Deflected from the Flatirons Vista trail — closed due to mud —
we hiked instead up the Mt. Sanitas trail on Boulder’s edge,
rocky and straight uphill.
Strewn with odd-shaped rock formations
and Ponderosa Pines — smelling of vanilla and butterscotch —
standing at impossible angles.
Mountains of green meadows dotted with pines
rolled below us to the west. To the east,
Boulder and the eastern Colorado plains sprawled into infinity.
western view from Mt. Sanitas
It didn’t seem it would be that difficult to walk ~1 mile to the summit of Mt. Sanitas, but I found it quite strenuous due to the elevation gain. It took 1 3/4 hours to walk less than 2 miles (up & down); my normal walking pace would be 32 minutes for 2 miles. I found myself quite winded and then wishing I had my walking poles on the steep descent.
bark of the Ponderosa Pine
The hike had gorgeous views in every direction.
view to the southwest
a rocky outcrop
Alex and Freya at Mt. Sanitas
rocks, pines and blue skies
At the summit, we considered going down another path but we were told it was more difficult than the route we’d come up. We had to be at the Denver Airport to pick up Mike, so we took the same route down.
Alex flexes his muscles
the mountainside looking down into Boulder
rocks at steep angles
view of Boulder and the Colorado eastern plains
pines growing from rocks
We found lichen-covered rocks, and Plains Prickly Pear along the way, along with three out-of-place tulips.
Plains Prickly Pear
Ponderosa Pines have thick bark that makes them fire resistant. Cones contain seeds that are eaten by birds and small animals, and needles and twigs are eaten by deer. Twigs and cones ooze a clear, fragrant sticky sap resin that is often hard to remove from skin or clothing. One hiker told us you can identify them by the smell of vanilla and butterscotch.
The Mt. Sanitas hike
Mt. Sanitas hike
After picking up Mike from the Denver airport, we made our way to our son’s apartment in Lakewood. As we were on I-225 in the right lane, exiting on to I-25, someone cut into the line of cars ahead and everyone in front of us slammed on their brakes. Mike, then driving his car after I had driven for three full days across country without incident, avoided hitting the woman in front of him by pulling into the lane to our left, but the woman behind him slammed into our right rear end. A couple slammed into her, and a young man slammed into them. We ended up in a four-car pile up, with two more cars behind the young man also slamming into each other. Six cars involved in a crash on a major highway at rush hour on a Friday afternoon. You can imagine the other people on the highway were not happy; they drove by yelling “Get off your phones. Stop texting!” — as if that were the problem!
Luckily, no one was hurt in the accident, although the woman behind us, dressed in nursing scrubs, complained of back pain. The trunk still opened and closed so I could use it for the rest of my trip. However, it did dampen our spirits as we had to deal with the police for two hours and listen to annoyed drivers sling abuse at us as they drove by.
An unpleasant end to a pleasant day, but we recovered by having a great dinner with strangers at Teller’s Taproom and Kitchen in Applewood, CO. We sat at a long bar table with a young mechanical engineer from Lockheed Martin and an older man who said he left home in South Dakota in 1964 and moved to Denver with $50 in his pocket. He departed the day after graduating high school because he “had to get the hell out of there!” He told me Telluride was the American Switzerland. He also warned that Mesa Verde had become too commercialized, especially the museum. (I didn’t find that to be the case at all; neither was I all that impressed with Telluride).
Gretel, our lively server with braids, brought us craft beers, which we enjoyed while conversing with our table-mates. I thought my Red Idaho Trout was too dry, but I certainly enjoyed the garlic mashed potatoes. We all shared an order of Parmesan Truffle Tots – tater tots with black truffle salt and Parmesan cheese, and pan-roasted Brussels sprouts. A blues group serenaded us, accompanied with banjos and harmonicas, soothing our battered souls after our traumatic accident.
** Friday, May 4, 2018 **
On Sundays, I plan to post various walks while training for the Camino de Santiago; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk.