Fall Hikes with Kids

Navigate our links above to see more of our hiking and camping adventures (or if you’re a lazy bum, click here).

If you’ve been following the blog or our Instgram feed for any length of time, then you know that we love a good hike. Just put us outside with a good pair of boots, a snack, and a hat, and we are ready to go!

oct_hike_quote2

Some of my most memorable hikes have happened in the fall. Of course, the brisk weather and colorful foliage make for beautiful memories. But there’s also something about the shorter days anticipation of a long, cold winter indoors that makes the need to get outside even more urgent at this time of year.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Field Trip : Botanic Gardens

Have you ever been to a botanic garden? If not, it’s time to find one in your neck of the woods. You may be lucky enough to have one in your city or town, or you may want to visit one the next time you’re on vacation. Trust us, this is a field trip that’s equally entertaining for both adults and kiddos.

fall2017_6 Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Mitchell Lake Trail : Summer

We like a good hike, and every once in a while we take the opportunity to slow down, take pictures, and share the adventure with you. You can check out some of our previous Colorado hikes here.

Hello from Virginia! I’m popping in to share a hike that we took a few weeks ago in mid/late July.

We hiked this same trail (and more) two times last October when there was snow on the ground and ice on the trails. You can read more about those hikes in that post, and I’m going to repost some of the general information about the Brainard Lake Recreation Area the Mitchell Lake Trailhead below.

mitchell_lake_2017july1

Trail Location

The trail starts within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, but quickly leaves that area and continues on into the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.

Brainard Lake Recreation Area is open to vehicles from June – October, but the exact opening and closing dates vary each year based on the weather. The entrance fee is on a sliding scale from $1 if you’re walking to $10/car, BUT you can access this area for free with a Nation Parks annual pass. When the area is closed during the winter, you can still park at a lot near the entrance and then enter the area by foot/ski/bike.

During the summer months, you can drive into the area and park at a number of lots. There’s a day-use lot near the main lake that often has spaces, and then there are two smaller lots near the Long Lake and Mitchell Lake trailheads, but in our experience, both of these fill up fairly early and remain packed throughout the day.

If possible, park at the Mitchell Lakes Trailhead and you’ll be able to quickly access the trail, if the lot is full, you’ll have to park in one of the other lots and walk over to the trailhead.

On this particular day, the Long Lake and Mitchell Lake parking areas were full, BUT we brought bikes! It was an easy ride from the day-use lot over to the Mitchell lot, and then we locked the bikes up by the ranger shed at the start of the trail. 

mitchell_lake_2017july16 mitchell_lake_2017july15 mitchell_lake_2017july14 mitchell_lake_2017july13 mitchell_lake_2017july12 mitchell_lake_2017july11

Trail Overview

The hike to Mitchell Lake is just under a mile, and it’s another 1.6 miles to reach Blue Lake. These are both out-and-back destinations, making the round-trip hike to Mitchell approximately 1.8 miles and the hike to Blue Lake five miles. The altitude at the trailhead is approximately 10,500 ft, with a gradual climb of just 200 ft to Mitchell Lake and then reaching a final altitude of 11,300 ft at Blue Lake.

On this particular hike, we only made it to Mitchell lake, but last fall, we made it all the way to Blue Lake (on our second try!).

This is a popular, well-worn trail that is easily visible when there isn’t much snow on the ground, and was relatively well marked with flashes on the trees..

Near the base of the trail, hiking is relatively easy with that slow, gradual climb to Mitchell Lake. There is one large stream-crossing over a short wooden bridge, and then another crossing over a wider stream with fallen logs used as the bridge. In other segments, planks are used to keep hikers out of boggy areas.

If you go beyond Mitchell Lake, there are some steep areas where climbing the rocks is similar to climbing a steep set of stairs, with an increase in the portion of steep climbs as you approach Blue Lake.

Last fall, there was some snow on the trail that had been tramped down and turned to ice, making some areas slick. This summer there was no risk of snow on the trail, but there were plenty of mucky spots and mud puddles. 

mitchell_lake_2017july10 mitchell_lake_2017july9 mitchell_lake_2017july8 mitchell_lake_2017july7

Hiking with Kids

Last fall I said that young kids (4 to 8 year olds) should be able to hike to Mitchell Lake with minimal help but would likely need help making the full trek to Blue Lake. Older kids 8+ should have no trouble with the full hike. Those estimates were based upon the kids we saw on the trails as we hiked. Seeing 4 year-old Alex run along the trail to Mitchell Lake this summer, I think that we were right on target with the lower range.

One big difference between our October and July hikes was the muck! As you can see, we had (almost) no reservations about letting them go wild.

mitchell_lake_2017july6 mitchell_lake_2017july5 mitchell_lake_2017july4

Dressing for the Trail

At this time of year (and almost any time!), it was really helpful to dress in light layers. Since it was summer, our base layer consisted of tank tops and shorts for the boys, with a hoodie for more coverage. 

