3, 9, 12, 17 August
Like all parents, mine indoctrinated me. They planted the seeds. They fertilised the seeds.
They took my brother and me hiking on many Sundays in our youth. When our friends and family were in church pews in Bible Belt Indiana, our family was out hiking the trails of the state parks of Indiana.
My brother and I would race ahead, sweating and swatting bugs in the humidity of summer or kicking through thick leaves in fall. We were always instructed to wait at the signposts at the next trail junction. When our parents caught up, my Dad would unfold the map and show us where we were and where we could go.
This all helped to instill in me a love of maps and the great outdoors. (It didn’t really stick for my brother)!
So hiking with my Dad goes way back to the beginning. It has been great to get in a lot of hikes with him on this trip, too. Many of the hikes we’ve done will be the last time my Dad ever does the hike because he is becoming more uncomfortable on steep trails or trails with lots of rocks or a slippery surface. So we’ve been kinda doing my dad’s ‘final hike’ bucket list over the past month.
Enjoy the pictures from these hikes below and don’t be too jealous of all the gorgeous scenery 🙂
3 August – Monarch Crest Trail – 10 miles – Elevation gain: approx 750 feet – High point: just below 12,000 ft
The Monarch Crest Trail runs from Monarch Pass to Marshall Pass. It is extremely popular because there is little elevation gain required to get above treeline and fabulous views. It is always on the list of top mountain bike rides and is easy enough that you’ll even see families with kids under 10 out on the trail. It does mean as a hiker that you have to step off the trail a zillion times to let bikers go by, but almost everyone is friendly and polite and will thank you for stepping off the trail. It’s worth it though for the views.
9 August -Ptarmigan Lake Trail – 6.8 miles – Elevation gain: 1620 feet – High point: 12,300 ft
This is another really nice hike up Cottonwood Canyon out of Buena Vista. It gently ascends from the parking area through forest, two boulder fields and then past two lakes as you climb through willow thickets and up above treeline.
This was a last hurrah for my dad on this hike, too, as he now finds the boulder field crossings very precarious. So it was very nice to accompany him on his final hike of this trail. The views were gorgeous, the guys got a nice, long float at the lake with such an outstanding setting, and I continued up the trail to the saddle to look back down on the lake where my dad and the guys waited.
The trail is extremely popular, but we were lucky to have the lake to ourselves due to our early start. We passed tons of people on the way back down. There were 25 cars parked along the road when we got back to the trailhead (there were only 3 other cars there when we got there in the early AM).
12 August – Browns Canyon National Monument – 2.5 miles
A short nice hike through big granite boulders down to the Arkansas River where the guys got to have a nice float.
17 August – Turkey Rock – 2.5 miles – Elevation gain: not a lot – high point 7500 ft
We had plans for another high altitude lake hike but the weather had other ideas. So we drove down and wandered around the Turkey Rock area during the morning. We somehow missed the rain, but the high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Range remained in cloud.
So Turkey Rock was the end of our hiking adventures for a couple weeks. My brother and his girlfriend arrived for two weeks on Friday the 19th. Perhaps in the last few days before I fly home we’ll get a chance for another hike or two.
All of these hikes built my confidence that my body can now do much more physical activity without repercussions. I wanted to really see what I could do though, so on Thursday I planned a big hike. My mom religiously eats at a pizza place every Thursday because of their drink specials and there is no budging for her on that. I can’t eat anything there, so Thursday the 18th (my anniversary of 21 years of living in Oz) seemed like the perfect day to see if I could push my body even more….