Today’s hike was a trial run. And, of course a chance to get a workout and some fresh air.
I didn’t expect to get any good photos. When I set my expectations low, I am seldom disappointed, and I wasn’t today. In fact, some of my shots pleasantly surprised me even though I didn’t take my tripod or my macro and wide angle lenses. I carried only my Canon 50D SLR with its 18-200mm telephoto lens.
I left the other heavy photo gear behind, because when I loaded all of it into my slingpack, I could feel that it would be a heavy load on a long trip. And at the end of the month I’m leaving Boulder for a two-week expedition through the high Sierras in Northern California.
I also wanted to make sure that my lightweight water purifier, a SteriPEN JourneyLCD, worked. SteriPENs are the only portable water purifiers that use ultraviolet light to destroy waterborne microbes. I appreciate its small size and light weight (about 4 ounces), but according to the leader for my upcoming trip and also a salesman at REI, it doesn’t work for lots of people. And I found last year that I had to use it several times to get it to work properly. Then, however, I returned it to the manufacturer for a fix, and now it seems to work perfectly.
Since I had a free morning, I used the opportunity to check out my lighter load and my water purifier. I drove to Eldorado Canyon State Park, about 10 miles southwest of my apartment, for a loop trail up and over Goshawk Ridge. This Goshawk Ridge Trail is a six-mile loop and one of my favorite hikes.
Just before the ridge is an open meadow that was in full flower today:
Over the ridge I spotted this raven in flight:
I remembered a small stream the other side of the ridge and planned on purifying a liter of water there. But the stream seemed too stagnant to use.
While I was checking out a possible water source, I noticed a beautiful flower that I don’t remember ever seeing before. A friend identified it as the foxglove, which is extremely poisonous and is yet
the source of the old cardiac medicine, digitalis:
A little later I was able to quench my growing thirst with some dandelion leaves and a patch of wild raspberries. Soon after that I came to the Denver Water canal, and it was full of crystal clear water. While the water looked pure, I knew that the city purified it downstream with chlorine. Instead, I purified it with ultraviolet light, which leaves much better tasting water. I enjoyed several sips of the cool mountain water before I moved on.
Near the canal I spotted this budding thistle along the trail. Many people disdain the thistle as an invasive species, but I forgive it because of its beauty:
Back near the trailhead in Eldorado Canyon State Park I couldn’t resist watching the daredevil climbers high on the rocks across the canyon:
While I was waiting for the climbers to make a move, this chipmunk came by to check me out:
For a little trial run, the day far exceeded my expectations.