Monday, August 28, 2017

Another Week in Woodland Park


Our second week here has been mostly spent dealing with bikes, between getting the mountain bike packed and shipped, and Jim working on the recumbent. We’ve made a couple more trips to Colorado Springs for some new parts and adjustments to the bike. Angletech is a really nice bike shop, and the owner, Kelvin, has been very helpful.


The shop is packed so full of recumbent trikes and bikes there is barely room to walk through it.


I fell in love with this full suspension Catrike after test riding it and several others. It’s actually a folding trike, but even so we have no room for it. Besides that there is the $4,100 price tag!


I came down with a cold last week so I wasn’t feeling up to doing much other than short walks and bike rides from our campground anyway, so it gave Jim time to work on his new bike. And we’ve still had daily thunderstorms to contend with. As Kelvin helped him get the handlebars adjusted properly so Jim wouldn’t hit his shins, they realized both shifter cables and a brake cable were too short. Jim bought new cables and installed them himself, along with new handlebar grips, a wider front tire, and some spare tubes. I think he may finally have it tweaked the way he wants.

One rainy afternoon I dropped Jim off at the theater in Woodland Springs so he could see The Dark Tower. I had never read that Stephen King series, and the movie got terrible reviews, so I did laundry while he watched the show, being the only person in the theater. Oh, and although it was not like the books, he found it entertaining.

We’ve also been to the Woodland Fitness Center a few times, as there is no community recreation center in Woodland Park, but they take Silver Sneakers so it’s free for Jim and $7 for a day pass for me. We can both really tell a difference in our strength since we’ve been working out regularly this summer. Now if we can just keep at it.

It’s been nice having the pleasant scenery of Manitou Lake for our walks.


Although there are a couple lodges, we saw no beavers.


The mushrooms grow big around here with all the rain.



This cute black Abert’s squirrel was enjoying one for dinner. These squirrels are also known as tassel-eared squirrels, for the tufts of fur on their ears, but they lose the tassels in the summer.


I felt better after a few days and was ready to get out for a real hike, so we drove a few miles south of Divide to The Crags, a hike we did when we were here in 2010. I’m glad we repeated that trail as it’s a really nice one, and neither of us remembered it. Had I not looked back on the blog we would never have known we were there before.

At the trailhead we were greeted by this shot-up restroom sign, just on the women’s side.


The trail splits off in about 3/4 of a mile if you care to make the trek to Pike’s Peak.

The Crags Trail

The previous day we had pea-sized hail for a few minutes at the campground, and found the forest at the trailhead to be covered in it. An employee cleaning the restroom told us it hailed for two hours there. It was 63 degrees at the start of our hike at almost 10,000’ but it still hadn’t all melted under the shade of the trees.



After about a half mile of steady uphill through the woods, the trail levels out and opens onto meadows and views.



There were still quite a few flowers around, including this yarrow.


And these beautiful blue mountain gentian.


We haven’t seen much in the way of wildlife this summer in Colorado, but we were entertained by the squawking of this young Clark’s nutcracker awaiting some food from a parent.


The last half mile of the trail gains the most elevation as the rocky outcrops come into view.


Lots of twisted bristlecone pines dot the landscape.


This trunk reminded us of a boat anchor.


View of the Catamount Reservoirs that supply water to the city of Colorado Springs.


It was just beautiful up there. It’s about 2.5 miles to the top, with 900’ of climbing, ending up at 10,800’. Other than the elevation gain the trail is smooth most of the way, a nice change from the many rocky trails we’ve hiked in Colorado.




Pretty obvious why they named it The Crags.



Next stop, Salida, one of our favorite small Colorado towns, where we hope to hang out until the Labor Day holiday is over.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Colorado Campground, Woodland Park, CO


In 2010 we spent a couple weeks near Woodland Park, CO at South Meadows, a forest service campground just a few miles north of town. We liked the area and it’s only 57 miles to our friends’ house in Littleton where Jim had his bike shipped, so we thought it would be a great place to stay. Unfortunately, when we got to South Meadows we had absolutely no phone or internet, using either Verizon or AT&T. Also there were no sites open that offered much in the way of sun. We parked the rig and took the car for a drive where we got lucky and found the Colorado campground just a mile north, where we have 1-2 bars of 4G. And we got even luckier by finding one of only two sites with electric, and it was a non-reserve site and vacant. No need to worry about solar.

