Escaping The Nutshell


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2019 Calendar

For planning star gazing and photography in the park, and for those long hikes that can extend into the night, we made a 2019 Solar and Lunar calendar for RMNP.

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Cook Mountain from Button Rock Preserve
2019-04-09 Helicopter with water bucket at Button Rock Preserve

2019-04-09 Helicopter with water bucket at Button Rock Preserve

On April 9, 2019 we hiked from Button Rock Preserve to the Cook Mountain summit. Along the way we watched the Colorado Army National Guard conducting helicopter firefighting exercises using a bucket at Ralph Price Reservoir. Here's video we took:

On the Cook Mountain summit we found the old summit register which we have signed many times before. It's the oldest summit register still in use that we've ever seen, placed there on March 16, 1974. As you can see, it's in bad shape, but there are still blank pages for more signers.

2019-04-09 Old summit register on Cook Mountain

2019-04-09 Old summit register on Cook Mountain

Elevation gain from parking place to summit was about 1600 feet.

The ascent of Cook Mountain was from the south side, and the descent was the north side, then followed dirt road back to the reservoir. Distance traveled was about 10 miles.

See GPS tracks


Lefthand OHV Area Loop
2019-02-28 Point 7201 from northwest

2019-02-28 Point 7201 from northwest

Parking off Lefthand Canyon Drive where bicyclists often park, we hiked a 5.4 mile loop with an elevation gain of 1800 feet, on U.S. Forest Service roads and trails, in what the U.S. Forest Service calls the Lefthand OHV Area.

2019-02-28 Fairview Peak from high point of loop

2019-02-28 Fairview Peak from high point of loop

Since there's no bushwacking involved, this would be a nice loop for trail runners. We sometimes see people running up and down Mt Sanitas multiple times. The elevation gain on this one is 50% more than Sanitas, so it's a good one for staying in shape.

Note that on this loop there are so many Forest Service, as well as unofficial, roads and trail intersections that it's difficult to describe every turn to do the complete loop.

GPS tracking was slow to start, but it tracked to the end, showing where we parked.


Point 7201 from Lefthand Canyon Drive
2019-01-06 Fairview Peak from Point 7201

2019-01-06 Fairview Peak from Point 7201

On January 6, 2019 from Lefthand Canyon Drive, we hiked up Point 7201, about a mile away, with an altitude gain of about 1200 feet. The view near the top is an impressive panorama as you can see in the video.

Some prominent features in the video is the escarpment in the foreground with the plains behind at 13 seconds, and Fairview Peak at the center of the picture at 47 seconds.

2019-01-06 Escarpment from Point 7201

2019-01-06 Escarpment from Point 7201

Because the area had been closed to entry for years, we hadn't been here since before the flood in September 2013. It's now quieter than before because the nearby shooting area has been closed.

The GPS tracks are incomplete near the beginning and end because the GPS didn't start tracking well for a while, and we ran out of batteries near the end.


Dark Mtn from Lumpy Ridge Parking Area

On May 16, 2018 from the Lumpy Ridge parking area, we hiked to the summit of Dark Mountain, about 4.4 miles away, and an altitude gain of 10877-7876 = 3001 feet. The view at the top is a spectacular panorama as you can see on the video.

Some of the landmarks you can see on the summit video are: Signal Mtn, Mt Dickinson-Dunraven Ridge, Mummy Mtn, Hagues Peak, Mt Fairchild, Ypsilon Mtn, Chiquita Mtn, Mt Chapin, Bighorn Mtn, Trail Ridge Road, Longs Peak, and Twin Sisters. At the end, we zoom in on Mummy Mtn, Hagues Peak, Mt Fairchild, Ypsilon Mtn, and Chiquita Mtn.

GPS Tracks

2018-05-16 Dark Mtn from Black Canyon Trail

2018-05-16 Dark Mtn from Black Canyon Trail

2018-05-16 McGregor Mtn and Longs Peak from Dark Mtn summit

2018-05-16 McGregor Mtn and Longs Peak from Dark Mtn summit

2018-05-16 Estes Park with Stefan from just below Dark Mtn summit

2018-05-16 Estes Park with Stefan from just below Dark Mtn summit

GPS data
Place Name Elev [ft] Accuracy [ft] Position (lat,lon)
Lumpy Ridge parking area 7876 16 40.39648,-105.51255
High point on Dark Mtn - Lumpy Ridge saddle 9135 20 40.42243,-105.56127
Dark Mtn summit 10877 20 40.43269,-105.57376


© 2012-2019 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos