hike. camp. get outside in northern colorado. with kids.


Poudre Canyon

Long Draw Road

My dad wanted a picture of a moose, so of course we took him down Long Draw Road. Mere minutes after turning off Highway 14 a young bull sauntered in front of our truck, posing briefly, before hoofing it up the other side, into the woods and out of sight. As always Long Draw Road delivered for our out-of-town guests.

Continue reading “Long Draw Road”

5 Things I Thought about Atop a Mountain


The Sunday after the election we revisited Gateway Natural Area, soaking in some much needed sunshine and mountain air.

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Gateway Natural Area

Instead of driving by, we stopped. You know the places, the ones you drive by and think, “we really should check that out some day” and then somehow 10 years go by. This fall we finally made a place we’ve passed a million times our destination. Continue reading “Gateway Natural Area”

“Site Taken” – Campsite Reservations in the Poudre Canyon

Three years ago I joined the ranks of the Monday through Friday, 8-5 crowd.  I was giddy at the prospect of having summer weekends off- all the camping, all the hiking, all the family time. And it has been wonderful.

But there is a dark side…

Continue reading ““Site Taken” – Campsite Reservations in the Poudre Canyon”

Mountain Park: The Perfect “Starter” Campground

Camping: to live temporarily in a camp or outdoors. This is a broad term and means many things to many people. And these people usually feel strongly about their preference in their respective camps. Camps: Groups engaged in promoting or defending a theory, doctrine, position, or person.

There are backpakers, car campers, overlanders, glampers, dispersed site campers and campground campers. And then there are those family adventurers who sell all their personal belongings and travel the world in a van. So when someone asks me, “Where should my family go camping?” I have a lot questions.

Continue reading “Mountain Park: The Perfect “Starter” Campground”

Sleeping with the Mooses

I gripped my trekking pole tighter, the animal was definitely right outside the tent, snorting. Only a thin piece of nylon separated us from a giant beast. As I lay, heart racing, in our two-man tent, I decided a moose was definitely better than a bear or a mountain lion since it wouldn’t eat us. But it could definitely trample us to death still orphaning our two young girls at home… so I elbowed my sleeping husband, deciding fear of imminent death was better shared.

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Trap Park Trail

Changing from hiking boots to river sandals with a kid carrier on the back isn’t the easiest task but with a shoulder to lean on it’s doable. And crossing the creek- and the cold feet that follow- are definitely worth it. We brought our Chacos so we wouldn’t have to go barefoot over the slippery rocks like we did last time. Once across the first creek crossing, the trail opens to a gorgeous meadow with breathtaking views of Iron and Flat Top Mountains. The Neota Wilderness is on either side with plenty of willows, or as L calls it, moose food. We did not see any moose this time but they are in abundance in this area so be on the lookout. Continue reading “Trap Park Trail”

Blue Lake Trail

I am very familiar with the first two miles of this trail.

Last year the husband and I, without children, started Blue Lake Trail with our 30 pound packs strapped to our backs for our first ever backpacking adventure.

A half-mile in his 10-year-old hiking boot broke. We stopped and tried some makeshift surgery, but after a few steps further we turned around to go back to the Land Cruiser. Not wanting to ruin our much anticipated trip, he changed into his Chaco sandals and we set forth again but a quarter mile in it was decided 12 miles in his Chacos was not going to be possible.  Continue reading “Blue Lake Trail”

Chambers Lake Campground: A Biased Review

The moment you turn off highway 14 into Chambers Lake Campground, you immediately feel a world away. As you pass the day use area and drive around a finger of the lake you notice the temperature dips a couple degrees from the road and you feel the stillness that accompanies mountain thin air. The only noise is the crackle of dozens of campfires and the muffled voices of happy campers.

I love the roar of the river but I also love the quiet of a mountain lake. Continue reading “Chambers Lake Campground: A Biased Review”

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