Mount Silverheels Colorado

Mount Silverheels 13,822′ – Trip Report

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Downloads: GPX File | KMZ File for Google Earth Mount Silverheels checks in as Colorado’s 96th tallest ranked summit. At 13,822’, it’s technically a Front Range mountain, but as a hike, it’s more like a classic Sawatch Range Peak: long, gentle, slopes that top out on a rounded summit with spectacular views. Silverheels is somewhat tucked away, despite its hulking presence from popular vantages points such as Boreas Pass. As a result, there are no established hiking trails to the top. What it lacks in popularity it makes up for…

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Little Bear Peak, Colorado.

Little Bear Peak – Trip Report – Colorado 14ers

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Ah, Little Bear Peak, so we meet again. This 14,037’ summit in the Sangre de Cristo Range has a well-earned reputation as having the most difficult standard route out of all of the 58 recognized 14ers in Colorado. As a fellow climber remarked on her way off the mountain, “It’s a beast!”.   This is true. Little Bear is a beast. Climbers have two options for reaching the summit. A summer climb involves class 4 scrambling on very loose and unreliable rock, especially by the standard Southwest Face / West…

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decaf-cat

Caffeine Detox: It’s Gonna Hurt

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Caffeine withdrawal is a real thing. If you don’t believe me, try drinking 2 – 5 cans of Monster Energy drink for 6 months then shutting off the switch. Better yet, let me tell you my experience and save you the trouble. I was ingesting about 400 – 500 mg of caffeine per day, mainly because I wanted to stay sharp in my work as an editor and writer. I also used caffeine to summon energy during one of life’s inevitable rough patches, including the loss of a beloved pet,…

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Wilderness fog

Surviving the Political Wilderness

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The wilderness is both my sanctuary and my livelihood. The ardent and transparently destructive stance towards public lands by our current president and his administration has been troubling, to say the least. I’ve always been tuned into the political side of environmental issues—a “part time warrior” as crusty ol’ Edward Abbey put it—but the urgency of threats that face our public lands have increased my worry. Part time won’t cut it. I don’t like politics. I’ve had three or four day spans where I was either out in the aforementioned…

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Dull Mountains

When the Mountains are Calling and You Cannot Go

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“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit We all have reserved tickets for the pain train. That’s the closest I can come to accepting the truly dreadful things in life—death, decay, and departure of loved ones. The pain train offers…

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breakingbadcanada

Life in Kickstarter America

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I remember the first crowdsourcing campaigns that surfaced in my social media feeds. The majority of requests came from musicians hoping to release music, designers aiming to give life to their video games, or inventors bringing new gadgets into the world—fun, creative, ideas. Crowdsourcing websites began as a way to drag deferred dreams into existence, but in recent times they’ve become portals to far less whimsical notions. In many cases, they are the difference between life and death.   While the most visible crowdsourcing site, Kickstarter, is focused on artistic…

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Beautiful wilderness.

Can the Outdoors Industry Save the Outdoors—and Its Own Soul?

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Before you read this article, let’s agree that the marketing wizards who came up with the concept of “power couples” deserve a place on the podium of “worst campaign ideas ever”. Or maybe a seat at the table in one of the lesser rings of hell. More on that later. My friend and colleague Doug Schnitzspahn recently penned a compelling editorial at Elevation Outdoors about the future of the outdoors. It’s a great read and it brings up some difficult truths about the outdoors industry. Honest conversations can be tricky…

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Wells Maine

Seasons of Change

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Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. ~Robert Henri Somewhere in the night, deep into the heart of the midwest, I look at the passengers in my vehicle. My newly-minted wife and longtime best friend Sheila is asleep with our dog Mystic in her lap and Fremont, our other dog, is sprawled out on the back seat. We drive through the darkness together back to Colorado to resume the life we’ve known for years…

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Sugarloaf Mountain Boulder Colorado.

Trials of Life, Backyard Edition

By | Cloud City Chronicles, Colorado Adventures | No Comments

I never know who to root for in those predator / prey nature specials. Usually, the narrative is set up so that if you’re introduced to the lion first, you root for the lion. If it’s the gazelle, well then you’re hoping it speeds away to live another day. In real life, the roles of hero and villain are more subjective. Now that we have a small piece of genuine wilderness in the Boulder foothills, we have an unedited look at the trials of life. I’ve lived in Colorado 17…

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Daruma doll in Colorado. What a creep!

Best Summit Hikes: Denver to Vail Now Out!

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To order a copy of my new guidebook Best Summit Hikes: Denver to Vail please follow the link to Amazon! Only $9.99! And please feel free to leave feedback on Amazon – thanks, thanks, thanks! Having a book published is a unique experience. For months or even years, it’s your raison d’être, a project that requires focus, creativity, and in my case, a lot of time outdoors. Then there’s the photography, the map making, the fact checking, and regulations. And finally, back and forth with editors, designers, and then… radio silence. Life…

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Fremont does his patented move, the "gold rush".

The Golden Touch

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O Gold! I still prefer thee unto paper, Which makes bank credit like a bark of vapour — Lord Byron, Don Juan I’m not the first person in Colorado to have visions of gold dancing in my head. Long before the promise of gluten-free cupcakes and mega-hip tech companies, dreamers made their way to Colorado — before there even was a “Colorado” — to partake of the great Gold Rush of 1858 – 1862 (Colorado wouldn’t become a territory until 1861). The ‘59ers were similar to the more famous ‘49ers…

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bunkhouse2

The Mines of Cloud City

By | Cloud City Chronicles | No Comments

There’s gold in them hills!! Less interesting is “There’s tungsten in them hills!” and perhaps even less inviting, “There’s bismuth in them hills!” Turns out we have all three on our property, along with a few other radioactive, naturally occurring elements such as thorium and uranium. Mining history in our community, Sugarloaf, is fairly interesting, especially if you like Cold War conspiracy theories or Pepto-Bismol.  Let’s start with everybody’s favorite arc-welding metal, tungsten. “Tungsten” sounds like it could be a private, east coast college: “Oh, I didn’t know you were…

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