Monday, July 5, 2010

Green Mountain Loop

I got a hall pass today for a more demanding hike sans kids. After originally planning to do a trail from Chautauqua Park up to the summit of the First Flatiron in Boulder, I was re-directed to nearby Green Mountain by co-worker and master hiker Josh. Susceptible to peer pressure as I am, I caved.

Gaillardia aristata.
Sagebrush lizard? Whiptail? Skink? Even with the help of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, I still stink at identifying animals. It's taken me two years to get barely decent with wildflowers and butterflies.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of butterflies at the summit, including some I'd never been able to photograph before like this Indra Swallowtail...

...and this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. At least I think that's what they are, but I'll be checking with friend of the program Mike Fisher, Colorado coordinator for the Butterflies and Moths of North America database, to be sure.

One out of two ain't bad. Mike says I got the first one right, but the second is actually a Pale Swallowtail. So close!

Loved this feature at the summit -- a big, round brass plaque listing 24 visible peaks and showing their relative positions with little pointed tips.

The view back to the east. I think the shining spot in the distance is Invesco Field.

Bear Peak, which got me started hiking a couple of years ago before I had a blog. Didn't even take a camera, so the memories of it are all in my head.

This wasn't exactly a hike to do if you were looking for solitude.

Mountain harebell.

It's just not a hike without some scree to traverse.

The backside of the First Flatiron. You can see why the true summit is unreachable without gear.

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver said it should take four hours to do the 4.7-mile loop. I was back down in three hours, 21 minutes counting a 20-minute break at the summit, so I feel pretty good about my fitness level right now. The big question is whether I'll finally be able to get Longs Peak in this summer. Stay tuned!

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