Open Space & Parks

Boulder has some of the best open space and parks in the country. Tell us what you like, don't like and what you'd like to see added or improved!

Saddle up bikers

Boulder has some of the best biking trails in the country.

Boulder is a Mecca for bike riders — go to any biking event and you’ll see license plates from all around the country! Our mountain parks and roads are some of the most challenging in the world — oh, did I mention the high altitude? Even the toughest pedal-bashers can find themselves ‘bonking’ from pushing themselves too hard!

Biking events are a Big Deal in Boulder — the whole town goes nuts for them. The Morgul Bismark, now the “Superior Morgul” returned in 2010 and is more popular than ever. Once a ‘stage’ in the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic, it’s now a race unto itself.

The Boulder Cycling Club has regular rides — you can check their calendar and join in.

There’s tons more about biking and we’ll be posting about it soon!

Dogs at last!

Photo by M. Douglas Wray - all rights reserved

Tammi and Dozer first meet

My wife Marilyn died of cancer on May 14, 2009 after eight months of almost-successful monoclonal antibody treatment. She was actually declared free of cancer but the diagnosis turned out to be incorrect. Lymphoma cells had invaded her spine – by the time her doctor verified it she lasted only a few more days. She swiftly forgot who she was, where she was and who I was. It was horrifying to see my strong, vibrant wife fade away. When the end came it was a blow to all present. She was well-loved and several friends were present to attend her passing.

It left me emotionally shattered for a long time.

My wife and I had two cats and they became a focus of my life. That focus is what put me in the place to meet my next wife Tammi. She was working in the store where I bought pet food. We met while I was buying supplies for our cats. When she asked for the store’s loyalty card I realized that Marilyn had always dealt with that and said so — and that she was no longer with us. Tammi looked me squarely in the eye and replied that she understood — she had lost her husband six years before. Weeks later we met for a date and two years later we were married. I think God sent us to each other.

One of the issues we had to resolve when we merged our households was introducing her two dogs Kona and Sugar to my two cats Kinkles and Chloe. Oh boy.

There were a few incidents but things settled down and we managed to get the “Wild Kingdom” under control, sometimes with a whip and chair. A year or so later Tammi’s last live-at-home child, Kylie, went off to college in Durango and took her dog, Kona, with her. That left us with just Sugar and the two cats. Tammi had wanted a giant-breed dog for years and been unable to have one living in an apartment — now was her chance!

I was really enjoying having dogs around. Marilyn had resisted having cats but finally caved and ultimately fell head over heels with our cats. I figured I could work the same magic with a puppy but never got the chance.

One day Tammi and I were at our cabin above Lyons and happened to go by a neighbor whose Anatolian Shepherd had recently had a litter of puppies. I decided to stop and give them a look.

Again, Fate took the wheel of our lives.

Photo by M. Douglas Wray - all rights reserved.

Bonding with our puppy Dozer

One of the puppies was a stout-looking little boy who was not enjoying the life afforded to mountain dogs. Also, his four sisters were trying to pull his ears off and competing heavily for the food. Tammi coaxed him out and got him to let her pick him up. When she turned to me and I saw them together it was like a door opening. I knew this little dude was coming home with us!

We made the deal, loaded him up and off to the city we went. Poor little fella was clearly terrified of being in a vehicle and huddled next to Tammi the whole way home. His first bath followed – the first time he’d ever seen any large amount of water — and it was much-needed!!

Afterwards he slept on the bathroom floor, exhausted. A few hours later he woke and there was much romping and greeting from Sugar and us. A meal of premium healthy dog food that he didn’t have to fight tooth and claw for, and it was time for bed.

We’re not the least bit shy about it. We both love dogs, all animals in fact, and he’s welcome to sleep with us, just as his ancestors on the Anatolian plains did with their masters thousands of years ago. He cuddled up to me and we both went out like a light, and Tammi documented one of the sweetest moments of both of our lives.

Well, Kylie didn’t like college in Durango and came home. So did Kona. Suddenly we had three dogs and two cats. The circus was back in town!!

