Golden is a beautiful gem in Colorado. This weekend took me to wander Lookout Mountain and the historic Buffalo Bill Museum.
A note to anyone also deciding to visit on a Saturday: Be extremely cautious of the numerous cyclists who take the same, winding route up the mountain at 20mph with you.
The views are classic Colorado at the top. However when you’re also looking for the perfect mountain peak photo, it seems there’s always a pine tree just where you point your lens.
Next to the museum is an overlook location that you can see nearly all of Golden as well as downtown Denver and its surrounding cities, including the haze common on hot days.
The Cody gravesite sits a very short walk from the museum.
The museum was an interesting walk-through and displays several historic and colorful artifacts from Cody’s life. Photos, swords, rifles, pistols, costumes and a plethora of accounts of his countless ventures.
The NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Trailhead off of Mesa Trail.
The Mesa Trail system in the Boulder, CO area didn’t disappoint. Craggy mountain vistas, views of the city of Boulder, birds, spring growth, icicles and stunning evergreen forests abounded.
The really great part about hiking in the Flatirons is that within the first 10-15 minutes of walking, you’re already seeing fantastic mountain views and photo opportunities from the trail.
At this elevation, just go ahead and keep the 45SPF with your trail bag.
A curious little fellow singing to the sun.
The trails began out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) property where we parked. It’s an easy drive from just about anywhere to get here and parking was plenty.
I’ve also found that while everyone is usually focused on their feet, it goes a long way to be friendly and thank those who stand to the side for you, offer a comment about spots to tackle with caution you just passed or where there’s an awesome camera shot ahead.
I’m surprised by how much plant life continues to flourish in the mountains under and through the snow as the seasons change.
Admittedly, I was a bit worried that I would struggle with the winter out here and possibly find myself not enjoying it. But I love winter so far here! And for me this includes still getting out on weekends when to enjoy the gorgeous country that is just a few miles down the road.
Sunday morning, I was treated to my first hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park.
It was a perfect day to be outdoors.
It was in the high thirties with a light breeze (brisk!), beautifully sunny and the ground ground was either hard-packed ice, several inches of snow or a slush-mud mix that you sank at least an inch down into with each step.
I was warm and toasty the rest of the day. My base layers are a merino wool mix, yet thinner than a t-shirt and worth every darned cent.
I had also picked up some proper hiking shoes the day before; a pair of waterproof Merrell hikers. Admittedly, I would have been miserable and heading home early if not for those shoes.
The views of the Flatirons from the Canyon State Park trails were stunning. Craggy and sharply defined, these paths made for a perfect starter hike.
We were treated to open vistas, crystalline creeks partially frozen over and thick evergreen trees that lined wandering foot paths.
As we neared the end of the trail, I turned and was treated to the best view of the day.
I can’t wait to head back to try other trails and do the same trail again (only this time on dry dirt vs. the snow and slush). It’s truly God’s country out here.
It’s a crying shame to move to one of the most beautiful places in the United States and not immediately spend every available opportunity venturing out to explore. Thus I found myself, several months after setting up shop here in Colorado, not having yet driven into the mountains to do any sight-seeing.
So I opened up Google maps, looked at surrounding towns within easy driving distance, and settled on Nederland, Colorado.
After a roughly 45 minute drive northwest through the foothills and up into the mountains via more than a few gut-twisting turns and twists, I rolled into town.
It was far too brisk a day to comfortably get out and walk the downtown area (or anywhere outside the warm confines of my SUV), so the photography was mainly kept to the views of Barker Reservoir.
It took a bit of time to be able to navigate to the top of the mountain roads open to public traffic in order to find an clear view from which to snap a picture or two.
A bit further down near the reservoir itself, it was obvious that despite the bright sunshine and blue skies, the strong winds and chilly temperatures had kept the waters frozen over.
It really doesn’t do the view here justice, but I attempted to capture a panoramic shot with my iPhone from atop the small cliff above the water’s edge.
I look forward to driving back soon to this beautiful place. The start of many new adventures to come!