Showing posts with label Boulder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boulder. Show all posts

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hiking: Realization Point (Ute & Range View Trails)

For our last hike in Boulder (are we really leaving tomorrow??), we drove up to Realization Point on Flagstaff Mountain. We've been keeping ourselves (and our bodies) pretty busy the last couple of days, so we decided to do an easy hike. But, we weren't going to skimp on the views.

At Realization Point there are several short trail options and a nice picnic area. We thought the Ute-Range View loop was the right combo for us because it was billed as easy/moderate and just what our bodies needed.

Ute Trail is only .60 miles and runs along the east side of Flagstaff Summit. There is a bit of climbing at the start, but then the trail levels out. I was actually commenting that it would be a nice place to run when I runner came toward us.

Along the trail there are paths to small outcroppings and viewpoint openings. We like to stop at these, to see what we can see. We were headed toward a spot on the east side when I spotted a deer having a snack. We watched for a few minutes and then continued along the trail without bothering it.

We decided to follow the Ute Trail all the way to the Flagstaff Summit area and check out the view from there. From this vantage point we could see the east side of the front range.

I also found a place to lean back and soak up a little sunshine.

We backtracked to the trail junction and continued on to the Range View Trail (notice that the Ute Trail is considered a wheelchair accessible hike. Isn't that awesome?!).

Range View is similar in length and runs along the west side of Flagstaff Summit back towards Realization Point. The trail was rockier and more narrow, but it's best feature was the views of the Indian Peaks to the north.

There were several places to stop and take in the views and we enjoyed each one of them. We were not in a rush for this hike to end since it was our last one. Both of us were enjoying the clean air and (mostly) blue sky too much. It is just so relaxing to be outside and spring in Boulder was cooperating just perfectly.

I had some push-ups and burpees to do for the PPB challenge, so for fun I did them at different spots on the trail. When you break 50 into 5 sets of 10, it isn't so bad, haha.

After our hike, we picked up middleC for lunch at Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill (pretty good) before sending him off to take his last exam.

Then we did a walk-in adjustment at Chiro Now! This franchised office is located just a walk away from our hotel, the doctor is a graduate of Palmer and the adjustment is only $25! Dr. Josh fixed up my neck and back from when I slept wrong last week.

For dinner I had a Whole Foods fresh salad and another juice. My use of cold pressed juices is to make up the missing servings of veggies from my every day diet (I'm a pretty picky eater). I tried a juice cleanse once and that wasn't for me, but sneaking in nutrients this way works.

I was worried about that cucumber (not a fan), but this blend of ingredients tasted pretty good. Either the pineapple and pear overpowered the cucumber, or cucumber is growing on me.

Today is graduation day and I'll be taking rest day (except for my PPB challenge).

Do you do exercises (push-ups, yoga) in not-so-common places?
Would you visit a walk-in chiropractor?
What kind of eater are you? (love everything or picky like me)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This Made My Sprints Better and Red Rocks Hike

mrC and I have been filling time between visits with middleC (he's taking finals before graduating on Thursday) by getting out and exploring more of Boulder.

For my sprints workout on Tuesday, I convinced mrC to go with me to Wonderland Lake Trail.

Based on the description on the AllTrails website, the 1.7 mile trail in North Boulder that looped around a lake sounded like a great place to run. The possibility of spotting hang gliders coming off the mountains behind the lake also sounded fun.

The plan was to run an easy 5 minute warm-up, do 10 sprints @ 20:40 seconds work:rest and run an easy cool down to finish the loop. Our goal was to also slow run the rest portions of our sprint intervals.

What really happened ---> we didn't park in the right spot, so we cut off a portion of the trail. That turned out ok (because we were too spent to run the cool down anyway), but getting started on the trail was a bit confusing. We ran a 5 minute warm-up, did our ten sprints and then walked to cool-down. And we briefly spotted one glider!

