|Hikers, L-R: Patty, Ann, Paula King & Nancy|
Fall has arrived in all its glory to the Colorado Rockies. There is a crispness in the air, while the afternoon temperature hovers in the high 70’s to low 80’s. The aspens are golden, scrub oak is beginning to turn crimson and a light dusting of snow can be seen on Long’s Peak. Perfect weather to take a hike and explore these changes for yourself.
So, I did, along with a trio of friends yesterday.
A favorite of mine is one of the easiest, and yet, most beautiful. For those visiting their students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, it is a great way to start the morning and 3 minutes from campus.
The Colorado Chautauqua,which is a National Historic Landmark, is located west of the school at 900 Baseline Road. As you turn into the property, park in the lot at the right and go into the Rangers Station. There you will find maps of the various trails that wrap around the foothills that appear before you.
We did the Chautauqua Loop and wrapped around to the Enchanted Mesa for the return. It took under 2 hours. The views were spectacular, with the Flatirons as a backdrop. The story is that the Flatirons got their name from the wives of the early settlers who felt they reminded them of the bottoms of their irons.
The beginning of this hike is across a gently ascending meadow. As you look back, Pearl Street, the university and Boulder Reservoir make a beautiful picture. In fact, at every turn it looked like a postcard. One trail was taped off because a mother bear and its cub had taken up residency. After the meadow, the trail winds through evergreens and then down by a stream.
The trail ends behind the Chautauqua Auditorium and a few steps more and you are at the Chautauqua Dining Hall where you can sit on the wrap around porch and have a wonderful lunch while looking at the views and what you have just accomplished.
There are approximately 43,000 acres of city-owned open space surrounding Boulder, which is why the elite bikers, hikers, climbers and runners are attracted to this city.