4 of my Favorite Day Hikes in Colorado

The trees are starting to leaf out, crocuses and daffodils are blooming, and the weather is alternating between freezing temperatures and 65 and sunny which can only mean that spring has arrived in Colorado. With the changing seasons comes a desire to get into the mountains and go hiking. To help me stay patient and focused on class, I’ve compiled a list of 4 awesome day hikes in Colorado that I love to do and will definitely be on my docket this summer. These hikes are spread out over Colorado and are a great way to spend a few hours.

1 Finch Lake

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Located in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National park, this is a gorgeous hike through pine forest and the occasional grove of aspens ending with beautiful views of finch lake. The trail is 4.2 miles one way and another 2 miles takes you pear lake. This hike is moderate to difficult with the hardest section being a steep hill close to the trailhead.

2 Wild Basin

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Wild Basin is a 6.3-mile one-way out and back trail punctuated by beautiful waterfalls and ending at a lake. Wild Basin is my all-time favorite area to hike. The area is interlaced with dozens of rivers and all of the moisture causes it to explode with lush greenery and wildflowers. This trail is moderate to difficult but the waterfalls are spaced out really well for hikers to take breaks

3 Pancake Rocks and Horsethief Falls

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Pancake rocks is an approximately 6 mile out and back trail that starts between Divide and Cripple Creek on Highway 67. Horsethief falls is approximately two miles. Both trails are gorgeous hikes through Pike National Forest but pancake rocks is a much more difficult trail that ends with beautiful views of Cripple Creek surrounded by the most incredible rock formations that look exactly like stacked pancakes! Horsethief falls is a gentler hike that ends at a waterfall.

4 Wheeler National Recreation Trail

 

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Quandary Peak from the Wheeler trailhead

 

The wheeler trail is a through hiking trail that starts near the Quandary Peak trailhead. The first two miles you climb to the top of a bluff, hike along it, and then climb back down. The top of the bluff burned in a wildfire at some point and has recovered enough that it has beautiful grass and wildflowers and young spruce and pine trees. The wheeler trial is also an alternate route to get to the Mohawk Lakes trail if you don’t have a vehicle that can handle the road to Mohawk Lakes.

Planning a hiking trip this summer? You might want to check out my post Five Things to Know Before You Go Hiking it’s full of useful tips to make your hiking trip safer and more enjoyable!

Have you hiked any of these trails? Tell me about it in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

 

Colorado Travel Guide: Steamboat Springs

Hello and welcome back to the Colorado Travel Guide. This is a series I’ve done fairly frequently in the past but it hasn’t appeared in a while. There is no particular order to these posts, it’s just a place for me to walk you through all of the shops, restaurants, hikes, and sights that I love in my favorite state.

For spring break this year my family decided that we were finally going to make the drive up to the northwest corner of the state and visit Steamboat Springs and Dinosaur National Monument. I’m a pretty big national park fan and I realized on this trip that Dinosaur was the last major national park/monument for me to visit in Colorado. There are a couple of smaller sites left but I was pretty excited when I realized that.

The main visitor center of Dinosaur National Monument is two hours west of Steamboat Springs in Jensen, Utah. There is also an entrance in Dinosaur, Colorado. If it’s your first time visiting I recommend going to the Jensen entrance but I would like to eventually go back and get more hiking in on the Colorado side of the park. Hands down the coolest part of the park was the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall. You get to touch real fossils that are still embedded in the actual rock. My niece adores dinosaurs and wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up and I kept wishing that she was there the whole time because she would have loved it.

The most common reason for people to visit Steamboat is the skiing, the second most common reason is the hot springs. Old Town Hot Springs is right on the edge of downtown. It was so cool sitting in the warm water and watching the snow fall. The only problem was that I forgot to pack my contacts on the trip and the steam made it so I couldn’t see through my glasses.

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Steamboat Springs had a really cool art culture. There were galleries everywhere. The art museum is free to the public and had beautiful oil paintings and sculptures by artists from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. The Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts looked really cool but when we got there they were packing up the most recent display. There was a really cute dog running around though.

