Mud Lake

Destination: Mud Lake, Boulder County Open Space

Date: 5/21/2017

Time of Day: 10:30 am start. Herd of turtles again

Distance/Elevation/Difficulty: 1.9 miles (Tungsten and Kinnickinnick loops)/~300 feet/Easy

Time Elapsed: 90 minutes.

Trail map of Mud Lake

Comments: We could hike to Mud Lake from our house, but we didn’t want to add 1.2 miles through the spring snow to our hike. So we drove. We also remembered our YakTrax so walking on the packed snow was easier. The YakTrax worked well, but there were challenges with keeping them on our shoes. Snow would build up between the Trax and our shoes, dislodging the Trax. Alex did a great job in the snow and walked approximately a half mile before asking to be put in the Osprey.

During our hike, a couple of other hikers told us about a moose that was just off the trail. Unfortunately, the moose was gone by the time we arrived, as evidence in the tracks in the snow. Alex was disappointed but seemed to accept the explanation that ‘Mister Moose’ had to go home for lunch.

Part of the Tungsten loop borders Mud Lake Proper where we saw a beaver. Walking on, we saw a male and female duck pair (mallards, teals? They didn’t quack, but we are certain they were ducks of some sort) diving for food in the lake. Alex got a good giggle over the duck butts up in the air. Not a moose, but not a bad consolation prize.

Would we return? This is a great hike. Easy for the days where we don’t want to over exert our selves. Another advantage is the easy access from the house. Dave and Alex will be returning here for 9 weeks during the summer to participate in the Wild Bear Nature Center summer camp program.

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Aspen Alley

Destination: Aspen Alley, West Magnolia Recreation area

Date: 5/13/2017, our Mother’s Day weekend hike

Time of Day: 10 am start. Herd of turtles again

Distance/Elevation/Difficulty: 2.6 miles/462 feet/Easy

Time Elapsed: 90 minutes.

Comments: This area is known for encampments of homeless people. The summer weather is moderate and significant numbers of homeless people set up summer camps in this area. We didn’t see any camps on this hike.

Purple is the route we hiked out, orange is the route we hiked back.

We didn’t do the hike as listed on AllTrails. The route followed is shown below. The All Trails route includes the 342 loop around the clear cut area and 925. Coming back down 925B resulted in some slightly steeper and rockier terrain. We also ended up below the parking area and had to hike back up.

This area has some areas that were clear cut 3-5 years ago. This takes away from the scenic aspects of the hike while opening up some mountain vistas.

Would we return? This would be a beautiful hike in the fall after the aspens change color. There were some very nice aspen stands along the hike. There is a large number of trails in this area and overall this was an easy hike for when we want to get outdoors but not over exert ourselves.

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Lost Lake

Destination: Lost Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

Date: 5/6/2017

Time of Day: 10 am start. This time reflects when we arrived, parked, got Alex loaded into his Osprey, and started walking towards the trail head. We are like a herd of turtles some days, and it was one of those days. This is a popular trail head on a beautiful spring day. We were parked in the designated parking area and were not forced to park in Eldora.

Distance/Elevation: 4.2 miles/931 feet

Time Elapsed: 3.5 – 4 hours. We did not hike around the lake, but this time includes Alex splashing in mud along the lake shore.

Comments: A beautiful hike. While there was a good amount of traffic, everyone was polite and all dogs encountered were leashed and well behaved. Upper half of trail was slippery with snow pack and we wished we had our YakTrax. Lesson learned for spring hiking. The Hessie trail head was about a 10 minute walk from the parking area, if the water level had been lower at a couple points, we would have attempted to drive to the trail head (2017 Subaru Outback).

Would we return? Definitely. There are campsites along the lake, we would like to hike up and go tent camping later in the summer. This would allow us to hike some of the other trails in the area.

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Master Bedroom: Finished Closet

The goals of the closet expansion was to

  1. Eliminate the illogically placed coat closet in the living room
  2. Increase our master bedroom closet space without truly extensive renovations
  3. Fit all of our clothes without requiring a dresser(s).

The verdict? Success! We ended up using  EasyClosets.com. Their DIY design interface was pretty easy to use and was truly DIY. Other sites wanted to send a consultant and we did not have time or tolerance for that. A consultant even verified that our design would work with our closet doors (more on that later). Only snafu was three drawers were missing from a box, one quick phone call later and they were shipped the next day. Other bonus of Easy Closets is two days after we ordered, the spring sale started. Asked nicely, and they retroactively applied the discount to our order. Will be ordering again from them.

So what was the deal with the closet doors? It wasn’t easy to get sliding doors on three separate tracks so 2/3 of the closet could be open at any given time. This was key to the closet organizer design. We thought we found the solution on Home Depot’s website, but the product had been discontinued. Dave ended up talking with the door guru who asked how handy he was. Dave responded that he was above average handy, and the guru proceeded to help him identify and order all the parts required to create the door. Only took 6 weeks for everything to come in.

