In the foothills between Golden and Golden Gate Canyon State Park lies the 4,400 acre White Ranch. The White family ran it as a cattle ranch for almost 70 years until they gave it to Jefferson County in 1975. Just 25 miles from my apartment, this Jefferson County Open Space welcomed my initial visit today.
The weather could not have been better — sunny, warm, and still. In fact, I was dressed for much colder weather with long underwear and a heavy flannel shirt. I was dressed, in fact, for yesterday’s weather.
Before sunrise yesterday morning I left my apartment planning to go to White Ranch. In the dark I couldn’t see that it was raining until I went outside. Without any hesitation, I turned around. I shoulda stood in bed, but spent the cold, dark day inside catching up on my work instead.
Today I hiked the longest White Ranch trail, the Rawhide Loop Trail. This four and one-half mile loop starts and ends at 7,500 feet and gains and loses 1,400 feet as it winds its varied way through forest and grassy plains. The dense forest is mainly ponderosa pines, Douglas fir, and sagebrush.
The well-maintained trail was a joy to hike. The rockless path is well-marked with just enough benches along the way. I had the trail essentially to myself today, encountering only one party of two hikers, no cyclists, and no equestrians. It was sure worth the wait.