Winter trifecta

Last Sunday I hiked Boulder’s three tallest peaks from south to north—tallest to shortest—with the Boulder Hiker Chicks, an awesome local hiking group that I discovered this fall. We covered over 11 miles and 4200 ft of elevation gain in about 8 hours.

This is the kind of hike that sort of makes you feel like a badass. Until guys in shorts run past you. On multiple peaks.

We had perfect weather—clear, sunny day, blue skies. It was cold when we started and chilly if you stopped moving for long, so we never sat down to eat snacks or anything crazy like that. Eat as you go.

I totally loved this hike and this whole day. It was so beautiful out. We had amazing views. We didn’t see too many other people. Except all those runners who do this in shorts.

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The sun had just come over the horizon when I dropped off my car at Chautauqua where we were finishing. Then I got a ride from there to the trailhead with another hiker chick.

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Waiting at the trailhead for the last people to arrive. It was 12 degrees, and really too cold to be just standing around. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long.

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Some of you may remember the fires here the summer of 2012, that summer that we were here for three months. Remnants of that fire.

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Final push to the top of the first peak!

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We made it! The view from 8549 feet.

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The view toward Bear Peak (the pointy one) and Green Mountain (the one to its left), where we are headed next.

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Nearing the top of Bear.

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We were hiking at our own speeds, so we were all kind of spaced out by this point. The front-runners had waited for us at the top of South Boulder Peak so we could do a group photo, but as soon as we did the pic, they left, and those of us who had just gotten there hung out a bit taking pics. So when we got to Bear Peak, several of our group were already on top and about to head down.

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Our fearless and awesome leaders.

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Looking down Bear to Boulder.

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On our way to Green now.

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And somehow I didn’t get any pics on my real camera at the top of Green. Chalk it up to exhaustion. Someone else took a group summit photo. Here we are on our way back down Green.

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We finished up with a celebratory meal at Chautauqua Dining Hall. Overall, an incredible day.

 

mary otto - Fabulous pictures and write up! Glad you had fun, that kind of exhaustion is so rewarding 🙂January 14, 2016 – 12:26 pm

A Tuesday in January

First DITL of 2016! Yay! It was the first day back to school for Lyle, and my first hike of 2016.

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Well, there’s nothing flattering about this photo but I had to include it b/c I love how sweet he looks lying next to me. Many nights he ends up in my bed snuggled up against me. I will miss this when he doesn’t do it any longer.

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The first of many out-the-window shots of this DITL.

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I drop off Lyle and a neighbor friend in this little parking lot, then they walk over that bridge and onto the school playground. So easy.

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Drove past Chautauqua and the Flatirons as I headed up a couple miles into the mountains to hike.

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This is probably my favorite road in Boulder (is it weird to have a favorite road??) because it’s so dramatic as you start up the steep hill overlooking the city.

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Trailhead…just me and one other car.

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I was planning to hike the loop trail counter-clockwise.

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It descended pretty quickly into a canyon. This stream was only frozen on top–I could still hear water gurgling past underneath the ice.

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Then the trail went up back out of the canyon.

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Less snowy as I neared the top of the trail

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Then I got to a place where the trail split and there was no trail marker. Very confusing, but I picked the trail I thought was the loop trail and kept going.

However, from this point on, things got confusing. I followed the trail to something that stopped looking like a trail. So I backtracked and took a different trail that went off of it, but after a ways that stopped looking right, too. So then I went back to the first one and tried it again.

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At this point I was wandering around in circles. There were footprints from others but they didn’t go anywhere. Someone else who was as confused as I was?

So I decided I needed to just hike back the way I came, instead of getting lost trying to find the rest of the loop. Then on my way back I passed yet another trail (also unmarked) so I thought, “This must be it!” So I followed that for a ways…

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Until I got to this. Another split. Neither of these really looked like trail under the snow, from what I could tell, and I had no idea where either led, so at this point I gave up on trying to actually complete the loop. I was worried I’d get lost for long enough to delay me getting home in time for Lyle to get home from school. Frustrating, but since I wasn’t sure at all that I was even on the loop trail anymore, I didn’t think I should chance it.

Then as I headed back I got to the original split, which I’d forgotten about, and I am now pretty certain that THAT’s where I got off trail. But I was worried about time at that point, so I just kept going back the way I’d come.

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Nearing the end (beginning).

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Now there were more cars at the trailhead. Even though I didn’t get around the whole loop, I still hiked 7.7 miles, with 1575ft of elevation gain. (How many of those miles were wandering around lost?!? I don’t want to know.)

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Switchbacks on the way back down.

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My cats usually come down to greet us when we come in the door, so I was prepared with the camera when I walked in.

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Starving! And exhausted! Hunger won out, so I started some rice.

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Trader Joe’s Indian food…we love these. You can probably tell.

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While the food was cooking, I ran up to take a shower.

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Then lunch! No time for a nap, even though I was SO exhausted.

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Guess who’s home!

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He tells me all about his day.

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Then he starts eating. A lot.

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I was downloading my photos to work on them. Hey, cat, you’re in my way.

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Spy cat

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Then Lyle’s friend called to invite him over for a bit. Since it was cold and dark, I drove him instead of walking.

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Always a lovely welcome home.

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Home again and showered.

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Owen Meany waiting for me on my bed, where I joined him not long after Lyle went to sleep.