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Dotsero Crater, click here 0

Dotsero Volcano in Colorado

Dotsero is the only “active” volcano in Colorado, USA. It’s a short drive north of the Interstate 70 Dotsero exit, #133 in Western Colorado. The last eruption was over 4000 years ago but it’s considered active because the last eruption was less than ten thousand years ago. Even though it’s officially “active” it’s really “dormant” or “sleeping”. Looking into the crater, there’s no sign of volcanic activity. No lava, no steam. If the Internet didn’t tell me it’s a volcano, I would have never known.
I drove to the volcano headed west on I 70 from Exit 251 in Evergreen, Colorado. To get there:
Drive west and take exit 133 from I 70. At the end of the exit, turn north (right if headed west on I 70) then turn east (right), continue past the “No Outlet” sign.

About .7 miles from the exit, you will arrive at a bus stop shelter on your left and a trailer park on your right. Turn right on the road behind the trailer park. Note there is a front and back entrance into the trailer part. Don’t turn into the back entrance. Road 8460 is behind the back entrance to the trailer park. I did not see signs indicating I was on 8460.
Shortly after getting onto 8460, there is a danger sign, “Heavy Load Trucks Have Right Of Way”.
If you see this sign, you are in the right place.

Follow the road for 1.4 miles from the trailer park to the crater.
Some Internet postings say the hike to the crater is three miles. It’s not. It’s only 1.4 miles each way from the bus stop if you decide to hike.
High clearance four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. The road is pretty rough in spots, especially at the start of the road right after the Danger sign. I attempted to drive my truck in two-wheel drive mode and got stuck. After putting it into four-wheel drive mode, the road eased up a bit and I didn’t have any problem making it to the crater. The road is bumpy but a determined driver MAY be able to make it without a high clearance 4WD. If you’re looking at other internet postings, you’ll see some non-4WD drive vehicles were able to make it to the crater, others weren’t able to make it all the way.
My original plan was to drive part way up and hike the rest of the way but I was at the crater sooner than expected. When I arrived, it was quite hot and I was the only one at the crater. There is a trail going down into the crater that starts near the Castle Peak kiosk behind the fence.

I attempted to hike into the crater but abandoned my attempt because of the loose gravel and the steepness of the trail. I was concerned that if I made my way further down, I wouldn’t be able to get out. I did see the YouTube video where a guy slid down on his read end. I never did see the video of him getting out. Since he posted the video, I assumed he managed to make his way out of the crater.

Instead of hiking into the crater, I hiked the road along the fence and beyond until the road ended.

I didn’t measure it, maybe it was about a mile or less each way from the kiosk.

There are telephone poles along the road before and after the crater. I wouldn’t say Dotsero is wilderness.
As I drove back down to the trailer park, I did encounter another car on the way up. The other car stopped and we were able to pass each other. We were lucky – the road was not always wide enough for two cars. I didn’t notice the make of the vehicle, but it didn’t seem to be high clearance. Other than the other car, I was the only person on the volcano.
Overall, if you drive to the crater, it might not be a suitable hike for some people. There’s not much hiking near the crater. Going into the crater was too slippery and steep for me. I called BLM before going to Dotsero. They said because of the steepness, it could be dangerous for some people to hike into the crater. Other’s may find hiking into the crater less difficult. There isn’t a trail that goes all the way around the crater. If you want a hike, park at the bus stop and hike up to the crater from there. If you want to drive to the top, a decent 4WD should do the job without difficulty. I wouldn’t recommend driving a fragile 2WD sedan to the crater.
I went to Dotsero for the experience. Now I get to brag that I went to the top of Colorado’s only active volcano.…

Updated Maxwell Falls Trail Report

Maxwell Falls trail is a popular hiking trail near Evergreen, Colorado. Unfortunately, it’s a very popular trail. The trail is crowded and parking can be difficult. Fortunately, I was prepared for both. I arrived at the trailhead before 7:00 AM on Saturday, June 27, 2020. I hiked the trail again on August 7, 2021. The parking lot was already starting to fill up (both times), but there was still plenty of parking available. If I arrived much later though, I would have needed to park on the road.

To reach the trailhead, turn southwest on South Brook Forrest road from Colorado Highway 73. The intersection is a short distance south of Evergreen Lake. Drive 3.6 miles on Brook Forrest road. There will be two parking lots on the left. The lots are next to each other so either one will do. The trailhead is at the first lot.

