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Archive for March 5th, 2009

In preparation for some upcoming longer adventures I set out for a post-work hike of about 15 and a half miles starting at the Marshall Mesa Trailhead near Boulder.

I’d worked out a clockwise loop hike with a few out-and-back spurs and started hiking around quarter to four. The sun was out, but contemplating setting behind the Flatirons. The wind was the dominant meteorological fact of the afternoon however. The strong gusts weren’t much of an impact as I headed east on the Marshall Valley and Cowdrey Draw trails. Once I did an about face and returned west on the Cowdrey Draw trail I staggered a bit against the wind to the amusement of a prairie dog colony.

On my journey back west I turned onto the Community Ditch trail and followed the water channel toward Colorado 93.

My next junction signaled a turn south onto the Greenbelt Plateau trail.

My final out-and-back segment was a 2.4 mile section of the High Plains Trail. This trail was a little rockier and contoured around the low hills as it paralleled Colorado 128. Commuting traffic was pretty consistent as I pounded out this section. The sun also finally set on this segment and at the turn around point I put on an extra layer for the march back to 93.

After crossing Colorado 93 I made a slight detour to the Flatirons Vista trailhead then followed the Flatirons Vista Trail North (which my map had confusingly labeled the Doudy Draw Trail). Earlier I’d been looking for the moon which was nearly overhead 2 days prior, but now I strangely couldn’t find such a large object in the clear sky. Only after I’d turned off my headlamp and noticed my moon shadow did I realize I hadn’t been looking straight up enough to spot the half moon.

I kept my headlamp off while walking the wide Flatirons Vista trail until I heard voices just ahead at the junction with the Doudy Draw trail. A scattered group of night riding cyclists passed by and then I had the trail to myself. The Doudy Draw quickly became my favorite trail of the day – not too flat, not a wide track, a good helping of rocks but not too many. It looked like it might be more scenic than the other trails, but I was basing that judgment on views by my headlamp and the starlight. I also started imagine how fun it might be to mountain bike these trails, but so far I’ve been resisting picking up yet another hobby.

Towards Eldorado Springs Road I picked up the Community Ditch trail which took back across 93 and to the Coal Seam trail. Within a few minutes of the trailhead I ran into another two bikers out enjoying the perfect weather.

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