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.

Gociety – Get Outside with Awesome People

 

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Gociety hooks you up with people of same outdoor interests – what a great platform to motivate more Coloradans to get outside and mingle with like-minded, awesome people! Check out Gociety on Facebook by clicking on their logo above – Photo Credit: Gociety Facebook Page, April 2014

Gociety is a site we’ve been watching for a while, and for good reason; their concept is fresh and new, and provides a GREAT service to the Colorado community. With Gociety, you can meet people from all over Colorado getting outside and doing what they love!

For example, we are avid bikers and appreciate meeting new people to bike all over Denver with – Gociety is a platform that will help us out with this.

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Road biking lets us exercise and see new parts of town; on Gociety, I can meet new people that love to do the same. Click on the picture above to check out the Gociety Facebook Page. Photo Credit: DenverSpeax Archive, 2013

Creating a Gociety profile is super easy – we just made one! By visiting Gociety, you can join via Facebook profile, OR email. Fill out  info about how you get down in the great outdoors of Colorado, and BOOM! – you have a Discovery Feed outlining multiple outdoor activities in areas all over Colorado. From Cat Skiing to to Fly Fishing to multiple runs and triathlons, there is a TON to do – and what better way to find it than one, organized Discovery Feed via your personal Gociety profile. Search options on the right-hand side make it easy to limit the feed to your interests only.

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Get outside and hike Mount Evans! Photo Credit: DenverSpeax Archive, 2013

 

With an easy-to-use platform, it’s no wonder more and more Coloradans are catching on to Gociety‘s awesome idea. We can’t wait to sign up for a few events (aka, Gocieties) and meet new, awesome people that love getting outside. We’ll be sure to give you an update as well as an inside look of our experience. Stay tuned!

For the meantime, go check Gociety out on the web or on Facebook and see what they’re all about for yourself.

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.

1907 snowshoe

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… part Deux

Mom was in town this past weekend for a visit, so we took her to hike in the Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park. I know we’ve posted pictures from Red Rocks before, but the sights were too beautiful not to share. Hope you enjoy!

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What a beautiful day for a hike. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Kirsten in Red Rocks Land. Credit: Jackie Balcom, Nov 2013

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Love in an amphitheater. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Jackie (mom) taking a break. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Home…home on the range. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Jeff’s the King of the World. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway- The Road to the Clouds

Based 35 miles outside of Denver, CO, Mt. Evans rests at an elevation of 14,264′. The Scenic Byway climbs more than 7,000′ in approximately 28 miles, according to CDOT, and provides spectacular views of the land, mountain ranges, wildlife, and plantlife.

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It’s lonesome at the top, right? Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

The road to the summit of Mt. Evans is a scary one – lots of cliff-hanger views a foot outside of the car. Our good friend Michael drove us to the top while we all laughed nervously and inched toward the middle of the car. Well, all of us except our Moguls (the little dog), and our good friend Sarah, who was visiting from Michigan and has driven Highway 1 in California.

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Sarah getting a little puppy love from an excited Moguls on the way to summit. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Once arriving at the summit, the small hike to the top took about 15 minutes. The four of us were able to stand the 45-degree weather for about 10 minutes before we descended; also, a storm was about to roll in. Be sure when planning a trip to Mt. Evans you check the current weather status and be prepared for the possibility of snow, lightning, high winds, hail, and heavy rain year-round.

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Sarah and Moguls heading to the top of Mt. Evans. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

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Steven and Moguls hiking up. You can see the road below as well as get an idea of some of the life-changing sites on this trail. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Just to be clear – we did not do the entire 14er hike that is available. We drove to the summit, as previously noted. Of course, we hope to do a 14er in the future, but understand that it takes a lot of energy, experience, and physical awesomeness. Things we will continue to work on.

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“The Abyss”. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Check out the pictures from our Mt. Evans ride and hike here, and more on DenverSpeax’s Facebook page. While you’re there, like us!

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Michael looking out into the clouds. Pictured is where cars are parked at summit. The hike to the very top takes approximately another 15 minutes. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

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Another view from the short hike to the top of Mt. Evans. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

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Driving up to the top was a bit nerve-racking at times! Still beautiful, nonetheless. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Van Bibber Park – A Break from Work

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Sometimes you just need a break. Luckily, working in Wheat Ridge provides many opportunities to get outdoors for a short hike, walk, or ride at lunch. I’ve been exploring the trails near the office, and found Van Bibber Park a few blocks away.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

To locate this park, here’s the address to both the main and west trailheads:

Main: 5575 Ward Road, Arvada
West:  Indiana and 56th Avenue, Arvada

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

In addition to soft trail stretching 3.8 miles, there is also a concrete path spanning approximately 1.5 miles.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

The trail is fairly easy to moderate, and extremely beautiful with incredible views of the nearby mountains. In the middle of the day, I experienced next to no traffic on the trails, both soft and concrete.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

If you’re looking for a way to cut loose for an hour or less, this place is a great way to get out, take in the fresh air, and press the reset button on your day. Give it a shot! Also, if family and friends are visiting, this is a great beginner trail that is equally rewarding physically and aesthetically.

More Pictures from Estes Park & Roosevelt National Forest – Steven Mercer Photography

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From the top of our hike in Roosevelt National Forest. Credit: Steve Mercer, July 2013

The pictures Steven took were just too awesome to not post – take a look at more pictures from our weekend getaway in Estes Park. 

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Another view from the top of our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Another view from on top of our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Awesome flower or weed…. plantlife? yes! Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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The night sky from the cabin’s front deck. The light from the bottom right was produced from the rising moon. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Another view from the deck at the brilliant night sky. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Picture taken along the trail on our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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The trail varied in width, but was very easy to follow for the most part. Moderate difficulty, but incredibly beautiful and fun. Definitely a great trail for dogs! Moguls pictured, bottom left. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Beautiful scenery from the hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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On our hike, we followed this river on the left-hand side hiking up. The current was too strong for Moguls to jump in. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Pictured is a great shot of the river that Steven was able to get by standing on some large rocks right on the riverbank. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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I love the fallen tree that has perfect placement in this picture! Great scenery. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013