Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
For 100 years, Rocky Mountain National Park has stirred the adventurous spirit and satisfied the appetites of explorers seeking the freedom and fun found within nature. Embracing well over 265,000 acres of land that includes rushing rivers, winding trails, breathtaking views of the Rockies, and fresh mountain air. Welcoming millions of visitors per year, Rocky Mountain National Park is the antidote to run-of-the-mill amusement parks. Forget rides, costumed mascots, and fake scenery—this is the real thing and it’s here to stay. If you’re in need of a few ideas to get the most out of your visit, below are 10 exciting activities to make this trip one you’ll never forget.
1. Hiking – Whether you’re a beginner or advanced hiker, the park has over 80 different trails to suit any level of experience. Lace up your hiking boots and choose from five different regions of the park, each with their own appeal ranging from sweeping meadows to backcountry wilderness.
2. Fishing – Enjoy catch-and-release fly fishing, open-lake fishing or ice fishing in one of the many lakes and rivers that Rocky Mountain National Park holds dear (tip: the first weekend in June requires no license or license fee!).
3. Rafting – Experience the rush of whitewater rafting down the Poudre River. Skilled raft guides are ready and waiting to give you a thrill that’s both wet and wild.
4. Wildlife Viewing – Catch a glimpse of magnificent animals roaming free throughout the park. Expect to see elk that are far from camera shy.
5. Horseback Riding – Saddle up and leisurely explore the park on four hooves. Experienced guides are set to take you out on the trails for as short as two hours or as long as all day.
6. Snowshoeing – Get in some wintertime cardio by trekking through the snow-covered terrain. This is a great time to admire the Rockies—they’re even more beautiful when dusted in white.
7. Snowmobiling – Give a whole new meaning to the phrase, “dashing through the snow” and zoom through the powder. The park allows snowmobiling on two miles of the North Supply Access Trail which connects to the town of Grand Lake, then to trails belonging to Arapaho National Forest for 300 miles of snowmobile-ready trails. No snowmobile? No problem! You can rent one in Grand Lake.
8. Kayaking – With a kayak course of their very own, Estes Park has a run about .14 miles long and includes pools and eddies. Bring your own kayak or rent one there.
9. Birding – Grab a pair of binoculars and set your sights on 280 species of beautiful birds. Witness species such as Ruddy Duck, Sage Grouse, Snowy Egret, and many more. You may get lucky and spot a Bald Eagle.
10. Camping – Pack up your tent and sleep out under the stars with your favorite nature-loving companions. Choose from Timber Creek, Moraine Park, Longs Peak, Glacier Basin, and Aspenglen campgrounds.
For the love of the outdoors and all it has to offer, plant memories that will last a lifetime and instill an admiration for one of our nation’s finest parcels of land. We here at Cabela’s know that not only are our national parks and wildlife conservation to be cherished and supported, but so that families and thrill-seekers can enjoy them for years to come.
Here’s to another 100 years.
We all buy tons and tons of gear of ourselves to help enjoy the outdoors. Well, what about our favorite outdoor companion? They don't require much to be outside or too truly enjoying themselves. Yet, there are a few things that could help your best and most faithful bud get to and fro easier and with a little more ease and comfort.
I hope the list below helps you find just what you are looking for this holiday season.
Keep Hiking Forward!
Scott & "Boston"
Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
You’re probably close to finishing Christmas shopping for your family, but did you remember to get your four-legged family member a Christmas gift? Below are some gift ideas for happy tails on the trail.
1. Pet Gear Travel Lite Full-Length Tri-Fold Pet Ramp – Get your dog in and out of the car with ease. The skid-resistant treads prevent slipping, even when wet. Ramp sports a tri-fold design that is easily stored and rubber grippers for steadying the ramp.
2. Cabela’s Rectangle Comfy Cup Dog Bed – After a long day of adventure, let your dog rest in soft, supportive comfort. Surrounded by faux suede paired with plush-tipped Berber and cradled by high-loft polyfill, this bed is what dog dreams are made of.