Photo by M. Douglas Wray - all rights reserved

Dozer seems to know something he’s not telling

Years later we’re down to just four animals. Chloe and Dozer decided they were WEFL (worst enemies for life) and had a couple of run-ins that left everyone unhappy. A happy foster home was found for Chloe and things settled down. Kinkles was able to deal with the dogs (sometimes with claws out) and everyone learned to get along. Now it’s not at all unusual to see Kinkles walking under Dozer and tickling his belly with her tail. He’s learned that she’s not prey and does not appreciate his nose in her behind — at all — thank you very much!!!

Living with cats is one thing, with dogs another, but both at the same time is pretty challenging — especially at night. Best to segregate the crazed-eyed demon from the dogs then. Everyone becomes prey at night to Kinkles. Once we’d settled that, we got a rhythm going and everyone fell in line. Now we have wonderful Saturday mornings with everyone on the bed playing and jumping around. Kinkles sits up on the armoire and watches with great interest but stays out of the rough-and-tumble.

I still miss my dear Marilyn and Tammi sometimes pines for Scott, but we’ve linked our fates together and so have our pets. Something I haven’t mentioned till now — Dozer was born the day Marilyn passed. Sometimes when I look into his eyes I wonder if perhaps Marilyn had something to do with him coming into our lives.

Dog, after all, is “God” spelled backwards.

Casting about for fun and adventure

Boulder’s fly fishing is legendary!

There’s a real art to fly fishing.

Since the fly has negligible weight when compared to typical fishing lures the line ends doing most of the work of moving the ‘fly’ into position.

In other types of fishing the lure has enough weight to pull the line out as needed and by braking you drop the lure where you want it.

Fly fishing has different casting motions and they take time to learn as does the way you hold the rod.

There’s a few basic types of lines, double-taper line and weight-forward line. Here’s a short video about the basic equipment you’ll want.

There’s a lot of folks around the Boulder area that offer fly fishing lessons:

Want to recommend someone? Join the Boulder Bubble and contribute your story!

Ropes, carabiners, pitons, and so much more

Boulder’s climbing is second to none!

People who say folks in Boulder are “climbers” sometimes aren’t talking about the social ladder but something much more physical.

For those who know nothing about climbing, or just enough to be really dangerous (like me!) I decided to educate myself with the help of online references. I’m sure there are lots of folks in the community far more versed in this technology than I am, so please feel free to comment below or on our contact form.

Here’s what Wikipedia has under Free Climbing:


(From Wikipedia) Free climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climber uses only hands, feet and other parts of the body to ascend, employing ropes and forms of climbing protection to prevent falls only.

In contrast, free soloing uses no aids of any kind for protection or ascent while aid climbing employs ropes, protection, and direct aids to pull or stand upon, such as jumars to make upward progress on extremely sheer vertical surfaces.

Used as an umbrella term, “free climbing” spans four subsets of climbing styles: traditional, sport, free soloing and bouldering.


WOW. It sounds like free soloing is not for the faint of heart or poorly insured! Not to mention very strenuous…

At the end of the entry is this:


Common misunderstandings of the term

While clear in its contrast to aid climbing, the term free climbing is nonetheless prone to misunderstanding and misuse.

The two most common errors are:

  • Confusing free climbing with its subset free soloing, a willfully risk-taking endeavor involving climbing with just one’s hands, feet, and body without any rope or protective equipment
  • Conflating soloing a free climb with free soloing, “soloing” alone meaning merely to climb with no partner, which, depending on the difficulty of the route, can be done safely using any of a number of self-belaying systems.

OK, that was helpful. I find Wikipedia to be a fair starting point; usually the basics are there so I have the “worthy questions.” I noticed in the “further reading” section only one entry:

And what an entry!! Clearly this guy deserves his celebrity! His list of noted climbs is a geological who’s who. I was struck by this bit:

“…helped establish bouldering in general, and “High Balling” (high bouldering sans rope) in particular, as a valid and extreme expression of traditional climbing.”

Ah. There’s the crazy I suspected was in there somewhere! I’m kidding — crazy people clearly wouldn’t last long doing that. But it does bring up a ton of questions about fitness, training and equipment.

