Goodbye Colorado

Yesterday morning we hiked to the summit of Bald Mountain.  A little left of center in the photo above is Denver in the background.

(Climbing to the summit.)

It was a relatively easy hike, ascending as we wound around the mountain rather than going steeply straight up to the top.  The views are magnificent.  To be honest, I don’t think any photo can do it justice.

There is something about making it to the summit of any hike.  It is uplifting in a variety of ways, even when the hike isn’t all that difficult.  There is still a sense of accomplishment (especially for those of us who have height issues).

(At the summit.)

As you can see, we had another beautiful day for hiking.  It was supposed to get into the 90s but I don’t think it did.  Clouds rolled in and out, none of them particularly threatening.

For those of you curious about the new shoes, I finally got a decent shot of them.  Here are my feet in my Vibram Five Fingers, making their way down the trail:

It was the first time I wore them on a hike.  The trail was a little rocky but not too bad.  The best way to describe wearing the Vibrams is that I felt like I was hiking barefoot (which is the whole point) without the pain of actually stepping on the rocks and gravel in my bare feet.

(St. Vrain Creek)

We descended and left the Bald Mountain Scenic Area and took a ride through the mountains to the Ceran St. Vrain Trail near Ward, Colorado.  Last year we stopped at this point on our way to Estes Park to stretch our legs and soak our feet in the cold water of the creek.  M had a small foot injury and this stop was recommended as a good place to put that foot into icy waters and bring down the swelling.  M didn’t get to walk around much.  I wandered off a little way on the trail by myself but didn’t go far.  We decided to go back this year so we could explore a little more since it is such a beautiful area.

The hike starts with a bridge going across the creek.  If you would like to see the bridge and read a little more about the trail and our stop there last year, you can find it here.  It might be worth a look as I tried not to do repeat photos this year.  I’m not sure I was successful but I did try.

The trail takes you through lodgepole pines.  The straight and slender trees were once used as supports for Native American lodges, hence the name “lodgepole.”  They have adapted to grow at elevations above 6,000 feet.  The cones require temperatures between 113 and 140 degrees (F) to melt the resin that bonds the seeds to the cone.  In other words, they are dependent on fire to replace themselves.

The mountain pine beetle infestation has had a big impact on the lodgepole pines.  Falling trees are among the risks of hiking and camping in the mountains because of the beetle infestation and the large number of dying trees.

We didn’t hike for very long.  About a half hour or so, I think.  Then we headed back to where we started to have a picnic lunch by the creek.

We sat on a rock, munched on our sandwiches and salads, and enjoyed the serenity and beauty of the place.  I could have sat there for hours and hours, but we had other things to do, some of which involved arriving at a certain place at a certain time (picking up M the Younger from work, for instance).

We stopped at Boulder Falls on our way back to the Boulder area.  It appears to be a popular spot.  The falls were once referred to as the “Yosemite of Boulder Canyon.”  That’s a bit of a stretch, I think, but it is a beautiful waterfall.  (I posted a photo of the Yosemite falls here if you’d like to see it, compare, contrast, etc.  It is an old post of mine at Bountiful Healing.)

And now it is time for us to head back home.  I have enjoyed my stay in Colorado.  I can easily see myself living here.  I cannot imagine ever taking all of this beauty for granted, no matter how many times I see it.  I hope we will get back this way again someday.  I am also sorry to be saying goodbye to M the Younger and Merdi.  It was great to be able to spend time with them.

(Last evening in Colorado.)