Monday, November 28, 2011

Hiking Lair O' The Bear In November

Mule Deer Buck
Now that it is December, we have moved away from the temperatures in the 50s to 60s that we had just a couple days ago . The temperature and lack of snowfall a couple weeks ago made for excellent hiking weather. My family and I decided that we needed to take advantage of that nicer weather while we still had a chance (it's a good thing we did!)

The great thing about the Denver area is that there are plenty of hiking trails within a short drive of the metro area. Jefferson County Open Space and Denver Mountain Parks offer numerous choices for hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and more. These parks are free to anyone and many offer great views of the city and the mountains. There are also plenty of animal sightings, including Deer, Elk, Foxes and even the occasional Mountain Lion or Bear. With the great weather, my family and I decided to take a hike. We decided to hike along the Bear Creek at Lair O' The Bear Open Space. Lair O' The Bear is located west of the town of Morrison along Highway 74. The park offers both hiking and mountain biking trails.

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Although there is a lot more snow now than when we went hiking, the Jefferson County Open Space trails offer great year round access.  Not only are most of the parks open year round, the lower elevation of these parks, compared to places like Rocky Mountain National Park, means that the snow will melt quicker and the temperatures won't be quite as cold. 

If you want to take advantage the snow for hiking or even snowshoeing, you can always go to the parks right after a snow fall.  I've gone snow shoeing in the past, but not very often.  I'm hoping that this year I can try snow shoes a couple more times.  To me it's an enjoyable experience to be out in the woods after a fresh snow.  The pure white blanket makes it seem like you are the only person around.  On the other hand, if you want to get out on the trails, but don't want to deal with the deep snow, waiting a couple days will most likely give a chance for Colorado's sun to come out and reduce the amount of snow.  You can also check out some of the lower elevation hiking areas, such as North Table Mountain, where the flat mountain offers plenty opportynity for the sun to melt the snow and it gives you a great view of downtown Denver to the east and the foothills to the west.

Chipmunk, Michael Seraphin, DOW

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Here Comes Winter

Now that the second snow storm of the season has hit the Denver Metro Area, it is pretty obvious that winter is fast approaching.  The first snow storm last week resulted in broken limbs on trees all around town.  Fortunately, today's storm wasn't quite as destructive. 

I had been hoping to take the boat out at least one more time this year, but that didn't work out.  I had planned to go out last week, but was snowed out.  When we rescheduled for this week, we were snowed out again.  While you can still fish when it is snowing, some of the guys I was going with didn't really feel like enduring freezing temps and snow to get out on the boat.  Oh well, I look forward to getting out on the boat next year.

Now that snow is falling, it is time to look at having fun in the powder.  It's time to break out the skis or snowboard, snowshoes, ice climbing gear, ice fishing gear, sleds, or anything else that you like to use in the winter.  For many people, this can be one of the best times of the year. 

For those of you that like to get out in the winter and enjoy the scenery and crisp air, make sure you bring plenty of warm clothes, food and water.  Since you can get great photos of most winter activities, make sure you bring your camera.  Check out these tips for getting the most out of your camera in cold weather:  Cold Weather Photography 

Get outside and have some fun! Let me know in the comment section below what you like to do in the winter.