Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Big Hike

It's 8:15 on Wednesday morning and I'm still in bed, watching the snow falling outside our big windows.  Ben is beside me reading about last night's State of the Union address on his laptop and I presume that Paul is asleep in his basement teen heaven.   

It's set to snow 2-4" today but that's not why we are getting a slow start.  Paul doesn't start school today until noon since all the teachers are needed to proctor a practice ACT test being given to the Junior class this morning, and Ben and I are resting from a big hike we did yesterday.  Soon enough we will all be up and about, but for the moment we are luxuriating in the peace of this snowy morning. 

The big hike of yesterday was the Mesa Trail, "the pride of Boulder, the central artery of one of the finest hiking trail systems in the US.   This rolling diverse trail runs 6.7 miles stretching between Boulder and Eldorado Springs with connections to nearly all canyon trails along Boulder’s Front Range."  ( Trail Girl )

You can see how it hugs the Front Range on this map.  We started at point 18, leaving a car at the South Mesa Trailhead, hiked to point 1, Chautauqua Park, and then walked the half mile 6th Street (to the left of point 1) down to our house.  

Here's another description of this trail:
The Mesa Trail is the main artery along the foothills of Boulder. This trail runs north-south between Chautauqua Park and Eldorado Springs and is intersected by most of the mountain trails of the area. Although there is no real elevation change from its northern point to its southern point, there is plenty of elevation change along the way. The trail climbs and descends again and again along its entire length, so be ready for a good workout. This trail is well maintained and spends most of its time right at the base of the foothills in coniferous forest. All along the trail are beautiful views out over Boulder City and the eastern plains. (Total Boulder)

We had done this hike about twenty years ago and it was fun and memorable.  We planned to do it again this spring or summer, but we didn't plan to do it yesterday.  As sometimes happens with us, we got going on one hike and when we got to a trail junction we decided to "just go a little ways" up that trail.  That's what happened yesterday.  We started out on the Homestead Trail, decided to go up the Mesa Trail for a bit, and then thought "let's go for it."   There was a dusting of snow on the ground in most places and patches of mud in others, but it was a beautiful sunny day, we felt good, and there was nothing on the calendar, so why not?  

Well, having a trail map would have been a good idea!  We added two additional miles to the trip by mistakenly taking one of the side canyon trails down, down, down to the east which meant we had to go back up, up, up to get back on the Mesa Trail.  I wasn't happy.  But once we were back on the trail my good spirits came back as we enjoyed the lovely scenery.  The ups and downs were hard work in the patches of yucky mud and there was one long scary descent down a steep ice covered mining road, made possible only by the Yacker Tracker chains we put on our hiking shoes.  

But we made it and we enjoyed the adventure, getting back home just in time to pick Paul up from school.  We dropped him off at home and drove back to get the car we had left at the trailhead, stopping off at Backkcountry Pizza for a well earned burger and beer.  

Doesn't Ben look in his element?  He had a great day! So did I but my body was sore.  Later that night, after Ben had gone upstairs to bed, I told Paul it was about bedtime.  "No way," he laughed, "It's only 8:45!"  And indeed it was!  I could have sworn it was at least 10:00.   


  1. Well, you hiked about 10 miles total?? That cements it. We aren't strong enough to live in CO.
    Who stayed in today because it snowed about 3 inches and was icy

  2. While you were hiking I was playing golf. It takes about 4.5 hours to [briskly] play 18 holes on a championship level course, so it is an endurance sport even if you are riding in a cart. There is a lot of hiking back and forth to your ball--uphill and down. My partner had a fitbit and said we walked over 30,000 steps. That's about 12 miles, I think. I am tired, too.


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