I looked in the 60 Minutes From Denver and found a moderate trail called Three Mile Creek Trail. Additionally, it said, "You will enjoy crossing over the creek more than fifteen times!" How did they know that? We get excited about the prospect of playing in any form of water, whether it's in a pool, river, lake, or muddy puddle.
We piled in the car and drove on Highway 285 for about 1.5 hours (or seven hours, in kid-time). This includes the ten-minute traffic stop, when a policeman noticed that I had two license plates: an expired plate still attached at the back and a current one in my rear window. I explained that the screws were stripped, which is why the expired one was still attached. The oh-so-nice cop let me go with a warning, after we promised to work on swapping the plates as soon as we got home.
We filled out our information at the permit box before setting out. There's nothing that says, "safe family hike" like specifying how many people are in your party and how long you'll be gone in case you later turn up missing.
The hike was immediately beautiful, despite the signs of rampant pine beetles and forest fires.
The hike was also immediately worrisome, since the first five minutes involved walking along the side of a steep slope with an abrupt drop-off. I watched the kids nervously, ready to grab onto them at the first sign of a stumble. Oh, but don't worry: there were three strands of barb wire blocking you from plunging off the cliff. Whew!
Finally, the ground leveled and we entered the forest where everywhere you looked were trees, trees, trees. Standing up, lying down, leaning over...
However, there was one instance in which we had to cross a stream by rock-jumping.
This tree kept throwing gang signs, trying to intimidate us.
"It's not going to work, Tree!"
Although we didn't see any animals, we did spot the hairy Bigfoot at one point, running behind the trees:
While the trail itself was a pretty easy walk, there were many times when we ventured just off the path to explore something more interesting (and a little more treacherous than a Sunday afternoon stroll).
The "goodbye cruel world!" tree standing on this ledge:
Notes from the Future: Keene fixed my license plate situation. I think he should quit his fancy, lab-coat-wearing job and become a mechanic. They wear jumpsuits, you know.