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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ecola State Park- Cannon Beach, Orgeon

This is my last posting from my trip to Oregon back in June of 2014 and my first experience with the Pacific Ocean. The views are amazing and you can eventually make your way down to the beach with some small climbing down the embankment, but do so at your own risk. With that said, if you DON'T make it down to the beach for whatever reason, you are really doing yourself an injustice especially if you have traveled to see the ocean. 

The water was cold and rough which was to be expected but I did not expect there to be actual danger in visiting the shore.  However, hide tide, "sneaker waves," and the undertow in the water are all things that need to be seriously considered as they can be perilous. Seriously, if you get pulled out into the water far enough, even being a great swimmer you will be fighting not to drown. It looks calm but when the water is touching your feet and you look out into the vast expanse, it is roaring and unforgiving. 

There is also plenty of wildlife in the park in general and down on the shore. Lots of birds, star fish, barnacles and other shelled creatures on the rocks to view but please don't molest them. They are peaceful creatures and this is their home.There are also people there in the park viewing everything, feel free to molest them instead. In addition to the animals, there is a network of caves under the rocks just begging to be explored! I highly recommend this park!

Saddle Mountain State Park- Saddle, Oregon

Location: Saddle Mountain State Park
Date: /3/2012
How far we went: 4.42mi
How long it took us: 3:06:58 (Up & Back plus trail head)
Elevation reached: Started at 1713ft and got up to 3,258ft
Weather: Cool, wet, nice. Once above treeline sunny, pretty damn windy at peak.

Finally getting around to posting more of one of the best trips I have ever been on to AMAZING Oregon to visit fellow TrailMixxxer, Joe and his lady. After a few days in the Portland-metro area we decided to escape to Saddle Mountain for a camping/hiking excursion.

The best way I could describe Oregon is GREEN. I thought the Pine forests of North Carolina were lush but honestly this is another level to an East Coaster such as myself. The rich vegetation dominated the landscape but when you did come across colours within the ecosystem they stand out and are truly beautiful. After living in the foothills of the Rockies, it was nice to come down in altitude for a change. If you are anywhere in Oregon I'm sure there are amazing spots all over, but if you are around Saddle Mountain definitely check it out.

After the hike down we set up camp. Aside from a small family all the way across the way from us we were the only ones there. There was a bit of a sprinkle overnight so just a pro tip to keep in mind, cover your firewood so it doesn't get damp. This goes double when you go to sleep. If you wake up in the chilly rain in the AM and are craving a warm fire it can really be a challenge if the wood is soaked. Otherwise, we ate good and slept fine. There are showers and toilets but it's a state park, so don't expect anything pristine, but that's usual for anywhere you go. Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Baker Draw Shooting Area, Pawnee National Grasslands- Weld County, CO

The Baker Draw shooting areas is a nice, clean & free place to go shoot without worrying about anything really. Located about an hour outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, it is open every day from dawn 'til dusk and provides three different distances to shoot from: 25, 50, and 100 yards. It's a pretty relaxed atmosphere but for a full list of common sense rules click here to visit the official website.

At first glance I thought "Damn, we came on the wrong day." As I pulled into the parking lot it looked like the range was almost full. I decided to park and unload some stuff from the vehicle when I was approached by a man and his two sons. They asked me if I wanted to use their target stand and space they had been using. I declined at first just to be polite but then he insisted. I imagine he didn't want to wait for the range to clear to pick up his stuff so he just gave it to us. Our lucky day. We immediately plopped down and set up. 

Everyone once in awhile someone will take the initiative to ask to stop the firing and "clear" the range so other's may move or replace their targets. Oh, by the way. If you don't bring yourself a target and stand, you're going to be shooting at mounds of dirt. Also, be sure to take out what you bring in, this includes spent shell casings. A lot of people were shooting rim-fire when we were there and not many people were bothering to pick them up but it's just the polite thing to do. So even if you pick all up that you've used, pick up a little more for good measure. 

As far as facilities go, there are a few port-a-potti stalls but as expected they were nasty as hell. I could be wrong but their didn't look to be any kind of ranger/marshall controlling the flow so just please be safe and respectful. 

If you're the last one out, close the gate!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Horsetooth Moutain Open Space- South Ridge Trail

Location:South Ridge Trail in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
Date: 8/31/2014 
How far we went: 2.6 miles each way for a total of 5.2mi
How long it took us: Didn't keep track
Weather: Overcast and drizzle. Cold winds at the top.

The South Ridge trail in an intermediate ascent into Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Not much in the way of technical terrain but the climb up is steep enough where I think it would be a little much for the inexperienced or out-of-shape. As you get further towards the top you'll have the westward view towards the Continental Divide that you cannot get from most of the trails in Horsetooth and adjacent Lory State Park.. It'll cost you $6 for a parking permit. If you're coming on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday in the middle of peak season be prepared to not have a parking space if you don't come early. This is the back-yard of Fort Collins and us locals love to get outside and get our nature fix. Don't forget to have fun, enjoy the views and watch out for the horse shit as it's a multi-use trail. 

Well Gulch Trail at Lory State Park- 9/1/2014

Location:Well Gulch Trail in Lory State Park
Date: 9/1/2014
How far we went: 2.53mi (full trail plus some of the West Valley Trail back to parking lot)
How long it took us: 1hr 15min
Elevation reached: 5,507 ft
Weather: Another sunny day in Colorado :)

To view all of the photos in all of their glory, visit my Flickr album here.

This is an easy trail that is exceptionally beautiful in the spring and summer. You can either head up towards the Timber trail then turn around or just hook a loop at the sign when you see it. It's a small extra climb but it's totally worth it if you're looking to kill time. There are some beautiful views of the reservoir any time of year. Just as a small note, when you finish the Well Gulch trail it will leave you a small distance where you'll have to trek back on the West Valley trail (northwards) back to where you parked. It's not that far but it has confused people before. Make sure to respect the trails! 

The highlighted red section is the Well Gulch trail. Note where it ends and the mach back to the parking lot.