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HIKING & BIKING COLORADO


 

2 Days, 5 Fourteeners: A Journey To Quandry Peak

Posted by Donald Cicchillo on Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 9:18am.

Quandary Peak – September 10, 2014

Don’t be deceived by descriptions that state Quandary Peak is an “easy 14er”.  To the contrary, we found it to be tough right out of the trailhead and carried through pretty much the whole day. Starting out from the trailhead, the trail winds through a heavily forested area, climbs up fairly steeply from the get-go and is quite an awakening for the ‘sleepy legs’.  It had snowed lightly the night before and was quite foggy as we started, making for a rather chilly start.  It did make for some breath-taking views as we ascended and the clouds began to break-up, revealing the surrounding peaks and valleys.  The warm morning sun felt good and we were able to shake off the morning chill from the damp clouds. The hike up the mountain slowly crept out of the tree line and was a steady hard climb over a very rocky trail.  Although only 3 ½ miles up, it seems a lot longer and the final 700 feet or so was very intensely steep and I had to stop quite a bit just to catch my breath.  Quite windy up top so we only stayed a little bit, then we headed down.

The hike down seemed equally difficult given the rocky, steep trail.  By the time I got to the bottom, I was totally whipped and my knees were aching.  It was quite challenging all-in-all and certainly not an “easy 14er”.

Mount Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron and Bross – September 11, 2014

The weather cooperated today and the skies were crystal clear blue as we started from the Kite Lake Trailhead located at the base of the 4 majestic mountains.  Unlike Quandary Peak, we started at a much higher elevation level and were well above tree line.  We took the route up Mount Democrat with a short, flat walk from the lake which quickly started to climb. The hiking was quite steep right away but the trail was not too rocky. We quickly made it up to the saddle where the wind was really blowing.  Layered up, we proceeded up towards the summit of Mount Democrat.  This section was quite rocky and still had a lot of snow so it was slipper y and very slow going.  I passed an elderly gentleman (who we later found out was deaf).  It is very inspirational when you see people that are in their 70s+ climbing up one of these 14ers.  Makes me feel young and that I can keep climbing them for a long time.

Once we got near the top, the actual summit was a few hundred yards away and then about another 500 feet.  We took a quick break to eat and recharge a little as the wind had died down.  The final push was relatively easy and afforded terrific views from the top.  Our intent was to ascend all four mountains, so we headed down and regrouped off the saddle between Mt. Democrat and Mt. Cameron/Lincoln.  The climb up from the saddle was hard but steady.  The climb levels out a bit and it was extremely windy, so with our heads down we trudged quickly along not realizing that Mt. Cameron is actually the next mountain – we’d hit the second of four.  It is very flat on the top and since it was so windy, we continued along to Mt. Lincoln.  After a long flat section, it rose up and was a bit of a climb to get to the top of Mt. Lincoln.  Finding shelter behind rocks, we took in the view while out of the wind and got recharged for the final climb.

Leaving Mt. Lincoln, there was a long flat hike over to Mt. Bross.  It was quite a nice break from the up-and-down climbing so far that day.  Heading over toward Mt. Bross, it started climbing up but the trail was really smooth and not very rocky.  We took a slight detour and saw an old mining camp with a few remaining out-buildings.  What a life those guys must have lived.

Back on the trail, it was a final steep push to the top and we had reached the fourth 14er of the day.  Still windy we headed down a gradual sloping trail at first that became more loose rock and dirt – rather slick and steep for quite a long time.  My legs were getting weary so I descended very slowly.  You can see the trail leading to the parking area below so it gives you hope but does seem like a lifetime at points because you’re so tired from such a long day of hiking and climbing.  At the final stretch there is a beautiful waterfall that is a visual reward for all your hard work.  Getting back to the trailhead, I was quite spent but very satisfied that I had achieved the goal of climbing four 14ers in one day!

