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.

 

 

Brews with your fave comrades at Comrade Brewing

Although there’s no proven science (yet) stating that fermented barley boosts muscle growth, we sure do feel the positive affects of a nice, craft brew after a long bike ride (check out Bicycling.com‘s top picks for Post-Ride Brews).

Bike riding and craft brews go hand-in-hand here in Denver, and it’s no wonder Colorado is ranked 3rd on the list of 10 Best Craft Brew States in America (USA TODAY – 10 best craft brew states in America).

After heading south from Denver on the Cherry Creek Trail via bikes this past holiday weekend, a group of us checked out Comrade Brewing at 7667 E Iliff Ave, a couple blocks west of the trail. 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! 🙂

Walking About Capitol Hill, Denver

With the boxes lining the walls of our new place, and the beautiful weather calling our names, yesterday Steve and I walked a 4 mile radius around the apartment. We remembered what it was like to be brand new to the city, and had a blast being tourists all over again. Check out the sights and fall in love with Denver again.

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Denver County Courthouse. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Bison sculptures on the 16th Street Mall. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Standing at the corner of 17th and Wazee in downtown Denver, CO. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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View of Union Station Denver. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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The tracks of the remodeled Union Station Denver. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Union Station Denver. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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The Colorado State Capitol Building. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

Whether you’ve just moved to a new neighborhood in Denver, you’re visiting Denver, or you’ve been in Denver for years, get outside and remember what you love so much about this great city.

 

Follow us on  Instagram for more adventures: @denverspeax
Hang out with us on Twitter: @denverspeax
Like us on Facebook.

Get Ready – Denver’s City Park Jazz is BACK in June 2014

One of the coolest, FREE events in town, City Park Jazz in Denver’s City Park offers Denverites of all ages a great time outside.

Pack a picnic, ride your bike, and find a spot in the Park on June 1st, 2014 to kick off another season of FREE Jazz concerts.

Pavillion within City Park Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

Pavillion within City Park Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

 

A Few Easy Reminders: 

  • Yes, you can totally bring your furry friend! Make sure they’re on a leash.
  • Please, please, please don’t forget an extra trash bag to keep your trash concealed before throwing it away when leaving. Keep this beautiful place clean.
  • No, you don’t have to pay – it’s FREE! You can, however, always donate while at the concert (they have volunteers that collect) or on the website.
  • The show starts at 6:00 pm MST, but if you’re looking for a parking spot on a nearby street, you’ll need to head over a few hours earlier. We totally suggest riding your bike if at all possible!
  • No glass in the park, but canned beer is allowed.
  • Food trucks will be at the park so if you don’t pack you’re on food, you will not starve.
  • There are portopotties, and they’re usually pretty clean.

Click here for the 2014 season schedule. Get ready to have an amazing time! We hope to see you there.

DenverSpeax – A Reminder

 

 

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The power of reminder can be very interesting and thought-provoking, to the point of near meditation:

A song comes on the radio, and you’re instantly placed into a time previous of extreme joy, or maybe content, or possibly sadness.

You head west out of Denver to visit the Rockies, and you’re reminded of your first trip to Loveland Pass, or your first drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel.

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View from Arapahoe Basin – Click on the photo to see more beautiful pictures in this area.

These places serve as reminder for us as to why we moved here, and why we started DenverSpeax. It’s important to reflect, and have our reflection over the past (almost) year rejuvenate our spirits and provoke motivation. I thought it would be good to pass this along to you all who have supported us.
The Story:
When we moved here, we had a few friends from back home, but they were fairly new as well. It was difficult to find places to go or see because we didn’t know what we were looking for, per se – try using Yelp to find a restaurant when you’re in the mood for a certain atmosphere, or when you’re trying to make friends – is there a filter for those? Although we believe Yelp is a great application and very helpful, sometimes a star-rating just doesn’t cut it. Sure, there’s another great site called TripAdvisor – we use it when we are traveling…but we weren’t traveling any longer. We weren’t looking for advertised Bed & Breakfasts and their ratings – we were looking to call a place home.

 

The best way to learn and begin to understand a community is by fully emerging yourself. This is what we’ve learned in our various travels domestically and internationally, as well as with this move to Denver. Out of boredom, and lack of known resources within the Denver community & beyond, DenverSpeax was born.

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City Park hosts City Park Jazz for many Sundays each summer. Click on the picture to read more!

We roam around Denver and the surrounding areas looking for what’s good in the community. The good comes in all shapes, sizes, and experiences. We support small, local businesses when we eat out, and prefer to stay local with our purchases as well. Luckily, there are so many festivals, parks, food and beverage, volunteering, and natural beauty here that we’ll never run out of things to write about.

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Walking around on the 16th Street mall can be a ton of fun. Click on the picture to check out more!

DenverSpeax exists to promote positivity within the community, helping out natives and transplants alike with what to do, where to go, and how to experience all of the good that’s so aplenty here. Know someone who’s moving to Denver? Show ’em our website. Ran out of things to do and experience? Look through the site! Planning a trip to Denver and want the real feel of our diverse community? Well, we have a website for that!

Thank you for your endless support. We are devoted to continue to bring you the low down on what’s good in Denver. A few things we’re looking at tackling next:

  • Volunteering – how can we give back to the community we love so much? There are so many ways – we just need to DO IT.
  • Collaboration with other Colorado start-ups that need support with getting noticed in the community.
  • Visiting Bed & Breakfasts local to Denver so that we can provide our visitors with features on great places to stay.

How you can help: Come with us! Or, let us know…

What other features would you like to see on the website?

What is local and positive that you just can’t live without?

For more on what’s good in Denver, follow us in real-time on Facebook, Instagram (@denverspeax), or Twitter (@denverspeax).