The Crags Trail

The husband and I took The Wee Lass on a 5.5 mile hike to The Crags, a simple hike with great rewards.  This easy-moderate hike has been a favorite of ours for many years and we knew little Kenzie, with her Scottish roots, would enjoy scrambling on the rocks – and she did.  We were not disappointed and neither was she.

We hiked through the Four Mile Creek valley with its lush meadows, rocky spires, aspen and pine forests. We ended up atop a rocky outcrop with gnarled old limber pines and great views.

THE CRAGS



And now my friends,  to you I present Kenzie, the West Highland Terrier who likes to climb rocks…….

If Kenzie had to choose between following the trail with us or climbing a rock alongside the trail, I can assure you – the rock won every time.  We took the low road and she inevitably took the high road  rock.  It was a ‘rock scrambling’ kind of day in the Rocky Mountains for four-footed white doggies.  And the rest of us?  Well, lets just say we had a few good chuckles watching her.

A perfect day enjoying God’s majestic mountains!

Palmer Lake Reservoirs Hike

Daughter Allison and I set out yesterday morning to explore the Palmer Lake Reservoirs with the two K-dogs, Kappy and Kenzie.  The day was perfect for hiking with brilliant blue Colorado skies and temperatures in the low seventies.  Kenzie was excited, it was her first official ‘hike’ and she was with her buddy, Kappy.


Kenzie and Kappy

The two Palmer Lake Reservoirs and the area trails have a rich history dating to the last decades of the nineteenth century.  The road to the reservoirs provided us with a steep, invigorating start to hiking the area.  The steepness didn’t stop one little puppy from charging ahead and trotting alongside her doggy friend.  I ended up letting the trailblazer, Allison, take both K-dogs so that I wasn’t ‘pulled’ up the trail. Steep.  Remember?  The elevation gain was almost 1000 feet the first half mile.

The wildflowers were brilliant and plentiful alongside the trail.  It never ceases to amaze me, that in years of drought, they still make their appearance despite the lack of moisture.  Someone once told me that they are at their best in drought years and, after today’s hike, I believe they are correct!

Mountain Harebells and Shooting Stars

After the half-mile elevation gain we spotted the first of two reservoirs.

The Lower Reservoir

Kappy enjoyed a refreshing dip in the lower reservoir and then we continued hiking to the second and much larger reservoir.  We decided this would be a great spot for picnicking since it was lunchtime.   We scrambled onto a big rock overlooking the reservoir and enjoyed a chicken salad sandwich.  Peace, tranquility, wonderful company with a daughter, great dogs………….and a beaver.

When Allison first saw it she thought, ‘Crocodile!’  Her second thought was,  ‘Wait a minute, crocodile?  In Colorado?’

Lovely daughter on picnicking rock.

The Mum and her wee lass.

Kappy enjoying the COLD water.

After lunch we ventured a little further around the reservoir and let the dogs do some serious romping in the water.  Kappy had already gone in at the first reservoir and Kenzie only observed with curiosity.  At the second reservoir she overcame her timidity when she saw how much fun Kappy was having.  She didn’t go out over her head though and I have no pictures to show you because I was busy holding her leash and making sure she didn’t get in over her head!

Columbine, Colorado State Flower

We never found the trail that would have, with some scrambling, reached a spectacular summit overlooking the valley. We did see some beautiful Columbine in an aspen grove on a trail that we suspected might be the one we were looking for.  Since it wasn’t clearly marked and the Mum and her lass were exhausted, we turned around and headed back down.  However, visiting the reservoirs alone provided excellent views in a peaceful valley and water setting.

 Hiking in and of itself is one of my favorite things to do.  Hiking with little Kenzie takes it several notches above fun!  Three hours of hiking, not bad for a four month Scottish lass!

A Hike for Memo

As the years of motherhood pass swiftly by I have discovered that what I really desire on Mother’s Day, more than anything else,  is simply to be with family.  When my husband and daughter asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day I said, ‘A Mother’s Day Hike.’  My baby-girl delivered Chinese food to fortify us before the hike and she brought something else for me to use.

A new fanny day pack for Memo’s fanny!

I promised to tell you about the ’20 Hikes’ I plan to take this summer in the Colorado Springs area and this was the first, a hike to Lizzard Rock.  This outing took us over mild terrain to its namesake rock formation and we had great views of the Lost Creek Wilderness and the Sawatch Mountain Range.  The round-trip distance was 5 miles taking us a little over 3 hours.

Allison brought her golden retriever, Kappy, to hike with us.  She is training him to be a good trail dog and he actually did pretty good on this hike, although he kept digging under rocks and logs, lying in crevices and discovering sticks that were way too big for his mouth.

We parked outside the fence of the Spruce Grove Campground since we were just hiking for the day.

After crossing a bridge over Tarryhall Creek we passed through a short rock tunnel and took an immediate left onto Lizard Rock Trail.  The temperature (65 degrees) was perfect for hiking and the first couple miles were through open meadows with gentle ups and downs.

Switchbacks and a steeper grade began after 2.0 miles.  I always straggle behind the trailblazers so that I can stop and take pictures.  There were aspen trees everywhere and I can just imagine how spectacular this hike will be in autumn!  We will most definitely return in September to see them.  As you can see, the aspens have not yet leafed out.

The aspen leaves may not have budded but we did observed other signs of spring abounding all around us.

The Pasqual Flower is the first wildflower to make an appearance each spring.  When we see it popping up we know that there is light at the end of our long snowy winter and that warmer temperatures are around the corner.

As we continued to climb the views behind us became more and more spectacular.  The rock formations above and around us were beautiful, too.  I wish I could have captured the lighting on these formations.  These mountains are appropriately named the Rocky Mountains because of the abundance of these huge rocks.

Towards the top we had to stop several times to rest.  My daughter took that opportunity to snap a few photos of the old folks.

And I snapped some of her with the two men in her life:

To get to the Rock, we had to scramble steeply for 0.25 mile.  I really don’t enjoy ‘scrambling’ but when I got to the top the great 360-degree views of the Lost Creek Wilderness made the scramble worthwhile.

Don scrambles across the back of Lizard Rock.

We made it!

Get away from that edge, doggie!

My husband always rewards us with M&M’s when we reach the top.

This was a wonderful Mother’s Day for me.  I am so incredibly blessed to have two loving daughters and an amazing husband. And I’m blessed to have my own special mother who has always been my role model.

We were thoroughly exhausted at the end of this hike.  This hike was rated easy-moderate so I need to keep up the jogging to get me prepared for the more difficult ones.  If you would like to  see more pictures of this Lizard Rock hike click here.

Happy Mother’s Day!