Getting out and exploring one’s backyard |

Getting out and exploring one’s backyard

The Geiger Counter's weekend picks

Mountain goats are a frequent sight on the Deer Creek-Saints John trail. Located near Montezuma, it’s a perfect option to explore the road less traveled.
Photo by Jefferson Geiger /

Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter, and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.

Crowded highways and deserted concourses show that automobiles have beaten planes when it comes to summer travel this year. People yearn to escape the house but aren’t ready to risk flying with other people when they can drive as one party. While some might think of cars merely as a vehicle to move from destination to destination, they also can be a source of entertainment. 

My family and I have been Jeeping in Summit County more frequently these past few weeks. I’ve skied and hiked in the region for years, but we usually go off-road in Utah or southern Colorado. Taking the time to explore more areas of my mountainous backyard has been a delight. I get to see familiar views from new perspectives along with areas I never knew existed.

One trail I did recently was the Deer Creek-Saints John loop near Montezuma. Jeeping guidebook author Charles A. Wells calls it one of his favorites. It starts below tree line and climbs to follow an exposed ridge surrounded by Alpine tundra. There’s a spectacular view of Breckenridge Ski Resort as the road takes you to the General Teller Mine, Wild Irishman Mine and Saints John town site.

It isn’t extremely long at 12.2 miles and taking roughly four to five hours to complete. There are trails in Moab with more obstacles, too. But it’s easy to see why Wells loves it and how it shines with the right weather, company and satellite radio station. 

The second time around, I was lucky enough to catch a group of six mountain goats cooling off in leftover snow. Bikes, all-terrain vehicles and other Jeeps would roar past but they were as calm as could be. That same trip, our lunch stop was different than before, and it afforded me a vantage of Grays and Torreys peaks along with Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s Montezuma Bowl that I hadn’t noticed prior.

Both times, we did the loop starting at Deer Creek and exiting via Saints John, but next time we’ll likely do the reverse to see how it changes. 

Another local trail worth checking out is Georgia Pass. Located by Tiger Run Road, the pass was used by miners before Hoosier and Boreas became more popular. It’s about two hours and 11 miles long, giving you a personal view of Mount Guyot, as long as there isn’t too much smoke. 

Each trail links up to Middle Fork of Swan River route, which might become my next adventure. I’ve also heard good things about Peru Creek and Leadville’s Hagerman Pass. Regardless of whether you’re driving or walking, there’s always a slice of nature worth exploring that’s closer than you think.  

What I’m Listening To

Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare’s sonnets

Patrick Stewart, probably best known for his roles as Captain Picard and Professor Xavier on television and film, is an avid Shakespearean actor. During quarantine, he has taken it upon himself to read all of the playwright’s sonnets and post the clips to social media.

They’re like a cozy conversation from his home to yours, complete with his own brief commentary from the expert. He even got his friend and regular co-worker Ian McKellen to read one for Stewart’s birthday.

With such masterful delivery, the 100-plus readings are a soothing balm during these times. As he said at the beginning of the project, “A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away.”

Jefferson Geiger is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Explore Summit. Email him at

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