By the time my doctor cleared me to resume normal activities yesterday afternoon — the most important thing was for me being able to hike again — it was too late to hit the trail. And at noon today his nurse told me that I am not anemic from losing too much blood after the operation — that all my blood counts are normal.
So this afternoon was the first chance I have had to go hiking since before Thanksgiving. And I took full advantage of it, celebrating the end of the year in true Mendosa fashion — on the trail.
My expectations were low. I thought that it would be as cold has it has been during the past few weeks. It wasn’t; the day was so warm that most of the time I didn’t even wear my gloves. I thought that a winter hike would offer nothing to photograph; also wrong. I thought that I might not have the energy to complete the hike that I intended; and that count not have been more wrong.
Until I hit the trail I did seem to have little energy today. And the walk that I took for an hour and one-half a couple of days ago wore me out.
Nevertheless, I had my heart set today on hiking a brand new trail that the City of Boulder just built and announced the opening of while I was recovering from my operation. The trailhead at Doudy Draw is just five miles from my apartment, but it’s like a different world. I went there directly from shopping at Whole Foods and lunching at Panera, both busy and noisy places. What a difference the mountains are!
My hike today was full of differences. One moment it was completely still, and the next was quite windy. While it was mostly warm, especially before I got up to the Ponderosa pine forest, I was cold when I got back to my SUV after dark. Most of the trail was superb, but snow still covered many sections and thick, gooey mud covered many areas where the snow had melted.
My hike today took me 5.3 miles. I consider that a good start to getting back in shape. And I had more energy after the hike than before!
Nothing is more typically “Boulder” than the Flatirons. But this view from the south with the diagonals of the land in the foreground is special:
As I got up into the Ponderosa forest the snow on the trail was heavier:
Just a moment later, as I came out of the forest, I came across a herd of a dozen or more deer. Here are five of them:
Near the end of my hike, as it was getting dark, a wonderful sunset was my reward. We haven’t had a beautiful sunset for the past couple of weeks, but this evening’s was so beautiful that I stopped and took many photos. Then, this father and son rode by on their bikes to complete the picture:
So for me this wonderful year 2008 ended with a bang. I hope that yours was equally good and that next year will be even better.