Kristen Lodge – Get Out on The Trails & National Public Lands Day |

Kristen Lodge – Get Out on The Trails & National Public Lands Day

Kristen Lodge / Outdoor AdventuresGrand County, Colorado

I’ve had some great hiking first dates. Walking in the woods with a shared goal of making it to a mountain peak is a great way to really get to know someone.On the trail, far from the real world, I can ask my date anything and learn all about him; and the time goes by. Suddenly I’m at the top with amazing views.I’ve made some great friends on hiking trips, too. Last week I hiked to the fire tower on Shadow Mountain with a new friend, Anne. We entered the trail from the parking area between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake and passed three trail signs that stated 4.8 miles to the fire tower. No matter. It was a perfect fall day with aspens in their full brilliant, golden color, and I got to know my new friend.The first four miles are a nice walk in the woods, past Shadow Mountain Lake and gently uphill across a ridge. One hour in, we saw the fire tower; it looked close.We told stories about our families, boyfriends, husbands, ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, why we moved here, and the time passed. Anne pointed out animal tracks and we tried to figure out what animals are in the area. After the second hour of more difficult uphill hiking, we made it to the summit. At the end of the trail we climbed the steps to the top of the fire tower and took in the view of Lake Granby and Rocky Mountain National Park’s mountains. It is hikes like this one that remind us: We love living here. Public Lands DayIf you love trails and being outdoors as much as I do, consider volunteering during National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, Sept. 26, at SolVista Basin. Grand County’s NPLD is one of the oldest in the nation; in it’s 15th year. All volunteers will get a goody bag and be eligible for door prizes. Breakfast and lunch are provided, and at the end of the day, celebrate with an aprs party with pizza, beer, and live music from Gary Keys at the base of SolVista ski resort.Cindy Kleh, who is helping promote the event statewide, tells me that this year’s event is dedicated to Tim Rau, a Middle Park High school student who died in a rafting accident last July. Tim volunteered for NPLD almost every year and a trail will be named in his honor.Cindy is so excited about this event that her energy is contagious. She tells me that there are several local businesses working together to make trail day a success: Sol Vista Basin, Winter Park Resort, US Forest Service, National Parks Service, and YMCA of the Rockies. Volunteering is a great way to help “give back” to the trail systems in Grand County. And, you might just make some new friends.