There is that moment every week when I commit to a trail and I always hope that the weather will let us do it. This week the trail I committed to was too high up after yet another 2 day snow storm on Monday and Tuesday. All week I debated how smart it would be to try it anyway and on Thursday I realized it wouldn’t kill us to wait a few more weeks to attempt it. We needed a good replacement that would be challenging and offer the opportunity to increase mileage easily. I remember thinking that Belcher Hill at White Ranch Park (hike details here) was one I wanted to revisit when there was no snow. It was a gamble that there would be no snow here yesterday and while we did in fact encounter snow, it was really not that bad.
It was like doing this hike for the very first time, the snow on the trail in February made for different challenges then yesterday. The make up of the trail was totally different, there were a lot more rocks to navigate through and where we tried to climb above snow before we were walking through a trench this time. What didn’t change was the amazing views we saw as we climbed up. We actually saw Pike’s peak yesterday while hiking up, unfortunately we couldn’t actually capture it on a camera even though we tried….also there were features of the trail maintenance we didn’t see before like the ramps going up and down about a mile in as we cross over a small stream.
One thing I super love about White Ranch Park is the rocks and the sand/dirt we walk through. I don’t know that I have admitted to my love of all things sparkly, but I have an old Vegas lady inside me battling to get out and cover everything I have in bling. The rocks and the dirt/sand here SPARKLE, like beautiful-glow-in-the-sunshine-I-can’t-stop-staring-at-it sparkle. I can never catch it quite right but I tried with this rock…every 5 minutes I was like oooohhhhh I want to take it home with me:
In the end, we managed to do the full Length of the Belcher Hill trail, got on the Rawhide trail to the West parking and headed to the bathroom there. It gave us an extra mile in hiking and +300 ft in our overall total elevation gain. We had hoped to go further but in the end my feet just could not take much more. Overall it took us 4.5 hours to hike almost 11 miles with a total of 2300 ft in elevation gain. We felt like we were really moving in the beginning and today going down was the hardest part. Also I was reminded that we have to be more diligent with sun screen. In the winter I was fine just putting some on my face but today we were in regular summer levels of sunshine and so back to what we used last summer. Funny enough, my hands are sunburned because I had a long sleeve shirt on and my face is pink but the rest of me is unchanged.
We didn’t take many pictures today and of those we took, for some reason there were very few good ones.