I think the key to relaxing on this hike was recognizing that there was going to be muck and being prepared to let the boys play in it with wild abandon. Both boys wore their water shoes, which were perfect for this short hike. We let the boys get wet, jump in mud puddles, and generally disregarded the rules of hiking concerning good socks and dry shoes. If you’re going out for a longer hike and have kids with sensitive feet, water shoes may not be appropriate. 

And don’t forget sunscreen! While there are some segments with plenty of shade, there is a lot of sun shining on much of the trail.

mitchell_lake_2017july3 mitchell_lake_2017july2

If you’re in the Boulder area, this hike and the whole Indian Peaks area is definitely worth your time. Just know that everyone else loves the area too, so try to get there early before the lots fill up. Good luck!

On this hike we realized that by 2pm on a summer afternoon the lots are starting to open up. If you’re going for a short hike like this one, that’s still a great time to head out, with the added benefit that you won’t have the strong mid-day sun shining on you.

Even so, facing the crowds is totally worth it to hike (or re-hike) the trails around Brainard Lake. This is such a beautiful area, and it’s such a pleasure to see the trails change with the seasons.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Like Haiyaha Hike

We like a good hike, and every once in a while we have the chance to hike slow, take pictures, and share the adventure with you. You can check out some of our previous Colorado hikes here.

liveseasoned_haiyaha16b

These are photos from a hike that we took a few months ago, and I just happened to find them here in an unpublished post. I was so sure that I wrote about this hike, but a few searches finally convinced me that I’m crazy.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Winter Break Snapshots

What a winter break we’ve had! We have one more day left tomorrow, and we’re going to do what we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks – spend it outside. It seems like we’ve really hit our stride this year when it comes to embracing the winter. Of course, it’s all about good clothes, a good spirit, and just doing it, but I’ll talk about that in another post. Today, I’m sharing just a glimpse of what we’ve been up to these past few weeks.

christmas_break2016

We started our break in Steamboat Springs, CO (one of our favorite ski towns in the state!). We arrived at the start of a snowstorm that lasted well into the next day and maybe the day after? I can’t remember. But we still had a great time skiing and snowshoeing all over the mountain.

On our third, and final, day in town, we visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs before driving home. We had been here once last winter, and it was just as magical as I remembered.

christmas_break2016_2 christmas_break2016_3 christmas_break2016_4 christmas_break2016_5

We arrived home the same day that Sarah and our family flew into town, and then every pitched in and helped us prepare to host a big party for C’s office. There was definitely a moment of “what are we doing?!” the night before, but in the end, the party was awesome, the food delicious, the company amazing, and the music pumping.
christmas_break2016_7

The party was followed by a day of rest and then it was off to the mountains to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad with Santa! We did this last year and I was really excited to do it again. When you arrive at the station, there’s hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts to munch on. Then you board the train and start riding with the excitement of knowing that Santa’s going to come and sit with you to say hi. It’s such a nice way to visit Santa, because there are no lines – you just wait in your seat on the train until Santa gets to you, meanwhile, the train’s moving through the beautiful Colorado mountains.
christmas_break2016_10 christmas_break2016_11

Back in Boulder, we did more hiking. christmas_break2016_12

And snowball throwing. christmas_break2016_13 christmas_break2016_14

And then it was off to the mountains again for more skiing and snowshoeing!
christmas_break2016_23

Home for more hiking…christmas_break2016_24 christmas_break2016_25

And here we are, relaxing, making our list of resolutions, and preparing for one more day on the slopes before we’re back to a regularly scheduled week.

I hope your break was full of warmth, family, food, and all of that holiday magic. xo

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Postcards from the Rockies

If you’d like to see more of our outdoor adventures, here’s a post from another car-camping trip with the boys, and here are a few of the hikes we’ve documented.

This past weekend we went on a short one-night camping trip near Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and had such a great time. We didn’t do any major planning or packing, just a couple of hours Saturday morning, and then we started driving during nap time, and by the afternoon we found a campsite (more on that below), then we woke up Sunday and took off for a hiking destination that was in the direction of home, and we made it back to our house by late afternoon. It was a short but sweet trip that left everyone happy and tired.

aspens

One thing that still overwhelms me since moving to Boulder is how crowded hiking and camping areas are in this area. I understand that it’s the confluence of living near a large urban area (with a high percentage of people that like to get outside) and living near some of the most beautiful scenery in the country (I may be biased), but wow – there seem to be crowds at every campground, on every hiking trail, and on every road. I’ll get used to it eventually. The problem is that it makes it hard for non-planners like us to go for an adventure on a whim.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Colorado Hike : Eldorado Canyon State Park

We love to go hiking, and every once in a while we share our adventures on the blog. If you would like to see more hiking posts, click here.

liveseasoned_fall2015_eldoradohike1b

Last week a friend tipped us off to the awesomeness that is Eldorado Canyon State Park, in particular, Fowler Trail. As an active 2.5-year-old, Alex is really excited to get outside and do whatever we’re doing. Translating this to hiking, it means that he’s much happier walking along with us than riding in the backpack. Unfortunately, his little legs get tired fairly quickly, so I’m always on the hunt for trails that are not that steep or long. Fortunately, Fowler trail is both short* and relatively flat! As you’ll see in the photos, it also provides outstanding views of canyon walls filled with climbers, making it extra exciting for our little adventurer. One look at the climbers and he exclaimed, “wow, that’s wild!”.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Camping with Little Kids

Want to see more of our camping posts? Click here to see posts with previous adventures and our gear suggestions. Or maybe you just want to come along with us on a day hike?

