Emerald Valley Loop

Date: 9/30/2012
Who: Sammy and myself
Distance: about 9 miles
Time: 5.1 hours
Weather: cloudy, cool

Today we started at Forest Road 371 and the Gray Back Peak trail head. But, we didn’t hike Gray Back. Instead we headed west along the Pipeline trail and up Emerald Valley. At the west end of the valley, we hiked up and around the peaks which form the north slope of the valley. The named peaks in this area include Squires, Knights Peak, McKinley Peak, SanLuis Peak, Mt. Vigil, and Sugarloaf Mt. Each is around 10,000′.

Gotta love Fall hiking, with the cool temps and colors. We got a few minutes of rain, enough for me to use the rain cover on my pack for the first time. Now that I have hiked a loop around them, I’ll have to come back some other day to hike to the tops of those peaks.

Signage along the Pipeline trail:

This hike followed the RED loop:

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Raspberry Mountain

Date: 9/23/2012
Who: Michelle, Sammy and myself
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 4 hours
Weather: sunny, cool

Michelle chose this hike up Raspberry Mountain for us, and a nice choice it was! The weather was cool. The Aspens were in color. The trail is near the Crags, but is more challenging and less busy than the Crags. The trail is wooded almost all the way, with no water features. There is a rewarding view at the top.

on Raspberry Mountain, North Catamount Reservoir in background:

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Greenway Trail 2

Date: 9/3/2012
Who: Michelle and myself
Distance: about 30 miles
Time: 5 hours
Weather: partly cloudy, warm

Today we rented a 2-person tandem mountain bike, nicknamed the “Black Pearl”, from Criterium bike shop. We rode north on the Greenway trail toward Monument. A marathon was underway on the Greenway trail, so for the first hour or so we passed many runners going in the opposite direction. On the Air Force Academy grounds I saw a black bear about 100 yards away. It was on the other side of a ravine, walking away from our location. We also saw lots of groundhogs and a falcon. To our surprise, the Town of Monument was having a festival. We parked and locked up the bike, and enjoyed browsing around the booths. We also went in for some lunch at the Coffee Cup Cafe. I would recommend it! For dessert we had chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas on a kabob stick from one of the festival vendors.

This ride followed the long BLUE line from the bike shop to Monument:

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