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I didn’t get any pictures but the first night we were there we ate dinner at Vaqueros, a Mexican restaurant. The food wasn’t exceptional but the atmosphere reminded me of a Robert Louis Stevenson book. Kind of dark with lots of wood and brick, like the characters of Treasure Island were probably somewhere in the back. Aaaand that’s how you know I was homeschooled. LOL.

The food I DID really enjoy was from Steamboat Smokehouse. I love barbeque and the ice cream shop on the other side of the building had amazing pomegranate sorbet.

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I always have to visit the bookstore in any new town and Off the Beaten Path Bookstore was amazing. I love bookstores in old houses; it’s so fun to find little corners and just get lost in a book. I found a practically brand-new autographed copy of Everyone Brave is Forgiven in the used books section for half-off and I’m still a little giddy.
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The bookstore was also a coffee shop and the latte names were are either book titles or literary characters and it was super adorable.

Some of the other cute shops we visited were All That, which had a cool vintage vinyl selection, and Ohana which had a surprisingly surfer vibe for a Colorado town.

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Have you visited Steamboat Springs? What were your favorite places? Tell me in the comments!

Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Spring Break in the Pacific Northwest

Hello!

Long time no post right? Life has been a bit crazy this semester with school and working 24 hours a week but I’m excited to get back into blogging regularly this summer!

For spring break this year my family visited the Pacific Northwest. My oldest sister lives in Portland, Oregon so that was where we started and ended. The trip was a blast and I highly recommend exploring that part of the country if you haven’t already.

Friday

We flew in on Friday afternoon and met up at my sister’s house to decide where to eat. We ended up going to a restaurant called Screen Door. It’s a cute little southern style place, I had chicken and waffles and the french toast. The french toast wasn’t that exciting but oh. my. goodness. the chicken and waffles was amazing.

Saturday

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Saturday we drove up to Washington to visit Mount St. Helens. The road to the actual mountain ended up being closed so we decided to explore Ape Cave instead.

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We hiked down into the cave but didn’t make it all the way through because of how dark and wet it was. Hopefully someday I’ll go back with a headlamp and explore some more.

On our way back we visited Multnomah Falls

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The falls were absolutely stunning but make sure to bring a rain jacket especially if you plan on hiking the trail to the top because you will get in the spray.

Sunday

On Sunday we visited Cannon Beach and the town of Astoria, Oregon which were the two filming sites of the movie “The Goonies.” I’d never seen the movie before the trip but my sister talked a lot about it so of course Saturday night we had to watch it. It was actually quite hilarious and made Sunday’s adventure a little more fun knowing the history of the places we visited.

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Haystack rock from the movie
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Cannon Beach

While in Astoria we had lunch at Buoy Beer Company. I recommend eating there just for the experience, the restaurant has a great view of the ocean and is built out over the water a bit and the area underneath it is a popular hangout spot for sea lions. After lunch we spent a little bit of time in the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The Columbia River bar is one of the most hazardous areas of water in the world so naturally the museum had a section on Coast Guard rescue swimmers which, being a lifeguard, I thought was really cool. I might have considered changing career paths.

Monday

Monday we tried to vist OMSI but the line was so long we headed over to Powell’s Books. There are no words to describe how wonderful this place was. I wanted to copy the kids from From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and live there. I was in heaven. I bought at least five books, I know that’s not that many but they had to fit in my suitcase.

After Powell’s we visited one of Portland’s many food truck pods on SE Division St. It was so much fun! I had chicken curry and chicken tika masala from an Indian food truck and a smoothie from Moberi truck. If you ever visit Portland you must eat at least one meal at a food truck pod. After lunch we went to Salt and Straw. They have new flavors every month that are inspired by kids from the local elementary schools near their locations. All the proceeds from those flavors go to the schools that inspired them. I had rose flavored ice cream with white chocolate and waffle cone pieces in it and it was amazing.

