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It was so nice Wednesday that I bagged work after lunch and headed down south to Palmer Lake for a hike up to the reservoirs above town. I met a buddy for the trek up to the second reservoir -- about 1.5 miles with a fairly abrupt 600-foot gain -- before taking a side trail into the Pike National Forest up and down another steep and somewhat slushy 1.5 miles or so though the Ice Caves boulder field to the lower reservoir. The loop totaled about four miles with some good heart-thumping gains. It's one of my favorite hiking areas on the Front Range, especially on nice fall days -- and I was back in my office in Denver checking my email just four hours after I left (two hours driving and two hours hiking). Nobody missed me (as usual).
Moral: There are plenty of good hiking days left before winter is officially here. The slopes won't really tempt me until there's a little more snow. I might get out for my first runs of the season next week, but I'll also look to hike again if the sun is out.
To get there, take Colo. 105 south from Sedalia to Palmer Lake, turn right on Valley Rd. and left on Old Carriage Rd. After it descends and makes a hairpin turn, look for the parking lot and trailhead on your right.
More photos here.