Friday, July 28, 2023

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The park is a day trip that will take you south of the Springs and through the Spanish Peaks. It's about 3 hours each way but well worth the drive, especially if you are easily entertained by the sight of mountains and arid landscapes.

Just before the park entrance there is a private campground that rents sand boards and sleds. It's not a mot-do but it's not not fun. The sand sled is the way to go, the boards require perfectly dry conditions and don't really  carve. It is a little annoying to lug then through the dunes if you'd rather be hiking out past the first volley. 

Between the parking area and the dunes is a little dry creek bead. It would be amazing to be here while it's flowing through this landscape.

- Ride North

April 5th | cool & sunny

Garden of the Gods

 It's been a busy second quarter for the Riden North crew. We've been everywhere from Colorado to North Carolina, and all over the great State of Minnesota. April 2nd was a particularly beautiful day that started early at MSP International Airport and ended with a sunset at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is a solid medium to large city whos residents can, at anytime, take a 10 minute drive up to this beautiful park and stroll casually down the paved walkways winding their way amoung the red rock monoliths. After a short drive south from Denver, we settled into our Air BnB and did just that.

Sunset is prime time.

Adjecnet to the Garden of the Gods is the Red Rocks Open Space. It's high on my list for hiking next time we're in the area. 

Pike's Peak as seen from the park.

Smooching dromedaries. (Kissing Camels)

Watch for deer.

It was a relaxing end to a day's travils. Our week started with a spring snow storm in St Paul but quickly turned to semi-arid mountains and red rock. There was just enough of the white stuff around to pretty up the peaks but it was "warm" and sunny in the valley.

- Ride North

April 2nd and 6th

St. Paul April 1st. 
It was nice to leave this behind for a week.

The Barr trail and the Incline

 Spring break 2023, we tossed on some hiking boots and boarded a plane to Denver. Ms. North wanted to hike The Incline, a hiking hot spot that raises 2000 feet above Manitou Springs in under a mile. At its steepest, it's a 67% grade; 2800 steps take you to the top.  She gave Jr. and I an out, several times but it just seemed like so  much fun that we couldn't pass it up. 

About a 3rd of the way up.
The steps have markers every 100 steps, adding to the experience.

1500 steps. Jr. making the climb look easy.

Lots of this on the way to the top.

We made it to the top!
2800 steps.

Home is at 600ish feet, making the air at 8000 feet the biggest limiting factor in our climb. Our legs felt okay but the lungs were struggling to keep up; the second half was conquered 20 steps at a time. Thankfully, we had plenty of company at our rest stops. Most tackle The Incline in small bites but every once in a while you'll get passed by someone trail running. And then there's the super humans who run up and the down, we were passed by the same person more than twice!

From the top, the Barr trail either brings you back to Manitou Springs or continues on to Pike's Peak.

The Barr Trail is stunning and can be hiked as an out and back,
 separately from The Incline

- Ride North

April 3rd | 2000 feet