- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

ESTES PARK, Colo. (AP) - In celebration of 100 years of trails and recreation, Rocky Mountain National Park officials are encouraging people to enjoy - maybe not 100, but quite a lot - of activities and excursions this next year.

And Julie Nelson of Loveland advocates going further and hiking 100 miles in the park over the next year.

Nelson and her father, Bill Perry, have made a goal to hike 100 miles in celebration of the park’s 100th anniversary.

She is encouraging the community to do so as well.

“It seemed cool that it’s the 100th anniversary. My Dad and I do a lot of local hiking and hiking in the park anyway,” Nelson said. “I thought, wait a minute. I should ask more people to do it, too.”

She said that she knows many people who live close but don’t get up to the park very often. When she goes hiking, she’ll see many license plates from Wyoming, Nebraska or Maine but not quite as many from Colorado.

She wants to remind herself and the public not to take for granted the beauty of the mountains nearby.

“It’s a shame because we’re so close,” she said. “I know people who have lived here for years and have never been up there. Or they go only when they have company in town.”

Nelson and her dad hike around Devil’s Backbone quite a bit and love going up to Sky Pond and Mills Lake in the Rockies.

“I like to hike up there with my kids,” she said.

Her six-year-old son, Alex Nelson, made it to Emerald Lake this year, a 3.8-mile hike.

“I’m going to try to get them up there more this year,” Nelson said.

She hikes frequently in the summer but wants to try to make it into the mountains to do more snowshoeing in the winter this year.

Nelson said her father, despite being 71, is the better hiker among the two of them.

“I have a hard time keeping up with him. He hikes or walks about five to seven miles a day,” she said.

She said that she likes hiking around the golf course at Mariana Butte near her home to clear her head and stay in condition for the trails.

She also said that hiking is a great way to get away from the chores and homework at home to just enjoying being outside with her children.

“Out on the trail, we don’t have to do any lists,” she said.

Her family also hikes with a group of families in Fort Collins called the Nature Tribe, which is a great way for her children to hike in a community of other kids.

Nelson said that as the new year approaches, this is a great time to make a goal like this one for the next year.

___

Information from: Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald, https://www.reporterherald.com/

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