Roving Retrievers-Tails and Trails

A “tail” of two Golden Retrievers (and their humans)as they travel west:

Day 5 Boulder, hike up Bear Peak

I think everyone slept well last night. We found a humidifier, drank a lot of water, and took in a lot of o2 yesterday during our hike up Mount Sanitas which no doubt helped us adapt to the thinner air. Yesterday’s hike was great but according to Michelle it was nothing but a warm up for what she had planned today.

We had to plan todays hike carefully as the NFL wildcard game, Eagles vs Bears was on at 2:40 local. Todays agenda, walk MJ, hike Bear Peak, shower, meet at bar, celebrate a Bears victory, (more on that later).

So we did our morning thing. A system is in tact, time will refine our routine but today it worked great. Because we need to be back for the Bears game our timeline is somewhat tight. Michelle thinks 4 hours is required for the almost 6 mile hike ahead of us which has almost 3,000’ vertical climb. Tack on another 45 minutes for the car ride there and back, we need to be leaving our unit by 8:40 for a 9:00 am start. We’re on time.

Sue and I drove to Michelle’s house to pick up her and Charlie, along the way we picked up Anthony who we met at dinner the other night, (great guy, both Sue and I really enjoy his company ). Once we parked at the trail head we met a new friend of Michelle’s, Ryan. Ryan was a collegiate runner who recently moved to the Boulder area. Michelle urged everyone to bring their “YakTrax”, (traction cleats for the bottom of your shoes), as the trail is on the east side of the mountain and gets little melts in the sun. Michelle assured us as we climbed the trail would be ice packed and slippery. Sue, Michelle, Anthony, along with me and the two dogs, (Bobby and Charlie), got out of the car and walked over to meet Ryan. First impression of Ryan, total “Boulder Dude”. Ryan shows up in his Birkenstock sandals- Birkis! It is what it is! Introductions take place, the hike starts.

Birkis for climbing?!

Birkis for climbing?!

The Bear Peak trail starts out very easy, a slight grade but generally a dirt road that continues for at least the first ¾ of a mile. As we continued the grade remained easy, the trail now a path. Several hiking trails connect with the main Bear Peak trail so you can hike several different routes without having to commit to the climb. The conversation was good, everyone in a great mood. Once past all the other trails we ascended into a beautiful portion of the trail that took you through areas of huge boulders, rock faces, and alpine forest. The trail at times became incredibly steep but certainly manageable for all. Bobby’s incident on the hike yesterday a distant memory as he and Charlie scouted the trail ahead. Todays temperatures were chillier than yesterday (especially under all the tree cover), however we were working harder. At one point I stopped to remove my vest and hiking pants, I had shorts on underneath. Others did the same in fact Ryan was down to his tank top. The ascent continued but as the trail moved northeast we were a little exposed to the sharp north winds. We were somewhat protected and as long as we kept moving, everyone was fine. We came to the part of the trail that was ice and snow so for those of us who had them, it was time to put the Yak Traxs over our shoes. Amazing how well they worked! The climb continued, I was bringing up the rear as I was stopping more than the others to catch my breath. My stops were short as I was in a short sleeved shirt and shorts and starting to rethink the fact I hadn’t brought along anything with long sleeves.

Boulders and trees cover much of this beautiful hike

Boulders and trees cover much of this beautiful hike

The stop at the top was short lived as the wind was blowing quite hard making it miserably cold. We descended the exact route we had climbed. During the early part of the descent, Ryan fell pretty hard, we were certain he hurt himself as he was quiet for quite some time. If he did get hurt, he was able to hide the pain pretty well. Much of the upper ¼ of the trail Ryan slid down on his backside which was his safest choice given his footwear choice.  Continue to bottom to see a brief video of the Birki climb.

The top of Bear Peak

The top of Bear Peak

The shorts may have been a bad choice - burr

The shorts may have been a bad choice – burr

Michelle’s estimate of 4 hours was spot on but we had to hurry to get back, clean up, change and get to the local brew house – Rayback to watch the game. Rayback is a super cool Brewery where no beer is brewed, but they offer many local brands including Kombucha (Rowdy Mermaid is the brand offered and where Michelle works)  I think it is an awesome idea to offer Kombucha at brewerys  for those that want an alternative to beer or to heal their gut.  Sue ordered a sampler tray and loved them all.  Anyway, Rayback has great outdoor area with bags and picnic tables and food trucks.  Dogs are also permitted in the outdoor area – we didn’t bring our guys as the TV with the Da Bears was inside.

We were running a few minutes behind but Anthony was able to get to the brewery early enough and was able to hold a table. The game started, we all had a great afternoon drinking beer and watching the game. Michelle told several of her friends the afternoon plans, Sue and I were able to meet a lot of new people. Sue and I bowed out just before 5:00pm so we could get back to feed the dogs and watch the end of the game. Thankfully that decision worked out as it would have been embarrassing for Michelle to have all her friends see her dad cry over a missed field goal. That’s ok, we’ll get’m next year!

Tomorrow is a low key day. Sue has friends she knew back from her St Louis days who retired and moved to Castle Rock, CO. We will take a break from the hiking and all the other excitement to go visit John and Sue and catch up as it has been a while since we have been together. We look forward to hearing how much they enjoy living in the area.

Unless something unforeseen happens tomorrow there won’t be much to write about so a day off from out updates. We’ll catch up and report back on Tuesdays fun.