Get Outdoors Closer to Denver: Chatfield State Park

 

A hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Denver lies Chatfield State Park situated in Littleton. The massiveness and diversity of land in this park allows for a ton of recreation that we often overlook due to its close proximity to Denver.

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Chatfield State Park is located about 30 minutes away from Downtown Denver, making it super accessible for all of us city dwellers.

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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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REI Dividends? Yes, please. We need legit gear.

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Our Full Price Buy – Marmot Scandium bags. Click on the pic and check out these sleeping bags we picked up from REI tonight.

There’s something to say about a company that gives money back to you because you believe in their vision, products, and services. REI has been really helpful in getting us involved more with the outdoors here in CO. Don’t get it wrong – it’s not that we don’t support local stores. That’s not it at all. We are happy to shop local, and support local businesses and often do, but really appreciate the knowledgable, friendly staff at REI.

With a $35.55 dividend, a 20% off 1 Outlet item, and a 20% of 1 Full-Priced Store/Online item, we walked away today with one new tent and two sleeping bags. You guys may remember last year that we camped before tackling Mt. Democrat for the Colorado 54. I’m not sure if we mentioned that we got about 2 hours of sleep before freezing our asses off and needing to head back to the car for another hour or so of sleep before hiking.

This goes to show how important it is to have properly rated equipment – have to have the right temperature rating for bags and tents, and a pad to keep you off of the cold ground. Camping in Michigan always meant a gathering of some sort of bedding, using someone’s tent, and bringing a few pillows… well, at least in the summer and first part of fall. Colorado is so different because of the different elevations and climates the different vertical feet present; camping at sea level is a lot different than camping at 12,000 vertical feet. Try starting a camp fire at Kite Lake in August before hiking Democrat! Good luck, rookies. 🙂

How do you get REI dividends? Pay a one-time, $20 membership fee & collect percentages of your purchases back over the year. They’ll mail you your dividend coupon with other coupons to use on sweet stuff. Again, the fee isn’t yearly – you just pay it once. Pretty sweet deal! Membership has given us discounts on classes (avalanche safety, snowshoeing, etc…)

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Having a great start on the right gear, we’re totally pumped for some epic camping in 2015. Again, huge thanks REI for giving back to their customers. They’re a company we can rely on and has always treated us right with their extensive knowledge and awesome gear.

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Our Outlet Buy – a sweet, 3 person REI tent. Click on the pic to check out the specs on the tent.

If you’re in Denver this weekend, check out the Garage Sale happening on Saturday! For more details on the lottery system they use for entrance and what the garage sale is, check out REI.

For more DenverSpeax adventures, check us out on Twitter or Facebook.

The Dirty Dump

We tried to make it to Silverthorn (from Denver) lastnight, but that was a big, fat fail. With the amount of snow and pile-ups on i70, there was no way.

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We finally made it up earlier this afternoon and are now hanging out in a beautiful condo off of Ryan Gulch Rd.

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Where to? Breck? Keystone? Beaver Creek? The opportunities are abundant out here! Where are you headed this weekend? Hopefully somewhere outside that’s inspiring.

I Heart Denver… the Store!

 

 

 

 

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A store that loves Denver as much as all of us? YES! It DOES exist! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2014.

There’s a store that loves Denver just as much as we do, and it’s located in the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall.

Unlike other touristy shops around that area, this is a place for proud natives, excited newcomers, and curious tourists alike, selling ONLY local apparel, artwork, and other fun gifts. They support over 150 local, Colorado artists! Know what’s even cooler? 70% of the sales in the store go back to the artists and business-owners so that they can keep doing what they do.  Continue reading

14er #4: Mt. Democrat for Clean Water

Last Saturday, we finished another 14er. This one was especially awesome as it completed our Colorado 54 Campaign to fund clean water solutions for families in Nicaragua.

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The DenverSpeax Team on top of Mount Democrat, Aug 2nd, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, Aug 2014

Mount Democrat (14,148′) is considered a Class 2 (Difficult Class 2, depending on route) and links to other peaks:

Unfortunately, with 2 hours of sleep because of freezing weather (that we were ill-prepared to sleep in), we only made it to Mount Democrat. Hopefully, we can crush the other three peaks before the end of Summer 2014!

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Kirsten hiking up Democrat – Aug 2nd, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, Aug 2014.

