Red Tailed Hawk
I have an innate ability to find great hikes. Granted, I live in one of the most stunning places on earth – Colorado. But I seem to be able to look at a trail map or hiking book and pick the perfect terrain, distance and views given a small amount of information. I set my intention for what I want to experience on a hike and then let my intuition take over. And yesterday, I discovered that I could manifest new trails.
Peter and I decided to go up to one our favorite parks – Red Mountain Open Space. Just 25 miles north of Fort Collins, this land was once part of a large ranch bordering Colorado and Wyoming in the area called the Laramie Foothills. When the land went up for sale several years ago, three municipalities – Larimer County, The City of Fort Collins and The City of Cheyenne – raised the funds to purchase it and turn it into Open Space Lands. The three adjacent parks host many miles of connected hiking/biking/horseback riding trails and the terrain in each park displays its own personality and flavor. Red Mountain is owned by Larimer County.
Peter and I have been to Red Mountain several times and love the area, but there was one place in the park that I so wanted to see, and there was no way to get up there other than bushwhacking – which is a no-no. So last year we hiked other places, including the park next door – Soapstone Prairie (which by the way houses a famous archaeological site containing artifacts that date back 12,000 years!).
When we got to the trailhead at Red Mountain – we checked the information postings and noticed there was a new map of the area – and guess what? In the year that we had been away, the rangers had built a new trail right up into the canyon that I so wanted to visit! Named the K-Lynn Cameron Trail, it meanders west into a series of sandstone canyons and up onto a ridge overlooking the entire open space.
Here’s a trail map of the area.
While we ate a decadent picnic of fried chicken and cole slaw at the trailhead, a Larimer Park Ranger rode by on his horse, Diesel. We saw him several times on the trail. Here he is herding cattle away from the creek. Larimer rents some of the space to neighboring ranches for grazing and it’s not unusual to walk right by a herd on the trail.
You can see why it’s called Red Mountain.
When we crossed Sand Creek and headed west on the K-Lynn Cameron trail, we encountered the ruins of an old homestead. We see these scattered all over Colorado. Can you imagine what life would have been like here in the Winter?
Here I am almost at the top of the canyon overlooking the valley. This is the spot I’ve been longing to visit, but couldn’t until this year when the trail was finished.
And here are a few shots of Box Elder Canyon, our last stop before heading back to the car.
Yesterday was one of those magical days when I got to appreciate the beauty of the land here in Northern Colorado. I had to pinch myself to believe that I got to hike into a place that I had been so wanting to see for several years. But then again, I guess on some level, I created it! Thank you to my LargeSelf and all those who participated!
©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012