Bard Creek Trail Colorado

Colorado’s Ghost Trails

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure | No Comments

A long-forgotten hiking trail became the catalyst for my new book project. The as-of-yet unnamed guidebook looks at the excellent mountain hikes that are close to the I-70 corridor between Denver and Vail. Its inspiration was a faint but well-defined trail that etherealized in the forests at the foot of Bard Peak. In the past five years, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the area east of Herman Gulch (Watrous Gulch / Bard Creek Trail). While the peaks such as Mount Parnassus and Wood Mountain are the stars of…

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SNES and the Secret S-Video

By | Video Games | No Comments

In the past few years I’ve  enjoyed  repairing and restoring Super Nintendo (SNES) consoles. The SNES was released in the U.S. in 1991 and represented a major upgrade from the well-known Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This leap in technology represented the first time that home video games were truly on par with arcade machines. One of the interesting quirks about the venerable console was a “secret” feature built into the visual processor: the SNES is able to output in high-resolution S-Video! Why is this significant? S-Video (Separate Video) actually has…

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Ninja Gaiden 3 NES

Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (NES)

By | Games I Beat in 2015, Video Games | No Comments

As an homage to my cousin Marc’s Games I Beat in 2014 blog, from time to time I’ll be adding some of the games I’ve played through in 2015 right here at Mountainous Words. What do you get when you combine sweet, sweet ninja action, an incomprehensible plot and legions of bloodthirsty birds? Ninja Gaiden of course! While the first two games of the iconic series bask in the glow of NES fueled nostalgia, the third and final 8-bit entry in the series is by far the least understood and…

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Mammoth Reservoir Winter

Bob’s Creepy Cabin via Nebraska Hill

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure, Trip Reports | No Comments

To get the most out of an adventure, it’s sometimes best to forego exhaustive research and simply head into the unknown. This philosophy has applied to my current quest to summit Nebraska Hill, an 11,534 ft. peak that registers on exactly nobody’s radar when it comes to Colorado’s mountains. It’s an easy enough peak to reach in the summer: simply drive up a 4×4 road, park, get out and walk over a flat plateau to its non-descript summit. In the winter however, it’s a trickier nut to crack. I recruited…

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Lone Cone Colorado

Suicide & the Lone Cone Diaries

By | Philosophy | No Comments

Lone Cone is an obscure, 12,618 ft. mountain in the remote southwest corner of Colorado. Its crumbling facade rises from the earth where forests begin their subtle transformation into desert. From Lone Cone’s summit, one can witness tracts of farmland dehydrating into brown and yellow scrubland to the west, a lonely expanse where snow-streaked mountains bookend the horizon. Its suggestive nomenclature has contributed to a sense of raw loneliness I have unexpectedly felt on the mountain. Or maybe it’s the words in the battered journal. Because so few people visit…

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Wichita State UNiversity plane crash by James Dziezynski

Wichita State Plane Wreck & Mount Bethel – Dry Gulch

By | Colorado Adventures, Trip Reports | No Comments

Distance to Plane Wreck: 1.2 miles; 600 vertical feet Distance to Mount Bethel / Snow Fences: 2.9 miles / 2,280 vertical feet  Over the years, I’ve visited quite a few plane wreck sites in Colorado. None may be as fascinating or sobering as the wreckage of the 1970 Wichita State University crash. As the crow flies, the debris field is less 0.2 miles from I-70. The hike along an unmarked (but easy to find) trail is about a mile and the area is still densely littered with twisted metal. Because…

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The 8-Bit Muse

By | Philosophy, Video Games | No Comments

It is well-documented though rarely mentioned that Thoreau’s “isolated” cabin in Walden was only about a mile from town — a short enough walk for his elderly mother to regularly bring him fresh cookies. The myth of seclusion fits so neatly with the ideas in his writings that it’s easy to overlook the fact he was a 15 minute walk from civilization. I bring this up because at age 38, I’m working as a professional writer — have been now for almost 20 years. Like most writers, I have my…

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Sawtooth ridge traverse

Sawtooth Ridge Traverse – Colorado

By | Colorado Adventures, Travel and Adventure, Trip Reports | No Comments

It’s surprising that in all my years in Colorado, I hadn’t gotten around to doing the Sawtooth Traverse. This classic route is a class 3 scramble between the 14,060 ft. summit of Mount Bierstadt and the far west shoulder of 14,264 ft. Mount Evans. The Sawtooth is usually climbed south to north, starting at Mount Bierstadt. The exit from the Sawtooth offers several options: traverse 1.2 miles over Mount Evans (and its sub-peak, 14,256 ft. West Evans), hike 0.7 miles to the 13,842 ft. top of Mount Spaulding or simply…

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Rosalie Peak Colorado front range

Rosalie Peak via Tanglewood Creek

By | Travel and Adventure | No Comments

13,575 ft. Rosalie Peak doesn’t see a lot of visitors, which is somewhat surprising considering its proximity to Denver (about an hour’s drive). As 13ers go, its a straightforward class 2 mountain. has this to say about the peak: Rosalie Peak, the 207th highest peak in Colorado, is the southernmost thirteener in the Mount Evans Wilderness. When viewed from Denver, it’s the rounded summit on the left end of the Evans Massif. It is named for Rosalie Bierstadt, wife of the famous painter of Western landscapes, Alfred Bierstadt. Originally,…

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BAld Mountain summit

Bald Mountain via Boreas Pass from Breckenridge

By | Colorado Adventures, Trip Reports | No Comments

There are 27 mountains in Colorado bearing the official name “Bald Mountain”; the 13,684 ft. one is their king. As the highest of the Balds, its also likely the baldest — when hiked from Boreas Pass, there is only a smattering of trees before breaking into alpine tundra. Despite easy trailhead access and proximity to Breckenridge, not many people visit its lofty summit — which is a shame, because the views are among the best I’ve seen in Colorado. Maybe it’s the mundane and uninspiring name that keeps people from…

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Silver PLume Mountain

Silver Plume Mountain via 730 Mine Trail

By | Colorado Adventures, Trip Reports | No Comments

Directions to 730 Mine Trailhead: From I-70, take exit 226 to Silver Plume. Since most people will be coming from Denver on west bound I-70, I’ll give the directions from that point of view (it’s easy enough to apply them to the east bound exit). At the end of the exit ramp take a right towards main street. Note that the paved road you see immediately off the exit is NOT Main Street! Go down a block on this road to the intersection with Main Street, a dirt road. Take a…

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What views!

Republican Mountain & Sherman Mountain – Colorado Trip Report

By | Colorado Adventures, Trip Reports | One Comment

Ever since Fremont and I climbed Bard Peak as part of our Watrous Gulch adventure, I’ve had my eye on seldom-visited Republican Mountain. Republican is one of a trio of lower elevation summits southeast from the small town of Empire, Colorado (the others being 12,287 ft. Sherman Mountain and 12,477 ft. Silver Plume Mountain). There wasn’t much information on hiking this peak, which meant it was either a lousy summit or people just didn’t go there. Luckily, it turns out Republican is a fine hike and a worthy “secret” summit. The approach…

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