Gore Lake July 2015

Trail Treasures

There are many things people seek when embarking on an adventure in nature.

As John Muir said,” In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

Gore Lake July 2015

Gore Lake July 2015

Most of us seek simple things; vivid memories of expansive views, beautiful wildflowers, unique vegetation and the privilege to catch a of glimpse of wildlife. And that is really what it is all about, the simple things.

What if we as humans experience something more on a hike? What if you became smarter after spending a certain amount of time in nature? All the distractions of modern life can really add up and lead to a number of undesirable side effects, such as stress and fatigue.

Most people are aware that adventures in nature leave you feeling refreshed, less stressed and much happier. Backpacker magazine published an article by Elizabeth Kwak-Hefferan based on research conducted by Dr. David Strayer that supports this theory.  Hikers had an increase in mental abilities of up to 45 percent after being on the trail for three days.”This is a way of showing that interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving that really hadn’t been formally demonstrated before,” says David Strayer, co-author of the study and psychology professor.  Basically what it come down to is simplified thoughts and removal of toadstoolwildflowertechnological distraction, It’s no secret that society at large has become addicted to technology and electronics. So do yourself a favor and get outside and unplug. Connect with your natural surroundings and you will surely become more connected with yourself.

Travelling to Vail this summer? Check out the latest travel tips from NY Times, Colorado.com, and others!

David Pogue talks smart phone apps, flight search engines, best check-in practices, and lap-top friendly flights on his NYTimes.com blog, Pogue’s Posts. See the lastest in travel technology here.

Colorado.com, the official site of Colorado Tourism, has all the basic travel tips for coming to the High Rockies. Here are a couple of helpful ones for the summertime:

  1. Colorado is the highest-altitude state in the U.S. Drink more water than usual, moderate alcohol and tobacco intake, and, if possible, spend a night in the intermediate-elevation Front Range (Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, or Colorado Springs) or Western Slope (Grand Junction, Fruita, or the Four Corners region) before coming up to Vail. Also, always wear sunscreen and reapply diligently!
  2. Weather changes rapidly here. Dress in layers! It will be cool in the mornings and evenings (mid 40s to high 50s) and then warm during the day (anywhere from low 70s to high 80s). Also, it is currently monsoon season, which means afternoon thunderstorms roll an hour or two after lunchtime. They rarely last very long, but raingear is recommended.

*Staff suggestion: Please know that most properties in the High Rockies do not have air conditioning! Due to the dry climate and high altitude, it is rarely necessary. We recommend leaving your windows open throughout the day and evening (with exception to the afternoon thunderstorms). It will circulate air through your condo and keep it cool.

Lonely Planet, the world-renown travel guidebook publisher, lists Colorado’s top scenic drives as:

  1. Top of the Rockies (115 miles) takes you from Leadville, the highest incorporated town in America at 10,430 feet, down Fremont Pass. Follow Hwy 24 down Tennessee Pass to Minturn. Then bear right on Hwy 92 toward Twin Likes before going over Independence Pass and into Aspen.
  2. Independence Pass (27 miles) is an abbreviated version of the drive explained above, but classic nonetheless. It’s full of old mining ruins, alpine tundra, and glaciers.
  3. Trail Ridge Road (47 miles) goes over the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is one of the best places to see moose and elk. Highlights include Milner Pass and the tiny town of Grand Lake at the west entrance.
  4. Peak to Peak Hwy (55 miles) runs south to north from I-70 outside of Denver up to Estes Park, at the east entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the way it passes small mining and bohemian towns alike and showcases extraordinary high country scenery, including views of 14,255-foot Longs Peak.
  5. Highway of Legends (110 miles) starts in the southern Colorado town of Trinidad and takes Hwy 12 through Cokedale, passing 300 coke ovens en route over Cucharas Pass as well as the extinct volcanoes, Spanish Peaks.
  6. Santa Fe Trail (188 miles each way) is a long, historic route through southeastern Colorado (again leaving from the Trinidad area) that cross into Kansas. Take Hwy 350 to La Junta, driving through expansive grasslands and ranches. The out-and-back’s highlights include Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, Iron Spring and Picketwire Dinosaur Tracksite.

*Staff pick for driving tour (not on list above): Shrine Pass. From Vail, take I-70 east towards Denver. Get off at exit 190. Merge onto the dirt road south of the highway, following signs for Shrine Pass. There is a 4.6-mile round-trip hike that tours wildflowers on the way up to Shrine Mountain Crags. The scenery at the top is similar to Vail Mountain’s back bowls, but significantly untouched. Hike or not, continue on the 4WD road as it winds through White River National Forest with views of Mount of the Holy Cross. The dirt road brings you into the small town of Red Cliff. Head through town, then turn right on Hwy 24 and drive through Minturn. Merge onto I-70 east to come back to Vail.

–Vail Spa concierges, 8/6/11