Tuesday: On Batya’s last day at the seminar in Chautauqua, I decided to hike in the southern part of the adjacent Boulder Mountain Park.
I drove to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (N.C.A.R.) and parked in their spacious parking lot.
9:17 a.m.: I then hiked about 0.6 miles west on the N.C.A.R. trail, which leads into Boulder Mountain Park.
9:35 a.m.: Upon entering the park, I turned south onto the Mesa trail.
10:03 a.m.: After 0.7 miles, I reached an intersection with the Bear Canyon trail, and turned west along that route. The scenery here was not ideal, as a power line ran beside the canyon, interfering with some views. Still, I managed to take a few pleasing shots within the canyon.
11:26 a.m.: After 2 miles on the Bear Canyon trail, I reached the intersection with the Bear Peak West Ridge trail, and continued on that trail, as it began west, then turned southeast.
12:12 p.m.: My objective for the day was Bear Peak, at 8461′. There was an intermittent drizzle as I climbed toward the peak.
12:18 p.m.: As the trail neared the summit, it passed through a small area where trees had burned in a fire in the summer of 2012:
12:30 p.m.: I noticed many birds moving through the burned pines and stopped to watch them. They were hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus), and while they did not allow me to approach closely, my telephoto lens allowed me to capture them from a distance.
12:49 p.m.: As on the previous two days, the trails afforded me a view of Boulder:
I believe that this thistle flower is bull thistle (cirsium vulgare):
1:41 p.m.: After stopping for lunch, I resumed my hike. As I neared the end of the 1.9 mile Bear Peak West Ridge trail, the trail changed from soil to jagged broken rock as it climbed to the summit of Bear Peak.
The scenery was nice . . .
I reached the point near the summit where the Bear Peak West Ridge trail intersects with the Fern Canyon trail. The actual high point of Bear Peak required a scramble over larger rocks for about 20′, gaining perhaps 10′. I started to do it, but fog was rolling in ominously, and in the event the rain returned, I didn’t want to be stuck scrambling over slippery rock.
I began my descent on the Fern Canyon trail, moving northeast. I discovered that the broken rock was present here, as well, and perhaps for an even longer distance than it had been present on the Bear Peak West Ridge trail.
The Fern Canyon trail ran for 1.5 miles, completing a loop and returning me to the Mesa trail.
4:20 p.m.: This hike was right around 8 miles, with an elevation gain from N.C.A.R. (at 6109′) to Bear Peak (at 8461′) of 2352′, excluding any additional dips in the trails. The hike was not especially difficult, and it only took me 7 hours because I frequently stopped for photographs and to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
I returned to Chautauqua to pick up Batya, who had successfully passed the examination at the end of her course, therefore becoming certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support. We then returned to the hotel for our last evening in Boulder.