Culebra Peak and Red Mountain

June 12, 2022

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Summer 2022 would mark my second year of Colorado 14er peak bagging. But staring at a spreadsheet of these hikes mid-winter, I discovered something concerning. Of the 17 peaks I had climbed in 2021, the vast majority sat within a couple hours drive of Denver. Thus I reached one obvious conclusion: it was time to venture further afield.

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South Boulder Peak and Bear Peak Loop

April 12, 2022

Arrival at South Mesa Trailhead

My day began with a morning rush hour drive along US-36 from Denver towards Boulder. Traffic moved thick but fast. I pulled off onto CO-170 and suddenly found myself deposited onto rolling ranch land, dotted with deciduous tree stands and farmhouses. Just beyond this bucolic scene, the Flat Irons and foothills loomed large, aglow in the morning light.

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Cupid Peak (and almost Grizzly) from Loveland Pass

October 10, 2021

Sunrise on Loveland Pass

With temperatures dropping and snowguns firing, my 2021 hiking season would soon draw to a close. Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of letting my legs and lungs atrophy into ‘winter mode’. On the horizon was a family trip to Hawaii where I hoped to summit Mauna Kea. And so, on an ephemeral October Sunday, I found myself driving up to Loveland Pass.

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Long House (Mesa Verde NP)

August 27, 2021

Wetherill Mesa

Mesa Verde National Park features elaborate cliff dwellings and myriad archeological sites. The structures, excavations, and artifacts span over a thousand years of ancestral Puebloan history. The park divides into two large sub-mesas. Chapin Mesa hosts crowd favorites like Cliff Palace and Square Tower House. But the quieter Wetherill Mesa features its own set of large cliff dwellings, like Mug House, Step House, and Long House.

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Square Tower House (Mesa Verde NP)

August 27, 2021

Seven Centuries Later

During my recent visit to Mesa Verde National Park, I took a ranger-guided tour of Square Tower House. The “house” consists of a set of stone dwellings built into a cliffside by the ancestral Puebloans. The park contains roughly half a dozen major dwelling sites periodically open to the public in some fashion. Square Tower in particular features the tallest ancient structure in the park.

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Mesa Verde National Park

August 26, 2021

Views for Days

Colorado boasts an impressive roster of four national parks. Everyone knows Rocky Mountain National Park. It ranks among the most popular in the country, with roughly 4.4 million visitors in 2021 alone. But way over in the southwest corner of the state lies Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde ranks as Colorado’s least-visited, but arguably one of the nation’s most unique.

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