Ok my goal with this post is to catch up on my back log of hikes that I did in December, it was both busy and slow hiking wise by my choice.
We actually started out so strong and got a 3rd hike in 4 days done on 12/1/13. We hit Green Mountain in Lakewood CO ( hike details here)and just enjoyed a nice quick 4 mile hike to get a good stretch of our legs after the nice hike we had the day before. It was super nice outside and the trail was pretty busy> which I think is normal for the weekend. I have started to notice something bizarre about this parking lot… the bikers, and there are a lot of them, totally don’t care about getting hit by the cars coming in/going out of the parking lot or hitting the hikers/joggers that are trying to make their way to and from the trail. They just ride around the parking oblivious to anyone else using the park. It’s completely annoying, especially when you are trying to pull out but one strange biker just keeps doing little loops right behind your car…. or get into a spot while one zooms in front of you. Outside of parking lot stress, the hike itself was lovely!
That first week of December was almost record cold in Colorado and on Saturday 12/7 the high was a hopeful 4 degrees. Knowing that I would get limited opportunity to hike this month, we bundled up and went somewhere close but challenging – Mt. Falcon. We had received some snow a few days before with all the freezing temperatures and knew that the window to hike comfortably with sun was limited. We actually started at 10AM and took a little over 4 hours to just go the normal 8.5 miles up and down the Castle view trail. The snow and cold really impacted our usual pace. It was so cold in fact that at one point( even though we would clear our water tubes after every drink) we had to melt our tubes with my freaky hot hands…. don’t ask I barely passed pie making in culinary school because of them(one of those blessings/curse things). We had almost the whole trail to ourselves with some cheeky deer for company . There was about a foot of snow on the trail in the beginning and it got deeper as we went higher, which is where we actually saw the most people, like 6 total…all day. There were a couple of people snowshoeing, something I haven’t done yet and I was fascinated but also a little confused because the snow didn’t seem all that deep. I am so renting some soon so I can try it out! Overall it was a tough day to hike but still felt great getting out, even if it did take me a day or so to warm back up.
My birthday gift to myself was a new tattoo… so I planned on taking the day off before I got said tattoo to get my last hike in for a couple of weeks. I got to hike solo for the first time ever and I have to say I didn’t hate it. It was interesting to see how I drove myself without anyone else around motivating or inspiring me. I went to my favorite standby Deer creek canyon( hike details here) I didn’t go as fast as I might have other times but I wasn’t a slacker either, I just did 6.8 miles in around 2.5 hours. The day was beautiful but the snow and ice were annoying, fortunately I did have traction devices for my shoes(even though it took me 20 minutes to get them on without my usual assistance) that helped me keep a nice pace. I also just had a great attitude, I mean what a better way to start a long weekend then hiking? Oh and my new tattoo…. AWESOME!!! I mean seriously my tattoo artist rocks! If you find yourself in Colorado and want an excellent tattoo see Piotr at Godspeed he is amazing!!! The other huge impact to my attitude…. the night before my girlfriends surprised me and whisked me away in a limo for a night on the town to celebrate my 40th birthday. It really brought things in perspective for me and just helped me appreciate the wonderful life I have. Thank you Ladies, you have made my 40th year in life start out better than perfect!!!
After 2 weeks of no hiking while my super awesome tattoo healed( so worth it), this morning I was anxious to get out and get some miles under my feet. But not just that, I wanted to try out my new prize, a true backpack. Yep my Christmas elves(or cats) picked out this bad boy for me…. them or the great staff at REI, it’s a toss-up. Either way, my new challenge for 2014, outside of losing the rest of my weight, is to try for my first backpacking trip. This morning we decided that NightHawk Trail at Hall Ranch ( hike details here) was a perfect place to get a feel for my new pack and it was an easier trail that had the challenge of distance if not total altitude gain. I have to say the hike itself was pretty awesome with lots of deer all over the place as company, wearing the new pack not so much. It was awkward and I hardly had anything more than water in it. Apparently it is like learning to hike a whole different way, I swayed when I didn’t want to, my balance was off and my knees and hips were throwing around curses I haven’t used myself….. EVER. At one point it felt like my ankles were hand cuffed! I still love this trail and know I will do it again and again, maybe even when the sun it out one time since we have never had it as a hiking partner on this trail…. but now I am sitting here with angry hips and knees thinking about when I can get out again with my new pack. Life it pretty awesome in Colorado!