Our non-adjusted lungs are still struggling with the Colorado elevation, so we both needed to walk a couple of the rest periods. Despite feeling the effects of high altitude running on our performance (and mrC had already had breakfast with middleC), this sprint workout was waaayyy better than last week's for many reasons:

1. it was warmer - I don't mind running in cold weather. I just didn't pack that gear so running in shorts and tank was preferable.
2. soft trail vs. sidewalk - my legs (esp. knees) were so happy about this
3. lake view - being near water always makes my run feel fresher and more enjoyable
4. mountain view - my favorite combination especially with big blue sky to top it off
5. mrC - every run with mrC is better than any run without him. He's my favorite person ;)

After our run, we went over to Pearl Street to get a post-run treat. I have a list of smoothie/juiceries going for Boulder and we made our first stop into Wonder Press. mrC got a yummy strawberry banana smoothie and I got the Take Root juice bottle ---> cucumber, carrot, beet, apple, ginger, and lemon. It was pretty good, but that cucumber is hard for me. (I had the option to return the glass for $1 refund or keep it. I'm keeping it!)

When middleC finished his final for the day, we helped him take a mental break before going into study mode for his last final tomorrow. The three of us headed over to Red Rocks Trail to see the red sandstone formations that jut out of the ground. It was supposed to be an easy and short hike.

We should have realized right away that we were in for a workout when the trail started off with a pretty intense climb.

The view of the rocks from the west side was not as impressive as we were expecting. The outer loop is said to be about 1.3 miles, but we could see shorter trails leading up to the rocks creating what looked like a maze.

So, while intending to stick to the outer loop trail, we couldn't resist climbing up one of the shorter trails to get a better view of things. The short trail was not at all easy, but we really thought we'd miss out if we didn't do it. We felt like mountain goats, but it was worth it.

After our little detour, we continued making our way around the perimeter and found ourselves unexpectedly faced with more serious rock climbing (we would see later that we could have gone around and taken an easier path). At this point it felt like we were doing a HIIT workout.

Like all things, once you get through the hard part, the view from the other side can be amazing. That was the case of the Red Rocks.

As we continued up, the trail got closer to the towering sandstone fins and the views of Boulder opened up on east. We took advantage of the perfectly placed bench to have a water break and let the afternoon breeze cool us off a bit.

From this side and the top, so to speak, we had amazing views all around us: Boulder, the Rocks, and larger mountains in the distance.

This hike only took us about an hour, but it was a good one!

Does a change of scenery affect your workout?
Which do you prefer smoothie or juice? I actually like smoothies more, but drink juice on low carb days.

Today I’m linking up with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner and I'm linking up with AnnmarieNicole and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Bump Up Sprints and Boulder's Hometown Mountain (Mount Sanitas)

Yesterday started with a good elliptical workout with mrC joining me on the treadmill. He did walk/run intervals and I did sprints. It was bump up day for me, so after a 10 minute warm-up, I did 15 sprints @ 20:40 work/rest. It felt good and I did not want to die, ha!

After our workout, we grabbed a low carb breakfast from the hotel buffet. You never know what you are going to get, but usually the options are satisfactory to me. Basic, but good. The only way I can eat ham slices is with honey.

We had time to kill before meeting up with middleC after his finals, so we decided to go for a hike. Before we left, I got caught up on my PPB challenge. I did the over-due 40 burpees (15, 10, 10, 5) and a 2 minute plank (60, 30, 30).

Last year we hiked Royal Arch Trail and Woods Quarry in the Flatirons, so we wanted to hike something new. Mount Sanitas is considered Boulder's hometown mountain and is rated as a moderate plus hike.

The hike was a 3+ mile loop of three connecting trails that took about 2.5 hours with an elevation gain of over 1300 feet. It was the perfect hike for us ---> a little bit moderate and a little bit challenging.

We started the hike on the Mount Sanitas Trail which is recommended if you are looking for a workout. This trail definitely put our legs to the test, but there were plenty of places to stop and rest and take in the views.

This hike is probably faster if you don't climb off trail to get to the best seats to take your water break, but we couldn't resist taking in every part.

