Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Account of Hiking Heil Valley on a beautiful July Friday

I had wanted to do the full Heil Valley loop after completing half of Heil Valley's Picture Trail from Lyons, and the Lichen/Wapiti Trail from Boulder with my boys. There's an entire trail loop that runs through what I think is some of the prettiest terrain in the foothills around here. I needed to do it sans children, since at 8, they don't really have the endurance yet for a five hour hike with only a lunch rest. I invited Colorado Native *I've known her for a few years now. She now has an official name for my blog.*  along because what the hell, she wasn't doing anything that day...

I love the stillness of the distant peaks.

When I came here with Bear, we saw Wild Turkeys, and to his dismay, and my pleasure, not one Black Bear. Well, no Wild Turkeys on this hike, not one! I did see a Red-Tailed Hawk ride the wind in front of me, soaring beautifully canyon just off of Picture Trail, all casual and bird-of-prey like. And, this fella:

Hey little fella, you eat bark and berries, right?
My friend Colorado Native and I ran into two older woman who were hiking the Ponderosa Loop. They were being all whistly and noisy, which we did find odd, until they explained that there was a bear up ahead just off the trail about 150 ft, and we should make noise as we pass. You know they're locals who know the trail well when the viewing of a Black Bear doesn't frighten them so. Sure enough, one of the woman explained she'd been hiking here for many years, and not once did she ever encounter a bear! It was an amazing chance encounter that we took pictures of.

A bear off Ponderosa Loop Trail - bringing authenticity to our nature hike.

Until the Bear realized we had stopped and were you know, paparazzi-ing it, and turned its cute little maw our way and took an ambled step forward. The older woman suggested we all skidaddle, Colorado Native agreed, and I whined about not getting a good full-maw shot which more than made up for Colorado Native's whining about her sore feet because she engaged on a five-hour hike after running 13 miles and the entire angry-bee-after-my-food crisis whine where I lobbed my sandwich maybe a couple of times to distract said angry swarm of three bees... Just saying...

The rest of the hike took us through the most beautiful part of the trail, the Wild Turkey trail. We wandered on a trail shaded with abundant Ponderosa Pines to look up and be surprised suddenly with a meadow!

Not the most meadowy meadow we came across, but a meadow nonetheless.

I can't wait to do this trail when the wildflowers are at the height of their bloom!

 This view is one of the reasons why this hike is now one of our favorites.

Check out the view.

It was an amazing hike, and we left with plans to do a longer hike up to Button Rock Reservoir in August, which I can't wait for, and a return to Heil Valley in the fall to do the full Lichen to Picture Trail hike.

I so heart nature.

1 comment:

elisa beeson said...

You are the best!