Wildflowers have bloomed all over the trails in an array of colors.

Make sure you know ahead of time when the sun will be setting; make smart decisions, regardless of your skill level. We made sure we were in the parking lot or extremely close for each sunset. Here are our favorite shots of the beautiful sunsets from Windy Saddle Park:

 

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Lookout Mountain Sunset. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Lookout Mountain Sunset. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

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Lookout Mountain Sunset. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Lookout Mountain Sunset. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

For more great photos, check out DenverSpeax on Instagram & Facebook. Happy trails, friends.

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! 🙂