Steamboat Springs

August 6 -11

Monday, August 6, I leave Delaney Butte Lakes SWA bound for Steamboat Springs. First, I drive into Walden to use the RV dump and water facility they provide on a donation basis. From Walden, it is a short 44 mile drive to where I plan to camp. I love short travel days! I arrive at my camp on Rabbit Ears Pass a little past noon. 

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Camped in a nice meadow

I’m camped in a dispersed camping area in Routt National Forest, just off US Hwy 40. It isn’t a spectacularly scenic camp; but at only 13 miles into town, is very convenient. And there is a good Verizon LTE signal. There is traffic noise since I’m right off Hwy 40, but it isn’t terrible, or at least I get used to it 🙂 There are lots of birds and chipmunks. I put out the hummingbird feeder, and it is immediately swarmed. I believe the hummers are stocking up in preparation for migration. I expect they’ll be heading south soon.

In addition to the chipmunks, there are a pair of golden mantled ground squirrels living here.  They love munching on the grass seeds. The way to tell a ground squirrel from a chipmunk, is the stripe on a chipmunk goes across its head. On a ground squirrel, the stripe is only on its body.

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Golden mantled ground squirrel

On Wednesday morning, I drive to Rabbit Ears Pass to hike up to Rabbit Ears Peak. This monument is at the road where you turn to access the trail.

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Rabbit Ears Pass monument

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Monument Inscription

The hike follows FR 291 and is about 5.7 miles round trip with 1640ft of ascent. It mostly travels through open meadows with a few sections of trees. The hike begins at an elevation of 9,600ft and goes up to about 10,500ft. The Rabbit Ears are in view for most of the hike.

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View of my destination – Rabbit Ears Peak

The photo below is looking south where the Silver Creek fire is burning in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness. It is about 12 miles south of the pass and is creating smoke, in addition to the smoke blowing in from the fires in the states to the west.

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Very smoky today

Most of the wildflowers are done, but at this high elevation there is still an abundance of fireweed and unidentified yellow flowers. If I were a painter, I would definite paint this!

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Breathtaking color in this meadow

There were hummers everywhere. These flowers are a real boon for them.

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One of many hummers

The trail is fairly gradual until about a quarter mile from the end, when it steeply climbs up to the base of the Rabbit Ears.

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The Rabbit Ears up close

I relax at the peak for about 30 minutes then head back to the trailhead.

Wednesday evening I go into Steamboat to attend the Piknik Theatre Festival production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play begins at 6pm and is on the lawn of the Yampa Valley Botanical Gardens. Admission is free, with donations accepted. I arrive early and enjoy strolling through the gardens.

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Lawn where the the play is produced

It was a very good production and the weather was perfect! The actors were quite talented.

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The main characters

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Oberon/Theseus and Titania/Hippolyta

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I thought the costumes were well done.

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Two of the male leads

After a quick stop at the City Market, I get home right at 8pm.  Whew! A long day for me.

Thursday morning, I plan to drive up Buffalo Pass Road and maybe do a hike on the Continental Divide Trail. I stop at the ranger station in town and learn that the road is in very bad condition after Dry Lake. The ranger said most people will drive around to the Walden side and go up to the pass that way due to the road condition. Rats, I should have driven up there when I was in Walden. I do drive as far as Dry Lake, but it doesn’t look too appealing for hiking and also seems to be a heavy ATV use area.

I turn around and drive back towards town and then up to the Fish Creek Falls trail. It is about 2pm by the time arrive. This is a heavily used area, but there are a few parking spaces open. There are two different falls on this trail. The first is only a quarter mile from the trailhead; the second is about 2.25 miles from TH with about 1326ft of total ascent. Of course, as dry as it is, the flow rate is pretty low.

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The first falls

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Another view of first falls

Thankfully, there is a good amount of shade on the trail as it climbs up the canyon. My little thermometer I have attached to my daypack shows 90°. And it feels it since I’m hiking in the heat of the afternoon. As you near the second falls the trail climbs up and around a rock ledge.

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Rock ledge as the trail nears the second falls

The second falls is very pretty with a large pool at the bottom, and a couple more smaller pools. Again, not much flow.

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Large pool below the falls

 

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Second falls

After about 30 minutes, I head back down the trail.

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Fish Creek flowing down the canyon from the falls

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Back down the rock ledge

It’s close to 5pm when I reach the parking lot. The theatre group has another production this evening at the botanical park, which starts at 6pm. It is an original play that was written by the actors and is a comedy. Since I’m in town I decide to go. It was very funny and I enjoyed it. Another beautiful evening to be out. Again, I’m home late after another long day. Friday will be a relax-at-home day for sure!

On Saturday, I go into town to check out the downtown area. First, I go by the farmers market held each Saturday. It was a nice market, with lots of people. I end up not buying anything, but it was nice walking through it.

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Saturday farmers market

From there I walk to the Tread of Pioneers Museum. I enjoy visiting these museums in small towns. Some of them are very impressive. This museum is in a Victorian home and focuses on the early white settlers in the Yampa Valley, as well as the skiing history.

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Victorian home housing the museum

I love these old wood burning cook stoves. I have a vivid memory of a trip with my uncle and aunt where we visited my aunt’s mother. Her mother still lived in their homestead up in a hollow near Pineville, KY. She still cooked on the old wood stove and it was the best food ever!

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Wonderful old wood stove

I walk the few blocks up and down mainstreet. It is very colorful with some beautiful buildings. To the south you can see the ski resort.

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Mainstreet looking towards the ski mountain

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Colorful mainstreet

I’m pleasantly surprised at how much is going on here in the summer. There is lots to do, as well as great hiking. My first week here has been great!

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