Week 13: Second Trimester

Trail: Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks Trail Loop

Distance: 5.7 mile loop

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If I was pregnant, I would happily be through the first trimester of our 52 Weeks of Nature adventure. However since this adventure is a lifetime commitment and pregnancy is a 9 month commitment the two don’t really compare. I find it funny and slightly odd that I commonly measure time in trimesters – wonder when that’ll stop…or maybe I doomed to view life from a trimester perceptive forever, ahh!

Anyway, this weeks adventure took us to an area near Green Mountain in Golden, CO. We took a 3 mile (round-trip) trek along a trail that is popular with mountain bikers, families, and dogs. The trail could be extended much longer, but we settled for an out and back.

The Dakota Ridge trail is beautiful and easily accessible from I-70. I was surprised how quickly we got there, given how much time we spent in the car the previous two weekends. I can’t tell you how great it feels to live so close to awesome hiking trails. This particular trail system is perhaps the regions most heavily traveled hiking/biking area. We shared the trail with mountain bikers, leashed dogs, and lots of other hikers. It was great! Especially for AJ, who is learning trail manners and often pulls over to let people by.

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AJ hiked the entire distance. He would, of course, pull over to take a break or guided by his curiosity, to inspect nature. MJ, who was recovering from a two day fever, rode on me and was rocked to sleep by the constant motion of hiking. We made it to the top of the ridge, which overlooked Denver on one side and Red Rocks Amphitheater on the other. The views were stunning and paradoxical. On one side you have the beauty of mother nature – a type of beauty that is so stunning it’s obviously the creation of a something much greater then ourselves. While on the other side you have a type of beauty that is human made which definitely contains within it a certain beauty, but it is no competition for mother nature.

My only complaint (don’t I always have one), was that we never really got away from the noise of the freeway or the sound of dirt bikes (there is also a dirt bike area just below the trail). The tail was a highway of outdoors people and it literally resembled the highway of cars below us – only people sharing nature together are often much more amicable then people in cars. Most of the people that we saw on our hike were friendly and in good spirits. We had a chance to pet the dogs of complete strangers and to take a picture for a solo mountain biker. It was all good. At the top of the ridge we all ate a honey crisp apple. Joe swears by these apples. He always comments about how fresh they taste. He was right. I begrudgingly bit into my apple (because I really wanted a gigantic chocolate chip cookie), and was surprised at how tasty it was. Everything in nature is better.

We followed our hike with lunch at a popular Golden deli shop. We arrived in line just before the lunch rush and even managed to snag a table to eat at. The warmer weather brought many people outdoors today. I am so happy to embrace the longer, warmer days of spring. Even though we hiked through the winter there is something about spring and the outdoors that is so much more exciting. Here is to a long and happy spring!

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