The start of the new year wasn’t that different for me than the end of the old. Both were on the trail, and near the end of each hike I came across herds of swift deer and views of stunning sunsets.
Today’s hike took me eight miles north of my apartment in south Boulder to a three-mile loop trail up and over Hogback Ridge. From its name I expected the trail would be rocky rather than muddy, and it was. They don’t call it Hogback Ridge because of raising pigs there. A hogback ridge is studded with rock outcroppings, like this:
Today’s hike was on a trail that I never took before. I have three guidebooks to hikes around Boulder and have already hiked all of the trails that those books describe. Today I was looking for a loop trail in the foothills that wouldn’t be muddy, like yesterday’s hike was. I found it not in any book, but on one of my trail maps.
As I came down from the ridge I spotted a herd of eight deer in some trees along the left side of the trail. But by the time I got there they had crossed the trail and climbed up a hill. I followed for a few hundred yards off the trail and was able to look up and photograph them on the horizon.
Don’t these deer have big ears? I never liked their name, “mule deer,” but it fits their profile:
I knew that I had time to follow the deer because I was waiting for the sunset. Since the evening was cloudy, I expected the sunset to be special. But I was early. In fact, even when I got back on the trail after my foray after the deer, I sat down on a rock near the trail for a cold half hour until the sunset appeared.
Finally, the dying of the sunlight lit up the sky. From the trail looking south, this was Boulder and its sky this evening: