John Laconte

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July 7, 2013
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Beaver Creek wildflowers still in peak splendor

BEAVER CREEK — As of July 1, all of the hiking trails are now open on Beaver Creek Mountain.

But if you’re a hiker, Beaver Creek would urge you not to stop there.

The Beaver Creek Hiking Center is now running the full spectrum of guided treks, from Vail Pass to Buena Vista with plenty of 14ers in between.

“This season has been exceptional for hiking,” says Nate Goldberg with the Beaver Creek Hiking Center. “It’s not every year that the wildflowers are still in full fruition after the all the July 1 openings. The late snow and continued precipitation we’ve been having is really helping.”

Goldberg used to guide hikes in Europe and picked up a few tricks along the way. Among them is an appreciation for gear — shoes and trekking poles in particular.

The importance of poles

“One of the great things about the Beaver Creek hiking center is all the great partnerships we have with the companies that provide our gear,” he said. “In Europe, you see everyone using trekking poles. Here, there’s a perception that you have to be elderly or injured to want them, and it’s really a misconception because you can reduce the impact on your legs by 30 percent by using good trekking poles.”

The Beaver Creek hiking center’s poles are provided by Leki, and they have shoes, packs and rain gear from Salomon.

“A lot of people come here with just a standard pair of running shoes, which aren’t as good because they don’t provide as the same stability on the trails,” Goldberg said.

An excuse to get outside

On Wednesday, old friends Cynthia Bell and Kathleen McNamara got themselves set up with the Beaver Creek hiking center and took a trip up to Beaver Lake with guide Laura Dziadosz.

“I didn’t notice how useful the poles were until the way back down,” McNamara said.

Friends of 14 years, Bell and McNamara said the trip was a way to get their minds off of work while also exploring nature.

“This couldn’t be any more different than where I work,” said McNamara, a municipal bond strategist with UBS in New York.

The visit is McNamara’s second trip to the Vail Valley in the last five months to see Bell, who just started working with Colorado Mountain College in January and is in the process of writing a lengthy dissertation. In March, the pair went snowshoeing at Beaver Creek, which is when they had the idea to try out its summer equivalent.

“It’s all day every day typing for this dissertation, so it’s been a real treat to have an excuse to get outside,” Bell said. “We went to the Nordic Center and they were just so wonderful when we went snowshoeing we thought we’d take them up on their offer to come back in the summertime. Even though we were huffing and puffing most of the way it was a delight, and I’m really happy that we’re here.”

The Beaver Lake hike is between six and seven miles in total, and is mostly contained to the Beaver Creek ski resort area although it does enter into the Holy Cross Wilderness near the lake itself.

But while the on-resort hikes are as Bell described —a delight — they’re only the tip of Goldberg’s iceberg at the Beaver Creek Hiking Center.

“We have special permitting with the Forest Service to run guided hikes up to fourteeners,” he said. “And for the wildflower lover, our Vail Pass guided hike is amazing right now.”

The Beaver Creek Hiking Center is open daily June 15 to Sept. 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended for hikers with something specific in mind and can be made by calling 970-754-5373. For more information, visit"_blank">

“There’s a perception that you have to be elderly or injured to want (hiking poles), and it’s really a misconception because you can reduce the impact on your legs by 30 percent by using good trekking poles” Nate Goldberg, Beaver Creek Hiking Center

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The VailDaily Updated Jul 8, 2013 10:32AM Published Jul 7, 2013 12:27PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.