After passing over Mount Sanitas summit, we joined the East Ridge Trail and began our descent. This part of the trail was very technical and took a lot of concentration working our feet on the rock. It was definitely harder because I did not have my hiking shoes with me.

Although this trail was almost as challenging as the climb up, we did have fun following it through some interesting twists and openings. The last section did finally smooth out just before the next trail connection. And I have to share that my Miir Slate water bottle from Oiselle kept my water nice and cool. I've had it for years but because it's heavier I avoided using it. I'm so glad that I did! It was warm hiking in the sun.

The Sanitas Valley Trail was the final part of the loop. As it's namesake suggests, we were literally in the valley below Mount Sanitas. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

Although you can't tell from my photos, these trails were busy yesterday. We saw lots of other hikers, with and without their dogs, and lots of runners. I don't know how they can run on such technical trails, but they were doing it.

Throughout the hike, we enjoyed the beauty and fragrance of Boulder's flowers in Spring bloom. Of course we had to stop and smell them.

Speaking of flowers, we met up with middleC again for dinner and strolled along Pearl Street afterwards. It felt like we were attending a flower show. Planters of different colored tulips dotted the pedestrian street from end to end.

Do you prefer flat trails or technical trails for hiking/running?
Do you stop and smell the flowers?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hiking: Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, CO

We spent some of our weekend time with our University of Colorado student hiking to one of his recommended places: The Royal Arch

But, let me back up to the beginning. 

The weekend started for mrC on Friday when he went to the Fraternity House Father & Son Poker Game Night (they did not win all the chips but they had fun). Then on Saturday, we were given a personal tour of the CU campus (amazing place), walked around Pearl Street and met the girlfriend and her mom for a lovely dinner at the Walnut Brewery.

On Sunday, after picking up the Frat boy, we had brunch at Snooze (an iconic eatery on Pearl Street). The menu was filled up with so many choices I wanted to try everything, but I finally chose banana pancakes with a side of eggs. 

We took a post-brunch stroll around Pearl Street and then because it was still pretty chilly, we drove up Flagstaff Mountain. We went all the way up to the scenic lookout at Lost Gulch and enjoyed the views of the Continental Divide.

On the way down, we stopped at another viewing area (no name) and did some bouldering because it's fun and we could.

Our younger tour guide did some solo rock climbing. He climbed right up, but then walked down on a path. 

Our hike began at Chautauqua Park. We parked the car on Baseline Road and then cut across the field using the 6th Street Connector.  Our route to the Royal Arch ---> Chatauqua Trail - Flatirons Loop trail - Royal Arch Trail. The first part of the hike was easy walking uphill on a mostly gravel path. It was very much like the start of our first Flatirons hike.

Great hiking capris from Athleta

After following the Chatauqua Trail into the woods, we switched to the Flatirons Loop trail. This part of the hike was bit more challenging. The terrain changed over to rocky and the incline increased slowly. There were plenty of places to stop and take breaks. At one stop we had rock climbers on one side of us and a perfect view of the CU campus on the other.

Finally we made it to the final section of our hike, the Royal Arch Trail. This section was by far the hardest (and rated as difficult) with the steep and steady climb through the pine forest and undulating hills that seemed to go on and on.

Sentinel Pass was a great place for a break and had the option of doing a little bouldering to a viewpoint (which we did) for a quick photo. Then we began a quick and dirty down-climb and resumed pushing upward to the arch.

The Royal Arch was much much bigger than I expected. Sitting at an elevation of 6,915 ft, it was worth the final steep climb to get to it. We walked under the arch to the outcrops and sweeping views on the other side. Looking back through the arch, the blue skies seemed to glow above the Flatirons.

We spent some time enjoying the view and watching the braver hikers climb up, on, and around the arch. To get back to the car ---> Royal Arch Trail - Bluebell Road Trail - Baseline - 6th Street Connector. We hiked 4.5 miles in a little more than 2.5 hours and we felt awesome!

It was a great day with the boys!

Other hiking posts you might like:

First Flatirons Hike in Boulder, Colorado