Saturday, November 3, 2012

Betasso Preserve

Had time for a quick hike yesterday, so I once again turned to 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver and decided to take Ginny and try the Canyon Loop Trail at Betasso Preserve west of Boulder.

It was my third straight hike in Boulder County under overcast skies.  I'm not sure if I've just been picking bad days, or if these conditions are simply more common this time of year.

Boulder County Open Space has exceptional trail signage -- abundant, thorough and clearly visible without detracting from the surroundings.  That sort of attention to detail is both impressive and appreciated.

I'd read the trail is popular with mountain bikers, and if the plentiful tire tracks weren't enough to prove that the 15 or so bikers I passed certainly did.  It was easy to see why.  The trails were wide and winding, with enough undulating ups and downs to keep a ride interesting without killing yourself.  If they don't hold any sort of race here to raise funds for BCOS, they should certainly consider staging one.

I've never really understood the animosity between hikers and mountain bikers.  The two groups have a lot more similarities than differences.  But it seems people tend to focus on what divides them rather than what unites them.  I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to a couple of mountain bikers who found my tripod bag where I'd set it down on the trail and forgotten to pick it back up, and rode back to reach me to return it.

A small Douglas Squirrel really didn't seem at all disturbed by us.  It watched us a little while from the relative safety of a branch before actually coming down and hopping unhurriedly across the ground to a fallen log.

A small group of grazing mule deer were a little warier, regarding us suspiciously from behind upslope cover before eventually also deciding that we posed no threat and ambling on their way.

After finishing the 3.2-mile loop in a comfortable hour and a half, we tacked on the short extension to the top of Bummer's Rock.  Ginny managed to look almost regal there, a neat trick for her.

There was more loaf than sugar to Sugarloaf Mountain, but the Indian Peaks farther off were already nicely snow-capped.  Snowshoeing season is clearly not too far away.

This outing was just the right size for the day -- about four miles and a little more than two hours.  Definitely one I think the kids would enjoy between the relatively short distance and rocks to climb, so I'll be putting it on the list for a return visit!

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