Photo of the Month: Evening Light in Dog Cove

Photo of the Month: Evening Light in Dog Cove

Friday, December 30, 2022

Colorado 2022 Day One: The Devil's Backbone and Keyhole

Our first full day in Colorado came earlier than expected. Since we had pushed so hard on the drive out and arrived ahead of schedule, we had more flexibility than we had anticipated. This proved to be a good thing on many levels. 

First and perhaps most importantly, we were able to sleep in as much as you can with a baby in tow. Next, we were not rushed with our grocery trip. Usually, I am getting to a grocery late in the afternoon and in a big rush to get on to my camping spot before dark. This time, we were able to take our time and make sure we had all the necessities for the next few days of camping. Of course, we also had groceries close to our first camping spot, but the prices in Estes Park would be MUCH higher than those in Loveland. It was in our best interest to get as much as possible before heading into the mountains. Finally, extra flexibility meant that we were going to be able to hang out with a good friend of my wife's for more than just a quick bite to eat. 

The night before, I had studied maps of the area and tried to think of a place I hadn't hiked but wanted to. The Devil's Backbone came to mind rather quickly and plans were set for lunch and then a hike. Leah's friend Wiz showed up around lunch. Panera was a treat since we knew that we would be eating camp food for the next couple of weeks for the most part. Afterwards, we drove out to the Devil's Backbone Open Space just outside of town. The heat was oppressive, so we made sure to put up the sunshade for the baby and take plenty of water. While longer hikes are possible, we decided to simply hike up and see the Keyhole on the Wild Loop trail. This would allow us to see the main geologic feature up close and get us back to the safety of the AC in the car sooner rather than later. 

This was the perfect warmup hike for Leah and me. We needed to acclimate quickly because of the big plans we had for the next day or two hiking wise. Already in decent shape, this hike was more of a short walk/stroll except for the heat. A couple of quick miles makes this perfect for people without much time or for those who don't want anything big. Here are a few of the highlights from the first half of the hike shot quickly on my cellphone. 

Yellow wildflowers along the Wild Loop trail at Devil's Backbone

Cumulus clouds float above the Devil's Backbone

Wide open spaces on the Wild Basin loop trail at Devil's Backbone Open Space

The Devil's Backbone begins to come into better view

Wildflowers along the Wild Basin Loop Trail at Devil's Backbone

Finally, the trail wound up into the shadow of the Devil's Backbone itself as the trail approached the Keyhole. This is a neat window through the Devil's Backbone that overlooks the next valley beyond. The shade was a welcome respite from the heat. The baby was fast asleep for her midday nap at this point. Those were the days when we could put her in the kid carrier and expect her to fall asleep quickly. 


The Keyhole at Devil's Backbone near Loveland Colorado


After relaxing and visiting in the shade for a bit, it was time to head back to the car. We made good time and the baby started waking up right as we got back. Of course, she was anxious to get down and explore, so we let her stretch her legs before the drive up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park for our first night of camping. 



On the drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park, we would have the first in a series of unfortunate but memorable incidents on this trip. That is a story for another day, however. 

Prominent Devil's Backbone rising above Loveland Colorado



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