Pink Denver Sunset Pano

Denver Sunset Panorama 2-10-2016

Denver Sunset Panorama 2-10-2016
Not a great panorama of the sunset in Denver, CO today, as it was done with my Android phone and I wasn’t anywhere where I could get anything really interesting in the foreground… But was all about the sky anyway. This sunset was so bright and so much of the mountain-wave clouds along the foothills was involved that everything seemed to glow pink reflecting the sky from above.

Waterton Canyon Try Out

I did a little over 4 mile “out and back” hike up Waterton Canyon today with my sister. I’ld never been up that way before. After this hike, while I’m curious enough to go back and do the full 8 mile out and back to the first major dam, it definitely is not my top choice in fun hikes in the area. Part of my lack of enthusiasm with it was that it was so hot today and there really is no shade along the route accept in a few areas. The other issue I had is that while it appears to be a great, easy mountain bike ride down a dirt road along the South Platte River, it is not the most engaging of hiking trails. That being said I only went down a short way.

Total distance: 4.5 mi, Total time: 1:41:32, Moving time: 1:21:26, Avg moving speed: 3.3 mi/h, Max speed: 6.8 mi/h, Avg moving pace: 18.1 min/mi, Fastest pace: 8.8 min/mi, Max elev: 5549 ft, Min elev: 5388 ft, Elevation gain: 797 ft.
View Waterton Canyon Hike 7/16/2012 in a larger map

That’s not to say I didn’t still enjoy it or that I won’t go back and take pictures (hopefully of big horn sheep that are said to frequent the canyon sides). I think I’ll go earlier in the day though when its cooler and do it at a much brisker pace. Between the heat and my sister’s  shorter stride and painful hips, we took it slower than I normally go. But Shannon’s awesome company more than made up for the slower pace or less engaging hiking terrain. What views we saw were pretty impressive though, as you get into the rock walled canyon pretty quickly and its a nice escape from the urban sprawl where we started at the canyon’s outlet.

We spotted several lizards (including a failed attempt at trying to herd one so we could get a good pose for the camera), swallows flying in and out of the cliffs, and butterflies. There were also a couple of fly fisherman in the river, and a lot of bicyclists, runners and hikers, as well as some school groups in the earlier parts of the trail. Needless to say it is a pretty popular place, seeing as how this was a Monday during working hours..

Swallow, Coyote & Columbine

Went for a hike yesterday, June 7th, at South Valley Park in Littleton along the Swallow, Coyote Song, Lyons Pass, Columbine and Cathy Johnson trails. Got a much later start than I had planned due to the previous night’s tornado and hail adventure. The park features some of the red sandstone Fountain Formations found in Roxborough State Park. They’re not as large or as numerous as those there, but still pretty cool. Being smaller the swallow nests and the birds’ aerial acrobatics are much more visible. Continue reading Swallow, Coyote & Columbine

I’m not in KS (I mean CO) anymore

Last night it felt like I wasn’t in Kansas anymore… I mean, Colorado.

I’ve been house- and dog-sitting for my mom & step dad, and last night was pretty stormy, causing our psychotic dogs to go more nuts than usual because of the thunder. I eventually crated my parent’s two small dogs, and got my old-man doggy to lie down and relax enough that I too managed to fall asleep — for all of an hour.

I was startled awake at midnight by what my mind first said was an air raid. Then I realized it was tornado warning sirens. Continue reading I’m not in KS (I mean CO) anymore

Memorial Day Carpenter Peak Hike

I wanted to get to Roxborough State Park when it opened at 7am, since it was Memorial Day and I suspected that the park would have a lot of visitors. I didn’t quite make it though as I set off from the car at 7:26am, and it was 7:35 or so until I actually hit the trail head. Despite the fact I left later than planned, mine was one of the few cars in the lots and I initially had the place pretty much to myself. I passed only one couple on the way up and I apparently was the first to hit the peak. Only had it to myself for 5 to 10 minutes though before one person after another began to arrive. The trip down was a more or less continuous stream of hikers, which was a little annoying as you could hear people’s voices ringing out across the valley, where I usually prefer the sound of the wind, birds and such. The parking lots were completely full when I left, and there was a line of 10 to 15 cars waiting to get in the park, so all in all I’m really glad I started when I did.

I went pretty fast on the way up, taking only one “real” break. While the wild flowers were past their prime on the lower trails, the peak trail had a surprising amount. Besides two herds of deer on the drive to the trail head, the only other wildlife I saw today were birds, insects and rodents. Once I hit the peak, and on the way down I took my time and took a bunch of photos. Here’s some of the best:

360 degree panoramic view from the top of Carpenter Peak

Click the panorama thumbnail above to zoom then scroll right to see the whole 360 degrees.

For somewhat higher resolution version of any of these photos (except the panorama), see this photo gallery on Picasa.

GoogleMaps display of MyTracks data as gathered from my DroidX smart phone

View Carpenter Peak and Willow Creek Trails in a larger map

If you view the large version of the map above and click on the End pin either on the map or in the column to the left you will see all the details on how many miles, how high, and how long it took me. The beginning of the MyTracks data is not very accurate as I didn’t really give my phone a lot of time to narrow its position and I spent some time inside the visitor center w/ no view of the sky before I headed out on the trail. As such this is not quite as accurate as the data from my hand-held GPS, which I will add to this post later.