Every day as we drove to and from my brother’s house in the Rockies, we passed by a small parking area with a sign that looked suspiciously like a trailhead, about ten minutes from my brother’s place. Something about the spot was really calling to me, so I asked my brother what it was. “Oh, that’s Hall Ranch,” he replied. “We hike there sometimes but we haven’t been in awhile.” Was it worth our family exploring? Definitely – Dan said that there were nice views of his valley, and it was mostly flat. Okay, I’m sold – let’s go.
On Sunday morning, we all piled into the cars and headed into the village of Lyons for a quick brunch at Danielle’s favorite coffee shop. Warm and full, we made our way to Hall Ranch.
How lucky are Dan and Danielle to live near this spot? If I lived close by, I’d be on this trail every weekend.
Mountain lions or no mountain lions.
We headed down the trail. The red dirt was mostly covered by snow, but there was just enough to lend beautiful contrasting color to the scenery.
I was in awe of the beautiful vistas. My brother lives in the mountains, surrounded by Ponderosa pines. I couldn’t believe that this (completely different!) landscape was only ten minutes from his mountain hideaway!
The earth and rock formations were like nothing I’d ever seen on a hike before. I made everyone pose for pictures.
(Yes, they were all annoyed. No, I didn’t care.)
Danielle is a walking encyclopedia of plant and animal facts, and she pointed out all kinds of interesting flora and fauna as we hiked. We saw several bunnies (Peanut was delighted) and Danielle found some wild thyme for us to sniff.
(Can I be sappy for a second? She makes my brother so happy, and she has brought all kinds of joy to our family. We’re so lucky to have her!)
Hall Ranch was a perfect hike. It was flat enough that we were able to negotiate the trails without any problem, even with little ones – and we didn’t have to walk far into the park to be surrounded by gorgeous vistas and natural wonders. We saw other families, including one with a baby even younger than Nugget, out on the trails, and for good reason – between ease of access and lots of bang for your buck, I think this was the most family-friendly hike we did on the entire trip.
I really can’t describe how much I loved Hall Ranch. Part of the fun of traveling, for me, is getting to see things that are really different from my regular environment. With its geology and plant life, Hall Ranch was different from any other hike I’ve ever done, and I was completely in love with it – and completely jealous that Dan and Danielle can come here anytime they want!
(For those of you who got our Christmas card and were wondering where the picture was taken – it was here! Courtesy of Aunt Danielle, who did her best to get Peanut to smile. She’d just sort of had it with the hiking backpack at that point.)
Such a beautiful spot! And what a way to wrap up a fabulous week spent with two of our favorite people. On Monday, we headed out of the mountains and back into Denver. Our flight was very early – think 6:00 a.m. early – on Tuesday morning, so we decided to spend Monday night in the airport hotel; had we stayed at my brother’s house, we would have had to get up at about 2:00 a.m. in order to make our flight. We had big plans for spending Monday exploring more of Denver, but an urgent work matter intervened and I spent the morning holed up at the Denver library, using the Wi-Fi to churn out a memo that couldn’t wait another minute. It happens.
We reunited for lunch and a walk along Cherry Creek…
…before heading to the airport.
And we were up at zero dark hundred the next morning, heading back East and back to reality – but full of happy memories, and with the red soil of the Hall Ranch trails still clinging to the treads of our hiking boots.
Sadly, I must tell you that this concludes my recaps of our fabulous trip to Colorado. We had such a wonderful time, and I can’t wait to go back! Until we do, I’ll be revisiting these pictures over and over again. Thanks for coming along as I relived the journey!