Drowning in Nostalgia at Bear Creek Park

Drowning in Nostalgia at Bear Creek Park
hiking in colorado
Bear Creek

If your mom was anything like my brother’s and mine growing up, she searched for ways to get you out of the house over summer vacation! In hindsight, I cannot blame her. We were in our more formative years, and she wanted to make sure that our growth would not cease for three months just because our formal education did. The Game Boy Advance was also at the height of its popularity, and the risk of us thumb-tapping our summer away was more imminent than we would have cared to admit.

We resided in a notoriously reclusive neighborhood. As our best friends on the block made a piecemeal pilgrimage to other communities, our family sought recreation in the local area. Fortunately for us, Bear Creek Nature Center was a reasonable distance from home. Their week-long children’s day camp provided a literal breath of fresh air.

Nature center employees would give educational presentations, conduct games, and even perform a conservation-themed puppet show at one point. It was like school without tests, which I was fine with. Groups of us kids were allowed to roam the park with adult guides, and even play in the stream. We were prohibited from drinking creek water, however, because of a bacterium whose name none of us could pronounce at the time. One boy found a few flakes of gold, declaring himself a bona fide 49er over lunch break. On Friday, campers and their families would gather in a multipurpose room for a slideshow recap of the week’s events. (I specifically remember part of the presentation being set to “Time of Your Life” by Green Day, as if the occasion were a cheesy graduation or something!)

Rose-colored glasses may play a role in my recollections; I am willing to admit that much. For this past weekend’s hike, I decided to hop in my Hyundai Santa Fe, and rediscover the park for myself. Spoilers: almost nothing had changed. From the amiable employees to the captive bee colony, the nature center had apparently been frozen in time. After a quick survey of its miniature museum, I hit the trail. More specifically, I hit Creekbottom Loop for the first time in years.

bear creek 2
My path from this weekend is traced in orange. (I’ll catch you next time, Coyote Gulch Loop.)

Trees and shrubbery, fed by the park’s namesake, greeted me with outstretched limbs. Most of the Creekbottom Loop’s lower half can best be described as a forest parade procession, with the hikers as the marching band and the greenery as the jostling crowd. Vegetation near the stream can be moderately dense, especially for those who plan on making the trip side-by-side with hiking companions.

Fittingly enough, travelling upward on the map coincided with an increase in altitude. Forest leafage gradually gave way to tall grasses as I neared the intersection of Creekbottom Loop and Coyote Gulch Loop. At this point I had a decision to make. While I had previously planned to walk all three loops in the park, an overcast sky gave me reason to hesitate. Coyote Gulch Loop spanned an open field – not the best place to be stranded during a thunderstorm. When a few sprinkles of rain hit my shirt, I took that as a sign from God to start wrapping things up.

bear creek 5

I began to trek down Mountain Scrub Loop. Creekbottom’s manicured terrain had clearly spoiled me for the morning, because the relatively rocky descent took me by mild surprise. Some creative footwork was required on my part. From a kid’s perspective: it is just tricky enough to be a challenge, but far from perilous. Before I knew it, I was back in the parking lot, wanting more.

bear creek 6

Yes. Bear Creek Nature Center does, in fact, hold up. Everything is obviously smaller from my newfound adult perspective, but their charm factor remains. Taxidermed critters and informational displays within the facility give hikers an indication of what to look out for. Thriving plants and a variety of observable animals greet them outside (under the right conditions, of course). Trail maps are common, functioning like training wheels for novice navigators. People like me, who need a “You Are Here” sign every hundred yards, will certainly appreciate them. It is Colorado hiking – set to level one. I hope to tackle some more challenging trails this summer, but I am satisfied for the time being with Bear Creek Park’s quaint beauty.


This week’s jaunt is brought to you by Phil Long Hyundai Chapel Hills.


Journey Through the Heart of Red Rocks Canyon

Journey Through the Heart of Red Rocks Canyon
My immediate view from the main parking lot, and a precursor of things to come.

In my previous post, I alluded to a weekend hike being planned by some coworkers. I was tentative at first, because accepting the invitation would create a weekend schedule conflict. Writing the first post, however, gave me time to reflect. Procrastination and the prospect of a more solitary weekend were tempting, but eventually my inner wayfarer prevailed. I rearranged my weekend itinerary – on Friday afternoon no less – and was able to make the rendezvous at Red Rocks Canyon Open Space. (Just to clarify: the canyon we explored was Red Rocks Canyon in Colorado – between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs – not to be confused with Red Rock Canyon in Canada.)

Fortunately for our hiking posse, that morning’s weather was in our favor. Partial cloud cover provided shade without threat of storms. Recent rainfall had left the ground just damp enough to be soft. The park’s eponymous red rock formations were blanketed in a healthy layer of foliage. We were able to experience the best of both spring and summer.

The Red Rocks Canyon map, with every available trail laid out, was posted near the parking lot. Our group’s path has been traced in orange (It vaguely resembles a heart, right?).

From the main parking lot, our group meandered up to Red Rock Canyon Trail. The first leg of our excursion took us through the multi-purpose section of the park. Picnic benches and a pavilion had been set up for events. A tranquil lake sat behind it. Across the path, rock climbers scaled the smooth faces of slanted formations. Bands of other hikers and their respective canine companions greeted us as we ascended into the quarry.

I wanted to stop here for more pictures. The group kept trekking onward.
My immediate view from the main parking lot, and a precursor of things to come.

Our course then diverted into my favorite section: Quarry Pass Trail. Perhaps the quarry was my favorite feature because it splits the difference between nature and civilization. Someone, at some point, had shaved the formations, causing them to more closely resemble terraced apartment complexes. A set of stone steps had even been carved into a relatively sheer slope. The quarry exhibited nature in a half-tamed state, and was a welcome change of pace.

