Well Gulch Nature Trail

IMG 4601 150x150 Well Gulch Nature TrailAfter a terribly long and icy Colorado winter, what a nice surprise to enjoy beautiful weather during Spring Break last week. Daddy took a day off work and we enjoyed a family hike at Lory State Park, Mama carrying baby Trevor in a Snugli pack, Daddy carrying Jaron in a frame pack when he got too tired to walk, and Melo carrying a pack with snacks and water.

Of the park’s many paths, I picked Well Gulch Nature Trail. We found the trailhead and started along. Sunshine, fresh air, and panoramic views of Horsetooth Reservoir do good for a winter-weary soul. We arrived at a small waterfall in about five minutes.

IMG 4608 300x225 Well Gulch Nature TrailThat’s where the joy began to wilt. The trail had been soft in spots but more dry than muddy. Yet just past the waterfall, the trail turned quite rocky and disappeared under a patch of snow. With the baby on my back and just getting into the swing of my first hike in two years, I didn’t feel safe trying to cross it. We turned around, as had a couple ahead of us.

We drove to the next trailhead, which happened to be the other end of the Well Gulch trail. The conditions were better, being a more open and sunny section of terrain. Eventually we did come to a patch of snow, but it was flat and covered with footprints, inspiring confidence to give it a try. Good decision. The snowy section was short and the trail beyond was dry and beautiful. Oh I’ve missed hiking!

IMG 4620 225x300 Well Gulch Nature TrailThe trail crossed a few more snow patches but once I got in my groove that just wasn’t an issue. Guess that’s all a part of early spring hiking around here. Although we took Jaron once as a baby, this was his first hike to remember. He was taking it all in, examining the details of the grass at his feet, announcing “that’s a six, and that’s a one” at marker 16, and scaling rocks with agile persistence. The kids did slip a few times but nobody got hurt. We decided to try to continue all the way to the waterfall at the other end where we started. From that end, Daddy would jog up the road to our car and drive back with lunch. It sounded like a doable plan.

That is, until we realized we were on the wrong trail. And I’d left the trail map in the car. We tracked backwards and discovered not one but two wrong turns. When we figured it all out, we stood at a signpost that said the trailhead at the waterfall end was .5 miles away and the trailhead where we parked our car was .7 miles back. Having hiked more than an extra mile already, and being well past noon and depleted of granola bars, hunger drove us to turn around and take the same trail out. At least that way we could have our picnic right away without having to wait for Daddy to go get it.

IMG 4636 225x300 Well Gulch Nature TrailAfter lunch, on the way out of the park, we stopped for one last little hike on the Waterfall Trail. It’s behind a group picnic structure at the first lot near the park entrance. I’m not sure why the stroller ended up on the trail with us, because Daddy ended up carrying it with the baby over half of the trail. It was quite short, though, and quite rewarding. There were a few tiers of waterfall to explore, and wood plank bridges crossing it twice. The trickling, bubbling water whispered a sweet springtime song.

Now that we’ve broken in the baby on his first hike, I’m all for doing this again! Maybe even go camping this summer. I have a lot of fun childhood memories involving the outdoors and you can be sure my own children will one day as well.

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Daddy and Melo negotiating the rocks

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Baby and Me on the trail

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Horsetooth Reservoir and rock formations

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Horsetooth Reservoir, trees, fresh spring air

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Me and Melo at the final waterfall

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