Finding new inspiration hiking in Colorado

Posted at 11:41 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 23:41:59-04

Since running my triathlon in early August, my workout regime has been lacking. I've struggled to find motivation and I've been very busy with work. 

Then I took a brief vacation to Colorado. 

I've been to Colorado several times, but always to go skiing. I've never been in the summer or fall to hike and wow, I was not disappointed.

I went to visit my brother who lives in Boulder. I found a way to hike all five of the days I was there. The mountains were incredible and the weather was just fantastic. 

I landed in Denver Wednesday and did a short hike in Golden, Co. which was on my way to Boulder. It wasn't a long hike, but the elevation gain allowed me a view of Denver in the distance.

Thursday, my brother and I stayed in Boulder and hiked the famous Flatirons. We did a short, but at times strenuous hike to the Royal Arch, which is on the fifth flatiron. It's about a 3 mile round trip hike with 1,200 foot elevation gain. It was a lot of climbing steps and rock scrambles, but the view was amazing. We could see all of Boulder. There were even a few brave souls free climbing the face of the fifth flatiron. 

Friday, my brother had some work to finish up, so I took a solo trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The park was about an hour drive northwest from Boulder. I didn't get as early of a start as I would have liked, but I still had time to summit a peak. 

I began the 3 mile hike to the summit of Deer Mountain around 11 a.m., which is late by Colorado standards. It's very possible to get caught in afternoon thunderstorms, which can be extremely dangerous at altitude. Luckily, I didn't have that issue. I summitted the 10,000 foot mountain in just over an hour. The trail was great, offering panoramic views and glimpses of the fall colors. 

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After Deer Mountain, I headed to a different part of the park and hiked to several lakes. Starting at Bear Lake, one of the biggest attractions of the park, I headed toward Emerald Lake. Along the way, I passed Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. The views were incredible and the weather was fantastic. It even got chilly enough for a sweater toward the evening hours.

Saturday morning my brother and I joined his research group for a hike on Mount Sanitas in Boulder. It was pretty warm, but we persevered. The trail is along the ridge of the mountain offering great views of downtown Boulder. After a delicious brunch, my brother and I strolled through downtown Boulder.

To wrap up my vacation, on Sunday we headed west to hike to Blue Lake in Nederland. This hike started at 10,525 feet, our highest starting elevation. It was quite a windy, chilly day, but once we got inside the tree coverage, it was pleasant. Blue Lake, sitting at 11,355 feet, did not disappoint. The view was incredible and the lake was so crisp against the gray mountains. Though a bit of a trek driving, it was definitely worth the experience.

The whole trip was great and I loved every minute of hiking and exploring. It inspired me to get out and hike or go for a bike ride at least once a week, if not more often. I can't wait to discover more parks and trails here in Maryland.

Do you have a favorite I need to try? If so, send me a recommendation, I'd love to hear from you.

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