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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

North Shore Trail

January 8th, 2009 · No Comments

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My goal today was to climb Twin Sisters Peak. Only one of my maps shows the trailhead at the very end of Flagstaff Road, due west of here. The map labels it as “semi-secret.” I agree.

It may have been down an icy 4-wheel drive road, at which point I surrendered to my fate and reverted to Plan B.

I had passed the road leading down to the huge Gross Reservoir, which provides much of the water supply for Denver from our South Boulder Creek. That never struck me as being fair to Boulder, but Denver was either there first or has more money.

At least the Denver Water Department built some good hiking trails around much of the 11 miles of shoreline. While I had hiked the south and west shores before, until today I had passed up the North Shore Trail, because Denver Water’s map indicated that it wasn’t much of a trail.

Surprisingly, it was. It took me two hours to hike it, which is about my minimum hike these days. The experts say that we should get an hour of exercise per day, and I tend to go out only every other day.

Gross Reservoir from the North Shore

Gross Reservoir from the North Shore

Since I was hiking the north shore of the reservoir, I avoided the snow that remains on the shadier south side. I probably avoided a lot more snow by not finding the trailhead to Twin Sisters Peak.

I was cold enough anyway. While the temperature reached a balmy 62 degrees in Boulder, up at the elevation of the reservoir, 7300 feet, the weather was cool. While the sun was out at the start of my hike and reappeared at the end, it disappeared behind the midday clouds for the rest of my hike.

Worse was the wind. Gusts were about 30 mph. But that was nothing compared with yesterday.

In Boulder the wind reached 73 mph yesterday — with devastating results. The winds downed power lines that sparked a 3,000-acre fire. The sheriff’s office told more than 11,000 people to evacuate their homes, although it burned down only one of them.

At the center of the burned area was the Boulder Valley Ranch Open Space, where I had hiked the Hidden Valley and Mesa Reservoir trails just a day before the fire. I didn’t write about it because I didn’t get any photos that were good enough. But they would have been a lot better than the views there now.

After hiking Boulder Valley Ranch two days ago, I toured Boulder’s biggest factory. I have never though of Boulder as being a factory town. But Celestial Seasonings produces more than 1.6 billion tea bags in more than 100 flavors here each year. Robots do almost all of the work. My tour group had more people than employees in the factory!

One of the reasons why I finally got around to taking this well-known free tour was the chance to spend some money in the Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop. Karen had turned me on one one flavor of Celestial Seasonings tea, “Cranberry Apple Zinger,” that I had run out of. The other reason was I had read a year or two ago about about Celestial Seasonings’ new premium line of 100 percent natural whole leaf teas packaged in pyramid tea bags. I hadn’t been able to find them in the stores either. But, of course the Tea Shop had these “Saphara” teas. I have been enjoying the Saphara white tea with schizandra berries since then.

That was after my hike two days ago. After my hike today I detoured down a “private, no trespassing road,” because it was the only way to get to the biggest lake between Gross Reservoir and my apartment. I had passed by Kossler Lake many times, and only today did I work up enough courage (or foolhardiness) to trespass. The view was worth the challenge.

Mostly Frozen Kossler Lake at 7700 Feet

Mostly Frozen Kossler Lake at 7700 Feet

Right across the private road from the lake is “the castle:”

The Castle at Kossler Lake

The Castle at Kossler Lake

This is certainly quite a spread at a beautiful location. But not for me. I am too fearful of fire in the mountains, especially with the high winds that are a fact of life here. The 73 mph winds we had in Boulder yesterday were so strong that they almost knocked me down when I was taking a short walk around our Tantra Lake. But they couldn’t compare with the record that Boulder experienced in 1971. That was 147 mph.


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