As I have mentioned before, I am a Colorado dog who lives in Phoenix now. Don’t get me wrong – I love the desert! I just get tired of the heat around this time of year and am ready for cooler temps. Of course, in Colorado the weather can get too cold and stormy, and Mother Nature can stop your plans dead in their tracks. Both places have pros and cons, I guess.
While we lived in Loveland, Colorado, we had attempted to hike Round Mountain one day, but a big thunder cloud with lightening turned us right around. We high-tailed it out of there. Never risk getting stuck in a severe storm.
Our next attempt had better conditions, and we headed to the trailhead, which is just about 4 miles past the Dam Store off Highway 34. The address is:1211 Big Thompson Rd, Loveland, CO 80537. A note here about the Dam Store: I’m pretty sure they have dead bodies living in the basement! It’s a very eclectic, dirty and disorganized store with a little bit of everything. It gave mom and dad the creeps. Stop at your own risk.
Parking is free and it has a human outhouse. This trail is intermediate to difficult as it is long and steep, climbing from 5,800 feet to 8,300 feet. Be sure to pack plenty of water to help with the altitude.
I was younger in 2011, and eight miles round trip was nothing. Today, I can go the distance when motivated but need extra recovery time. Such is getting older! Hey, it beats the alternative, right? Anyway, this is an out and back, hiking 4 miles in and 4 miles back. This is Colorado forest at its best! Lots of pine trees for shade and smell. The trail starts of as a dirt road but turns into a typical, rocky trail.
Not too far into the hike, you will be given some beautiful views of the Thompson River down below and mountains up above. Depending upon the time of year you go, you might see snow on the mountain tops like we did. Heck, Loveland just had snow last week! Summers are short there so if you go during the snowy season, you will need those cramp-on devices to give you traction. Doggies might need booties, but not this dawg. No way, no how. Woof!
We took a break about half way up, which is as far as we got last time. We could see for miles and miles! After a quick snack, onward we went. In Colorado, it is best to get out early and get back down off the mountain before afternoon showers hit. The second half is mostly in the forest with a view as the reward at the top. Remember, you will have four miles to hike back down, thus why you need plenty of water. Mom and dad both wore big backpacks to carry all the water. I am always amazed at how many people I see on the trails here in Arizona without any water. Are they nuts? It’s dangerous because you never know what will happen. Be smart and be prepared.
Mother Nature cooperated today. We got to the top and back down before any storms. We all got great exercise, and I took a nice, long nap. And no, we didn’t stop at the Dam Store. Until next time, stay healthy!
PS – For those fans who enjoy my monthly column in 85086 Magazine, the publisher is discontinuing it. Never fear! They are moving my column to Foothills Focus starting with the November issue.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!