Brenda has been busy working a couple of jobs, and I was fairly convinced that this weekend she'd be working all weekend. So when I hiked up to Bear Peak via the Fern Canyon Trail yesterday, I really didn't mind that my knee joints were solidifying as I sat on the couch last night. I figured I was done with physical exertion for the weekend. Imagine my surprise when Brenda emerged from her shop last night, having completed all tasks, and was all excited about going hiking on Sunday (today).
We've been meaning to summit South Boulder Peak for several weeks now, ever since we did Bear Peak for the first time last month. Weather and work have conspired against finally tackling the final summit of the nearest Boulder peaks, but today was the day.
We drove down to the South Mesa Trailhead, just south of Boulder and headed on out. We took the Homestead Trail to the Shadow Canyon Trail, and commenced climbing, and climbing and climbing, and climbing....
At one point, you reach a saddle, where you can hang a right and head for Bear Peak, or a left, and head for South Boulder Peak. The view at that point is already amazing, but we knew that more awaited us. Since we'd both already been to Bear Peak, we hung a left. There was about 500 feet remaining to the summit.
On the way up this last segment, we passed a trail runner on his way down from the peak. These people run up and down these trails, and my knees are still asking me tonight: "daddy, why do those people behave the way they do?" I have no answer.
Just shy of the summit, we were greeted by a huge pile of boulders and a couple of hikers just coming down from the top. "You have to climb the rocks!", they said. No shit. Brenda & I stowed our trekking poles and crawled along the rocks to the summit. Here's the view:
I have to say, I really like this local Boulder peak. I really think that it's better than Bear Peak, which affords 360-degree views. A full panorama is nice, but Shadow Canyon is an awesome challenge, with great views along the way, and South Boulder Peak features amazing views with more dramatic vistas; there are plenty of perches on South Boulder Peak where you can look at the Continental Divide, and look down at your feet and stare in to a canyon that is three thousand feet below you (where you were just a few hours ago):
The hike down was accelerated due to an advancing storm, but I think that whatever speed I descended the peak today would not have mattered; between yesterday's ascent and today's, my knees and feet have been pounded more than they ever have. The views at the top(s) were worth it, but I'm quite certain that tomorrow I'm gonna be a hurtin' puppy.
(Galen, if you're reading, my FKT for Bear Peak via the Fern Canyon Trail is now 1:25.)