One of the things Calder and I are really looking forward to are camping adventures with the boys, but somehow we’ve had a hard time making time/plans for a trip this summer. Side note : since moving to Colorado, we’ve learned that you have to plan these trips in advance if you want to secure a site at a campground. Reservations are scooped up as soon as they come online! If you aren’t able to reserve a spot, there are some campgrounds that hold a few spots open for first-come-first-serve arrivals, but we’ve been too lazy to go through the effort of packing the car and taking the risk.  We know we could just head out into the wilds, but again, we’ve been lazy.

camping_goldencanyonsp14

camping_goldencanyonsp15

As luck would have it, friends (hi Neha!) of ours were going on trip with a few other families, some sites opened up, and we were able to take one. Score! Alex is just a few months past his second birthday and Luc is four months old, so this was our first trip with both a toddler and an infant, and I thought it might be useful to share our tips/tricks for a super easy and enjoyable weekend camping trip. As you’ll see, we kept everything so simple for this trip. If you’re hesitant about camping with kids, I want to encourage you to do it and show you how it can be done without a lot of stress, tears, or baby gear. Of course, if gear is your thing, then pack on :-).

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

24 Hours in Denver (with kids!)

First to set the scene: As last week was coming to an end, Calder and I knew that we wanted to do something fun for the weekend. Ideally, we wanted to head into the mountains and camp, but the weather was not cooperating. What do I mean? The forecast called for rain/SNOW, and that’s exactly what we got! Recognizing that a few days of precipitation were on the horizon, we didn’t want to force a camping trip of any sort knowing that everyone could end up a bit miserable.

We cut our losses and had a flash of genius on Friday when we decided to get a hotel room in Denver for Saturday night. It ended up being such a great decision because with some simple planning we had a fun weekend away from the house, visited new-to-us Denver attractions, ate great food, and came home without feeling overly tired or frazzled (which can happen so easily when a toddler’s in the mix!).

liveseasoned_spring2015_denver2

Today I wanted to share the recipe we discovered for our perfect weekend in Denver (or any larger city), which included:

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Snowshoeing in the Rockies II

This is Alex’s second winter and the second year that we took the little guy out on a snowshoeing adventure during our Christmas break. If you like to get outside for exercise and have a little one that’s too small for many winter sports but is happy to be bundled up and spend a bit of time out in the cold, then this is a great family winter activity!

pops2

In our case, Alex is still too little to ski and pregnancy is limiting my options this year, but snowshoeing is the one outdoor activity that we can all do (other than our many, many walks around the neighborhood pulling the little guy in his sled!).

Planning for an afternoon snowshoeing adventure is relatively simple:

  • Special equipment. You’ll obviously need a pair of snowshoes. A good pair can be a bit expensive, but will provide years of entertainment if you like going out. On the other hand, there are only a few sizes of snowshoe, based upon the wearer’s weight, so why not borrow or rent a pair before buying your own?
  • Got your gators? If the snow’s particularly deep and fluffy, then you may want to wear a pair of gators. On this trip, Calder’s wearing gators, while I have a pair of tall boots; both work well.
  • We suggest dressing in layers ~ it may be cold outside, but it’s likely that you’ll quickly build up some body heat with each step, so you’ll want to be prepared to unzip and possibly take off your outer layer.
  • Plan on carrying little ones. As you can see, last year we were a bit more prepared for the adventure, using a proper baby carrier. This year, we forgot all carriers in our packing frenzy (rushing to get on the road before a Christmas day winter storm). BUT we had this regular old backpack, and, much to my surprise, Alex was more than happy to sit in it for the whole trip.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen.
  • Tell someone where you’re going.

family2

It was a cold day, so we only stayed out for about 20-30 minutes, but that was plenty of time for a good walk. *** Quick note ~ this is where we should mention that if you’re pregnant you may want to proceed at your own risk (or, talk to your favorite doc first). While Calder and Alex went on a larger loop, I realized that at such a high altitude it was better for me to take it slow and walk with them at the beginning and end of their loop rather than push my limits. If you exercise regularly, a vigorous snowshoe at lower altitudes while pregnant is much less of an issue.

gondola

This turned out to be one of those perfectly planned days where we were able to meet everyone’s fun quota.  We rode the gondola to the top of the mountain, which makes the whole adventure even more fun for little ones! Calder carried along his skis and was able to put in a few runs after our walk while Alex and I warmed up by the lodge’s fir. Then we all had lunch before Alex and I rode the Gondola down and Calder took another run to the bottom of the mountain.

At that was it ~ our simple but fun snowshoeing adventure for the whole, growing family… we’re hoping to fit in a few more trips this winter, and I’m already imagining next year’s adventure when we’ll have two little ones in packs! 
pops

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone