Fabulous views, wildlife, flowers Grand County trails have it all
Grand Countys David Gruber looks forward to the hiking season every year.Every hike is a different experience, he said. There are some spectacular vistas.The trails in the Fraser Valley are unique, he said. His favorites include Monarch Lake Loop, Corona Pass, St. Louis Peak and Byers Peak.Gruber usually hikes with family and friends a couple of times a month in the summer. On the trails, he spots birds, fox, quail, deer and elk. He has never encountered moose or cougar.I dont regret that, he said. I have not been unfortunate enough to run into them.When he goes hiking, theres one book he always reads for advice, Hiking in Grand County, Colorado.This is a great book, he said. If anyone has desire to go out and take a look at any of the trails around the book is just fantastic.Its trail ratings are on target. It gives clear descriptions of the trails and what can be expected along the way besides from the wildlife, he said.Deborah Carr and her husband Lou Ladrigan, who also live in Grand County, published the book in 2002. The second edition was printed in 2006 with trail updates.Carr said this was the first big compilation of all the paths.It was a much needed book, she said. People have said it was very accurate that it should be a model for other hiking books.The guide includes National Geographic USGS Topographic Maps tracked with a Garmin GPS Receiver.It was the first of its kind to use GPS technology to do that maps, she added.Carr and Ladrigan were both engineers at the Ford Motor Company in Cincinnati before moving to Grand County.They started hiking the Grand County trails in 2000. The guide includes 85 trails in Winter Park, the James Peak Area, Fraser Valley, Indian Peaks, Never Summer Range, Troublesome Valley, Williams Fork Mountains and Vasquez Mountains.Each trail was a brand new trail every time we went out, Carr said. In the winter, we compiled all the maps and fine-tuned all of the narrative.They recorded information about the trails while they walked. Each map took a couple hours to complete, she said. The couple also received assistance from the Forest Service.They reviewed it, made changes, and made corrections, she said. They helped us find a lot of trails. They made sure all of the trails were accurate.The guide also advises hikers to be prepared for afternoon storms, pack plenty of water, wear sun protection and carry a first aid kit and compass.I dont ever recommend hiking alone, Carr said.In addition, hikers should not to rely on cell phones. You sort of need to be self-sufficient if something happens, she said.The couple saw two mountain lions and a dozen of moose on the paths.Weve never had a problem with them, but I think weve just been lucky, Carr said.If someone sees a moose, they should freeze and slowly back up, she said.About 7,000 copies of Hiking in Grand County, Colorado have been sold. The 5,000 copies available in the first edition sold out, and 2,000 copies of the second edition were purchased.The guide can be found on the shelves of Grand County gift, coffee and outdoor stores, as well at Barnes & Noble and REI. They are sold for $24.95.Favorite trailsCarr said her favorite trail is Bills Peak to Byers Peak Loop. She likes the Bills Peak destination most.You just feel like youre in Switzerland, she said. Theyve got flowers up there that are forget-me-nots and periwinkle. Its really pretty up there.Buffalo Park Loop and Trail Creek open early in the summer as snow melts.Theyre both fairly low elevation trails, she said. (Trail Creek) has a lot of beaver ponds and a lot of fish. The views along the Continental Divide are really nice. You pass a lot of hunting camps along the way.Monarch Lake in Indian Peaks is also a favorite path that thaws out early. It just sort of has it all, Carr said. The views are fabulous. Its a nice family hike because its easy. Its a good way to start the hiking season.Jim Creek located in James Peak also will open soon.The creek itself is pretty nice, Carr said. This time of year its going to be a roaring creek.Hiking is a good experience for mountain residents, she added.You get to enjoy nature, Carr said. Its just a peaceful, tranquil place. It gives your life perspective. While I hike I dont think of anything except the moment. Around every corner is something interesting.
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