Hiking trails

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My husband and daughter with our dogs under the huge ‘Keyhole’ arched rock. The west side of Loveland can be seen from this point.

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A resting point at the top of the ‘Keyhole’ on Devil’s Backbone trail west of Loveland. The bench felt good after the hike up the steep slope.

The above photos were taken while hiking a trail called Devil’s Backbone, named for the unusual shape and ridges along the rock ledge as it looks like a large backbone. Why it’s called the devil’s backbone, I don’t know, but lies at the top of the trail near the large rock opening called the ‘Keyhole.’  When standing under the arched rock one has a good view of the west side of Loveland. The trail is just one of many that run parallel along the front range in Loveland and Fort Collins for several miles popular with hikers and bicyclists anytime during the warmer months. We took this hike in September. It is a total of 3 mi. up and back from the starting point to the top of the ‘Keyhole’.

Unlike the sport of mountain climbing with people climbing the ‘fourteeners’ (mountains over 14,000 + ft. elevation) here in Colorado hikers are not allowed to climb these huge rock formations and boulders because of the preservation of the natural areas designated just for walking, hiking and bicycling.

Since having my second total knee replacement earlier in the summer I kept up, but with a slower pace than my husband, our daughter and our dogs on the path, over rocks and boulders, up the steep trail to the ‘keyhole,’ using my walking stick. After gaining more strength and balance from weeks of therapy I was able to slowly get back to hiking and walking the trails I’ve enjoyed in our region along the front range.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

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