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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Strolling Through Meyer Ranch Park

The weather has been abnormally warm for Colorado at the end of October and the beginning of November. As such, I’ve been trying to catch up on as much hiking as possible since I was off to so many places this summer that I missed my time out on the trails. To help me on my quest, I picked up a copy of Hiking Colorado by Falcon Guide so I could get some ideas; there are a lot of free hiking trails in Colorado, I just don’t know them.
I thumbed through the book and I pretty quickly found a trail I hadn’t heard of before: Meyer Ranch Park Loop. It was listed as one of the recommended hikes, not just an honorable mention, so I assumed that it had to be a good hike. After all, it was up in the foothills near Conifer in Jefferson County, so surely it’d have good views of the mountains to the west.
I planned to meet a friend of mine, Kory Kilmer, to hit the trail for a couple of hours. It had been a while since we had got together, about a year since our last hike, so it had been much too long to put continue to put it off. The only problem was to decide where to go that was halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. It appeared Hiking Colorado had come to the rescue since it would be a good drive for both of us to experience.
The day started with a beautiful, purple sunrise over the eastern plains of Colorado. But by the time we hit the trail, the sun was high in the sky overhead and the temperatures were warm. A coat was hardly necessary when we set off on our nearly five mile hike on what was once the winter grounds for the P.T. Barnum Circus in the late 1880s. Yes, apparently the animals were sheltered in the area during the winter months.
From the short trailhead, the path was a series of five connecting loops as though someone had scribbled a bizarre series of circles that continued on up the mountain. From the start it seemed like an excellent spot, perfect for a morning of hiking. The park brochure agreed with my assessment with a quote from a local woman on the front page that said Meyer Ranch Park was “Simplicity and elegance – nature at its best.”
I had no argument for the first part of that quote as the trail cut through tall pines and lodgepoles as it made its way up the side of a small mountain. The smell of the trees and the warm weather were calming for me, and I quickly lost the week’s stress while Kory and I climbed higher.
Huffing and puffing up the hill we continued on, occasionally taking a break to tie a loose shoelace. It was a good workout that filled our lungs with the thin mountain air that we’re not used to at only a mile above sea level. But it felt exhilerating, and we enjoyed the day with light conversation and stunning views of, ummmm…more trees. Yes, sadly, the boast of “nature at its best,” wasn’t exactly true. Views of Mount Evans (below) were fleeting, but generally we could’ve been dropped in the middle of more than a few forests and not known the difference.

Still, it was good to get back on the trail and appreciate some of the great Colorado outdoors. As for Hiking Colorado, though, I’ll have to give it a strike one. It certainly won’t be thrown aside anytime soon, but I think it has a bit of making up to do after so highly recommending this trail. I certainly enjoyed my hike, but the hike up Mt. Galbraith that I took just before was much better, and not even mentioned in the book.

After momentarily getting turned around on the series of loops, we left the trail with sore feet, even a couple of small blisters thanks to new shoes, and smiles on our faces. Even though the trail wasn’t ideal, we had enjoyed ourselves and got in some good morning exercise while the gettin’ was good; the warm temperatures won’t last forever in the Rockies, so it’s best to take advantage of them while we can. And you better be sure that it won’t be long until I do so again.

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