Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Wash and Care for Your Down Sleeping Bag

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Avalanche Dangers

As the snow begins to fly the dangers in the back country increase. Whether you snowshoe, ski, or snowboard the possibility of an avalanche while enjoying the back country is a serious risk. Do not take the warning lightly as people do get buried and die in Colorado Avalanches every year.

Most avalanche accidents are caused by slab avalanches which are triggered by the victim or a member of the victim's party. However, any avalanche may cause serious injury or death. Even small slides may be very dangerous. It is important to always practice safe route finding skills, be aware of current and changing conditions, and carry avalanche rescue gear. Educate yourself on avalanche terrain analysis and snow stability. Learn the evaluation techniques to help minimize your risk.

The avalanche danger ratings are general to a large area and what you encounter may be more dangerous than the ratings portray. It is still important to understand the standard Avalanche Danger Ratings.

United States Avalanche Danger
Low (Green) Natural avalanches very unlikely. Human triggered avalanches unlikely.
Moderate (Yellow) Natural avalanches unlikely. Human triggered avalanches possible.
Considerable (Orange) Natural avalanches possible. Human triggered avalanches probable.
High (Red) Natural and human triggered avalanches likely.
Extreme (Red with Border) Widespread natural or human triggered avalanches certain.

Colorado Mountain Club

The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) is a great organization the focuses on spreading information about the Colorado Rockies. It is more than just a hiking club. It is a way to connect those who recreate in Colorado whether they live here or not.

The mission of the CMC is to organize, stimulate, and spread information to those interested in the Colorado mountains. The club was established in 1912 and has been involved in promoting conservation through environmental education, trail building, and public lands decisions. They sponsor trips and classes as well as spread information through a magazine and books from the CMC Press.

This is an outstanding group to be involved with. Check them out and consider becoming a member.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hiking with Children

Everybody wants to share their favorite activities with their kids. Children love the outdoors and they are very active. Hiking is an excellent outdoor activity for people of all ages. Spending time outdoors as a family not only pulls the family closer together, but is also a great time to teach your kids about nature, respecting the environment, and supporting an active lifestyle.

To make sure your hike is a success and fun for all involved be sure to start out with short hikes and slowly build up their conditioning and endurance. Hikes should to be fun, not forced and upsetting. Adjust your pace so the child isn't pushed too hard.

Make sure they have the proper shoes and clothing for the conditions. Leave plenty of time for your hike. Be prepared to make many stops as kids love to examine and explore everything they see. Plan hikes to a destination such as a lake, waterfall, summit, boulder field, etc. It is always better to have a destination to look forward to instead of just hiking out into the woods and turning around.

Look for wildlife, bugs, footprints, and different plants. I like to have discussions with my kids about what kind of animals we might see. We usually get into discussions about what those animals eat and where they sleep. It is a great learning experience for the children. Be sure to teach them Leave No Trace Ethics and to respect nature and other people.

Bring plenty of water and snacks and don't forget the first aid kit for those unexpected accidents.

Most importantly make the hike fun. Play games such as I Spy or have a scavenger hunt. Be creative and use your imagination and enjoy this special time with your children. They will enjoy spending time in nature with you and you make make memories they will never forget.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recommended Colorado Guide Books

I love maps. I don't know what it is but I can sit and look at a map for hours studying the terrain, seeing how far away the next peak is, and planning future hikes. I also like to check out guide books. I figured I would post a few of my favorites here for you to check out.

The books on my bookshelf with the most wear and tear are...
Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs by Gerry Roach
Colorado's Thirteeners: From Hikes to Climbs by Gerry Roach
Colorado Scrambles: A Guide to 50 Select Climbs in Colorado's Mountains Guide Book
by Dave Cooper
Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide by Lisa Foster

There are many others out there but Gerry Roach has a way of covering all of the major routes on the 13ers and 14ers without boring you with too much information. The Colorado Scramblers book picks some of the coolest routes on some amazing mountains as well as some great climbs on some mountains that otherwise would be boring (ex. North Ridge on Quandary). And Lisa Foster truly has developed the first 'Complete' guide to climbing the peaks in RMNP.

Check them out and let me know what you think. Feel free to post other favorites in the comments section.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) was founded in 1994 by the USDA Forest Service. The mission of this organization is to preserve the 14,000 foot Colorado Peaks through education and stewardship. With the help of the U.S. Forest Service, CFI has completed impact studies on all of Colorado’s 54 Fourteeners. By examining damage to resources, rate of change, impacts on sensitive species, and U.S. Forest Service priorities at the district level, CFI recognized 35 peaks for priority action. Thus far, CFI has conducted trail restoration and other work on 18 Colorado Fourteeners.

With the increased use of the current trails due to the popularity of hiking 14ers the work of CFI has become more and more necessary. I believe strongly in preserving the open area that we all love. It is possible to love a place to death through over use. It is important that we all practice the Leave No Trace principles and even pitch in with helping CFI with their efforts. They accept cash donations and volunteer time. Spending a day of repairing a trail is the ultimate way to give back.

For more information on the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative check out their website here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lily Lake- Family Hike Near Estes Park

Looking for a nice family hike near Estes Park? Lily lake is the place. Lily lake is a small lake surrounded by many beautiful sites. The lake is situated right off of Colorado Highway 7 about 7 miles south of the town of Estes Park. Lily Mountain, pictured above, makes a beautiful back drop for family photos. You also will have awesome views of Twin Sister's Peak, Estes Cone, Mount Meeker, and Long's Peak.

The short trail around the lake is easy for all ages and is even suitable for a stroller. If you are looking for something longer or harder, the Twin Sisters Trail head is across the street and the Lilly Mountain Trail is 1/4 mile north.

Another nice thing about Lily Lake is that you do not have to have a National Park Pass ($25) to access the trail. I do suggest you visit Rocky Mountain National Park but this lake is a gem located outside the National Park Fee Area.