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

Free in the Mountains

August 29th, 2007 · No Comments

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Like millions of other people, I feel more free, more myself in the mountains. A so-called girlfriend even once said that she didn’t like me except when I was out in the woods with her.

Yesterday I went to Denver instead of to the mountains. I needed a massage from my wonderful therapist who sometimes comes to Boulder on the weekend to give me a massage in an office here. But she had been sick then, so Muhammad went to the mountain yesterday.

On the way there I listened to one of my favorite poets, T.S. Eliot, reading “The Waste Land.” This most citified of poets, who left St. Louis to live most of his life in London, wrote in that poem, “In the mountains, there you feel free.” I don’t know how he knew that, but he was right.

Today I came to Denver’s water supply, which in fact is much closer to Boulder. I came to Gross Reservior, which regulates the water of South Boulder Creek coming from Heart Lake and Rogers Lake, where I went on Sunday, and from the Eastern Slope through the Moffat Tunnel, where I also went on Sunday. This creek eventually enters the high plains about half a mile from where I live.

Gross Dam on South Boulder Creek

Gross Dam on South Boulder Creek

At 7,290 feet, this reservoir is in the mountains, albeit not the high mountains. I didn’t go high today, because the weather has turned colder. But it was just right at the reservoir.

I went to all of the overlooks around this reservoir, which has a shoreline of 11 miles and covers 440 acres. I also found the one trail near the reservoir, a round-trip of three miles.

I hadn’t intended to hike there, but it was there and so was I. I had instead intended to hike another section of South Boulder Creek in the upper reaches of Eldorado Canyon State Park, which is on the same road as that to the reservoir. These are the only two trails that I haven’t hiked at least once up Flagstaff Mountain Road directly west of Boulder. I’m saving that hike for another time.

Today’s hike was still enough for me to wear my broad-brimmed Tilley hat for the first time in a couple of weeks. See how still the reservoir was:

Gross Reservoir

Gross Reservoir

I didn’t expect such fine weather. In fact, in rained in the high Rockies today and is getting ready to as I write back at my desk.

I had imagined that the trail along the reservoir would be an easy jaunt around the short. But actually it was often well back in the pines and aspens and gave me better exercise than I had hoped for. I hiked for almost three hours and accumulated more than 11,000 steps by the end of the day.

Beyond freedom in the mountains, I also found solitude. The trail went to the inlet of the creek into the reservoir, and I heard it long before I could see it. What I heard was the free-flowing South Boulder Creek.

There at the inlet I met the only person I saw all day on the trail, a fisherman with his dog. I was glad to see him, because earlier on the trail I had seen two dogs running loose, and I hoped they were his. But they weren’t, so after I returned to my SUV I found the office and reported them, in case someone has missed them.

Except for three deer near the road on the drive up, those dogs were the biggest animals I saw all day.

Fortunately, I didn’t come across the mountain lions a sign at the beginning of the trail warned against, saying that if they came at us, we should speak softly to them in a loud voice. That’s something I still haven’t figured out how to do.


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