Colorado April 2021

Dates: July 27 - August 2, 2021

People: Mark, Luke, Marcia, Denny


  • 7-27 (Travel Day/Pine Creek Day 1)

  • 7-28 (Pine Creek Day 2 / Mt. Magdalene)

  • 7-29 (Pine Creek Day 3 / Missouri Loop)

  • 7-30 (Rest Day)

  • 7-31 (Yale Silver Creek Loop)

  • 8-1 (Mt. Columbia)

  • 8-2 (Travel Day)


Today would begin a trip of many early mornings. We are up at 4:15 a.m. to start to make our way to the airport. We had a 7:00 a.m. flight out of Detroit and left the house at 4:40 a.m. when I got to the airport there was a very long line for the Southwest bag check. I never quite figured out what the holdup was. It did finally move and we made it through okay and security wasn't bad either. Our flight made it out of Detroit on time and we landed in Midway airport on time. In Chicago Luke and I looked for some breakfast in the b concourse and ended up settling upon the Dunkin donuts Express. From there our flight left for Colorado springs on time and arrived a few minutes early. We found the Colorado springs airport to be nice and small. It was a very quick walk to baggage claim and much to our delight the bags arrived rather quickly. Mom and Dad were there with the explorer to pick us up not long later and we were on the road out of town.

For lunch we made a stop at the Arby's in Woodland Park and then we're on the road again to head out to Buena Vista. All of this timing went very well and got us to their house earlier than expected. We hope this would be helpful in getting us on the trail earlier than expected. it did take us a full hour to get our gear re-situated and our backpacks ready. We are out the door just after 2:00 p.m. to head to the Pine Creek trailhead.

Pine Creek Backpacking


Pine Creek Backpacking

Magdalene Mountain and Silver King Lake


Pine Creek Backpacking

Emerald-Iowa-Missouri Loop

We were back to the trailhead by 5:50p and ready for a big supper. We made a quick drive over to Eddyline Brewery in B.V. and got a table. I ordered the numbers pizza and had the River Runners Pale Ale and a second of the new Stay on Trail ale for drinks. It was a good fill up the tummy kind of supper. As we ate I looked over at this group talking and a face stood out as familiar. From all of the coverage I had watched of the Western States 100 a couple weeks prior I recognize ultrarunner Kaci Lichteig. As usual it was hard to know for sure if it was her except that it turns out she was in town getting ready to run the High Lonesome 100 the next day. I believe she got 3rd female.

We spent the evening relaxing at the house and made a Duo call back to Michigan to talk to Sarah and Anya. We watched more Olympics coverage and called it a night.


Today ended up being a massive free day. The miles we had intended for today we ended up cramming into yesterday. I was forcing myself to look at today as a rest day and pretty much accomplished that.

I didn't sleep well overnight but thankfully at about 5:00 a.m. I finally entered into a decent bit of sleep and I was able to stay in bed till 8:50 a.m. I can hardly remember the last time I was in bed that late. When all were finally up and going Mom had made some sausage and eggs and melon for breakfast.

Luke and I spent the morning getting introduced to Dad's Can-Am side-by-side vehicle. Dad took Luke out for a ride and let him drive it a bit around the game trail neighborhood. Then Luke and I took it for a ride up the North Cottonwood Trail all the way to the trail head. This is where our adventures would be just beginning. On the drive back we stopped at the Silver Creek trailhead to get out and touch the creek waters and cool off for second. Well there we noted a nice Jeep vehicle with Florida plates and were intrigued. Little did we know at the time what part that vehicle would play in our upcoming story.

After leaving Silver Creek when we were about a half mile up the road from the beginning of game trail Luke happened to remark about seeing something and we looked over and there was a black bear only 15 ft off the road. It didn't take long for him to start walking away and head up the hill. I noticed a look that being in the open air side by side we really didn't have much protection from him if he got angry with us.

As we drove onward Luke hollered about hearing something and then noted he thought his phone had fallen out. Indeed his phone was gone and so we began to look along the side of the road and a little bit off the road to try and find it. I tried to call it a couple of times to see if we could hear it. On my last attempt to call his phone a woman picked up and said she had just found this phone on the side of the road. I coordinated with her to meet up and it turns out she was at least a half mile back up the road from where we were. Luke really lucked out that we were able to reclaim his phone. The couple that found his phone where the couple that had the Jeep from Florida.

Back at the house Luke and I assumed our positions on the couch to rest up for a couple hours. We watched the latest episode of Star Wars The Bad batch. Dad grilled some really good hamburgers for lunch today. We spent the early part of the afternoon following Twitter and the trade deadline action from Chicago Cubs. Today was the day they traded away Craig Kimbrel, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo had already been traded away a day earlier. It was all heartbreaking. We also spent the afternoon watching Olympics coverage on the TV. During the day I took a pair of walks just to get some steps and loosen the legs up. I could definitely feel a bit of wear and tear in them from the last couple days effort.

Around 4:30 p.m. we headed over to Cottonwood Lake with the kayaks. I was in the inflatable and just went out for a short while. But it was worth it. I headed to the west end of the lake where Luke had seen a moose the year prior and sure enough I know more and got to that part of the lake and I saw a mother moose and a calf. I was able to capture a little bit of video footage of them. Shortly thereafter the sprinkles began, as is usual at Cottonwood, and I headed for the shore. I got the inflatable put away and decided to use my time to get a few more steps in walking along the edge of the lake. Dad and Luke fished for about another 45 minutes.

The evening was more rest and relaxation. Dad made steaks to order for supper and they were quite good. We also had corn on the cob and some fried potatoes with them. The rest of the evening was spent watching more Olympics coverage and for myself getting ready for a big hike around Yale in the morning.


Up just before 4am today to get ready for my big day on Yale. With a bad weather report I wanted as early a start as possible. I was out the door at 4:17am driving the Truck up to the trailhead. This vehicle would be needed later in the morning so it was planned for Dad and Luke to drive the Can-Am up there to grab it.

Yale Silver Creek Loop

At the end of my hike around Yale I was planning to end up at the Silver Creek trailhead and have a vehicle there waiting for me. I had left the truck there in the morning but Dad and Luke had come up to get it since the vehicle was needed for the others during the day. When I arrived to the trailhead no vehicle was there. I had messaged the group with the Garmin inreach. I figured things are just a little bit delayed. I hung around at the trailhead for about 10 minutes. When nobody arrived, and noting that my legs still felt pretty good, I decided to start walking up the road. I made it all the way to the Harvard lakes trail head and a little bit beyond when I finally bumped into Luke driving the Can-Am up the road. He grabbed me and we headed back to the house.

I had some leftovers for lunch and then spent the afternoon just relaxing and resting and watching more Olympics coverage. At about 5:30 p.m. Dad suggested that we head down into Salida for the county fair rodeo. We all eventually agreed. With the stormy weather that was hitting the Arkansas valley we noted the cooling temps and decided to dress up a little bit with some warmer clothing for the rodeo. That was well worth it.

The county Fair had a free entry night and so we were able to head right on into the grandstands. We took turns heading down to different food trucks to get some supper. Luke and I grabbed hot dogs from a hot dog truck. Mine was a mac and cheese hot dog with green onions and bacon bits on top. Luke had a chili cheese dog. The rodeo is fun at first. We especially enjoyed the event where each team of ranch hands would try to sort out a cow and get it into a truck trailer. The calf roping was a bit of a dud as most of the groups failed to be able to rope the calf before they ran out of ropes to throw. We stayed till close to 9:30 and then headed back to the house.

Luke and I spend some time getting our packs ready for the another early morning tomorrow and then headed to bed.


.Luke and I made a 4am wakeup today to ensure an early start on Columbia. Everyone else was tucked comfortably in bed. We made it out of the house at 423 and drove the Explorer up the N. Cottonwood road for the TH

Mount Columbia - West Slopes Report

We were back to the house just after 12:45. The timing of our hike went so well today that we were back into the house with time to go get a nice lunch. We went into town and had lunch at Biggie's. That really hit the spot. Luke and I both had the gyro sandwich and we all split a biggie fries.

After lunch we were all back to the house to get packed up. Mom and Dad were heading to the Midwest after dropping us off in the morning so they too were busy packing and getting the house ready to be left. We weren't in a huge hurry as we didn't have any reason to get into the Springs too early. We left around 6pm after getting the truck packed up. Dad showed us much to our surprise how crazy people drive on US24 through South Park passing with close margins and often in illegal places. So many in a hurry!

We did supper at the Taco Bell in Woodland Park and then made it into the Springs in the dark to the Econo Lodge by the airport. It wasn't a good hotel by any means but it fit the price for the short night we would spend there. Hotel prices were crazy in the Springs!.


Another early morning today due to our early travel. Luke, Dad and I were up at 4am today to quickly get ready and head for the airport. It was a short night stay in the hotel so there wasn't much to be done. We were out the door in 15 minutes and making the less than 15 minute drive from the Econo Lodge to the CO Springs airport. Dad dropped us off at the curb around 4:30am. Southwest had about 25 people in line already and the attendants weren't quite at the desk yet to start processing. That happened about 5 minutes later and then the line moved fast. When we made it to security it appeared as though our flight was the first one through as almost no one was there yet.

The gates were all also empty except for ours. That would change in a half hour. I did some walking around while we waited for flight time. We didn't buy any food at the airport and just worked on snacks from our packs. Our flight boarded and left on time headed for Chicago Midway. In flight I watched some Olympics coverage on the live TV and caught a few short cat naps.

We got into Midway about 15 minutes early but had to sit as the gate wasn't ready. We ended up departing the plane right about on time. We hit the Dunkin Donuts express for a couple of donuts for breakfast and then headed to sit near our gate. They were slow getting boarded going at Midway and it caused our flight to leave almost 10 minutes late. The short flight to Detroit, though leaving late, got us in about on time. Our bags came fairly quick at DTW and we waited outside for Sarah to come and pick us up.