Saturday, September 1, 2012

Eldorado Canyon Trail

Snuck in another quick hike on Friday, this time the Eldorado Canyon Trail in Eldorado Canyon State Park.

Well, I thought it would be a quick hike.  Turned out to be much harder -- and much hotter -- than I'd expected.  The trail has long, steep stretches at both ends which present challenges.  At least some sections had shade.

More evidence that fall is not far off, with more yellowing vegetation.

The turnaround at the Walker Ranch Loop was a welcome sight.  I keep forgetting that the trails in the Boulder area aren't high enough to provide any relief from high temperatures, and this was no exception.

I did press on another 100 yards or so to take in a nice view of South Boulder Creek.

Subalpine gumweed, I think.  I'm not very good at telling the difference between all the small, yellow wildflowers we have.  I do wonder why so much of our late-blooming stuff seems to be yellow, though -- like sunflowers and rabbitbrush.

Still more previews of fall.  I'm looking forward to taking a nice foliage drive in a few weeks.  Just not sure where this year.

It was easy to see why the canyon is a favorite of raptors and rock climbers.  Tall, sheer cliffs lined the drive to the visitor center.

The out-and-back hike was between 6.3 and 7 miles long, depending which trail guide you believe.  It took Ginny and I nearly 3:20 to cover it.  The heat really was pretty oppressive.  Ginny was trying to rest in any shade she could find most of the way back.  If I'd started earlier (we didn't hit the trailhead until about 10:30) or gone on a cooler day, I think I might have enjoyed it more.  Still, the canyon is stunning and I hope to come back to try one of the other trails.  Just probably not on a 90-degree day. :P 

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