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Colorado Springs

We went to Colorado Springs to visit with our kids who recently moved into the area. The views from their house are amazing. I can see why they enjoy living out in this area. We spent more time with the kids and some of the boxes than we did sightseeing.

One of our highlights was hiking at The Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. The free park is awe inspiring. I was in the park about 8 years ago and it is a must visit when you are in the area.

We enjoyed hiking along the Ute trail in the mountain biking area. The magnificent red rocks are jutting out of the ground are quite the contrast with the rest of the mountains in the area and the green vegetation along the trails.

The beauty in this area is so different than our home state. It was wonderful to see. After our hike on the Ute trail we hiked around the main area. We followed the good tenants for getting acclimated to altitude, not over doing it on the first day or two, limiting alcohol and drinking plenty of water.CS GG KGB

Our other big hiking adventure was in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. If you go in the summer, it is probably best to avoid Saturday or Sunday visits as it was crowded when we went. We had to park away from the main parking area, which was fine for us as we enjoyed hiking up to catch the visitor’s center and the starting point for the trail up to Helen Hunt Falls.

Colorado 7 bridges hike to trail head

The hike up was beautiful.

The visitor’s center was fun with a map where hikers noteColorado 7 bridges hike to trail head--Hellen Hunt falls where hikers come fromd where they were from.

This is another park owned by the city of Colorado Springs.

Colorado 7 bridges hike to trail head--First trail up 6 G-K-S-B view from top of silver cascade

 

From Helen Hunt Falls we continued our day by hiking up the Seven Bridges Trail (although we only made it over 3 of the bridges). We found ourselves in the middle of an ultra-marathon (they were running 50 miles). Our kids had read a comment online about this trail that you should dance over each one of the bridges and do a different dance for each. That was fun and I am not posting the videos! We also managed some non-technical boulder climbing after bridge #3.

Other highlights:

We went bouldering. The kids have been enjoying a local past time, climbing rocks. It is fun to do so indoors in a controlled environment and even outside. Our daughter and daughter-in law enjoyed the outdoor rock climbing as well.

We will be back before too long and have more to share. We did hike over 10 miles and I rode a bike one day 5 miles in the neighborhood. We also recycled boxes and helped out around the new place in Colorado.

I managed one bike ride in the neighborhood. I had not ridden in an area with wild cactus plants growing before this ride.

Colorado mountain bike 2018 cati

View from the path near the kids house

I only managed 5 miles, but it was a fun 5 miles after I put the bike together and got it in working order.

We will be back soon!

Garden of the Gods G-K

Walking in the Garden of the Gods

Bike

Bike from my ride. This is in the driveway. What a view!

A Cool Walk on the Beach

Our trip to Florida proved that there is nothing quite like a Florida sunset even when it is cold outside. Watching the sun set is something we rarely do at home. With the weather near a not “Florida like” 30+ degrees (0 C) we were joined in viewing the sunset by several other tourists, most of whom did not get out of their hotel or condo during the day. Of course for us, no matter how many times you witness the sun going down over the water, it’s always a magical experience. We managed to get out every night while we were in Florida to see the sun set over the water. Sometimes it was with a glass of wine and friends. Other times it was just a few of us brave souls watching the sun set in the west.

When it is cold, it sounds good to book flights to Florida. We imagined ourselves spending a week at the beach the first week of January, using plenty of sunscreen while walking on the beach and taking some bike rides nearby. When we looked at the local forecast and saw the highs at home would be cold, we congratulated ourselves on our planning, until we looked at the lows for the panhandle of Florida, in the high 20’s (-2 C). Okay, a few days it did warm up to almost 50 degrees (about 13 C), and it was generally 30 degrees warmer where we were staying in Florida than it was back home.  We managed to walk for at least an hour every morning before lounging around and eating breakfast. Warm coffee was great after a cool walk on the beach. I even put my bare toes in the cool sand, although not for too long.

FL Beach walk river

We did enjoy the sunrise in the early mornings.  We did all the things on a trip to Seagrove Beach, Florida, we anticipated; we just had on more layers and never got to wear the shorts we packed. A good day on the beach was better than shoveling snow at home.

We saw several shells and some wild life while walking along the beach. The sand pipers were fun to watch scurrying along the beach. A sea cucumber and the crab were interesting to see—although it was too cold for them on the beach. We saw the sea turtle signs although we did not see any signs of the turtles. Please let me know your suggestions for the sea shell collection we took home with us. The beach was a beautiful white sandy beach that reminded us of snow. Of course, the cold weather may have influenced our thoughts.

We biked and hiked in the nearby Point Washington State Park. We were very impressed by the trails and the different plants that we encountered. We were pleased to be wearing long pants when we rode through all of the saw tooth palmetto bushes. I was amazed at the deer moss that was like a carpet. On our hikes we found a grove of cypress trees .

Kim and I are experienced road bike riders. We were able to borrow mountain bikes and ride in the state forest for several days. It was different for us to be on the mountain bikes, and riding in the sand is very hard. The state forest practices controlled burns; the sand is deep when trucks have been through in recent days. I am not sure who can ride on the deep sand-filled paths. I could not ride parts of this trail as the sand was over a foot deep for the width of the trail.

We did discover what we thought was a tree from Dr. Seus–the long leaf pine tree.

