Sunday, March 1, 2020

HIke #9 with an asterisk. When does a walk become a hike?: Pella Crossing

Date: February 29th, 2020
Hike Distance: 3.2 Miles
Location: Hygiene, Colorado. Pella Crossing, and Mill Ditch Loop
Hike Start Time:3:00PM
Condition: Cool, Clear
Total Miles: 36.98

" It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” – Rumi

I feel a little like I'm deceiving my adoring fans by labeling this entry as a "hike"  It was an enjoyable walk, but I don't think hike can be applied to the excursion.  Hiking is generally defined as gaining in elevation during the journey, and walking stays on a relatively flat surface.  This one was definitely flat.

It was a bonus trip though this week because I got done with my morning obligations earlier than I expected, so I thought I'd get in an extra outdoor hike with the girls.  I got home and convinced them to get out of their pajamas and come with me.  I looked on All Trails and in my book for some places to go.  A lot of the ones I thought would be a good distance for the time of day, were reported to be icy, so My wife found a  location that circled some old quarry lakes and looked to be easy enough to complete before sundown.

The trailhead was further than I thought it would be from home, so I spent the drive reading my new hiking book.  I liked the selection of hikes in my first book, but the directions to trailheads and the maps in it were pretty simple and non-helpful, and the distances were super off from what the actual trek ended up being.  I picked up a copy of The book pictured below, and I'm really liking it.  There are lots of different areas around the front range and distances, and they come with full topo sections on the trail maps and show other trails outside of the named ones.

We got to the trailhead and I punched in the hike in the Alltrails app and we started walking. I must;ve bumped something while taking pictures because the app stopped recording my distance for a small leg of the trip.  A little frustrating but not the end of the world. This area used to be a series of gravel quarries that the City of Boulder Open Spaces had been reclaiming into a park.  There were a lot of different birds and it was pretty.  Quite literally a completely flat and groomed trail, but I wasn't really looking for a workout as much as a continuation of a habit of getting outside.

When I walk around places like this I can't help but think about how much money some company made off of the area a long time ago, and how they just left once they had made what they could and left the cleanup to the rest of the world.  I see mine shafts, and whole buildings and factories and quarries and it kind of bugs me.  I'm all for capitalism and making money and finding opportunities, but I guess I feel like if you get to enjoy the fruits of the land you should be willing to take care of it also, and leave it in good condition for everyone that comes after.

We found an awesome climbing tree at the corner of one lake.  Some previous people had even placed a couple of rungs to help getting up into the boughs.  My daughter had fun scrambling up and looking around from up top.

We made it around the first series of lakes and made our way over to a smaller couple of loops around some ponds on the west side of the park.  We crossed the road and started down the trail.  We kept seeing signs for a bunch of the smaller ponds and land right next to the trails being private property.  A quick look on a real estate app made me choke at the local prices a little bit, but considering I wasn't going to buy anything anyways, it was more of shock therapy about the Colorado real estate market.

There was a really cute picnic area tucked in the back of this area that I'm keepin in my back pocket for the summer to come out and BBQ once I get my hammock, and there was a little bit of snow on the ground, but nothing too crazy.

On the return trip, I got to see the coolest wildlife I've spied so far while hiking, in the form of a Bald Eagle flying overhead.  I wasn't able to get the camera out fast enough but it was really cool to see it flying so low to the ground

Not too much else to say.  It was a pleasant walk in a park I didn't know existed, and I got some miles in, but I'm looking forward to doing a more proper trek tomorrow morning.

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