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

Tenderfoot Trail Loop

April 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment

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While I never wrote about the Tenderfoot Trail before, it has become one of my favorite hikes. It wasn’t always so.

My love of this loop grew slowly. For a year or so after I learned about this 4.5 mile loop in the foothills above Boulder I completely avoided it. I had read a Web review that panned this hike because you start at the top and hike down. Like the wimp who wrote that, back then I would have been too exhausted to enjoy the final leg of the journey.

Now the downhill leg just gets me warmed up for the return trip. The trip back often seems too short in my reluctance to return to civilization.

I felt that way today, especially since I had the entire trail all to myself. A couple inches of snow still covers about half of the trail, even on a warm April afternoon, keeping most day hikers away.

The trail starts at 6,800 feet on Flagstaff Mountain and gradually descends through pine forests to 6,300 feet. That’s not much of a drop, but then comes a short steep section to a ridge overlooking Boulder Canyon. The final leg of the hike is the most gradual, the sunniest, and the least snow-covered.

With all of my medical problems I could have played the couch potato this afternoon. But since I don’t get any TV stations without a analogue-digital converter box, I couldn’t go all the way into sloth.

My headaches subsided once I figured out that I had a sinus infection and on Sunday started treating them appropriately. Yesterday I saw my urologist for what I thought would be a routine check-up, but he immediately performed a cystoscopy to relieve a constriction in my urethra. And today I went to a chiropractor here in Boulder for the first time. I had scheduled that appointment when I was still puzzling over the cause of my headaches, but instead he focused on my left shoulder that usually aches when I hike.

The chiropractor is apparently as much of a hiker as I am. And I felt so good after his treatment that I had to hit the trail.

I chose to hike the Tenderfoot Trail Loop today because I wanted to get as high in the mountains as I could without being buried in snow. It turned out to be a good choice, even though I knew I wouldn’t capture many images. On all of my previous hikes there I only got one image that I saved (and never previously shared):

Young Buck Beside the Tenderfoot Trail in August 2006

Young Bull Beside the Tenderfoot Trail in August 2006

Today I captured the hike in two miniatures. While several spots along the trail offer beautiful views of the Rockies to the West, those views are always at their best the first thing in the morning.

Lichen and Moss on Rock

Lichen and Moss on Rock

Possibly Poison Oak Flowers

Possibly Poison Oak Flowers

I hope that these flowers aren’t poison oak. Only after I cleared off some twigs did I realize that poison oak was growing there. So if my hand itches too much in the next few days, please don’t expect any photo essays from me for a while.


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Posted in: Hiking

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Scott K. Johnson // Apr 8, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Wow David, that image of the young buck is amazing!

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