We enjoyed the aviation in the panhandle with a nearby air force base. We did stop at the fascinating Air Force Armament Museum and enjoyed our tour inside as well as outside. They have heat and air conditioning inside the building. It is a good place to go when you cannot go out on the beach.

Lessons learned:

  • Being cold on the beach is better than not being on the beach at all.
  • Bike riding in deep sand is just as hard as a tall hill; new respect for mountain biking.
  • Air travel in January is tricky with snow covering places all up and down the east coast.
  • Beach access is a consideration when renting or buying near the beach.
  • A month or two near the beach is a great way to spend a month or two.

FL Glen and kim at sunset last nightTrip by the numbers:

Mountain biking:  41 miles, longest 15 miles.

Hiking,walking on the beach: 14 miles, longest 3.75 miles in the forest.

FL Glen on bike bridge 2

Black Friday Hiking

One of the joys of seeking experiences over stuff is we do not have to join the world in shopping on black Friday. For those that know us well, you know we never did go out on Friday morning for “Black Friday” deals. I usually went into work and wrote performance reviews celebrating a day lacking meetings and emails.

This “black Friday” we took in the local Middle Creek Park in Burlington, Kentucky. We enjoyed the hiking and the stepping away from all of the traffic that exists anywhere near a mall. The venue was quiet and we were part of a small group of hikers; we saw a few others out on the trails. The park has almost nine (8.49) miles of trails.

Middle Creek park sign post

No cell phone reception and watch out during hunting season–which when we looked it up was when we were out. No hunting in the park, just the neighboring area.

The excitement of hiking in the fall is that no insects are out to ruin your day. It was only 50 degrees out so we were wearing long pants. The other benefit is that no prickly bushes were scratching our legs as we hiked up and down the hills. On the other hand, we are noisy as we walk through the leaves that have almost all fallen, scaring away the local wildlife and sometimes obscuring the path.

The trail we hiked was a multi-use trail for horses and people. Horses must use the trail as we saw evidence of their hoof prints and, fortunately, no other evidence. The ground was muddy in places. The hiking up and down the hills was just right. We enjoyed the glimpse of the Ohio River that is afforded at the top of the trail.

Middle Creek park view of Ohio River

View of the Ohio River from the park

One of the retirement benefits is taking off when the weather is nice and visiting local parks. We are sure that many others had the day off.  

 

The lesson learned from this travel is that near or far, a good time is often determined by our own attitude. We set out for an adventure, and even though this one was closer to home, it was a get away from town and any normal routine that we have established in retirement.

Another lesson learned during the last few weeks was emphasizing the importance of family and friends. We have traveled to a few funerals and attended some locally. It is great to get together with the family and remember a life. It is even better at Thanksgiving and other times to get together and just be together. Making memories together is part of the journey; we are looking to continue to celebrate that journey on our travels.

We hiked about 3.5 miles on this adventure.

IMG_2282

Our minimum outdoor bike riding temperature is 55 degrees or a little cooler if the day is warming up. I taught an indoor bike cycle class instead of taking a bike outside.

 

The Enchanted State Park

Our weekend to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio began on Thursday. It is great to get away when everyone else is still working. Keep up the good work if you are among that group…

It was raining when we woke up on Friday morning. And then it rained until about 9:30 in the morning. At that point in time the porch in our cabin was a good place to be, but a hike in the woods sounded better. It was cool and misty when we started out for our hike from Old Man’s Cave parking area. If you have not been to this enchanting part of the park, access is free; it is well worth the trip. The GPS had a little trouble finding the park. As we found out, once we arrived, even a cool, rainy Friday, several people had no trouble finding the location, including us.

At the beginning of our hike, on the way to Old Man’s Cave, we first walked down to the Hocking River. The views looked like we were in a Disney movie and we half expected to find a troll or a gnome coming out from under one of the stone bridges.

After we hiked through the Old Man’s Cave, we took a longer hike out to Cedar Falls. We really enjoyed the quiet on the hike; the water was flowing due to the morning rain and sounded great. We could see the “just past peak” colors peaking out of the hemlock evergreen trees. The hemlock tree has “whispy” leaves and they are not thick. As a result, our views on the hike were better than they could have been if the park had cedar trees instead of hemlocks. We are planning on coming back during the week next year in October to see the colors at their peak. Past peak the colors were really good.

We did make it to cedar falls. Apparently the early settlers mistook (like me) the hemlock for cedar trees. The falls were nice to visit on our hike, and we were glad we hiked the trail. The trail on the way back warned of being strenuous. We now understand that the hike up away from the falls, on the several steps, was tiring and being on the cliffs looking down did show us how high we had climbed. It was not bad; the only part that strained was the initial climb out from the falls.

We enjoyed finding a suspension bridge on the hike. It was fun for us to take a break and cross it more than once. The path led to Ash Cave, another popular spot in the park. Apparently Ash Cave was the site for public gatherings for years as it has good acoustics.

We enjoyed hiking through the tunnels and over the stone bridges. We found many waterfalls and pretty sites along the way.

 

We enjoyed our during-the-week adventure. We are going to look for more of them in the future. This park did not have a lodge and closed at 5 PM during the week. We were able to get directions from a fellow traveler on how to access our cabin and how to get around. It is always good to ask for help from an expert. We recommend the park as an enchanted trip.

Hocking hills cedar falls

We did not bike this trip. We did hike over 8 miles in the park and could easily have hiked more.

bike in garage

Bikes left in the garage for the weekend