It was also brief. Quarry Pass Trail wrapped around a small peak. As we followed it, we plunged into a tunnel of greenery. We soon emerged from the other side, and were afforded a birds-eye view by the combined altitude of the small peak and the quarry itself. It was all downhill from there, but in a pleasant way.

The panoramic view from the apex of Quarry Pass Trail

We caught the Mesa Trail on the way down. Several minor offshoot trails wove in and out of our path. A few from our group opted relish the journey by selectively deviating from the main way. The plant life gradually thinned out along our descent. An invigorating combination of fresh air, adrenaline, and relief drifted through us as the parking lot became visible. We had completed our circuit through the canyon’s heart. Hopefully my Red Rocks Canyon experience will set a precedent for this summer of trekking.


These musings are brought to you by Phil Long Hyundai Chapel Hills: unofficial sponsors of Coloradan wanderlust.

HomeLink available on 2016 Hyundai Cars and SUVs

HomeLink available on 2016 Hyundai Cars and SUVs

Interconnecting the ability to connect your vehicle wirelessly with your home is now available in 2016 Hyundai cars and SUVs through the use of HomeLink.

Phil Long Hyundai Chapel Hills HomeLink 2016 Hyundai Cars
HomeLink integrated directly into your vehicle’s interior!

HomeLink is a vehicle-based wireless control system. It allows the control of your garage door, front gate, home security system, turning on and off the lights in and outside of your house, and even controlling home appliances and electronics, all from the comfort and convenience of your vehicle! Three buttons smartly integrated into the interior of your new Hyundai are all you need to have complete control over all the aforementioned features.

It is extremely easy to connect your vehicle and home through HomeLink, requiring only a few button presses. It works with nearly all garage door and gate opening systems, with a growing list of other radio-frquency controlled devices. HomeLink 5 can even tell you if you left your garage door open or closed, never leaving you worried about the state of your garage door. With seamless integration into your 2016 Hyundai car’s interior, HomeLink blends right in, while being able to control up to three devices, as well as being powered by your its electrical system, so batteries are never needed!

The list of partners and products aligned with HomeLink is ever-growing. It truly is one of the only in-vehicle products that gets more useful the longer you own it.

If you are interested in HomeLink and its ability to control features of your home from your 2016 Hyundai car or SUV, visit Phil Long Hyundai in Chapel Hills today. We will be happy to show you the ropes and answer any questions you may have, see us today!



Explore Colorado on a Road Trip in Your Hyundai!

Explore Colorado on a Road Trip in Your Hyundai!

We may be in the clear from these rouge snowstorms, and now it is a great time to take a road trip and explore Colorado!

Hyundai Road Trip Colorado Springs Colorado Phil Long
Take your Hyundai and Explore Colorado!

Windows rolled down, the convertible top open, sunglasses and tank tops is what makes a road trip! It’s a blast to get your friends together and go on a road trip, whether you are able to get away for an entire week, a weekend or even just a day trip, road trips are a staple of summer time. With winding roads through the Rocky Mountains, Colorado offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States!

Piling everyone into your car with snacks and good music is a great way to enjoy the Rocky Mountains, from up North in Fort Collins, to towns like Estes Park where Steven King got the inspiration for The Shining, to down South in Pueblo with the River Walk along the Arkansas River. If you have a longer time frame to get away, the town of Blackhawk, Colorado has legal gambling and is a great get away for all.

Road Trips in Colorado include the Top of the Rockies, a 115 mile drive that crosses three mountain passes, drops through four watersheds, has views of Colorado’s tallest peaks and even the headwaters of the Arkansas River. The Peak to Peak highway is only half the distance at 55 miles, and is one of Colorado’s most scenic drives. It stretches between Nederland and Estes park, taking you and your crew past the majestic mountains mentioned in “America the Beautiful,” including Longs Peak which towers at 14,255 feet, through open meadows and past small towns along the way such as Ward and Peaceful Valley.

Don’t wait, plan your road trip now! The best way to experience these great roads in Colorado is to get out there with your friends and road trip! Make a plan for an upcoming weekend, with the weather warming up we should be clear of any surprise snowstorms. Take some great photos and share with us, we would love to see you out enjoying your Hyundai!

Blue Link Available on New Hyundai Cars and SUVs

Blue Link Available on New Hyundai Cars and SUVs

Enjoy your drive more while being safer and more attentive behind the wheel with Blue Link, available on all new Hyundai leases and purchased vehicles at Phil Long Hyundai of Chapel Hills!

Phil Long Hyundai Chapel HIlls Blue Link BlueLink Colorado Springs CO
Phil Long Hyundai at Chapel Hills has a large inventory of Hyundai vehicles ready for you!

Blue Link is innovative technology that sends and receives messages to keep you connected at all times. You can access Blue Link using your smart phone, web application or even just the in-car system to locate things like gas stations along your drive or shortcuts to get you to your destination faster, you can also use Blue Link to remotely lock and unlock your car, use it to call for help and much more!

Blue Link is available in three package models, Connected Car, Remote and Guidance. The guidance package offers destination search powered by Google, POI web search and download, turn by turn navigation and SoundHound.

The Remote Package offers features such as remote start, remote door lock and unlock, stolen vehicle recovery, car finder, speed alert and more!

The Connected Care Package has includes the features of automatic collision notification, monthly vehicle health report, driving information, maintenance reminder and many more features.

Learn more about Blue Link at Phil Long Hyundai of Chapel Hills, there’s sure to be a package to fit your wants and needs on your new Hyundai, whether you are leasing or purchasing!