Sunny Colorado has turned into cold and rainy Colorado this week because I apparently brought the Vancouver weather back with me. Not that I mind too terribly, though. A rainy day or two is pretty nice, especially when you’ve chosen to apply to graduate school and are spending an inordinate amount of your time trying to re-teach yourself non-linear algebra and statistics instead of going outside.
One must maintain one’s work-life balance, however, and, being of a particularly biophilic nature, I try to ensure outside time in my daily life. Thus, I ventured out into the strange hazy-rainy weather yesterday to finally do a small mountain in the Boulder skyline, Green Mountain. I hiked Green Moutain’s partner to the south, Bear Peak around this time last year and found it to be a bit heinous. The peak had a relatively long approach (for a small mountain) and an incredibly steep and gravelly final half mile through a burned area. Green Mountain, on the other hand, seems to have benefitted from higher traffic levels (and therefore more trail maintenance) as well as lack of forest fire.
I chose to start at the Gregory Canyon trailhead, just up Flagstaff Rd. from famous Chautauqua. Gregory canyon was the first trail in Boulder where I really experienced magic and I’ve loved taking other folks there ever since I discovered it for myself. (Another favorite is the Big Bluestem trail in S. Boulder- it’s the only trail where I’ve ever found wild iris blooms). The hike up to Green Mountain can be significantly shortened by driving further up Flagstaff Rd. and parking at Realization point, crossing the road, and grabbing the Ranger Trail. My sensibilities, however, called for a loop.
So. I ascended through Gregory Canyon, meeting up the the Ranger Trail appx. 1.2 miles in. There, the trail heads south and begins to ascend the NW face of Green Mountain. It starts out as one of the most thickly wooded trails I’ve experienced in Boulder, but as you begin to gain altitude, it thins out into the more familiar, arid Montane environment. Along the way I was gifted views of both Boulder to the east and the rest of Flagstaff Rd. to the West. The view to the west, however, was slightly underwhelming thanks to the fog of lost souls that’s decided to devour the entire Front Range for some reason.
I’ve been battling a wheeze ever since I returned to Boulder as well, and I’m wondering just what the clouds may be trapping in the air around us. Due to the wheeze, I did not make the walk as quickly as I would have hoped. I had to pause many a time on the way up the fairly steep but doable trail to the summit. OSMP (and I’m sure many others) really has done a wonderful job in managing the trail and it wiggles and waggles up the mountain at a nice pace.
The view from the top was underwhelming thanks, once again to the above mentioned fog, but I took a moment to practice a sitting meditation at the top, which I have been prescribed. I think I was exceptionally tired and must have become extremely still because next thing I knew, I felt the brush of something furry underneath my crossed leg. I practically levitated out of my surprise and I opened my eyes to see a little chipmunk looking up at me from about a food away.
Successfully shaken from my mindfulness, I headed down the front side of the mountain using the EM Greenman Trail to meet up with the Saddle Rock trail- both of which were also lovely.
The loop distance totals about 5.2 miles and I did it in just about 2.5 hours. Five for five would recommend to a friend.