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

Sleepy Lion Trail

May 21st, 2009 · No Comments

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You can’t go home again because the old place just isn’t the same. But going back to where you’ve been can tell you something about your journey in life.

Yesterday evening I returned to the Button Rock Preserve north of Lyons. In the 13 months since I had hiked the Sleepy Lion loop trail there the trail hadn’t changed. But I had.

My photography in that previous photo essay doesn’t please me now, and the difference wasn’t the camera. Both times I used my Panasonic Lumix because my Canon 50D SLR and telephoto lens are still back in Japan for repairs. The difference was my higher standards and knowledge of photography now.

Hiking with a group yesterday was another difference. I was drawn to a local Sierra Club “workshop in landscape photography, practice, and critique.” Eight of us met at 6 p.m. in Lyons, reaching the trailhead at 6:30 p.m.

Along the trail a hiker named Margaret said that I looked familiar. We established that the connection is we both sit at David Chernikoff’s Insight meditation group on Tuesday nights.

The Sierra Club\'s Mike Whiteley Leads the Photo Group Through a Meadow

The Sierra Club's Mike Whiteley Leads the Photo Group Through a Meadow

An evening hike suited my schedule. In the morning I had to write an article, and in the afternoon I had an acupuncture treatment. I thought too that the location would suit the season since Sleepy Lion trail is in the foothills between 6,000 and 7,000 feet. In that respect, however, I was too early and saw few flowers.

Instead of flowers we saw landscape. The hike starts from the Longmont Reservoir on North St. Vrain Creek.

Longmont Reservoir Reflects Rocks

Longmont Reservoir Reflects Rocks

But at 8:15 p.m. about as we reached the half-way point of the 5 or 6 mile hike, I left the group. The sky was cloudy indicating that we might have at least a bit of a sunset. The group leader was dubious, but I have a firm philosophy that even if the opportunity looks like it might be slim, take it. If I didn’t go for it, the opportunity would be nil. In fact, just 10 minutes later a bit of a sunset did occur.

Better than Nothing: Sunset over Longs Peak and Button Rock Reservoir

Better than Nothing: Sunset over Longs Peak and Button Rock Reservoir

I had to sign a release from the group hike in case any sleepy lions woke up and noticed me alone on the hike back in the dark. I didn’t see any, and if any saw me, they stayed away. It probably helped that I yelled at them not to jump and waved my flashlight around as I passed through some tight spots.

But my photography isn’t how I’ve changed the most. I remembered that when I hiked the Sleepy Lion trail 13 months ago I did a bit of interval training on the dirt road back at the end of the loop. At that time I could barely jog 100 steps. Yesterday I stopped counting when I reached 1,000.

Back to at the trailhead by 9:25 I was still 45 minutes from home and well past my usual bedtime. But going back to where I had hiked before taught me a couple of lessons about myself yesterday.

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