Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Hike #22: Green Mountain In the morning

Date: July 23rd 2020
Hike Distance: 4.1 Miles
Location: Green Mountain, Boulder, CO
Hike Start Time: 6:00AM
Condition: Sunny, Nice.
Total Miles: 121.2 Miles

It's actually been a while since I did a hike by myself.  It makes em really happy that my daughter and wife have been wanting to join me on a lot of trips, but there's something to be said for the solitude that recharges you.  I read an article about the "Boulder Traverse" that spans the five major peaks that overlook Boulder.  Some crazy people do all five of these in one day.  Maybe there will be a time when that's in the cards but for now, I'm setting a goal of climbing all five of them by the end of the year.


The peaks include South Boulder, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff, and Mt. Sanitas.  I've already got Sanitas and South Boulder done, so I thought a mid-week morning would be a perfect opportunity to check another one off.  This hike tends to be a very busy one on the weekends so it seemed like a good idea to tackle it when there were less people around.
I got up early, and headed out to Boulder.  There are some approaches from the front of the Flatirons that work their way round and to the top, but I decided to do the Western Approach.  It's a little shorter for a hike I needed to get done before work, and I had never actually driven all the way up Flagstaff mountain to the trails on the backside, so I was excited to check it out.


The road is super windy with a million switchbacks from boulder to the top. There were a ton of cool things to check out on the way up.  A very fancy Restaurant, a bunch of areas for rock climbers and boulderers to work out, and a bunch of crossings for the trail to summit Flagstaff.  I made a mental note about how often I'd have to cross a road.  I still want to do the hike, but it's not exactly an escape into nature kind of excursion.

At the top, I found parking super easy next to the road and I as I was checking my bag and gearing up for the hike, I got a couple friends.  three Deer sauntered along next to my car and watched me as I was getting ready.  Wild animals these were not; They basically didn't care about me at all. they munched on their grass and every once in a while casually looked up at me.  I guess I'm not a super threatening presence at the Trailhead.


i bid my new buddies adieu, and hit the trail.  From the topo map it looked like a nice rolling walk that gradually increased in elevation until the very end that had a rock scramble to the top.  I started walking and promptly got to find numerous dog poop bags and even a pair of shoes on the side of the trail.


I'm not trying to get too high and mighty about trash on the trails, but I just don't get it.  Why would anyone think it's okay to bring stuff out here or take their dog somewhere if they're not willing to take the stuff back home too?  I see so many bags of poop all the time.  At first I thought MAYBE people were dropping on the side of the trail with the idea of picking it up on the way back; but I've picked up enough on my return to know that's not the case.


I get it; we're in a pandemic where a lot of the "normal" activities people did are closed or restricted, so a lot more people are getting outside.  I think that's great.  Parks and trails and mountains are for all of us, but there are also a lot of people getting out now that don't really care about these special areas that I hold so dear.  Okay, off my soapbox for now.


This trail was great.  Good mix of trails along edges and good peeks of views of Boulder, and not too strenuous.  There were a couple of offshoot paths that headed over to the back side of Bear peak and Down to the Chautaqua park.  I'll hit those up some day, but today was about the peak.


 The alltrails app wasn't lying about the final push.  the trail abruptly started going vertical with about a 1/3 of a mile to the top.  It was pretty fun and was a good moment that then made you feel like you earned the top.  No one wants a casual stroll to a peak.  there's no accomplishment in that, right?  


There was a couple side trails near the top that were called the Sacred Cliffs.  these looked to be some pretty popular climbing areas but were closed for another week or so for Falcon nesting.  I love that I didn't see any people sneaking into the area to recreate.  i bet these areas though will be full the first day that it's deemed clear of the raptors.  


The top was really cool.  Actually didn't have an amazing view out over Boulder and the rest to the East, but the view to the west made up for it.  There was a really cool plinth on top of the summit rock that was palced almost a hundred years ago by a Boulder Hiking Club.  


There was a really neat brass disc with nubs sticking up representing all the peaks you could see out to the west over the continental divide,  By looking at the sculpture, you could identify a ton of iconic peaks to the north, west and south.  I spent some time here looking at areas I'd hiked previously Like Mt. Bierstadt, and Under Mt. Audobon where Brainard Lake sits.  


There were a couple ladies with their dog hanging out at the top also, and they were super nice.  They struck up a conversation with me, and for the first time I told someone else on the trail about the blog.  If you're out there reading, thanks for a delightful morning encounter, and I hope you keep coming back.  I'm pretty reserved about sharing my blog at this point.  I guess I assume no one would want to read it, but the more I hear feedback form friends and family and even a couple strangers, the more I'm comfortable sharing my stories.  


I lingered by myself for a spell after the girls left in order to get a couple really quiet moments.  I spied Flagstaff Mountain to the North and Bear Peak to the south and felt confident that the five peaks could be mine soon.  Bear Peak seems the most daunting.  After South Boulder kicked my ass, I've heard Bear peak is just as tough if not worse, so I need to ramp myself up for that.


I really enjoyed this hike, and I'd feel comfortable bringing even my flatland friends on this one.  Total it ended up being a little over 4 Miles, and there wasn't anything treacherous or too hard for novices.


The walk back down found me picking up the trash I spied on the way out and depositing a large bundle at the Trailhead.  At least the next person after me wouldn't have to have their walkabout spoiled by other people's selfishness.


I'll be heading out to hike and camp around Montrose, Ouray and Telluride next week, so hopefully I'll be able to come back with some good stories from the Southwest corner of the state for you.

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