Our view isn’t very exciting but we have a big private back yard, and although the road is just beyond the fence it isn’t all that busy so we are happy. With electric it’s only $13/night with the senior pass. A typical forest service campground with vault toilets and nearby non-threaded water spigots. And the 7 mile Centennial trail. a paved bike path, is right across the road. Sadly it has been neglected and is full of cracks and weeds, so not the best trail to bike on.


We’ve done a little experimenting with the Canon SX40 camera our friends sent us. They didn’t care for it because it’s hard to hold still and get it to focus properly when using the zoom, but we are going to play with it for awhile and see what we think. Before we left we took one last hike on the trail behind the campground overlooking Dillon Reservoir to take some shots and see how it did. One thing we didn’t like about the Lumix was that the sky always looked a bit turquoise, and blues and purples never looked quite right, but the colors seem pretty natural with this one.







Playing with the zoom.



We could barely see the sailboat below on the left.


But there it was. This camera has a 35X optical zoom, and a whopping 140X digital zoom, but that really requires steady hands or a tripod.


Jim was curious as to how well he could see the boats at the Frisco marina.


Pretty amazing considering how far away we were.


Max zoom. Not too bad, really.


Back to our current location, there is a half-mile trail to Manitou Lake, which continues on and loops back along Trout Creek and around the lake. More photos from the new camera.






A little detour to “Painted Rocks”,  some fine red rocks that seem a bit out of place.













We drove up to Littleton on Wednesday to pick up Jim’s bike at Casey’s house. The plan was to leave the mountain bike with him to sell if it wasn’t sold before then, but it turned out that our friend Suzanne wanted the bike so we didn’t have to do that. After riding the recumbent, though, Jim was thinking he might also want to keep the mountain bike, so we brainstormed ways to carry three bikes, which isn’t easy short of buying a new rack for many hundreds of dollars. After another ride on the mountain bike yesterday he remembered how much he hates riding an upright bike, so we are shipping it to Suzanne today.

The recumbent was packed by a bike shop and they pretty much took everything off. It was quite challenging putting it back together but somehow we figured it out over the course of many hours in between a couple of thunderstorms. It was a good learning experience and a lesson in patience.



Recumbent bike chains are incredibly long and it got all twisted up in the bag it was packed in.


We got it put together and everything actually worked without too much adjusting.


This is a titanium Barcroft Virginia.  We both had the cro-moly version of this bike many years ago and really liked it, and were surprised at how much lighter the titanium one is.


We also spent a couple hours at Angletech, a recumbent bike and trike shop in Colorado Springs, so Jim could look at different handlebar set-ups as he isn’t crazy about what’s on this bike. We got to try out several other recumbents and a trike there, which was lots of fun and makes me want to get one, too. But that will have to wait until we settle down somewhere one of these days, or get a big truck to carry everything in. While I was working on this post Jim showed me a possibility for our next bikes. Check this out, no more sore butts!

In between bike business we took a hike in Woodland Park on the Lovell Gulch Loop, just under 6 miles with much of it in the shade of the forest. We’ve been spoiled by hiking at higher elevations above tree-line lately, so although we got up to 9,300’ the views were limited. Lots of flowers were still in bloom, and we met a nice couple who were hunting mushrooms and told us there are only two varieties in Colorado that can kill you, and they are both white. They said it’s been such a rainy summer they are in abundance this year. After talking with them we began finding fungi all along the trail but left them for others. I’ll stick to the ones rom the grocery store.

Some scenes from the trail.




We stopped for a snack and saw these two women on horseback coming up the trail. For a Saturday morning we were surprised that we only saw four other people hiking.



Wildlife sightings.




Hazy view of Pike’s Peak.


With all the hype I know it sounds almost sacrilegious to say, but we have no interest in viewing the eclipse today, a good thing since they are saying clouds should roll in around that time. We do look forward to seeing all the great photos that will be floating around on the web after it’s over, though. And we’ve decided to hang out here for another week. With the frequent overcast skies, rain, and tree cover, we are enjoying our electric hook-up and there is plenty to keep us busy in the area.