 

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Steve and Kirsten holding the Democrat sign at the top! Photo Credit: Jeff Doorn, Aug 2014

 

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Steve checking out the view from how far we had all come. Photo Credit: Jeff Doorn, Aug 2014

 

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Kirsten and Jeff checking out the beautiful view from the top of Mount Democrat. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, Aug 2014

 

We had a blast, and (collectively) ended up raising over $1k+ for families in need of clean water. We’d like to thank all of our contributors from the bottom of our hearts:

Michael Moore & Shawna Jones

I GET DOWN Clothing & Apparel

Robyn Lamson

Ashley & Jason Minard

John Cooke

Jessica Finley

Phil DiTirro

Blake Forslund

Cassy Huidobro

Allie & Dan Price

Hans Smits

Jackie & Tom Lindrup

Katie Braun

Mark Lohman

Barb & George Davis

 

Please check out The Colorado 54 as well as Second Mile Water to find out ways to help & get involved.

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What 14ers or hikes are you looking at conquering before the end of summer? Can you recommend any? There are just SO MANY great ones here in our beautiful state. Also, you may have noticed that we “skipped” 14er #3… can you guess which one it was?? Updates coming soon on more hikes and awesome local places to visit in Denver.

Come hang out with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

14er #2: Mount Bierstadt

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Trailhead sign for Mount Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014.

Last Friday, a few co-workers and I received a random day off. With summer coming quickly to an end, we decided to hike Mount Bierstadt, a Class 2 difficulty, 14,060′ mountain in Colorado. This only being my second 14er, I was just as anxious as the first!

Out of the three of us who hiked, 2 of us were on our second 14er and for one of us, Bierstadt was the first. I would definitely recommend Bierstadt for first-time 14ers for a few reasons: 1) lower class of difficulty, 2) no incredibly steep inclines, 3) the trail is clearly defined and consists of wooden planking (beginning), dirt, and boulders – you get a taste of everything! 4) if you can park in, or close to, the parking lot at the trailhead, it is only about a 7.5 round trip. For directions to Bierstadt, click here.

 

Luckily, the weather last Friday was incredible! We had a few scary clouds once we hit summit, but no rain or hail the entire afternoon. Amazing, right?! It was nice to hike on a Friday and beat the weekend crowds also – if you have the chance to go on a weekday, take it!

 

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A hidden lake during mile 1 of Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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Sunshine and a two-track trail – how beautiful is that view?! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

We began hiking the trail at about 7 am and made our way across the two-track path; wooden decking also consumed a portion of the trail early on in the first mile, leading us over marshy land and through tall grass.

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Beautiful meadows and wildlife. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

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Beautiful meadows and wildlife. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

The views of the valleys  and meadows were breath-taking. Beautiful wildflowers are present along the majority of the trail until about the 3rd mile (guess-timate). Marmots and little chipmunks were everywhere! It was really fun to see wildlife in addition to the beautiful plant life on our hike this time.

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Check out how far we’d come! Looking back at the trailhead below somewhere between mile 2 and 3. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

Although the trail is pretty tame, the last mile or two are definitely more rough. The higher up, the rockier it gets!

 

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View from somewhere around mile 3. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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Rough terrain in the last mile. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Check out the sweet “Stairway to Heaven” pic from summit:

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Cassy summitting Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

The views from the top were incredible, but with the clouds rolling in we were only able to stay up there for about 10 minutes.

 

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View from the top of Mount Bierdstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Just enough time to get a picture with the conveniently placed, home-made signs that are waiting for you at the top!

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Kirsten at the top of Mount Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Cassy H., July 2014

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Lonely backpack at the top. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Something we need to mention – 14ers are hard. They truly test your physical and mental abilities to the max. When I hear people say “It’s an easy 14er” or, “Hey, that one’s an easy one!”, it annoys us as this is not necessarily true for you and your abilities. Know your limits. Yes, the 14ers are classified, and this is a good guide in order to pick out which mountains to start on and which mountains will be more challenging than others; however there are no “easy 14ers”.

Research your mountain before you go – 14ers.com is an amazing site with a TON of information including classifications, directions, trailheads, and pictures. Figure out which mountain is going to be right for your skill level. There are 54 to choose from! We definitely recommend Bierstadt as a first-time 14er, but remember that it is still a physical feat to accomplish! There’s no doubt in our mind that you can do it. 🙂

Have any questions or want to accompany DenverSpeax on an upcoming 14er? Comment below, or email us at denverspeax@gmail.com.