This past weekend Brenda & I hiked up to Bear Peak, one of the three major peaks in the immediate vicinity of Boulder. It was awesome.
Last weekend we had hiked to the top of Green Mountain, and I thought that was gonna be it for difficult hikes for a while, but for some reason Brenda was very excited about doing Bear Peak this past weekend, so far be it from me to decline. I'm still sore from it, but it was great fun and worth every step.
We took the Fern Canyon trail to the summit, and this is a steep ascent (I checked with some people from work, and apparently this is suitably hardcore). In just over two miles of walking, you ascend about three thousand feet. At the top you face a largish pile of boulders that you have to scramble across to get to the very top, and once at the summit you have a 360-degree view of Colorado. We sat up there for half an hour in raging wind, taking in the view. It's like flying.
The view below is looking north from Bear Peak; the big bump in the foreground is Green Mountain, and to the right of that is north Boulder; to the left, the Continental Divide. This view gives you a good sense of how Boulder is tightly nuzzled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
I kept looking east and west, east and west, marveling at the difference between the interminable flatness of the midwestern plains that form one edge of Boulder, and the craggy rocky majesty of the Rockies that form the other. Here's Brenda against the eastern plains, with Denver and its surrounding suburbs visible:
We decided to descend the same way we ascended, even though that meant a really steep, knee-busting grind to the bottom. I want hiking poles now. I'm still sore, but it was worth it. I still can't believe I live in a city where we are a mile away from trailheads that lead to such amazing views.