Last weekend we took on the East side of Mt. Falcon. WORD this was a killer beast of a hike. I remembered tips from last week and we had a hearty breakfast, I grabbed the camera, we packed a couple of cliff bars, I had better socks (boots will have to wait for birthday time) and I tight-rolled my jeans like an 80’s pop-star. EXCEPT I forgot to apply sunscreen and left my extra water bottle in the car with my camera AND Sunglasses. Miserable!
Never-the-less the hike was a massive success for us! We used our the camera on our phones and I gulped water from Jake’s pack, he appreciated me lightening his load I’m sure. We were both a bit pink from the sun but…meh we’re not dead.
As for the trail: We took Caste Trail and took the switchback Walker’s Dream Trail. Starting at 6,400′ we gained 1,213′ (taking us up t0 7,613′). Most of that was gained in the first 2 miles which made for a killer incline. It felt like death. On the way up all I could think is “Breathe…breathe… breathe” and “On the way back this will be AWESOME!” the latter is what I think got me to the top. We saw some insane people RUN.NING! that dreadful first 2 miles…UP! I can only imagine the strength of their hearts! I had to remember to slow my pace and to be okay stopping whenever I wanted. Although, after a while I learned to set a little goal “I’ll take a breather at that big dead tree” and once I arrived to take 5 good deep breaths – otherwise I’d have sat and stayed a little too long. This method worked really well for me. My heart rate stayed up but I wasn’t feeling the pressure to keep up with those crazy runners.
I’m learning hiking can be a very task oriented past-time if you let it. That’s not what we’re looking for. This take in the view, enjoy being in the sun and smelling pine (or skunk) mentality is what we’re aiming for – that and getting off the sofa! For Jake this comes a little more naturally, he has the laid back take it in approach down pat. Not so much for me, if someone is behind me or in front of me I feel like I need to keep up. “The journey is the destination” – Cliche but true.
We saw a family of deer, cool birds, some butterflies you know – outdoorsy stuff. From half way up we were awarded with awesome views of Denver and could see all the way to DIA and we even spotted Buckley Air Force Base – those massive golf balls are pretty easy to identify. We snacked at the remains of a President’s Summer White House which afforded sweeping panoramic views of the majesty of the Rocky Mountains.
Lessons learned this go round:
- Don’t leave the stuff you made a point to remember in the car!
- Even if you don’t think you need it, use SUNSCREEN
- Carabiners are handy for easy/quick access to stuff (rifling through my pack for stuff that fell to the bottom was a pain)
- If you put your wallet in your pack, don’t forget to take it out when you’re done – otherwise you’re driving illegally the next day.
Next Hike: Mt. Falcon West. This side of the park is ‘a walk in the clouds’ by comparison from what I hear –we’ll see what kind of clouds they’re talkin’ bout!