Thursday, April 14, 2016

{Colorado Adventures} Mt. Falcon

We never really thought we'd live around mountains.  Being born in the deep south with its hot summers and densely thick woods, we always thought we'd be there.  If we could chose another place to live besides the woods and the country, we'd choose the beach.  (I think we like the hot weather!)

But 20 months ago, God led us here to the mountainous region of Colorado.  We actually live on the high plains side of the Denver metro, but the mountains are about a 30 to 45 minute drive away.  Well, the 7,000ish feet above sea level mountains are.  If we want to get to one of the 14ers (14,000+ feet above sea level) we need to drive over an hour.  Those high mountains are worth the drive!

There are things we enjoy about the mountains.  For one, the aspen trees.  That's all I need to say...the aspens.  Man, they are gorgeous.  People laugh about others for driving to see trees.  They say this makes one "old".  Well, I think the aspens would even change the minds of the cynics.  However, the aspens are only truly spectacular in the fall.

A lot of people enjoy going to the mountains for the snow skiing.  For our family, that's not an option.  Skiing is an expensive hobby.  Then multiply that times thank you.

But we really do enjoy the hiking found here in Colorado.  When the weather is nice, we try to make it somewhere to hike at least once a month.  Even in the middle of the snowy winter, there are some really nice days where we can make a drive to a place to hike.

Recently, we made a drive to a very close mountain in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Mt. Falcon is a little over 7,000 feet above sea level and only about a 30 minute drive from our house.  {Shown above are the Red Rocks which are easily seen from Mt. Falcon.}

Loaded up with snacks and drinks on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we began the trek up the mountain.  Boy, the trip up is tough those first ten minutes as we all adjust to the altitude changes.  But after a few minutes, our bodies get used to the oxygen level differences and our breathing becomes more regular.  (Well, this if for the older ones of us.  Not sure if it affects the little ones this way so much.  But I did take some solace in the fact that even our active 16 year old son was breathing a little heavily at first.)

 The higher we got on Mt. Falcon, the more snow there was.  I could see where snow shoes and some hiking sticks (whatever they are called) would be very useful.  When we started the descent on the snowy path, it became super easy to slip around and slide down.  One of the kids had a stick and they let me use it to keep me from just sliding down the mountain.  (Because I did  lose footing twice and landed in snow!)

 There was a point on the mountain where the wind was so strong as it came through a valley.  You could lean into it and it would hold your body up.  I even got some video of the girls leaning into it.  It was some mighty strong wind.

If you go hiking, you need to take a few things with you.  Water, for sure.  And enough water for everyone and  some energizing snacks.  We had accidentally left our snacks in the van down below, and at some point I really needed a little boost of energy.  One expends a lot of energy hiking at these levels, especially going up hill.  I was kicking myself for leaving those snacks in the van!

Also, be sure to dress in layers.  We always dress for warm and colder weather on the hike. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.  Some of my kiddos learned that the hard way on this trip.  If they had just listened to Mom.

One of the coolest things about the hike on Mt. Falcon was that we could see the city of Denver from the mountain. 

We want to head back to Mt. Falcon for another hike soon.  But this time we will enter another entrance because there are some ruins of a house that was built before one of the world wars.  It's fun to explore those ruins.

I know as long as we are in Colorado that we will take advantage of the hiking here and soaking in a climate that is very different from what we have known most of our lives. 

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