Not every experience is stellar, this is one of those not so stellar trails. This post might sound sanctimonious; I don’t mean for it to be, I just want to share my honest thoughts.
It is different here. For the most part, Dustin and I stayed in a Northern Colorado bubble for our first several years here. We ventured out of that bubble a few times, but when we did venture out, it was mostly west, and hardly ever south. I am not complaining about that; each of our trips has given us a lot of happy memories. Instead, I am pointing out the fact I was a little naïve about what I might find in other areas of the state. This area is a whole ‘nother animal.
Like anything, there are positives and negatives. Our views off our deck are incredible; we have gold medal streams in every direction; less than three miles from our place is two reservoirs full of brook trout; and, finally, Dustin can archery hunt close to home. Perhaps it is just the uncomfortable, newbie thing going on; maybe I just need to seek out places further off the beaten path, but my first few hikes and ventures into the Springs have me so ready to get back north of I-70.
While Spruce Mountain was great, Mount Herman…not so much. Your worst thoughts about USFS land come to life here. The “No Shooting” signs rife with bullet holes serve as a perfect metaphor for this area off of Mount Herman road. Graffiti covered rocks, eroded switch back cuts, broken glass bottles, scattered trash, and torn down trail signs are some of things that overshadowed the beauty of nature that Drake and I sought that day. Positive note: we found a geocache, but left it for the next person since we haven’t taken up the hobby just yet. The hike itself is short with spectacular views at the top; it is also only a stone’s throw from town. Perhaps this is the reason for the “well worn” condition of the trail.
I also have yet to become appreciative of the different vegetation, lack of water, and geologic features found here. While I know I am incredibly lucky to live where I do, I find myself missing the magic of the forests found in RMNP, Poudre Canyon, Rawah, Indian Peaks, and James Peak Wilderness. I find myself nostalgic for the smells and sights of those forests and my beloved glacier carved peaks. It could just boil down to the fact that I really miss the water! I am not accustomed to hiking a trail with ZERO water. The urge to return north of I-70 this weekend is strong, but I am committed to exploring and coming to appreciate our new area. Change is hard, but is also an adventure.
Bottom line on Mount Herman, if you can overlook all the trash and whatnot, head up for the views! The Springs sprawls out to the south, and the Palmer Divide sticks out like a finger to the northeast. The trail was hard to follow in several spots. In all of those spots, however, were cairns. Follow the cairns to the top!