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Archive for August, 2011

There is a hike that is close to home, is challenging, and has breathtaking views. Green Mountain is its name, and it shouldn’t be confused with the much smaller Green Mountain (hill) in Lakewood, CO. Driving from Broadway and Baseline in Boulder, head west on Baseline Ave past Chautaqua Park. There is a bend to the left, and as it starts to go right there is a driveway that takes you to the parking area for Green Mountain’s trail heads. There you can choose from Gregory, Saddle Rock, and Amphitheater trails. Eventually, these three trails will lead you to the E.M Greenman trail which will take you to the summit. Hikers who might consider themselves beginners will find this trail to be on the lower side of difficult, intermediate – Moderate, Expert – Easy. I have a trail difficulty calculator which can be located here. This hike, round trip is 6.6 miles, and has an elevation gain of 1400 feet; some say the equivalent of a short 14,000 foot mountain or 14er as us avid hikers like to call them. Generally, this hike takes me roughly 3 hours round. Connor, my son, is 6 years old, and will be turning 7 this November. I told him the day before that we were going to get to the top this time. We had been out on a few other occasions where it just didn’t work out, but this time he seemed to be on board. We went to the grocery store (not to be named), and picked up some energy bars. I told him to go find some fruit, his favorite, which we would save until we made the summit. This was to be his “King of the Mountain” food, our victory food. We made it to the trail head for Saddle Rock somewhere around 9am. Saddle Rock has bigger steps and rises faster than the others, and I thought this one may work out better since it was the last one we tried. Connor can be hard to motivate, so we just took it in sections. I drew pictures in the dirt for him along the way to show him our progress. There was a bit of, “How much further is it?”, but a tolerable amount. He gets focused though, and once that happens, he’s like a pro. He takes the lead, he charges the dangerous sections and gets through them with ease. The trail gives us a look at the green belt that stretches north of Boulder, climbs that take you off the trail which take you a little higher for a different perspective, and even wild raspberries to snack on if you pay attention. We reach the summit, we explore a bit, then I have Connor make his final climb to the top of the giant Boulder at the summit. I asked him, “What do you see?” “Wow.”, he replied. My job was finished. I pointed out to him Eldora (the ski resort he learned to snowboard at), then he signed his name in the Colorado Mountain Club Ledger that is kept in the pile of rocks on top of the boulder (afterward he mentioned that he made his “r” too big). We came down off the boulder and ate our victory food (Connor with his pistachios and me with my pink lady apple) and rested for a good half hour before starting back. Connor chose our route on the way back, and he chose a different trail leading down called Ranger Trail, which leads back to Gregory, and home. Half way down we arrive at what looks like a rental pavilion for parties but out of commission for years I assume. We rested. Connor’s little legs were getting tired, but we still stopped for the butterflies. We even stopped for a special little inch worm. We ran out of water three quarters of the way back and that last half mile seemed like alot more, but we made it. 5 hours altogether. I’m proud of that boy…I think he’s proud of himself too.

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