Climbing 14’ers 2014

MY COLORADO 14'ERS EXPERIENCE

As I prep for my Annual 14’er hike/camping trip some interesting twists have occurred causing a little last minute change in prep. One buddy was already out w/a bum knee & not wanting to take on the challenge of the planned Maroon Bells 14’ers. Then unfortunately, another buddy just broke his arm but still wants to participate. Now with that on top of the serious Bear situation at  the Maroon Bells area (camp sites closed, food being stolen from campers by bears, my own general unease with camping in an area with lots of bear activity) think tossing & turning & bad bear dreams all night long. With sleeping outside in a tent already a challenge introducing an added ingredient of bear on the mind mentally and the need for a good night’s sleep in the woods vital to a good next day hiking experience. The thought of not going to “the Bells” as they are referred to is fine with me for this year.

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Bike to Work Day 2014 - A Fun Eco-friendly Event Sponsored by Whole Foods in Boulder

Check out our fun video from 2014's Bike to Work Day in Boulder, CO!

 

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  BIKING IT IN BOULDER

Attracting cyclists, mountain bikers and road bikers of all kind, Boulder is the epicenter of Colorado's mountain region’s cycling world. Whether you are looking a quiet ride with gorgeous scenery, a thrilling challenge on a mountain trail or to beat your best time on your favorite route, Boulder’s many bike paths and cycling routes are second to none.

Boulder Creek Path

This heavily travel path is popular with outdoorsy people and especially bike commuters.  The picturesque 7 miles stretch connects  east Boulder, just over 55th, all the way through downtown and out west to Eden G. Fine Park.  Popular with tourists and residents, many people use this path regularly, so be sure to stay in your lane and keep your head up for oncoming traffic!

Boulder to Jamestown - Currently Closed as of May 7th, 2014

Just recently reopened, this gorgeous and highly popular route for intermediate and elite cyclists, is once again closed. (Insert sad face with a tear!) However, once the flood recovery is finished, this 23 mile round trip will again be the hot spot for local road cyclists. Be sure to check out BoulderCounty.org for updates of the reopening.

Betasso Preserve

This is an amazing place for all kinds of outdoor adventures, but especially for mountain bikers.  Mountain biking is only allowed in the preserve from Sunday to Tuesday of each week. Although this rule is kind of quirky, it’s understandable due to the popularity of the trails and for safety reasons. Offering mountain biking terrain that ranges from moderate to difficult, beginners and novices will want to stick to easier routes before attempting the Betasso Link. According to their website, access to Betasso via Four Mile Canyon is currently closed. However, you can still pick it up off Boulder Canyon Drive just before the tunnel.

NCAR

Known for being a simple, quick and gorgeous ride, the climb to NCAR is the perfect place to enjoy your passion for cycling. Especially great for novice and beginner riders, the short distance to the top offers just enough of a challenge to leave you feeling exhilarated and proud of your accomplishment. For the elite, this quick and easy ride is perfect when you don’t have time for anything else. A definite must for all of Boulder’s cycling community.

Heil Valley Ranch

An extraordinary area for mountain biking, Heil Valley Ranch sits just outside of Lyons, Colorado and features valleys, picturesque vistas and forest meadows. Currently Lichen Loop and Wapiti Trail are the only trails closed, so the next time you want to ride, be sure to check out Picture Rock Trail, Ponderosa Loop or Wild Turkey Trail.

Boulder to Hygiene

Another classic ride for Boulder cyclists, which is in great shape, is the route from Boulder out to Hygiene via 63rd. Dubbed the Fruit Loop, this route is perfect for those wanting a moderate ride with a bit of a length! Slightly over 40 miles round trip, this route is perfect for those days when it’s too cold to go in the mountains or you are just looking for a bit of an easier ride.

Valmont Bike Park

This park is brand new and the best place if you like to hit jumps and sweet ramps! The man made terrain is groomed and well maintained and makes it a great alternative if some of your favorite mountain biking trails are closed or too muddy. Located on Valmont in between 55th and Foothills Parkway, this park is popular with extreme sports lovers and the elite competition riders, plus its right next to the dog park!

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