Partnership Post – Take a Walk – Colorado

Partnership Post – Take a Walk – Colorado

Mountain Obsession is pleased to present Allyson and Thomas Checkley, the minds behind Take A Walk. As Mountain Obsession is always looking to form partnerships with amazing mountain men and women, we are excited to announce this partnership between #MountainObsession and Take A Walk.

The Lowdown:

When we moved to Colorado, we were thrilled with the possibility of all the exciting hikes and climbs within our reach. We often saw locals gleefully proclaiming their tales of beauty, challenge, and contentment; and we couldn’t wait to join in.  We started to find books, websites, and random stories to help us get an idea of what all was out there.  Grand plans of hiking Long’s Peak began to formulate in our minds, but that is where those ideas remained – for a time.

It wasn’t until we took a stroll around a wildlife refuge near our home one sunny summer afternoon that a simple idea got us thinking.  Colorado is such a beautiful place, simply taking a walk near your house opens up a world of intrigue and beauty.  It was pretty clear to us that being active and outdoors is vitally important. It nourishes the body and the mind. Why do hikes have to be 14ers and epic?  Why not just start hiking more and use our journey to share with and inspire others to do the same? With that, Take A Walk was born. In the months following, we created a blog and began to document our hikes and climbs throughout Colorado (and a few other places) with cartography, notes, and photography.

Over the past two years, many miles have been logged, Clif bars consumed, and new discoveries made.  And what started as a goal of just getting out there led to us visiting the highest peaks of Colorado, the bluest alpine lakes, and standing in awe of moose and bears.  We’ve documented these trips in detail in the hopes that others will follow our footsteps and enjoy these journeys, too, using our site as a helpful guide and as a forum to discuss and share thoughts on hiking and nature.

Now, as any hiker knows, trail miles tend to feel a little longer than traditional road miles.  When we began more frequent rigorous hikes, this was one of our first lessons learned.  A sign reading 3 miles might initially register as simply another hour.  But, add in 3,000 feet of elevation gain, talus, creek crossings, and wildlife and you may have a whole afternoon to look forward to.  When we began this journey, we occasionally got more than we bargained for. Thinking we’d just go a few more miles, no problem, often turned into much longer than we thought. But we have encountered some pretty fascinating things by walking those few extra miles.  To this day, when conditions are good and the days long, the trail beckons us to keep following her.

The following collection of photos represents our visual and mental rewards when we uttered “just a few more miles or a few hundred feet more.”



Sunrise summit of Grays and Torreys. We wanted to see the famous Front Range 14ers Grays and Torreys hike from a different perspective. At 2:15 am, as we hiked to Grays Peak, we had our very own star party, getting closer to the sky with every step, if only a few feet at a time.




Sunrise summit of Grays and Torreys. A quick down climb, jaunt across a saddle, and 600 foot climb all in a short 0.7 miles span provides the opportunity to stand atop another 14er in the same day. The rising sun cast a pink-yellow hue on the mountainside and remaining snow. We were alone in the early morning splendor.




East Inlet Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park: We embraced the fall colors of the changing aspens which all too quickly reminded us of the fleeting warm, long days. A short planned hike to Adams falls resulted in an extra few miles trek to hear the elk and see the vibrant colors of fall. We enjoyed the vast meadows and endless sources of flowing water around us.




Pear and Finch Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park: A planned hike to Finch Lake was a treat. Abundant green, lush plant life surrounded the alpine lake and floated on her surface. We paused on the warm rocks to enjoy lunch and thought: “Isn’t Pear Lake just another 2 miles?”




Pear and Finch Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park: After a brief moment of debate, our decision eventually led us to Pear Lake and isolation. The only trail traffic delay here was a deer in our path. We may have added 4 miles to our trip, but to bask in the enormity and quietness of this nook of RMNP was well worth it.




Grays Peak, Fall Ascent: The best times to attempt an ascent of Grays or Torreys seem to be when it’s either dark or cold if you want the peaks to yourself. One morning late in October, we headed up to the summit of Grays to view the Front Range in a snow covered blanket.




Upper Ice Lake, Silverton, CO: A summer road trip from Denver to Silverton allowed us to complete this unique and now favorite hike of ours. A steep 2,500 foot climb past meadows, forests, and waterfalls led us to the aqua blue lake surrounded by 13ers Vermillion, Fuller, Pilot knob, and Golden Horn. These mountains punctate the ridge behind the lake and provide a visually stunning backdrop for the alpine lake. The climb from the lower basin to the upper basin is quite steep and we kept reminding one another “it’s only a half a mile more.”




Mount Bierstadt: It was Allyson’s birthday, and celebration was in order. We completed our first Colorado 14er on September 8th and celebrated with birthday cake and photos on the summit. The theme of this hike was “you’re only one year older!” The blue sky and billowing clouds stood proudly above the majestic Sawtooth that forms a bridge between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans. The trail is gentle here, welcoming hikers of all types to follow her to the summit.




Mount Elbert: A Friday off of work led us to the base of Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak. The first half of the hike can be a bit of a slog until tree-line is reached. Every mile on this climb seemed to tick by a little slower, especially with the two false summits. But it was all worth it when we reached the summit. There was perfect weather as well as 360 degree views on top.




James Peak: Ever so often, a time comes when just 2 more miles doesn’t work and the weather forces you down. Just as we summited James Peak, a thick cloud descended upon the summit, engulfing us in thick, cold white fluffiness.



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