Colorado June 2018

Dates: June 3-7, 2018

People: Mark


  • 6-3 (Travel Day)
  • 6-4 (Travel Day)
  • 6-5 (Hiking Day)
  • 6-6 (Mt. Massive)
  • 6-7 (Mt. Yale Traverse/Travel Day)


This trip revolved around helping Mom and Dad with their move out to Colorado. They began driving Friday evening and made it to the Quad Cities. They drove on Saturday to Colby, KS along I70. On Sunday they made it the rest of the way to Buena Vista. They closed on the Lombard house on Mon 6/4 so this was quite a weekend.

I flew out of DTW on Sunday afternoon after church and after Sarah and Luke had arrived home from Frankenmuth for a Junior High Youth Gathering. It was a 3:55pm flight that left on time. I packed light for this time going with my Stratos 24 backpack and a blue REI duffel which I carried on to save time. I got to the airport about 2:50p and breezed through security and to the gate.

We arrived at Midway about 9 minutes early. I had sat near the front of the plane so I was off quickly and followed directions down to the Midway Park-n-Fly shuttle bus stop and hopped on. I was to the Ford Explorer in their lot at 4:15pm Central, just an hour 20 after leaving Detroit. I hopped in and started driving quickly. I had brought my car charger and bluetooth speaker along to help with the driving. Mom had also left a cooler with ice and water in it for me to help with drinks and a bag of kettle chips with some apples for snacks.

I hopped on I55 and drove to the Weber Rd exit where I stopped off for 8 minutes to get Jimmy John's for supper and gas for the car. Then Imade my way to I80 and headed west. Driving went well. I listened to podcasts I had and also found live baseball in the form of an Astros v Red Sox game to listen to. I hit the Mississippi River at 6:53pm which was several minutes ahead of my goal. I cruised across eastern Iowa and didn't make my next stop until Altoona, IA at a Flying J at 9:10p where I spent 8 minutes getting gas and hitting the bathroom. I rolled through Des Moines shortly after.

Mom/Dad called to check on my progress and then offer to help with a hotel reservation. I was about to start on that on my phone but it was easier for the non-drivers to do so. They booked me a room at the Quality Inn in Council Bluffs. I arrived there at 11:26pm which was 19 minutes ahead of my goal. Knocked off 469 miles tonight in 7 hours and 11 minutes with just two stops totalling 16 minutes. It was after midnight when I finally was able to settle down and fall asleep.


I set my alarm for 5:55am today hoping to get an early start on all my planned activities. After having been up til almost 12:30am this was a bit of a calculated risk as it would mean a short amount of sleep before all of my driving. I ended up waking on my own about 8 minutes before my alarm. Could consider it energy waiting to get the day going. I loaded my things into the car and right at 6am got a quick breakfast from the hotel setup. It was 6:12am when I left the hotel to drive over to the Western Historic Trails Center for a morning run.

Western Historic Trails Center and Iowa Riverfront Trail

It was 6:50am when I finished my run and began the day's driving. It was a quick jump onto I80 and then across the bridge into Omaha, Nebraska. There was a small amount of construction and traffic but I made it through Omaha fairly easily. It was 7:40am when I hit Lincoln. I made my first top of the day at York at 8:16am where I got gas, hit the bathroom and hit a Burger King for a little more breakfast. I spent 15 minutes at this top.

I passed through Kearney at 9:35am and then on to North Platte at 10:49am. I spent much of today's drive listening to a Star Wars Audiobook called "Rebel Rising", which tells the back stories of Jyn Erso and Saw Gerrerra. At 11:30/10:30am MT I got off at the Ogallala exit. Here I hit the gas station for a gas fillup and a bathroom break. I also grabbed a sub for lunch at the Subway. I then headed north towards Ash Hollow where I arrived at 11:13am MT.

Oregon Trail - Windlass Hill - Ash Hollow

It was 11:43am when I departed Ash Hollow and 12:03pm when I got back on I80 at Big Springs. I hit the Colorado border 6 minutes later. My small amount of sleep and large amount of driving finally began to catch up to me as I neared Fort Morgan, CO. It was the first bit of weariness I had felt the whole trip and I decided I needed a refresher. I pulled off at the Fort Morgan exit and hit a Mcdonald's for bathroom and a milkshake. I spent 11 minutes at this top.

