I’ve been running the trails of Boulder’s mountain parks for over 20 years. This week I was looking at a trail map and noticed a small loop that I’ve never been on before. I decided to check it out.
I parked my bike at the trailhead, strapped on my hydration belt and started off. About 2 miles in I found the trail turnoff (unmarked) and followed it steeply uphill. I was already riding the excitement of exploring something new when I passed another smaller trail shooting off on its own. It looked legitimate, but it was not on any maps. Should I go explore this unnamed trail or be satisfied with the pleasure of what I’d already found?
After a moment’s debate I took the unnamed trail, not knowing if it would dead-end or take me very far out of my way. It led to a beautiful hidden overlook and then a gigantic boulder in the forest. The trail never petered out and eventually I found myself connecting back to the well-known trail system. The detour added about 3/4 mile and the new trails formed a perfect loop back to the trailhead. Awesome!
Some of my favorite experiences are discovering new places, those hidden gems, and it’s all the more exciting when they have been hiding nearby all along. I suspect there are hidden gems everywhere if we’re open to looking for them.
A few days post-snow storm and the sun is doing it’s duty out on the trails. Shady areas are still snow packed but most of this morning’s running route was either wet mud, or ice, or both. A few hundred yards in I took a tumble as I completely lost my footing. This was not a day for finding purchase.
After that first slip I sensed my body tensing up, becoming rigid, doing what Continue reading “Slipping and Sliding”
Trail running has its minor risks, and I’ve seen my share of sprained ankles, skinned hands from tripping, and bug bites. But that’s usually about it. Aside from the wear and tear on these aging knees and hips and the occasional lung burn that inevitably accompanies an uphill run at altitude, Continue reading “Once Bitten Twice Shy”
One of my favorite expressions in the mountains turns out also to be a pretty nice metaphor for moving through what I hope is the middle of my life. One of my first friends in Colorado, Brent, introduced me to mountaineering, and we’ve been up several mountains together, including Continue reading “Nexus”
There are 53 mountain summits in Colorado that are officially over 14,000 feet. There are an additional 5 “unofficial” peaks that appear on most summit lists like this one. It took me 16 years (August 2000 to July 2015) to make it up all 58. Most of these majestic giants requires a full day outing, Continue reading “Colorado 14ers”
Humanality is a famous multi-pitch climbing route located in Railay, Thailand. Set in an incredibly gorgeous location along the shoreline, the route is exposed and technical. With a grade of 5.10d this route is good fun for experienced climbers, intimidating for intermediates like me. I was not Continue reading “Humanality”
Today I took a tour through Doi Inthanon National Park near Chiang Mai, Thailand. Some sightseeing, hiking (called ‘trekking’ in Thailand), swimming, shopping and lunch. Our guide was a freelance tour guide named Tee. I barely remember the company I booked through (Wild Continue reading “Missed It”
One of the best moments hiking toward a mountain summit is gaining the ridge. A mountain usually has 2 or more ridges descending from its summit, and sometimes (but not very often) there is a route that picks up the ridge much lower, down at the forest floor, and it’s possible to hike all the way to Continue reading “Gaining the Ridge”
When I wrote about the positive impact run/walk has had on my life, I focused on the physical benefits. There is a psychological benefit, as well.
When I’m out running, either in an organized event like the Bolder Boulder Continue reading “Run/Walk Part 2”
I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2002. Prior to that, I had trained multiple times for a marathon and after a few months of training had to stop running due to painful chronic injuries – usually my knees produced a bright white pain just beneath the kneecap, my hips felt a dull burning Continue reading “Run/Walk Part 1”
Something about performing music always brings me precisely into the present moment. There’s a difference between expectation and experience. Expectation is what we hope for, what we long for. Experience is what’s actually here. Letting go of expectation so we can stay focused in the Continue reading “Expectation vs. Experience”
I’ve been a long-time trail runner, never competitive but steadfastly committed to the sport for over 20 years. Three years ago two friends and I completed the Dirty 30 and Imogene Pass trail runs within a few months of each other. Dishearteningly, my aging knees never recovered from these Continue reading “Zero Drop”