It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean those weeks have been short on adventures.
Two weekends ago I went on my first solo hike in Colorado at Mount Falcon, near Morrison. I was searching for something to do in Colorado for the day and came across a website called Day Hikes Near Denver. The trailhead was only about thirty minutes from Denver (although from Laramie it took me 2 1/2 hours) and was a pretty populated trail, which I wanted when hiking alone for the first time. I left Laramie around 6:30 am and pulled into the almost full parking lot just after 9 o’clock. It was a hot day but the early start helped a lot. There were two great look out points, one of which looked directly over Denver. On my way down from the lookout tower I glanced to my left and found a pair of huge deer eyes starring at me not twenty feet away. I stopped and we looked at each for a while before I realized there was a buck about another ten feet away.
It was a beautiful trail, full of easy sections and uphill climbs that left me gasping for breath. Perfect for a first solo adventure. Afterwards, I hopped over to Boulder for lunch and a trek through a bookstore, which has become a staple of almost all of my explorations.
The following day I went on the hike from hell that ended up being one of the most fun hikes I’ve been on so far. We got a late start on the trail and didn’t head out until about 2pm. This trail didn’t start off being strenuously difficult, but more technical in nature. The path ran along the side of a river, and portions of it were literally ledges of a cliff. It took a lot of trust in my body to climb through some of the more nerve-racking sections.
One of our group members decided to turn back a few miles in and get the car to meet us at the end of the trail. As we marched on it became evident that we were going to be racing daylight to make it off the trail before sunset. We started to push the pace, knowing that the second to last mile would be straight uphill. The path wove up and down beside the river, dipping next to the riverbed before quickly reaching up towards the mountains again. We’ve been keeping track of the flights of stairs we climb while hiking with my fitbit, and didn’t think anything would touch the Med Bow Peak hike. We were wrong.
At one point my friend and I became pretty delirious and the whole thing went from being ridiculous to hilarious. When we finally reached the section that would take us up the side of the mountain (eight miles in) we were spent but in great spirits. My legs screamed the whole way up. Towards the top I was concerned they were actually going to give out. Usually I have to stop to catch my breath, but I had to stop to keep from collapsing. Still, with a smile on my face. We were stoked when we finally reached the top and the last mile took us through some creepy forest straight out of Into the Woods. I swore to myself then and there I would never complain about walking downhill again.
I spotted a sign off in the distance and cheered. My friend asked if I was sure and I’m like, “yeah of course, there’s a garbage can too!” She informed me that the sign and garbage can were indeed tree stumps and I almost fell to my knees in laughter because that’s how far gone we were.
Somehow, when I finally saw a real sign, we garnered enough energy to sprint the rest of the way screaming into the parking lot. This was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time, and it felt amazing. Over ten miles of epic hike. I’m so thankful for these experiences to push myself beyond what I think I am capable of.
Last weekends hike was hot and long, but more tame than my last few. Good hike and good company. I’m planning for a two-hike weekend again, since my opportunities to explore are starting to dwindle. I really need Illinois to get it together and produce some mountain ranges because my home state is looking extraordinarily bland in comparison. Although Wyoming is missing all of my favorite people.