Monday, March 16: Mom and I took our second challenge for elevation gain. We'll have to catch up on the first challenge, or maybe not. We'll see. For now, we'll start here.
We hiked Walker Ranch Loop ... 7.6 miles clockwise with a total elevation gain of 1470 ft (920 + 550). Walker Ranch map and elevation graph provided by Boulder County, Colorado.
Mom and I started at the trailhead at 11am figuring it would be cool enough in the mountains. As it turned out it was great when we arrived, but heated up a bit along the way regardless of some latent snow on the the trail (seen later). Headed out on the trail on the left and returned on the trail on the right (above).
Panoramic vista from very early on the trail.
"Kobi, you're going the wrong way. We need to go up," Mom said, but as you can see I wasn't paying much attention. She had stopped to take pictures, so I got confused.
That's the trail we came up, looking back. These kinds of pictures give a great perspective of distance and terrain.
There's the snow! It was a bit slushy and slippery, but Mom kept her balance. She figured we must be on the North side of a mountain here.
"That's one big paw print." Mom always gets a little nervous for me when she sees such big prints, but truth be told she doesn't know how to recognize mountain lion tracks. Figured it must just be a big dog. We did see a Newfoundland later, but not sure they hiked this part.
The sound of the rushing Boulder Creek here was lovely and refreshing.
Crossing the creek.
Here's were things got interesting. Mom must have missed the trail or a switchback or something and we ended up scaling the mountainside there on the left. Rocky and sandy and a bit scary. It was hard for me to keep traction, but Mom kept saying keep going ... up. So I did. Suddenly we made it to the very well maintained trail and that's how Mom realized she'd missed something. I keep telling her to stop looking at her feet ... look up once in a while! She says she knows. OK.
She loves those rocky mountain configurations and look at that blue sky. Wow!
She loves the long shadows. See her walking sticks there? She needed them on this trip. Definitely made it easier to do the elevation, but she still had to stop a lot to get her breath and rest her legs. I'm proud of her though. She kept going.
While she's stopping and taking pictures, I wander ahead. See me there, right in the middle of the snow. That sure helped my little paws. Felt nice and cool.
This is only the fourth person we saw on the trail all day. This guy was definitely not wearing proper footwear. Sandals! But he was trucking a lot faster than we were.
This is what a lot of the "looking down" looked like. Not unusual for hiking a mountain.
More rock formations.
Hiking along Boulder Creek for about a half mile was the most pleasant part of the entire trip. The gurgling song of the water flowing over and around rocks. Shady path. The potent smell of pine. Lovely. But the water level is quite low for all the snow we've had recently.
Almost there. To the right of those trees and rocks on top of the hill is where our car awaits our arrival. Mom couldn't wait, but she couldn't walk any faster. I went on ahead occasionally, but I was tired too.
And I think she was seeing spots. Six and half hours later we finished. We didn't take too many breaks and when we did, not very long. I'm really proud of her and always enjoy our walks.
I slept all the way home and crashed on the couch when we got there. Regardless, it really was a beautiful day.
Thanks for coming along.