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Hiking all Over

Me and my husband at the top of Booth Falls near Vail, CO

What a couple of months it has been! With Patrick coming home on the first of July, there was all sorts of visiting to be done. His folks flew out for his homecoming and then one of his sisters flew out about a week later, and then WE flew to the NE for a wedding where we got to see most of his old friends from high school, so that was an interesting weekend! We spent a week in my home town in Arkansas and then we just got back from a week in Avon, CO – and all this is in amongst me working both in the office and from home as I picked up a new part-time job right before Patrick got home. Needless to say, I didn’t find much time for crocheting…

We did, however, go on some pretty good hikes – actual hikes, not just the traipsing around all over the country visiting everyone. Our first hike was close to home, out near Monument.

Mount Herman

We drove up a good way before we actually started hiking, and since the trail itself gave us a gain of almost a thousand feet in less than a mile, it was a pretty good thing we started out part way up or we wouldn’t have made it! I didn’t do much hiking while Patrick was gone and of course he wasn’t used to the altitude out here after a year in Afghanistan, so I think we were both glad we started out small. It was only about two miles round trip and we hiked from 8,157 ft to 8,945 ft so we still got some pretty good views.

View of Pikes Peak

It started threatening to rain on us almost as soon as we started up the trail, but we’re both just a little bit stubborn, so we stuck it out.

View of the Springs

But it was only just barely sprinkling once we got to the summit, so we were able to rest and enjoy the view for a little while before heading back down. Overall it was a pretty good first hike together. We did a few others, including a trek through some of the outer trails at Garden of the Gods, led primarily by a ten-year-old, with some good friends of ours, in addition to a weekend of me re-learning how to ride a bike (it had been about 14 years) where Patrick took me out for a seven mile ride on my second day… But none of this was enough to get us truly ready for the two hikes we went on this week out in the mountains. 

View back towards the valley from the top of Booth Falls

The Booth Lake Trail topped out at 9,894 ft – up from 8,346 in about two miles. It was a moderate hike with some nice open areas as well as steep, rocky slopes to clamber up. There were wildflowers everywhere you looked – enough to make me decide it’s time to invest in a wildflowers of Colorado guide book! We saw daisies and goldeneyes (as well as other types of wild sunflowers) and yarrow and thistles and fireweed and indian paintbrushes and monkshood and sedum and even some tiny little snapdragons (toadflax or butter ‘n eggs)! We also saw some columbines (the state flower), which was the first time I’ve ever seen them growing wild. My favorite flower, though, which was a new one for me, was the Mariposa lily.

Mariposa Lily

There were only a very few of them, but they were a delightful find! I’m definitely going to have to get a book now…

Our second hike last week wore me plumb out. It was less than five miles (laterally, according to gps) but we hiked one of the ski slope trails out in Beaver Creek, called the Overlook Trail, so there were endless switchbacks and it was almost a constant climb. We hiked from 8,050 to 10,198 ft in just over two hours. I’m not sure I could’ve done it much faster than that even if I wasn’t stopping to take pictures every chance I could find an excuse for… There weren’t as many wildflowers on this one, but there were still quite a few and the forests themselves were amazing.

One of the Many Switchbacks

Aspen Trees

My favorite section of the trail was walking through the aspens. There were so many of them the forest seemed to glow. They were also enormously tall, which made it impossible for me to take any pictures that really did them justice. It was beautiful, though.

We saw a little more wildlife on this trail, including chipmunks, a meadow full of birds, and a few squirrels, one of which screamed at me for several minutes before I gave up on getting a better picture of it and moved on up the trail – where we almost immediately heard a girl further up the trail scream over a squirrel that got too close to her. Ah, nature. *smile*

That was the most excitement we had, though, along the way. And the view at the top wasn’t too bad, despite the ski lift and frolf course.

View from the top of Overlook Trail

But by the time we got back down the mountain, my knees and ankles were not very happy with me. And even though that meant no more hikes or even a bike ride, it was absolutely worth it. I mean, just look at all these great pictures I have now!  *smile*

Us on Overlook Trail

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