Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mother-Daughter hike to Castle Rock...

After our day of rest, Mom and I were ready to head back out on another hike, and wanted to try one of the trails that would take us up on top of the Hermosa Cliffs overlooking Needles, Colorado.  Originally, the plan was to take Banner as usual, but Trevor wasn't feeling 100% and offered to stay behind with el nino at the cabin.

I was sad to leave my boys, but also excited to have an opportunity to go on a longer hike without having to worry about Banner fussing the entire way.  He is just so excited about being mobile and exploring, that he doesn't want to waste a moment doing anything but crawling all over the place and playing with his toys.  So, even though my plan for this vacation was to spend as much time with my baby as possible, I knew that Banner would be happier at the cabin with his daddy and plethora of toys cardboard boxes.

The trailhead wasn't far from my mother's cabin - just up the road a bit.  We parked next to the corral south of the General Store and headed out with the newest member of Grammy Pammy's Pawsome, Lacey.  

The hike isn't a difficult one.  It switches back slowly above 550 and Needles through a thick aspen forest before heading to the right into a valley between the cliffs.  After two and a half miles or so, you come to a cabin that is owned by the Forest Service.  Inside, the building is stocked with firewood, sleeping bags and other survival materials. 

Mom and I ended up hanging out at the cabin for about an hour.  A storm had developed east of 550 and we were trying to determine if it was moving in our direction or not.  I was receiving spotty cellular service, but the radar made it look like the storm was falling apart as it moved north.  But, just to be safe, I also called Trevor and asked him to double check the weather (cell service is definitely a perk of hiking above an interstate).  Unfortunately, our connection wasn't very good, but I was able to keep him on the line long enough to determine that he also thought the storm was dissipating and moving away from us.

We waited a little longer before deciding to make a push for the top.  It was only a mile more up the trail, and mom and I figured if the storm got any worse or changed direction, we'd be relatively close to the safety and shelter of the cabin.  

The last mile to the top of the cliff is considerably steeper than the rest of the hike, but not difficult.  Just plan on stopping more frequently to catch your breath (especially if you are a lowlander like us).  And, as your reward, the payoff at the top is nothing short of amazing.  I plan to do this hike again in the future because I can only imagine what the view would look like on a clear, sunny day. 

I absolutely loved this hike, but would not recommend it if you have a fear of heights.  The cliffs are dramatic, which I thought was awesome.  They, however, had a dizzying effect on my mother - something that caused her a lot of angst when I wandered close to the edge to take a photograph.  Granted, there is nothing about the hike or trail that forces to go anywhere near the drop off.  But there is nothing to stop you, either.

Sorry in advance for the photo overload.  I am (OBVIOUSLY) not very good at paring down my pictures.  The sad thing is that the following is less than a fourth of what I took on the hike.  The problem with digital photography is that it allows me to document everything in real time (almost).

Step away from the tree, Mom.  I promise you won't fall.

Chipmunk honeymoon...

Where's GP?

We were up there!

Looking back up...

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