In my quest to hike every mile of every trail in Boulder County I studied my maps today. Starting from my apartment in South Boulder, my eyes quickly hit on Windy Mesa and the Wind Tunnel Trail just to the south.
On a normally windy winter day this would be the last place I would want to hike. But the temperature reached 60 degrees here today, and the wind was light.
However, when I got to the trailhead I discovered that the city has permanently closed the Wind Tunnel Trail, which crossed the mesa. Instead, the new High Plains Prairie trail skirts it.
Fine by me and one more trail to explore. I had hiked only a short section of this trail about a year and one-half ago. Here is a view of the trail looking back toward the Rockies:
I had to lie down flat in the dirt to get this picture today. Yes, it’s just a dead plant silhouetted against the sky, but it’s beautiful and was worth getting dirty:
You know you are on the high plains when you see a lot of prairie dogs. And I saw hundreds of these cute little critters today:
This must usually be about the windiest part of the high plains prairie, because the trail is just across the road from the nation’s wind center. It’s the National Wind Technology Center and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The trailhead I started from is just 1.2 miles down the road and the trailhead at the other end is just 0.3 of a mile from it.
As a bonus, here is a shot that I got while I was hiking the Coal Creek Trail a few days ago:
A further bonus is this shot from my living room window a couple of days ago at first light. In fact, this was all the light we got on an otherwise totally overcast day. But what light!