Jane Hendrix is a friend of the flowers. Her knowledge of plants in Summit County and beyond is extensive, and her commitment to the well-being of the wildflowers is one of true affection.
“When I first started learning the wildflowers, I noticed the big, showy wildflowers, and I didn’t notice the little ones,” she said. “But now, my favorite wildflower is the next one I see.”Learn more »
South Willow Falls is located in the valley between the steep, rocky slopes of Red Peak (13,189 feet) and Buffalo Mountain (12,777 feet). The pass itself is part of a ridge over the amphitheater bowl that lies west of Buffalo Mountain. South Willow Creek forms from the tributary brooks pouring out of the great bowl of dense evergreen forest west of Buffalo Mountain.
The hike is intermediate in grade, rising and descending a few hundred feet as it follows the base of Buffalo Mountain for 1.5 miles. South Willow Falls is two miles from the Buffalo Cabin Trailhead, with about 500 feet of elevation for a profile ¬—an easy day hike by mountain standards.Learn more »
Rain, rain, go away — it’s camping season.
Then again, rain in the High Country is a given, just like the occasional snowstorm in late May or long, bone-dry stretches at the start of August. Mother Nature doesn’t follow the rules in the Rocky Mountains, and, more often than not, camping junkies just have to roll with the rainstorms.Learn more »
There’s been a lot of chatter about the benefits of unstructured playtime outside for kids, away from screens, homework and school activities. For parents who spend the majority of their time strapped to a chair and a computer during the week, unplugged time is just as essential. A weekend spent camping in the outdoors might be in order. For parents of little ones, the idea might seem daunting. Plenty of local families not only do it but do it well. Three local moms shared their tried-and-true tips for camping with kids.
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There are many ways to camp. There’s car camping, which does not necessarily entail camping in a car, as the name suggests. There is backpacking, which can take place over one night or extend for several days. There is close-to-home camping and travel-to-a-destination camping. However, though there are many different types of camping, there is one element that is crucial for a successful trip: your camping companions.
These are the folks who will not only make sure that you eat, but that you also eat really well. It’s the person who not only knows where to hike, but where to find the most beautiful, unpopulated trails or campsites — and, the individual who may have no other discernible talent other than doing silly things and bringing the beverages. To ensure a most successful camping experience, be sure that the following cadre of companions accompany you on your journey: the campfire gourmand, the Boy/Girl Scout, the good-time Charlie, the gear junkie and the llama whisperer.Learn more »
Lower Mohawk Lake is located in the Spruce Creek Trailhead south of Breckenridge. The lake is nestled in a deep amphitheater formed by Pacific Peak, 13,950 feet, and Mount Helen, 13,165 feet, in the Ten Mile Range. The hike is an intermediate ascent of 1,400 vertical feet, with a total distance of 6.6 miles from the Spruce Creek Trailhead. The elevation of Spruce Creek Trailhead is 10,400 feet, a thousand feet below tree line, while Mohawk Lakes are surrounded by rocky tundra and krumholz. The Mohawk Lakes Trail provides access to an area with dramatic waterfalls, rich fields of wildflowers, and relics of the mining era.
Allow at least five hours to explore the area and plan to descend in early afternoon to avoid the frequent thunderstorms that tend to form over the mountains later in the day. Carry two bottles of water to remain hydrated during the hike or pack a water filter to take water from the stream. Be prepared to find a crowd of hikers on this popular trail, accompanied by many free-roaming hunting dogs.Learn more »
A native of Evergreen, Nathan Downey grew up climbing mountains. His father got him started, and he’s been at it ever since.