So how are we doing without dressers? All of our clothes fit in the closet. It also helps that we are not clothes horses. And it also helps that we have a platform storage bed that can absorb some overflow as well as long term storage of seasonal items. Hanging more clothes and using the Kondo method for folding clothes made the no dresser system feasible. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has a really useful tutorial. Swallow hard and follow the link, it was one of the best tutorials on the internet. It was truly amazing how much space the Kondo fold created in the drawers. Where did the dressers go? To a consignment shop in Fort Collins. With any luck, they sell.

Skill Level: Advanced intermediate. Doors were custom which meant there was no simple door with jam to install. Jams had to be built, track cut, spacers installed. The closet organizer was intermediate level assembly. If you can put together Ikea furniture, you will be fine. Hardest part of organizer install was getting the main support bar level and the proper height off of the floor.

Critical Tools: Laser level, hammer, screw gun

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Master Bath: Final Product

And after an eternity between the master bath demo and reassembly posts, pictures of a finished product! Well, let’s call it mostly finished. Curtains would help soften the log wall, but that will be a separate post when decisions are finally made.

The master bath has been functional for a month or two now; but we finally got the vast majority of the dry wall dust cleaned off the log walls, new towels (after determining we had our previous towels for over six years) and shower curtain purchased, and the closet door knob installed.

This is not a large bathroom, but it works well for us.

So glad for

  1. The double vanity. It is really nice having two separate sinks so we don’t have to stagger our night time routines.
  2. The medicine cabinets. Why houses built in the early 90s favored larger mirrors over medicine cabinets is beyond us. So happy to have a space to store our toiletries.
  3. The door to the bathroom. Our rental in Loveland had a master bath that was open to the bedroom; exception being the poopatorium. Ridiculous set up, especially if you have one person rising early for work.
  4. The upper storage. This utilizes the void space above the closet and dramatically increases the storage capabilities of the house. We already have our suitcases, Christmas decorations, and a couple of other miscellaneous storage boxes tucked up in this nook.

What we miss

  1. The separate poopatorium. It was nice having the toilet sequestered off so the rest of the bathroom could be used in tandem.

What the (far) future holds

  1. The current tile in the tube is a standard subway tile. Completely functional, just a little boring. Someday, this will be replaced.

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Draperies!

And some of the finishing touches are coming in!

Living room drapes

These draperies were custom made by Best Fabric Store, a fantastic operation out of Alabama. We have been using them as a fabric source for a few years now. They also do custom sewing, and with splitting the time between the two houses, working, and commuting, this potential DIY project was contracted out.

We also selected blackout fabric as the lining. The sun can beat through the southern windows and to reduce solar gain (in the summer) and insulate against the chilly night air (winter) a heavier blackout fabric was selected.

A huge thanks to the Best Fabric Store team. We are thrilled with the quality of the workmanship. And a pat on our own backs for our hidden interior design skills (fabric and living room wall color play off of each other very well).

Fabric: Rockin’ Robin with blackout fabric

Color: Driftwood (Coral selected for master bedroom and not shown)

Size: 2 panels providing 1.85X coverage of an opening ~81 inches wide. Each panel was ~83 inches long

Master Bedroom: Closet Expansion

It is another demo and rebuild post! There seems to be a lot of demo and rebuilding posts (laundry room, master bath), but no posts showing the finished product. That would be a correct assessment. The answer is simple; because no room is completely done yet. The laundry room and master bath have been pushed to a point of functionality, but we still have a FinishingList. Why not finishing the finishing details? Well, we have a move in date in approximately 3 weeks. We want to get the really messy stuff done when we aren’t living there full time. The fine points can be done after we move in, if necessary.

That being said, what is being torn apart this time? The master bedroom closet and a coat closet on the other side of the wall (weirdest location, no where near a door that could be considered a main entrance of the house). The door to the coat closet will be walled in and the wall between the closets will be taken down. The opening of the closet in the master bedroom will be expanded. What can go wrong? Fun surprises like plumbing or vent pipes in the wall to be torn down. We can only wait and see.

No big surprises! A run of coaxial cable and nothing that would otherwise derail this project was found. Dave proceeded to close up the one opening and proceed with his favorite remodeling task – drywall work. Too bad Alex didn’t get to enjoy the giant running loop created by the removal of the wall.

So the question is, what are we going to do with the unpainted space? Built in cabinets. That is for another post though.

Preparation: Remove trim

Critical Tools: Sawzall, hammer, pry bar, beer

Skill Level: Medium – to reduce drywall repairs to the closet opening, you have to be careful with what you take down.

Tip(s): Measure carefully and be judicious in what you take down. If too much is taken down, more work will be created when you have to put it all back up.

Living in a drywall work environment is unpleasant. Sand when the least amount of people are around.

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