Saturday, November 12, 2011

Walker Ranch Loop

The warm temperatures forecast for today were a clear signal to go for a hike, so I decided to take Ginny to the Walker Ranch Loop west of Boulder.

The terrain was nice and varied, which kept the views interesting.

I actually like getting out this time of year. There's something compelling about seeing the landscape after most of the vegetation has died but before nature's shame can be covered with a blanket of concealing snow.

Rocks along South Boulder Creek.

Many shaded parts of the trail had become icy after snow had melted and refrozen. The steep sections were especially annoying.

A nice view to the east.

The wind was blowing really hard, especially on the higher parts of the trail.

This steep stretch back down to South Boulder Creek was also made more interesting thanks to a little ice.

As pretty as the creek is this time of year, it must be awesome when the water's really running high.

Besides the ice and wind there was also a lot of mud in places that weren't shaded. Really, despite the clear skies and warm temperature everything else about the conditions definitely hindered progress.

This poor guy probably should have been hibernating by now. He was so sluggish even Ginny didn't pay much attention to him.

Did I mention it was windy? It's unsurprisingly kind of hard to take a picture showing wind, so if this doesn't get the point across you'll just have to trust me. :)

Ginny and I covered the 7.66 miles in three hours and 10 minutes, which was a pretty decent pace given the wind, ice, mud and stops to take photos -- especially considering 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver estimates it at four and a half hours. It was a tough slog, but I think I'd like to see it at another time of year before judging it too harshly. And a great workout in any event!


Jonathan Bornstein said...

The pictures you take are amazing. Felt like I was there. Look forward to viewing future hikes!

SteveHarbula said...

Thanks, Jon! It's easy to take good pictures when you like somewhere this beautiful. :)