Mountain Aspen Glow, Mountain Hikes and Adventures, Uncategorized

The Best Place for an All-Day Picnic in Colorado (in our opinion)

Pine Valley Ranch Park is a not-so-well known gem that Mike and I stumbled upon a couple years ago. If you’re looking for one of Colorado’s grand hikes, no…it’s not that. For one thing it is surrounded by the burn of the Hayman fire of 2002, which was the largest wildfire of Colorado’s recorded history. In every direction you can see the scorched remains of trees. But it is as if God set a boundary that this gorgeous little area would not be burned.

Although it is not a great super hiking place, the short stroll-like hikes are fabulous. There is a level natural river walk that Mike and I think is the best river walk ever, and we have walked along a lot of rivers! The North Fork of the South Platte River runs through the park. I should say roars through the park! Love this inspiring walk before lunch. Take a look at the very short video above of the roaring river 🙂

IMG_2433edThe picnic area is idyllic. Surrounded by large and shady pines, the river is just a stone’s throw away.  I love to go wading in the river while Mike cooks, (Today we had hamburgers cooked in a fry pan on the camp stove. Usually we have grilled chicken) The water is icy, and I mean icy from the melting snow from whence it originated.


IMG_2438edMike takes his own kind of leisure while the food cooks, although today in addition to his chair lounging, I actually got him to join me in the river for the first time.

We were there on a Saturday in the middle of the summer on a gorgeous day, and yet we were joined only by two families in the tables by the river. Lots of kids, but happy sounds of memories being made!

IMG_2460edAfter lunch we lounged with a Bible and  a couple good books just for a while, sharing our favorite parts and watching Old Man River amble by.




IMG_2462edWe couldn’t leave without saying hi to the sparkling lake which is a pleasant little hike away. The ducks, the sun highlighting the ripply water, the green meadows and wildflowers, and the majestic hills in the background made us not want to leave.

We go on lots of day trips and about some we say, “that was nice, but once was enough.” But not so Pine Valley. We plan to go at least once a year as long as we are able.

Mountain Aspen Glow

Voted #1 on Buzzfeed

We have an etsy shop,,  and noticed that our sales were way up before Father’s Day. I mentioned to one of our customers that we were running out of wood for our walking sticks and he said, “I guess the Buzzfeed article was both a blessing and a curse.” I typed back, “May I ask what article?” and he sent me the link to an article sharing the 45 best Father’s Day gifts for outdoorsy dads. And our sticks were listed as number one!

Take a look, since Father’s Day is over, maybe you’ll get some great ideas for birthdays for your special outdoorsy gi. You might even like our sticks!


Mountain Hikes and Adventures

Adventures of Pike’s Peak Enthusiasts

The biggest adventure I have ever personally experienced with Pike’s Peak (other than the thrill of seeing all of its changes and nuances outside of the windows of our home each day!) is driving up there with family. It is one of the wonderful 14er’s on the Front Range of Colorado. What’s so adventurous about driving up Pike’s Peak? Well, it is a narrow road and most of the way there are no guard rails. Let me tell you, it is a thrill to look down out of the car window and see open space that could be described as an abyss!

But I’m going to show you some pictures of people who have had true adventures on “America’s Mountain.”  By the way, Pike’s Peak was Katherine Lee Bates’ inspiration for the song America the Beautiful. You can read about that here.

So following are pictures of people doing wild and crazy things on this mountain. I know that each year on New Years I shudder as I think of the group of people who climb Pike’s Peak in the often frigid temperatures, wind storms, and blizzards to set off fireworks at midnight!

Here are some pics of those who just couldn’t control themselves from experiencing the thrill of exploring this marvelous mountain.



Hiking Jewelry

I like to hike and I like to wear jewelry. Some jewelry doesn’t work, at least not for me. For example, I find that necklaces with metal chains, when I get sweaty, begin to chafe and feel uncomfortable. And some earrings may not feel heavy for “city life,” but when you have hiked a mountain for 3 or 4 miles, you can begin to feel them pulling on your ear with every step!


And so I have created some hiking jewelry that I sell on our etsy shop Rocky Mountain Glow.  The sparkling glass pendants have cotton cords, and the earrings are light and always have 100% sterling silver ear wires. I don’t like to have harmful metals leaching into my body through my earrings when I’m hot and sweaty, and I’m sure you don’t either!

Speaking of hiking, I have some pretty cool blogs on about our hiking adventures where we live in Colorado. Check it out:

mountain hikes and adventures


Mountain Hikes and Adventures

Hiking at Dream Lake…was truly a dream!


This is Dream Lake in the Rocky Mountains, close to Estes Park. We hiked there for our anniversary a few years ago…in May! If the lake looks like this in May, think of what the hiking is like in the middle of winter!

It was thrilling and beautiful all the way up. The most scary part was crossing the stream balancing on a log. It’s not that I was afraid of drowning, but I was terrified of falling into that icy water being so far from civilization. It seems like a person could freeze to death doing something like that!




The views were incredible and even though it was very cold and snowy the higher up we got, while we were still relatively low in elevation, it wasn’t bad at all…which is why I got fooled into thinking I could wear my spring coat.





IMG_3451crreducedAt one point, however, the snow got so deep that Mike had to pry my legs out as I got stuck!  But overall there was a great balance between sunshine and wintry conditions.

We felt like we were all alone for a while since the trail is more hidden into the mountains than most trails we hike. But in reality there were some kids, dogs, and a good amount of people braving the elements that day.


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Once we actually arrived at Dream Lake, the only word we could utter was “Wow!” It was truly like a dream: huge, beautiful, somehow mystical-feeling, framed and almost encased by towering and awe-inspiring peaks.




IMG_3466reducedWe are hoping soon to camp close to Dream Lake… in the middle of summer! Then it will hold a whole new kind of fascination. It will, no doubt, be more crowded, but that’s OK. I am reminded of the song If Ever I Should Leave You,  in Camelot when when Sir Lancelot sings that he would never be able to forget his love no matter what season it is because each season displays a new kind of beauty. I think that experiencing Dream Lake in all the different seasons will inspire those same feelings in me.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our blog!