Well, on to other topics – if you’ve got a story about climbing – whatever flavor! – send it to us! You might find the Boulder Bubble helps you “rise above” the other climbers!

Pitch your tent under the stars

Camping in the Rockies will change your life!

Some of the happiest times of my life have been camping trips to the Rocky Mountains — and also some of the most intense!

Friends of mine have a small cabin that’s actually inside Rocky Mountain National Park. It was built before the Park was created and grandfathered in. The owners now lease the land from the government. It was a definite win-win since the state maintains the trailhead nearby and keeps the road at least passable. However, “passable” can be pretty rugged when you’re talking to men and women who really know 4-wheeling! Our city-living sedans left more than a few scrape-marks on the larger rocks in the road, but that was half the fun of getting there.

Once we’d reached the cabin we were very nearly alone except for hikers going by to reach the trailhead. The cabin was secluded so the majority of them never even knew we were there and we often didn’t hear them going by. A hundred yards in the forest is a surprising amount of sound barrier.

When a lot of us went up for a gathering some would pitch tents and camp in the aspen grove that surrounds the cabin. My wife Marilyn and I did just that on one particular weekend and we unwittingly set ourselves up for the wildlife encounter of our lives.

My friends and are I enthusiastic role-playing gamers and we had a rousing adventure game that night, replete with monsters, demons and of course, marauding wolfpacks that harassed our camps! Good times!! My wife got sleepy before I did and went out to our tent to bed down for the night. A few hours later we all wound down, said our good-nights and were off to sleep. I joined Marilyn in the tent, zipped up the flap and crawled into my sleeping bag.

A few hours later, in the literal dead of the night, so quiet you could hear your own heartbeat, I heard howling in the distance. I dismissed it as coyotes — they’d never come near a structure that smelled so thoroughly of humankind — and started to drift off to sleep. It seemed that only moments later I was awakened to the sound of heavy animal footfalls approaching the tent and, alarmingly, snuffling! around the bottom edge of the tent!! Images of wolves leapt into my head, as my heart leapt into my throat! Less than a millimeter of flimsy plastic fabric stood between me, my beloved and some of the fiercest carnivores on earth! Just then Marilyn rolled over in her sleep, farted thunderously and began snoring! It must have startled them as I heard their padded feet hustling away into the nighttime forest.

I laughed so hard I cried.

Marilyn was certain I was making it all up, until the next morning I showed her the huge dog-like footprints that circled both the tent and cabin. Clearly not dogs or coyotes. Wolves. INCHES away from us. Really made for a silent moment of thought.

The biggest thing that we ran into after that was woodchucks, but that’s another story!

Lace up those boots, hikers!

Hiking in the Rockies is a peak experience!

Whether you’re a lifelong resident or visiting Boulder for the first time, if you like hiking you’re in heaven!Boulder has myriad excellent trails from level walks to heavy-duty climbs, whatever is your cup of tea!

The City of Boulder’s interactive trail map can locate the nearest trail that suits you.

Nearby Rocky Mountain National Park has 355 miles of hiking trails, something for everyone! Here’s a listing of the trails with all the info you’ll need to choose the right one.

Be Safe!!

If you’re new to the Rockies, here are some Hiking Essentials from the National Park Service:

BYOW – Bring Your Own Water

Keeping well hydrated is very important while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, where elevations range from 7,500 feet to over 14,000 feet. However, there is limited potable drinking water available in the park. Please remember to bring your own reusable water containers and refill them at park visitor centers.

Hiking Essentials

Pack the “Essentials” and be prepared for minor injuries, sudden weather changes or delays.

Always carry:

  1. Map of the area and compass
  2. Extra food and water
  3. Extra clothing, including rain gear
  4. Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  5. Pocketknife
  6. Matches in a waterproof container and a candle or other fire starter
  7. Whistle
  8. Flashlight with extra batteries and bulb
  9. Space blanket
  10. First aid kit

And don’t forget the most important thing of all… common sense!

And when you’re done, send us your stories and pictures to tell your friends and family how much fun you had!

What’s your favorite recreation?

So many ways to have fun in Boulder!

What do you do for fun?

Boulder’s got parks, trails , creeks, lakes and more!

Tell us what you like best!

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