Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado – September 8, 2014

Monday: My second day of hiking in Boulder began earlier, as Batya’s course began at 8:30 a.m. on the second day.

8:43 a.m.: Within minutes of dropping her at Chautauqua, I hiked up the Baseline trail across the meadow.

Flatirons across the meadow, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Flatirons across the meadow

 

Flatirons, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Flatirons

9:15 a.m.: After about 0.6 miles, I continued onto the Amphitheater trail, and began gaining elevation while passing by interesting rock formations. I spotted a hummingbird hovering on the trail in front of me for a second, but before I could even think about my camera it was gone. I do better with photographing rocks and slow-moving animals.

Rock formations on Amphitheater trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Rock formations on Amphitheater trail

 

Tiny rock shelter on amphitheater trail, Boulder, Colorado

Tiny rock shelter on Amphitheater trail

9:56 a.m.: After another 0.4 miles and a break, I turned onto the Saddle Rock trail. I heard a buzzing in my ear, and when I turned I saw an unidentifiable blur move away from me. I wondered if that was another hummingbird encounter.

While Chautauqua is at about 5700′ of elevation, I was now approaching 7000′, and the scenery was improving.

View from Saddle Rock trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

View from Saddle Rock trail

The trail continued to climb:

Saddle Rock trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Saddle Rock trail

10:19 a.m.: A sign posted at the beginning of the Saddle Rock trail had warned hikers that because of damage from the 2013 floods, a ladder had been installed at one point.  I know that some people don’t like ladders, though I imagine that the problem is more psychological than physical. When I reached the ladder, I was a bit surprised, because instead of being vertical it was placed at about a 45 degree angle. Furthermore, while the floods had damaged the trail at that point, it seemed that a hiker could have scrambled up the eroded area easily enough even without the ladder.

Ladder at washed-out area on Saddle Rock trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Ladder at washed-out area on Saddle Rock trail

10:23 a.m.: Around 7000′, I had a nice view of Boulder, comparable to what I had seen and photographed the day before on the 1st/2nd Flatiron trail.

View from Saddle Rock trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

View from Saddle Rock trail

A caterpillar shared the trail with me:

Caterpillar, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Caterpillar

10:43 a.m.: This scramble seemed comparable or worse than the area where the floods had washed out a section of the trail, and yet it was perfectly manageable without the need for a ladder:

Scramble on Saddle Rock trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Scramble on Saddle Rock trail

11:03 a.m.: After another 0.7 miles, I reached the end of the Saddle Rock trail, which intersected the E.M Greenman trail. I turned left on the Greenman trail.

View from junction of Saddle Rock and E.M. Greenman trails, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

View from junction of Saddle Rock and E.M. Greenman trails

An old sign reads “E.O. Greenman / Twin Springs.” There was some dampness in the area, though I don’t know that I saw springs. Who was Greenman, and was his name E.M. Greenman (as the maps say) or E.O. Greenman, as this old sign says?

Ancient sign 'E.O. Greenmans Twin Springs,' Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Ancient sign ‘E.O. Greenmans Twin Springs’

Fireweed grew next to a talus slope:

Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium), Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

11:17 a.m.: The trail at times presented a nice vista:

View from Greenman trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

View from Greenman trail

 

View from Greenman trail, Boulder, Colorado

View from Greenman trail

An old trail marker for the Greenman trail:

Ancient Marker for Greenman Trail, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Ancient marker for Greenman trail

12:08 p.m.: After 1.1 miles on the Greenman trail, I reached my destination: the peak of Green Mountain at 8144′, around 2400′ higher than my starting point. There was an easy scramble at the peak that provided nice views, and I also found a brass disk that the University of Colorado Hiking Club had placed in May 1929 . It provided a graphical representation of the principal peaks visible from that spot, together with a list of their names and elevations:

Mountain identification disk at peak of Green Mountain, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Mountain identification disk at peak of Green Mountain

After enjoying a leisurely lunch at the peak, I continued down the other side for about 0.1 mile (I believe on the Green Mountain West Ridge trail), before turning right onto the Ranger trail.

I continued to follow the Ranger trail for 1.4 miles.

1:41 p.m.: There were interesting plants to see, such as blanketflower . . .

Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)

 2:27 p.m.: . . . and cactus:

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia)

2:52 p.m. My hike then took me one mile through Gregory Canyon on the trail of that name:

View from Gregory Canyon, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

View from Gregory Canyon

I enjoyed seeing more flowers there.

Wildflowers, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Wildflowers

 

Wildflowers, Boulder Mountain Park, Boulder, Colorado

Wildflowers

After Gregory Canyon, I followed sign posts back to the Baseline trail, and made it back to Chautauqua with plenty of time to spare before Batya’s course ended for the day. This hike covered about 8.5 miles, with about a 2400′ elevation gain. It was a fun day.

Next: My third and final hike (of this trip) in Boulder Mountain Park.

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