Monday, July 31, 2017

Still at the Reservoir


Despite the parking lot setting and close neighbors, we decided to spend our 14 day limit here at Pine Cove Campground on Dillon Reservoir, given the beautiful lake view and all there is to do in the area. There are some nice hiking trails that start near the campground, going around a peninsula or switchbacking up a hill overlooking the lake.

We’ve yet to see a moose.




Yes, we got rained on hiking the Peninsula trail.


But stayed dry on the switchback trail. It’s hard to avoid the thunderstorms, which don’t always wait until afternoon.


Pine beetles killed many of the trees around here.


The paved bike trail is about a mile up the road from the campground, which goes left to Breckenridge, or right to Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne. We’ve done both and it’s a harder ride with more hills from here to Breckenridge but they are both very scenic.

We’ve also done a couple more high elevation hikes, the first one being at 11,540’ Hoosier Pass, about 10 miles south of Breckenridge on the Continental Divide. There is an old jeep road that quickly gets above tree line for views of Montgomery Reservoir and the surrounding mountains.









Despite gaining almost 600’ in 1.5 miles, we both felt a little better than on our previous hikes at 12,000’. Either a fluke or we’re starting to acclimate to the elevation.


Jim had gotten what he thought were several bug bites many weeks ago, although he doesn’t remember where we were or when, but they left big red welts. Last week the one on his chest was still red and painful to touch, and he thought something was in it, so he picked at it and squeezed it, which made it bleed. After a few days of antibiotic ointment and a bandage, it was looking worse and there was actually a hole in the skin. He called the local Frisco hospital which is just a mile and a half from here, and they only have an ER but suggested he call the family practice department. You have to love small towns, as they told him to come in that same morning at 11:45. The doctor was very nice, and she thought it probably was an insect bite of some kind that was causing skin necrosis. She said it was not infected, and to use the wet-dry method, placing a wet gauze pad on the wound with a bandage over it, and replacing it twice a day. Amazingly within a few days the hole was almost gone and the skin has healed up. Jim was skeptical, but it worked, and we were glad he didn’t have some flesh eating bacteria.

The next day we took a day trip to Boulder for Jim to test ride a recumbent bicycle that a woman had for sale. It turned out not to be what he wanted, but was a good excuse to have a great lunch at Native Foods and pick up a few things at Trader Joe’s. And the bike seller was a very interesting young woman working on her PhD who lives in a co-op house with 8 other people. She said it’s the only way students can afford to live there since the home prices are so high.

The following day we drove up to Boreas Pass, 10 miles east of Breckenridge, for a hike to Black Powder Pass.



There are some relics from the old railroad and mining days.


This area was the site of the highest narrow gauge railroad in the United States.


“The Section House was built in 1882 to house the railroad men and their families who took care of a section of the Denver South Park & Pacific narrow gauge railway that ran from Denver to Leadville. Next to the Section House sits Ken's Cabin, also known as the historic Wagon Cabin.”

Both the Section House on the left and Ken’s Cabin on the right, are available to rent during the winter backcountry ski season.


The trail started off nice and level for a change. It was good to be able to walk, talk and breathe!



But after a half mile or so the trail started going up. Jim was having a particularly good day and there was no way I could keep up. He forgot his camera so he had no reason to stop, and just kept going.


I stopped frequently to take photos, so I just went at my own pace while watching his back.



He did stop to point out some clumps of wool left by mountain goats. It was stuck in the bushes everywhere, but no goats to be seen.


The last part of the trail climbs up a steep hill. The trail is only 1.5 miles but it gains most of the 750’ of elevation in the last 3/4 mile, so it’s a good climb.


Our lunch views from the top.




While we were  being pestered by bold little ground squirrels who wanted our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we could hear the squeaking sound of pikas in the rocks behind us. I tried to get a picture of them but didn’t have much luck.

A butt shot.


And one in motion.


Needless to say, going back down was much easier.



This is a beautiful hike, one we would recommend if you’re in the Breckenridge area.


We’ll be here a few more days, then off to somewhere as of yet undetermined.

Friday, July 21, 2017

More from Heaton Bay Campground

While at Heaton Bay we enjoyed biking on the Dillon Reservoir Recpath, a lovely trail with breathtaking views and breathtaking hills.



We did a hike to Lily Pad Lake, deemed an easy family hike of 1.8 miles to a lake full of lily pads. It’s a popular trail since it’s close to Silverthorne and not very long or steep, although we are finding just brushing our teeth gets us out of breath at 9,100’, so we didn’t find the hike all that easy.

There is a nice open view at the start, but then the trail climbs through a forest of dead trees from pine bark beetle damage, so it isn’t very scenic.



The vegetation was more lush near a creek.


There are two lakes, a small one full of lily pads.




And a larger lake with only a few.



It was entertaining watching a family of ducks swimming amongst the lily pads.




Dragonflies were plentiful, too.



Strange looking creatures.


The Old Dillon Reservoir trail is about a quarter mile walk across the road from the campground. It’s a short, easy trail but we added some distance and difficulty by taking a dirt road up a hill to some communication towers.

You can see the bike trail winding through the woods on the lower left, and the campground to the right.




The hill we hiked up is across the reservoir. It seemed much higher than it looks.


On the way up.


Looking down over Dillon.


We also visited several times with Kurt (The Kuhl Odyssey), who was staying at another campground just a few miles away. He seems to be hanging in there after losing Toni in February, and we were happy to share a few beers with him. He’s an even bigger craft beer fan than we are, so we followed his recommendations and went to Broken Compass Brewery in Breckenridge and Outer Range Brewing Co. in Frisco. Both were good but the IPAs at Outer Range were outstanding.

Kurt and Jim deep in conversation at Outer Range.


We’ve also gone to the very nice Silverthorne Recreation Center to work out several times. It’s a good place to hang out during the afternoon thunderstorms we’ve been having.

Yesterday we had to move from our site at Heaton Bay, and although we still had 4 more days before our 14 day limit was up, there were no sites available. Lucky for us, Kurt had to leave Pine Cove Campground yesterday for a reservation in Denver, so we stopped at the dump on the way and then slipped into his waterfront site at Pine Cove, which does not take reservations, just as he was leaving.

Our view is fantastic for $11/night with the senior pass. No hookups, but a water spigot and vault toilets.



Unfortunately it’s just a big parking lot. We can stay 14 days here but not sure if we will. We’re closer to Breckenridge and there are a couple more hikes I’d like to do near there, and bike and hiking trails begin right behind the campground, so there is plenty to do. It’s hard to complain!