Who: Sammy and myself
Length: 2.6 miles (1.3 out + 1.3 back)
Time: 1.75 hours
Weather: 50 degrees, sunny, breezy at the top
This is a hike up Forest Service trail 716 to the top of Mt. Herman, west of Monument, Colorado. It is a short hike that gains about 1000′ elevation in 1.3 miles. From the top one can see north to Denver, south to Colorado Springs and beyond. The trail goes up the west slope of Mt. Herman. The trail is tucked into a well-treed valley, and it was covered in packed snow and ice all the way up. The Kahtoola microspikes were practically essential today. Two wind socks at the summit are apparently there for the benefit of paragliders.
Today’s hike was punctuated throughout by echoing shots from firearms. Gun owners use several areas in the nearby national forest as ad-hoc shooting ranges. After the hike, I drove further west on Mt. Herman Road to investigate. I encountered about 8 different groups of gun enthusiasts along the way. I stopped to watch them target practice at a couple of sites. The Pike National Forest is truly a “land of many uses”. Shortly after leaving the area where it is legal to fire firearms, I came across a family who were enjoying a sledding hill. What a contrast.
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