3. Zuke’s Z-Filets Dog Treats – Reward your dog with these delicious meaty treats that are filled with nutrient-rich rosemary, sage and turmeric.
4. Ruffwear Quencher Cinch Top™ Dog Bowl – Keep food secure and at the ready with this compact, soft-shell dog bowl. The waterproof liner doubles as a water dish for when he’s done eating.
5. Hurtta America Cooling Dog Vest – Keep your dog cool outdoors when the weather gets warm. Simply dip the vest in cool water, wring out and place on your pooch. Vest protects the heart and chest area while maintaining proper circulation.
6. K&H Igloo-Style Lectro-Soft Heated Dog Bed – For outdoor shelters, garages or basements, this 20-watt orthopedic bed heats up to 102°F to aid in sustaining your dog’s body temperature. Ultrasoft PVC exterior prevents moisture absorption for long-term use and the 5.5’ steel-wrapped electrical cord resists damage from chewing.
7. Sentry® FiproGuard™ MAX – Protect your dog from fleas, ticks, lice and mange-inducing mites for up to 30 days with this powerful, waterproof formula. The active ingredient, fipronil, kills fleas and ticks in as little as one hour and destroys adult fleas before they lay eggs.
8. Ruffwear Palisades Pack™ – These lightweight, ergonomic, forward-positioned and weight-conscious saddlebags are built for all the rugged conditions nature has to offer. Pack can carry all your dog’s essentials such as food, water, bowls, treats, first-aid supplies and toys. The built-in Comfort-Fit Web Master™ Harness frame ensures good structure, stability and a balanced load. Its contoured, athletic cut with five adjustment points offer a customized fit that prevents movement or shifting of the saddlebags. Pack includes trail-centric features such as two collapsible hydration bottles, H20 bladder, stash pockets, waterproof zippers, reflective trim and more.
9. Dokkens™ Pocket-Sized Dog First-Aid Kit – Treat your dog’s injuries with a compact kit that includes a skin stapler, self-adherent wrap, gauze pads, nonlatex gloves, alcohol prep pads, povidone iodine pre-pads, suture removal kit (with littauer scissors and 4” metal forceps), first-aid manual and carry case.
10. Cabela’s Deluxe Quilted Backseat Hammock – Keep your car seats clean from muddy paws and wet fur with this rugged, waterproof and machine-washable hammock. Convenient zipper placement quickly converts the hammock to a backseat cover to allow passengers to sit comfortably. The seatbelt sleeve adds extra protection from dirt and water.
Hikers who take their dogs out on the trail know the devotion and companionship man’s best friend has to offer, so why not give him something special under the tree? Give a gift that will have him looking forward to the adventures of 2015.
Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
Colorado’s Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs is now open after being closed since August 18, 2014 for repairs. Located near Colorado Springs, the Manitou Incline is a popular draw amongst hikers and advanced trail runners seeking the intense experience of clearing over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than a mile—beginning at 6,530 feet and rising up to 8,550 feet.
The Manitou Incline itself is the remains of a narrow cable car system whose tracks were washed out during a rock slide in 1990. Closed from then on with the rails removed, locals would (illegally) climb the leftover stair-like ties to make their way to the top. Years later in February 2013, it officially became legal to hike.
If you’re not accustomed to higher elevations of this degree, it’s important to remember that altitude increases dehydration which in turn ruins a perfectly good hike. Before starting out, pick up a hydration pack that holds at least three liters (100 ounces) and drink one to one-and-a-half more liters of water than you do normally. Note that there is no place to refill your hydration pack along the trail, so fill it up completely beforehand.
About two-thirds from the summit, you can exit the Manitou Incline at the bailout to go down Barr Trail if you feel the elevation is too much and need to stop ascending. If you decide to continue, you will experience the steepest grade of the Manitou Incline which reaches 68 percent. A few hundred more feet gets you to the soul-crushing false summit, but just a few hundred more after that leads you to the incredible summit.
From there, enjoy the stunning view of Colorado Springs and the intense sense of pride and accomplishment that every hiker knows all too well.
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