Meet our dogs, Blondie and Kiwi (aka “the girls”). The girls play a huge part in our adventures and will be featured in many posts, so it’s best you meet them as soon as possible. They are our babies and you will probably notice that they are slightly spoiled (ok, maybe a lot spoiled!).
Blondie is the exact opposite of Kiwi. Blondie is a 7-year-old Golden Retriever and my shadow throughout the day. Blondie loves to snuggle, sleep, and eat. There is no need to tire her out because unless she is eating or snuggling, she is probably sleeping. She may play with a toy once in a great while, but she’d much rather get a belly rub on the couch.
However, there are two tricks to get Blondie to move quickly and that is 1) to bring her to squirrel and bunny country and 2) let her outside when there is snow. Any path, whether it’s in the city or in the woods, where you may encounter the scent of a squirrel, bunny, or other small forest creäture, energizes her. She loves to chase these critters and then stand below their tree and bark while standing on her legs and jumping. In her mind, she thinks she can climb trees, but she cannot. Snow also makes her crazy. Specifically, it makes her run around in circles until she falls over. It’s like a kid hopped up on cotton candy falling off the merry-go-round and it’s pretty amazing to watch.
Today the girls, my husband, and I went to squirrel and bunny country in our own backyard of the Evergreen, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rockies. Evergreen, Colorado is about 15 miles west of Denver, just off of Interstate 70. It’s a scenic drive that allows for great views of the Rocky Mountain peaks.
Along the way, stop at Genessee Park Overlook and see the buffalo grazing on the side of the interstate. Today the buffalo were all sleeping, just like Blondie, but they were still worth a stop to see. They are big and hairy and stinky but I still think they are awesome to see. They remind me of what Colorado used to be like back in the old pioneer and Wild West days.
Evergreen, Colorado is less than 5 miles past Genesee Park and is home to Elk Meadows Off-Leash dog park, one of the greatest dog parks in the nation. It pretty much looks like doggy heaven, with dogs of every breed, age, and size bounding down rolling hills, weaving through wooded trails, and splashing through gentle streams. It is pure perfection.
Elk Meadows is located at 32391 Stagecoach Blvd, Evergreen, Colorado and has over 1000 acres of off-leash trails for dogs to enjoy. Believe me, the girls and I thoroughly enjoy it and that’s why we keep coming back time and time again. (My husband missed the fun this time as he was battling a cold so he enjoyed his nap while we hiked).
Elk Meadows has free parking and the entry to the dog park is also free. It’s open daily from 6am-6pm, so there’s plenty of time to get in and enjoy it. It can get popular on the weekends so you may have to park along Stagecoach Road and walk your dog to the park on his/her leash. But as soon as the dogs reach the entrance, feel free to take that leash straight off and let them run wild!
There are a multitude of trails to choose from in Elk Meadows. This day, the girls and I chose to hit the main loop trail, which brought us up from the rocks near to the car down into the valley by a clear stream. (Technically Kiwi picked it since she took off running to a giant stick as soon as she cleared the entrance to the park.) The walk down to the stream is gentle and anyone in moderate physical shape should be able to make it easily down the hill to the stream. There are even wooden stairs to climb down the hill, which my dogs know leads to water play land, so they make haste down them. The clear stream has a slow current and for dogs who don’t like baths, the girls sure love the water here. Blondie rolls in it and Kiwi hunts for sticks in the river, which she usually finds. The dogs go nuts for this park. The trails all lead to different and interesting places, some with views overlooking to Rockies and other shaded under a canopy of trees. There are a number of birds and forest critters that inhabit the place as well, so it gives the girls a lot of nose adventures. During this visit, we spent just over an hour hiking around the trees and hills and rivers and bushes. We could have spent much longer here, but we had a sick husband to tend to back at the car.
Days like this make me want to retire now and not wait 7 more years. Hiking with the girls (and my husband when he feels well) in beautiful country is pure magic and I can’t wait to spend all my days doing activities like this. Keep an eye out for more beautiful hikes (including some great ones from our beautiful state of Colorado) in some upcoming posts.