The hike to the falls from the lower trailhead is about four miles round trip. The difficulty will depend on the hiker’s physical conditioning. For most people, I would rate the difficulty as easy to moderate. There were many young children on the trail and they didn’t seem to be struggling. The trail starts uphill, then goes downhill, then uphill again so be aware that portions of the hike will be uphill going out and coming back.

On my Aug 2021 hike, I used the Alltrails GPS app on my Android phone. The app is free as long as you have a cell phone signal on the trail. There is a cell phone signal at Maxwell Falls. For other trails, if there is no cell phone signal, you will need to pay an annual subscription to download offline maps. Since there was a signal, Alltrails showed me exactly where I was on the trail and it let me know when I was at the falls for free.

Since I started early, it was cool going out and warm coming back (both times). Most of the trail is in the shade so it wasn’t too warm on either hike.

There are a couple of loops and side trails. I decided to stay on the main trail and hike directly to the falls. About halfway up, there will be a fork in the trail. When you get to the fork, take the right fork. The left fork will be a distinct turn to the left, the right fork is mostly straight. The left fork will say Upper Maxwell Falls, the right fork will say Cliffside Loop. Don’t let the signs fool you. Follow the metal Cliffside Loop trail sign. After the first sign, there will be wood signs directing you to Maxwell Falls. Follow the wooden signs to Maxwell Falls.

Keep following the signs to the Falls. The falls are really easy to miss as you can’t see the falls from the main trail. The trail will continue past the falls. You are at the falls when the trail takes a sharp turn to the right and reverses direction. I hiked the trail several years ago and missed the falls entirely. You will need to step off the main trail to see the falls from the top. When you step off the main trail, you will encounter cliffs and boulders so be careful.

I decided not to do the entire loop. When I reached the falls, I took some photos and headed back.

On the way back down, I saw a sign directing hikers to the falls. I missed the sign on my way up. On my second hike, I was looking for it but missed it again. The sign is on the left as you are headded up. The sign is immediately before the trail turns to the right. The falls can be reached from the side trail. Follow the side trail for a 100 yards and you should be able to see the falls from the bottom. The trail going to the bottom of the falls is very steep and rocky. Inexperienced hikers may have difficulty walking down to the falls and climbing back up to the main trail.

Total hiking time for me was about five hours but I am a very, very slow hiker. Most people should be able to do the hike much quicker than me.
Maxwell Falls is a really beautiful hike but don’t expect a really big waterfall. People before me described the falls as a trickle. It was a little more than a trickle, but not much.

If you don’t mind crowded trails, I highly recommend the hike. I do NOT recommend Maxwell Falls if you expect solitude. The trail was very crowded when I went on my hikes. Lots of people and dogs of all sizes. Large dogs to Chihuahuas and toy poodles. Your dog will probably enjoy the hike and meeting other dogs.…


Working is Better than Not Working

A few months ago I was offered a short term temporary work setting up new laptops. The role was very junior to what I had been doing in the past. I previously worked as a well paid Senior Applications Support Engineer. The temporary job came with no benefits and paid less than half of what I made in my senior role. I accepted the temp job because I believe working is better than not working. I reasoned my resume could say I peformed short-term contract work since my last job.

When that assignment turned into another assignment, I updated my resume to say I was working on short term contracts (plural). Then I was offered another short-term assignment, then another and another. I was able to update my resume to reflect I’ve been working short-term contracts from September to February. The assignments got longer. Still barely worth my time, but my resume is now able to reflect recent employment.

My most recent assignment lasted more than nine days from May into June. Now my resume shows a work history from September to June.

When I’m not at work on my contract, I’m applying for jobs.
One job I applied for was a combination systems administrator/help desk role. It asked for specific experience imaging computers. Imaging computers is something I’ve done in the past and something I could do in the future. But it was difficult to find a good spot on my resume to put the experience. On my short-term contracts spanning several months, I imaged computers almost exclusively. I was able to put that on my resume.

It was the last bullet I needed to demonstrate I had ALL the skills and experience the employer required.

I got the job. By accepting a low-paing junior technical job that paid less than unemployment insurance, I acquired the last bit of experience needed to get a well-paying, senior technical job. A low paying one-day assignment turned into multiple assignments lasting multiple days. It enabled me to fill a gap on my resume. It gave me the experience I needed to get a well paying long-term job. …


Be a Life-Long Learner. It will Pay Dividends.