It was 2:43pm when I finally hit I70 in Denver and then made my way around town to the US285 exit. At 3:13p I stopped in Confier at the King Sooper for another gas fillup and a bathroom break. This stop was 8 minutes. It would also be my last stop until Buena Vista. I loved the wonderful views, the skies, the sunshine I had all along US285. In Buena Vista I stopped at City Market to pick up some "welcoming" beer and then made my way to the house. It was 5:13pm when I made the house. 662 miles of driving in 11 hours and 23 minutes.

When I arrived at the house Bob and Joyce were still there and they had already helped Mom and Dad empty the rental truck. We chatted for a bit and then they had to depart to make the drive back to the Front Range. Dad and I worked on empty all of the stuff out of the Explorer and then also began carrying a number of the moving tubs and boxes into the house. For supper we went to the Eddyline Pub in town and sat on their patio. You had to order and pay inside but they would bring the food out. I tried their wonderful pizza again and had a River Runners Pale Ale. We also tried their wings again as a appetizer. Still pretty good but didn't have the green onions or as much garlic this time.


With all of the unpacking of vehicles done yesterday it completely freed up this morning. We had originally thought we may still be unpacking trucks today but that was no longer the case. We were even able to sleep in, or at least, have the option to sleep in. I was still up at 6:40am since my body knew it was 8:40a eastern. But we were able to just relax and sit back a bit. About 7:45a I made a grocery run to City Market to get milk and a few other essentials. Came back to the house and had breakfast. We set a plan for the morning of heading over to the Whipple trails and hiking Midland Hill. It was shortly after 9 when we left the house not wanting to wait any longer with the rising temperatures. We started on the trail at 9:13am

Midland Hill Trip Report

After Midland Hill we made it back to the house and had cold cut sandwiches for lunch. We then were able to relax once more in the early afternoon with some naps being had. I had started to research different hiking options as I knew the rest of the day was mostly free. It dawned on us that we still needed to get the truck driven back to Denver. Mom/Dad seeing I was still ready to hike said I should go and do that and they would drive the truck so we settled on that plan.

Just before 3pm they left for the Home Depot in Morrison to return the Penske truck and I headed settled on hiking into Horn Fork Basin and so began the drive up the N. Cottonwood Creek road. It had plenty of wash board but only a few short sections where it was hilly and rocky. 2WD vehicles can make it all the way though it is certainly roughf or them in a few spots. I was up to the trailhead at 3:12pm.

I had brought food and water along on this hike for as long as I needed to go. Clothingwise I was in shorts and short-sleeves with minimal other gear. If everything, including weather, went perfectly to a "T" I had aspirations I could go for Columbia. But that would take a lot. As I hiked the first mile in plenty looked familiar from our short backpacking trek of 3 years ago. Its great trail, practically a small highway. I passed two small groups who were also dayhiking. I was cruising along well and making a good pace. Higher up I passed a group of four, two were young kids, who had backpacked a night and hiking out. Around 11,200 I passed the meadows and saw a group camping there.

I was watching my time the whole way to see if my pace would warrant anything more. I passed the junction for Columbia and decided it just didn't make sense for today. The weather was thick clouds though it didn't seem like a storm or rain was imminent, just very possible. I was also considering the slightly falling temps and my lacking of jacket or long-sleeves. A quick turn in weather would chill me fast. Lastly, I didn't want to wreck my legs for the following day's hike with Dad on Massive. As it was today's mileage totalled nearly 13 miles with this hike and the morning hike up Midland Hill. Despite it all, I did want today's hike to gain something and that would be the views of the upper basin.

I pushed on to the edge of treeline where things open up. I could see Harvard but the cloud cover limited the beauty of the views. I also immediately encountered an increased amount of snow on the trail amongst the willows. It was 4:35p and at elevation 11624 that I turned around. I was 3.87 miles in. I made the hike out with speed and still enjoyed this immensely beautiful trail and basin. I made the trailhead at 5:41pm. I was pretty hungry and tired so I made a bee-line out to Buena Vista. Mom/Dad were making progress, had dropped off he truck and were starting back but said they'd grab supper on the way. I debated what sounded good to me and settled on Chinese. I tried the Jade Garden there along main street and had their pork fried rice. I went in store and ordered it carryout, the wait was reasonably short. I took it back to the house, had a quick shower and then ate while watching the Cubs game. It was a quiet evening with the Cubs game and preparations for the morning's hike.


We were up about 5:30am today to get ready for our Mt. Massive hike. In figuring out how long we thought the hike would take and the weather we decided an alpine start wasn't entirely necessary. We targeted being out of the house by 6am with the hopes of a 7am trailhead. We were only a few minutes late in leaving the house and about 30 minutes late to the trailhead. The 4WD section beyond the Halfmoon TH took us a little longer than anticipated. It was 7:30am when we hit the North Halfmoon trailhead.

Mt. Massive - SW Slopes Trip Report

It was just past 5:30p when we made it back to the house. We unloaded the car and had a quick sit and then decided on supper. We drove into BV and hit Quincy's Steakhouse. They are a one trick pony kind of restaurant. They had one thing on the menu this night and it was filet mignon with salad and baked potato. That was it. All you had to do was decide what drinks you wanted and what size steak. Dad and I each went for 12 ounces pieces and a beer. I tried Colorado Native Lager. It was alright. I did the filet mignon medium rare and wow was it red and juicy. Once I got over the fact it looked like it had still been mooing 20 minutes prior the taste was great and the bacon wrapped around the edges also a wonderfully added taste and texture.

After supper we relaxed in front of the Cubs game for the rest of the evening. The Cubs were in a tough one with the Phillies at Wrigley. Philly had taken the lead 5-3 going into the bottom of the 9th. The Cubs got a couple of baserunners on and with 2 outs Jason Heyward came to the plate. Heyward has mostly been a hitting disappointment since the Cubs grabbed him in 2016. Not tonight. He nailed a grand slam walk-off. What a fun cap to a great day.


The night before Dad had recognized my desire for some big hiking plans today and he offered to hep with the driving. My original plan was looking at Mt. Antero from Little Brown's Creek where I could drive myself. He upped the ante in offering to drop me off and pick me up on the 4WD road on the standard side. I thought this through and decided a long hike own the road didn't entice me today. On the other hand, I have been for a few years now eyeing a traverse of Yale. Dad and I both have been curious about the east ridge of Yale ever since we hiked the Colorado Trail from Silver Creek up to that saddle. I decided this would be the day's goal. Dad could drop me off at Silver Creek and then pick me up at Denny Creek after a Yale Traverse.

We left the house shortly after 5:30am. I had timed my day out to start early, but not crazy early, so i could be back in plenty of time for us to drive to Frisco for me to catch a bus to the airport. We drove up the N. Cottonwood road and at 6am Dad dropped me off at the trailhead. He decided to continue up the rest of the road to check out the N. Cottonwood TH.

Mt. Yale Traverse

I was back to civilization around noon and instantly texting with Mom and Dad who said they were on their drive back from Salida to BV. They had been taking care of a number of odds and ends at the county seat in Salida due to the move. They asked about lunch and we decided on the "new" Pa Paw's BBQ. We had been to this location not long before but that restaurant had closed, now it was re-opened under a new ownership and name and all. They were like a localized version of Famous Dave's. I tried their pulled pork platter with texs toast and fries and corn on the cob. The fries were very average but everything else tasted great. I had an Eddyline Pale Ale to drink and it was tasty.

It was 2:41p when we left the house for Frisco. I had a 4:25p bus with greyhound. Along the way I tried to check status and it kept saying no status available for that bus. When we arrived at the Frisco Transfer station I was curious and concerned about bus status. The app was now basically saying it was cancelled and so I got on the phone with them and sure enough their customer service said the bus was canelled. They had never done anything to let me know. Horrible service. They offered to rebook me for another date or to give me a voucher but nothing to recognize or help my current predicament. I was worried Mom/Dad would have to drive all the way to the airport, something we had tried to avoid. As it turned out Peak 1 Express had a shuttle that pulled up and was waiting while I was on the phone. Their driver said they had room and would wait a few minutes for me. I had to call their registration number to pay for the ticket. This ended up taking forever and they told me to let the driver know I could board and would pay en route. So that is what we did. Problem mostly averted, no thanks to Greyhound Bus. Peak 1 was great and I got a $36 fare from the transfer station but they would take me all the way to the airport. Greyhound was going to drop off at Union Station. The driver was nice and made his best efforts to avoid traffic in Denver, though that was mostly a lost cause.

We got to the airport at 6:15p which still had me plenty early. I thanked the driver, could only give him a $2 tip as that's all I had left. I went out to the B gates for some Chick-fil-A and then eventually on to C gates for my flight.

We ended up being delayed 35 minutes because our plane was late incoming. Flight was mostly uneventful and we arrived only 20 minutes late. It was about 2am. Sarah was there to pick me up.

The End.