It’s no surprise, then, that he’s caught what he calls “the 14ers achievement syndrome,” a desire that drives him and hundreds of other climbers to seek out the state’s tallest mountains (those with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet) and match his wits and will against their steep summits.Learn more »
For those seeking a new way to achieve the “runner’s high” these races are just the ticket. Multi-leg relay races are another subset of the running craze. The increased participation in the sport of running has gone past marathons and ultras and into “fun-runs,” mud-runs, obstacle courses and multi-leg or even multi-day races. These races push your comfort zone and challenge you both physically and mentally. Prepping for an intense multi-leg race can be an invigorating and exciting journey. Increasing your mileage, adding hill climbs, training at elevation and adjusting your caloric intake accordingly are all part of the process.
So when it comes to the list of things you need to keep track of on race day, apparel should be the least of your worries. We’ve compiled three complete outfits to take you through your multi-leg race journey. These trail-tested items will carry you through sun, rain, cold and darkness, all while looking stylishly swift.
For a midday leg with the intense mountain sun glaring down, we’ve created an outfit to keep you cool and collected during your race.Learn more »
Running 198 miles through the wilderness at high elevation, in unpredictable weather, through the darkness, surviving on little to no sleep ... shockingly sounds rather appealing to some adventurists. For those seeking a new way to achieve the “runner’s high,” these races are just the ticket. Multi-leg relay races are another subset of the running craze. These races push your comfort zone and challenge you both physically and mentally.
So when it comes to the list of things you need to keep track of on race day, apparel should be the least of your worries. We’ve compiled three complete outfits to take you through your multi-leg race journey. These trail tested and approved items will carry you through sun, rain, cold and darkness, all while looking stylishly swift.Learn more »
As the sunny summer weather continues, the more people will be out and about, taking advantage of Summit County’s miles and miles of trails, especially during the long Labor Day weekend. For many, spending time outdoors involves spending time with pets, taking them out of the backyard and out on those same trails.
Dogs are great hiking companions and inarguably part of any Summit County outdoor occasion. Visitors, too, love to bring their pups along and give them a taste of mountain living. While it’s perfectly acceptable to bring a four-legged companion along on an outdoor occasion, it’s also important to remember that there are rules in place to ensure the safety everyone involved — people, pets and wildlife.Learn more »
The rainy season is upon us at last. Skies open on a near daily basis, drenching anyone caught out in a cloudburst, followed by the reward of steamy rainbows fronting the sunlight that inevitably streams through. It’s a happy time of year for mushrooms, which flush into variously colored and shaped fruiting bodies from sometimes miles-long mycelium when the earth is warm and wet. Likewise, it’s a magical time for mushroom hunters, who will range long and far, through storm and mud, in search of so many surprises.
There are the slippery, gelatinous brown-capped Suillus with their soft, yellow, pore-sponge undersides; peach-colored, blue-staining Lactarius deliciosus; Morchella, the elusive black High Country morel; chanterelles of the genus Cantharellus; puffballs of the generas Calvatia and Lycoperdon and, of course, Boletus edulis, or porcini, the king of kings, with its firm, wine-red cap, bulbous legs and white fish-net stockings. All of these mushrooms are edible, each prepared in its own way.Learn more »
When your hiking or mountain biking destination is a hut, the adventure is definitely not just about the journey. Summer is a great time to experience the more remote areas of the mountains, and the Summit Huts Association — a nonprofit organization based in Breckenridge — can make your backcountry accommodations a little more rustic.
“We would really like to introduce more people to the experience of the huts in the summertime,” said Mike Zobbe, executive director of the Summit Huts Association. “Many of the summer hut guests don’t think of the summer hut experience as a backpacking experience. But it is similar, and you can travel quite a bit lighter.”Learn more »
When Mary Ellen Gilliland arrived in Summit County 43 years ago, it was quite a different place than it is today. It was “before there was I-70 or a stoplight or a grocery store or anything,” she said. “It was wonderful, so much open space and so much untouched beauty.”
While a lot may have changed since then, the beauty of the area has not, and it continues to draw visitors from all over the world. It’s no wonder, then, that Gilliland’s “The Summit Hiker,” a guidebook for trails and fishing spots, consistently ranks as the best-selling book in the county.Learn more »