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Tuesday

After lunch on Monday we started driving down highway 101 towards California. It was grey all day Monday but on Tuesay, our second day of driving, the sun came out and it was absolutely beautiful.

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The north Pacific coast is so rugged and beautiful it was quite the enjoyable drive.

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While in Crescent City we got to watch some surfers. They were in wetsuits but it still must have been freezing for them. They are way tougher than I am.

Wednesday

Our goal in Cali was to visit the Redwoods and they did not disappoint. The trees really are awe-inspiring.

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While in the Redwoods we managed to lose one of my sisters. She is a runner and while we all went on a leisurely hike she decided to go running. When we didn’t ever meet her on the loop we were all supposed to be on we got a little worried. We regrouped, realized that it was highly unlikely that she’d actually get lost in the forest and my dad set out to hike around and look for her while we stayed at the car. My sister showed up about 20 minutes after that and then the worry was that my dad wouldn’t get back before the sun went down and everything got really cold. He got back just fine and was actually in a great mood from his long hike through a place he’s always wanted to visit. Needless to say Wednesday was a bit more of an adventure than we anticipated.

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Thursday

Thursday we spent a couple of hours in the Redwoods before driving back up to Portland to spend the last night with my sister before heading home on Friday.

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Have you ever been to the PNW? What was your favorite part?

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Florida Keys Recap

Hello!

Last week my family went to the Florida Keys. This Colorado girl had a hard time dealing with the bugs and the heat but overall I had an absolute blast!

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday and arrived just in time to get some dinner and take a night walk along the atlantic before we crashed. On Monday we drove down the coast to Key Largo we ended up renting a house while we were there and it was so much pleasanter than a hotel.

On Tuesday we went to Everglades National Park. This wasn’t my favorite part of the trip but we do get to see a couple of dolphins playing in the wake of our boat and that was so awesome!

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We got back to Key Largo just in time to watch the sunset. It was so striking and so completely different from Colorado sunsets. The sun reflecting off the water of the Florida Bay was incredible.

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Wednesday we got on a boat and went snorkeling in a coral reef in John Pennekamp State Park. It didn’t occur to me to bring a waterproof way to take pictures until I was already in the water I saw barracuda, parrotfish, and Dory’s cousin. Later that afternoon we planned to go snorkeling again at the park where we watched the sunset. We ran out of time but my parents went on a seafood date that night and watched the sunset again at the park. They came back that night and informed us that a shark had been spotted in the water there. It was probably a nurse shark but no one had been able to identify it yet so we were all pretty glad that we hadn’t snorkeled after all.

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Thursday we went to Lauderdale by the Sea for a beach day because the Keys don’t have very good beaches. The weather was perfect and the water was so warm!

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The beach we went to had the cutest benches shaped like a boat.

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I wore my *Rey Swimwear suit for the first time and I loved it. The pineapples are so cute and the ruching on the sides is really flattering.

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It is the first suit I’ve ever had that doesn’t ride up on my butt. The only downside is that I am just the tiniest bit too short for the suit so the top slipped down sometimes. Rey Swimwear is a super awesome ethical swimwear brand. I have a blog post about them here.

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Friday we drove out to Key West. We visited Ernest Hemingway’s house, ate lunch at a restaurant called the Six Toed Cat, and had chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. The pie was delicious but I think I like it better on a plate, without the chocolate.

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At the end of the day we went to another state park on Key West and looked around and watched the ocean for a while before driving home.

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I wore a sundress that day because I’d been wearing a lot of Tshirts and things I could throw over a swim suit so I wanted to look cute. It ended up not being the best choice though because it was pretty short and there was a lot of wind that day.

Saturday my younger sisters and my dad went snorkeling and my older sister and I did some souvenir shopping and in the evening we went to the airport and flew home.

I had such a good trip. It was so much fun to explore and experience a totally different part of the country from what I’m used to. Plus, who doesn’t love the beach.

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great; you know I’m classier than that;). However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

All photos marked with By Quiet Waters Photography were taken by my mom over at By Quiet Waters.