4:00 am…on a Saturday…and my alarm clock is ringing in my ear. We crawled out of bed, showered, loaded our packs in the car, and headed down the highway at 5:15 am. Call me crazy, but sometimes early morning wake ups make for the best days.
Heading West to our destination, we timed it right and missed the weekend mountain traffic arriving to a mostly empty parking area. The air was a brisk 42 degrees and windy at 11,000 feet which made Bandit all the more frisky as he jumped from the Outback. It has been too long since we have taken a family hike together, so we were happy to breathe in the clean mountain air. We picked a shorter trail with good scenery that was friendly for dogs (with a titanium leg). The hike ended at an alpine lake, so Josh brought along his fly rod to try his luck.
The chosen trail (undisclosed) turned out to be a perfect choice. It was 4.2 miles out and back and surprisingly, many wildflowers still remained this late in the season. As we hiked up the trail, we encountered a few small stream crossings, waded through patches of willow thickets, and spotted six mule deer on a northwest hillside. Reaching the top of the ridge, the wind was fierce and almost unbearable. We pushed through to reach the next part of the trail where the mountains provided a barrier from the brutal gusts. Red paintbrush, mountain gentian and tall fringed bluebells enveloped both sides of the path, which became marshy in spots as we reached our glacial lake destination.
The alpine lake was peaceful, calm, and surrounded by mountains and wildflowers. After enjoying a well earned trail snack of cheese and jerky, Josh fished for a while, while Bandit and I enjoyed the views. We took our time exploring the area and made a loop around the lake. With clouds steadily rolling in, we decided it was time to depart and we began our decent. Bandit met a few doggie friends on the way down, and then started losing his energetic enthusiasm as we crept closer to our four mile completion.
Hiking and mountain air always leaves us famished, so we decided to stop in Georgetown for a quick lunch. Yelp assisted us in our choice of Lucha Cantina. Lucha is located on 6th Street in Georgetown’s National Historic Landmark District. The menu is quite varied and they use all fresh ingredients; I ordered enchiladas, while Josh picked out one of the mac & cheese combos. The food and atmosphere was a great ending to our morning adventure and reenergized us for the drive back home.
The spooky night run is one of Rising Sun 4WD Club’s annual events and a favorite for families. It is a late fall fun run with a potluck picnic. The kiddos get to wear their Halloween costumes and the drivers get into the season by decorating their trucks with Halloween lights. Bandit even had a good time sniffing out leftovers at the potluck while being chased by the kids. Barbour Fork trail is typically an easy trail, but add a little snow at the top and some broken parts, it turned into a long, cold, but fun evening.
Spooky spider deviled eggs
Toffee dip with homemade cinnamon chips and apples
Bandit looking for leftovers
Ready to finish the trail
Some minor wrenching on my truck…
“The worst day in Western Colorado is better than the best day anywhere else.”
~ Bryce the Auctioneer
We made an end of summer visit to Meeker to attend the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials. Ever since moving to Colorado a couple of years ago, this event has been on our “must do” list, so we were glad to be able to finally make the trip this year. We love visiting small town Meeker, CO and were curious to see what the town would be like while hosting an International event. The trials included participants from across the world, including Canada, Brazil and South Africa.
While Furry B was not able to attend the trials, we did bring back some recon surveillance for his review, so he could learn some tricks of the trade.
The multi day festivities begin with 125 dogs in the Preliminary Round; the top 30 finishers then move to the Semi-Finals, and finally 12 qualifying dogs make it to the Finals. The goal of the trials is for the sheepdogs (Border Collies) and handler to work together to fetch the sheep herd and maneuver them through a series of course tasks/challenges. Border Collies are highly intelligent and ready to work. This was apparent as each dog appeared with his handler, eagerly awaiting his command to leave post to seek out the herd of sheep, which were positioned on the other side of the pasture over a quarter mile away. Click here for Herding Dog History.
Meeker sheep are free roamers known for their lack of cooperation and stubbornness. The free range sheep “migrate from winter range North of Cisco, Utah to the high, lush mountain pastures above Vail and Eagle, Colorado in the summer” and challenge anyone (any dog) who might try to dictate their path. It was entertaining to watch the sheepdogs attempt to maintain control of the feisty sheep. The independent Meeker sheep make this championship trial especially challenging for the Border Collies and their handlers. With a purse of $20,000, the Meeker Sheepdog Trials attract the best of the best!