I upgraded my computer recently but I wanted to keep the old one around and use it as a back-up. That meant sharing files. Specifically, I wanted to be able to access my job search records from both computers. I wanted to be able to share job search and other files between my old and new desktop, my Windows laptop, my MacBook, and my Windows tablet.

I knew about Onedrive and determined it would be a good solution to what I wanted to accomplish. I knew I could share files with Onedrive but didn’t know about its syncing capabilities. Actually, I discovered Onedrive doesn’t share files very well. I discovered Onedrive is really designed to sync files. Syncing and sharing are different. I learned Onedrive doesn’t sync files with odd characters in the filename such as “~”. I bet you probably have a bunch of them. Onedrive doesn’t sync .pst or .tmp files either. Over a few weeks, I learned a lot about Onedrive. I learned how to check the sync status and I learned how to determine which folders are being synced. I got Onedrive working quite nicely on my multiple computers.

Then an agency hired me to work on a project involving desktop computer upgrades. The process is to ensure the users’ files are synced to Onedrive, replace the old computer with the new computer, then sync the files from Onedrive to the new computer.

My newfound Onedrive skills came in really, really handy. I didn’t need to build a new body-of-knowledge. I was able to “hit-the-ground-running”. Without my new knowledge, it definitely would have taken me much longer to complete the deployments. I would have needed to spend a bunch of time googling and calling tech support.

I began my home Onedrive project as a means to make my home computers work better. I had no idea that my new Onedrive knowledge would help me to do a better job at work.

It’s been a while since I’ve had full-time work. I work contracts because contract work is better than no work. Contract work helps to fill gaps on my resume. When I’m not on a contract, I spend time on continuing education. (Did you know if you have a library card, you may be able to get classes for free?) I spend time taking on-line classes and spend time maintaining and upgrading my home lab. When I’m not working a paid job, I work at home to keep my skills sharp. Education doesn’t need to be costly. Not having an education, and not having up-to-date skills IS costly.

I am a server guy. I’ve been managing server infrastructure for most of my adult life. The contract work I’ve been doing is desktop work. Desktop experience can come in handy even though I’m a server guy. More on that on another blog.…

My New Baha – Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

I am nearly deaf in my right ear, and since my ear canal is clogged, a traditional hearing aid won’t help. If it wasn’t for my clogged hearing canal, I would have nearly normal hearing in my right ear. In 2017, I had surgery to drill in a metal abutment into my skull near my right ear.  Three months after my surgery, I received a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (Baha) that snaps into the abutment.With the device, I am now able to hear normally through my skull. The hearing aid comes with accessories that work over Bluetooth.  They enable me to use my hearing aid with a mobile phone, hear streaming audio over Bluetooth, and hear sounds via a remote microphone.  See my YouTube video describing my experience.…

backup where to get pictures 0

backup where to get pictures

Images make websites more interesting and more appealing. As Carl Sagan would say, there’s billions and billions of them. And they’re easy extract and use on YOUR website.  Bad idea.  Using others’ pictures can get you into trouble.  Fortunately, there are a bunch of sites that have images that are free for the taking.  Public domain, expired copyrights, free for personal use (but not commercial), free for anyone to use (including commercial), etc..  Some images require attrition, others don’t. Bottom line: When you extract “free” images, make sure they are free for YOUR purposes.  That said, there a multitude of sites to get free images. Some require you to sign up, others don’t.  Some sites say “free images, just give us your email address”.  As soon as you give ’em your email address, they present you with a price list. I have a special address that I use for signing-up.  I use the special email address and get the confirmation. Otherwise I don’t monitor my special email address. Remember, when you give them your email address, you are saying “in exchange for free pictures I agree to accept all the spam you and your business partners will ever want to send me”.

So here are the picture sites.  Don’t forget to read the fine print before you use any of the pictures.

12 best places to get free images for your site

12 More Unique Places to Download Free Photos

14 Amazingly Free Stock Photo Websites

30 More Websites To Download Stock Photos & Royalty-Free Images

Free images and pictures

Where can I find free public domain images and pictures?

Individual sites (some have free and paid images):

This is a good site. It has a sign-up option but no sign-up is required if you’re willing to put up with a captcha when you download:

This has an option to sign up for a newsletter, but it’s not required:

Flickr is a good resource

Fair resources for photos

Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.

Images are pretty good but needs signup: