Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pine Valley Ranch Park

Family hike today! The kids and I picked Pine Valley Ranch Park, which despite being about an hour drive away was still in Jefferson County. That's one big county. Apparently not the biggest in the state, though.

The place has everything -- mountain biking, horseback riding, trout fishing, kayaking and even an observatory. That's not counting the beautiful 84-year-old lodge that they haven't figured out what to do with.

Looking for rocks to climb was an explicit request by the kids when we were trying to figure out where to go. I don't think they were disappointed.

This place was a smorgasbord for someone who likes taking pictures of dead trees. The Hi Meadow Fire back in 2000 had a lot to do with that.

Another request -- logs on which to cross streams. Again, check.

Not a request, just odd. Ruins of a chimney on a hillside that seemed too steep to have had an entire house on it. Really no idea what it would have been for.

The hike even had a nice little climb in it along the Strawberry Jack Trail. The kids both made it clear that they preferred the downhills to the uphills. They didn't really seem to grasp that you can't have one without the other.

One of the rare cases where I kind of wish a picture didn't include a jet trail across the sky.

Danelle hates seeing pictures like this from our hikes. Admittedly, I did scold Zak for being a little too close to the dropoff. Not until after I took the picture, though.

She much prefers these types of shots. Good to see Zak has figured out an appropriate camera pose when you're wearing shades.

The vistas to the east coming down the Park View Trail were nice. I can't believe we never came here during the seven years we lived in Conifer.

The body of water at the trailhead is either called Pine Lake or Baehr Reservoir, depending on what map you look at.

For all the little side trips to climb rocks and traverse log bridges, we still covered the 3.2 miles in a respectable 2:15. We saw lots of folks with dogs on leashes, so this is a good candidate to bring the puppies once they've had some training!


Javaman said...

The chimney in the picture you talked about is in Buck Gulch just up from the west end of the lake at Pine Valley. There was a cabin there until the last large wild fire.

The cabin was used by the loggers that worked the valley over 120 years ago and possibly by some of the builders of the lodge that William Baher brought to build the lodge at what was then called Baherden.

SteveHarbula said...

Thanks so much for the info! It's always great to learn a little more about the history of the area. :)