I have been looking for locations to shoot the Milky Way and a few places have sprung to mind. Evergreen is such a place.
An area nestled in the Rocky Mountains just 15 miles from Denver, Evergreen has a lot to offer, so we headed that way this weekend to scout the location for a possible capture of the galaxy and to complete our weekly hike. One place stuck out in our minds: The Alderfer/ Three Sisters Park.
About an year ago, while exploring the Evergreen area, we took a wrong turn and ended up driving past Alderfer. We found a herd of deer and watched a pretty amazing sunset in a very quiet and unpopulated area. With all those things going for the park, we made a mental note to come back to it and hike it, but since we didn’t really write the name of the park down, we were at a loss on how to find it.
So we Google Mapped it. And of course we found it.
After a delicious breakfast at the Blue Cow Eatery in Morrison (highly recommend it!) we set out to find the Alderfer/Three Sisters park and see if indeed it would be a good place to capture the Milky Way and hike.
For the Milky Way, it may not be the best place as the park closes one hour after sunset and the galactic core is too low on the horizon to be able to capture it above the barn as I had expected. I will have to find another place.
For the hike, we found a point of interest we wanted to explore: The Brother. One of the two highest points in the park and one of the scenic spots.
Why make things easier?
Looking at the map we decided to park further from The Brother and give ourselves a longer hike and better workout. The trail system at Alderfer is a series of loop trails that are short and relatively low in elevation gain compared to our last hike at Bear Lake last week, so we wanted more of a challenge. We are training for the big peaks in the summer.
We got a challenge, all right
I am pretty good at navigating complex subway maps and bus timetables, but when it comes to more traditional forms of navigation, I am utterly hopeless. It’s taken me years to get East and West and I still get confused about which side the sun rises and sets everyday. I tell you this embarrassing fact, to illustrate that some trails systems are not dummy proof, even when they look pretty straight forward. It even stumped the hubby who is pretty good at directions.
The issue is the trails are all a series of loops that intersect each other and at those crossroads its not clear in which direction the intersection is taking place. We realized later that we should have checked the compass on our phones, but after taking a couple of wrong turns and ending up back at our starting point, we decided that instead of re-doing the trail in the hopes we would see the trail we missed, we should go with plan B: park at the closest access to the trail and take the short way up.
Success: The Brother.
After 2.5 hrs of trails we finally reached The Brother (7,805 ft). One of several peaks in the region. It just happens that The Brother has siblings: The Three Sisters (7,772 – 7,847 ft). There is also Evergreen Mountain peak , the tallest point of the park at 8,527ft which we hope to hike another day. Other than the confusion with the trail intersections, the trails at Alderfer/Three Sisters park are cleared and mostly in soft ground, making it perfect for trail running or a stroll in nature. There wasn’t much snow or ice left since we have had really warm weather in the past couple weeks. Biking, rock climbing and horse riding are also permitted on the park. For more information, click here.
On the way out of the park we ran into a large herd of elk just grazing along the road.