As I’ve often said, Denver trends are about 6 months ahead of Steamboat’s. When I found information on the rental market in Denver changing, I had to follow up. Today I ran into an article from the Denver Post about Denver rents going down. This …
Gilpin Lake hike is a classic Steamboat Springs locals hike. The terrain is rocky and uphill, but the canyon views are outstanding. For me, I did this hike twice in the last month. Once because I really wanted to see the lake and, second, to complete the Zirkel Circle. Yes, this sounds silly, and it was a bit funny- if I had known that I was half way round the Zirkel Circle the first time, I would have kept going.
My first hike up to the lake was purely wanting to escape my condo and do something epic. I don’t know if Gilpin Lake hike is epic. I do know the views were spectacular once I was well on my way. Leaving my condo and computer behind was what I was looking for. The entire hike took about 5 hours, and all of it I was out of range except on the saddle above the lake. This is when I text K a picture well above the water surface.
For less than five miles, the hike in is a steady climb. None of it was steep, though the last half mile had more grade to it than the rest. Hiking up to an alpine lake, I was surprised how easy the walk was. Overall, there are rocky/stony spots to get through, and some shallow water crossings.
I started early both days, with the first day being a warm Autumn morning. In the first mile of my hike I saw elk, deer, moose, beaver, black squirrels, and chipmunks. This is not the normal amount of wildlife in a day. It was a good day for animals because I was the first person up the trail that day. Having no one else to bother them, the animals were enjoying their mornings.
Also, starting early gave me an advantage because no one else was there. I wouldn’t see another person for at least two hours. It was peaceful. Solo hiking up to the lake and enjoying the wind blowing through Spruce, as well as being able to take my time in anything I did. On the way back to my car, I saw several folks, all eager to see the beauty at 10,600 feet. This includes Big Agnes, Little Agnus, and Mount Zirkel, which was dominant most of the hike.
For my second hike, I was eager to do the entire Zirkel Circle, which is less than 11 miles.
My friend Ty wanted to get out and I thought this would be a great hike to do something epic and say we’ve done that hike.
The day was much different. It was cooler, cloudy, and no one around. Also, we didn’t see any wildlife. I think I was lucky my first time to the lake. We took note of the large mountains as we passed them on our left, and took several photos of Mount Zirkel.
The best part of the hike must have been the snow at the higher elevations. It didn’t snow heavily, just enough for a perfect ambiance. Snow thinly covered huge boulders in piles, grasses, and the trail. Looking for footprints, we found we were the only ones hiking the trail in that area. Once we got to Gold Lake, we started running into folks. Many were doing the shorter lake hike to Gold Lake rather than the 5 miles to Gilpin Lake.
When we got back the car, the lot was full of autos. Smiling the smiles of successful hikers, we got in the truck and went to Storm Peak for beer.
Is September almost over? The first half of the year seemed to drag along and now it’s three months to Christmas. Wow. Steamboat has been very busy all Summer. Many tourists came through town. Given the amount of RV’s that went through town as well …
Recently I visited Ross at his ranch. He invited me out on a Sunday afternoon, and it was another epic Colorado blue bird day. It was easy for me to hop in the truck and journey over to his ranch.
He said he lived by Elkhead Reservoir, but didn’t understand he lived at the far side of the lake. Elkhead Reservoir is a little bit north of Hayden, Colorado. Taking Walnut Street out of town takes you up a winding country road that ends up on top of a plateau. The views of the east and south of the Yampa Valley are amazing from this viewpoint. I’ve been there several times working on real estate projects, so it was easy for me to want to make this journey again.
The drive into Ross’s ranch is full of views of the reservoir. Beautiful horizon lines that move around to the east to reveal the Bear’s Ears formation in the distance. Today, there were just a few boats on the water. It made me long to be out there because no boat traffic would have been great for some flat water kayaking. But that wasn’t today. Today is about seeing mules, dogs, hogs, and cows.
Yes, Ross’s big, friendly personality can be found in his energetic and playful farm dogs. When I went to visit the bottle calves, they followed me like I was an old friend. Ross was moving water tanks around the farm when I arrived. By the time I had visited the calves and played with the dogs, he was ready to give me a tour of the ranch.
We hopped in, with his dogs, his ‘new’ Ranger. (He just purchased four days prior from a guy he knows nearby.) He drove me around the bend and up to our first of three gates. He got out and opened the first one, and after that it was me. With the electric fence gates, I had to ask if they were live. He replied they were – Gotcha, and I’ll be really careful. (I personally hate being shocked by electric current. Actually, I don’t know anyone who enjoys this.)
We drove about a mile in all and saw hundreds of acres, some with green grass rimmed ponds and streams, some on hilltops covered in sage. There were some really big cows too!
When we got back to the barn, Ross invited me in his house for tea. We talked for a bit and I got to meet his wonderful wife. We shared stories of farmers markets, cows and hogs, and growing up with the rural lifestyle.
When I was leaving, I got to watch the bottle calves be fed. When I arrived earlier, these calves were chill-laxing on some hay. Now they bolted up and were ready to be fed. They each drained a full bottle (about 60 ounces) in less than a minute! No chatting around the dinner table, I guess.
After this, I took a beautiful drive home, but not before being invited to help brand cows the next time around.
Steamboat is seeing the end of the Summer approaching quickly. We have had a rush of visitors over the past few weekends, which makes me think school is about to start. We have a bunch of smoke from a large fire near Glenwood Springs, and …
Well, it’s official. Officially crazy, I mean. This is a very busy time for real estate brokers in Steamboat Springs. Not all brokers are busy, but most are. If a broker had business going into the Spring shutdown, they are busy now. In my …
Camping makes me happy. Being outdoors for long periods of time, and a lot of that time is with my feet up under a shade tree. Depending on the trip, activities will include fishing, hiking, cooking, and sitting around telling stories.
This year, camping has been very popular. With many places closed due to the virus outbreak, persons across the Front Range, and nearby states, have hit the mountains for relief from the heat, getting away from urban stress, and just all around killing time. Walking or driving through downtown Steamboat Springs, there are numerous RV’s going through town. Several of which it is easy to tell that the driver has little experience with towing, let alone something as large as a camper trailer.
This weekend we went to North Routt to camp. Like, way north. North of Steamboat Lake is a small spot named Columbine. Here we took County Road 550 and travelled some really great terrain. We saw many peaks and large, wide open pastures. Except for a few bucks, we didn’t see any wildlife. Then again we were traveling in the afternoon. In the afternoons, I’m laying low from the Summer heat.
We drove about 15 miles from Columbine to an area known as Whiskey Park and camped on the Middle Fork of the Snake River. It was a quiet spot, as many along this drive were. We felt pretty lucky finding a spot, especially with water. Every campsite along our drive was taken, except for two.
Our tent was surrounded by white pine and Sarvis Berry bushes. The Snake River made enough sound that we slept really well. Overall, it was a great spot to kick back for awhile, out of cell phone range.
Stage 1 fire restrictions started last weekend. Which means no fires outside of campgrounds, and no fireworks, and a few other things. It toned down the evenings and made bugs more cantankerous when a little smoke goes long way to chase them off. Everyone was being cautious with fires. Even though there had been afternoon rains, the terrain was dry.
On our return, we stopped at Steamboat Lake for some kayaking. The lake was fairly busy with day use visitors. Overall, there was plenty of parking and folks were spread out. Blue skies and a slight breeze made the day brilliant. It was good to get out on the water, get in the water, and be away from my desk.