As previously mentioned in former posts, I had dropped both of my kids off for an extended vacation with their grandparents. Upon my solo return back to Colorado, I booked my schedule solid with activities that are generally not considered kid-friendly.
I was excited and ready to tackle some of the more challenging hikes. I had been staying in touch with a former colleague, Meghan, who I knew to be an avid hiker. She grew up around here and is therefore very familiar with most Colorado Springs trails and surrounding areas. She also happens to be an ultra-marathoner, competing in races between 50 and 100 miles over the span of a single weekend. While those distances are certainly not on my bucket list, she is clearly physically fit and would be able to complete some longer and more challenging trails with me.
For our first hike, we chose Section 16 in the back part of Red Rock Canyon. While the entire loop is too long for my kids, it certainly isn’t too long for my dog. Jackson was happy to accompany me along with Meghan and her two dogs Luka and Charlie.
The first part of the trail was muddy from the recent snowmelt. I was a little worried about what a muddy mess Jackson would become. To my relief however, once we passed a bit further up the mountain, the mud disappeared and was replaced by snow and ice. Luckily, I had packed my spikes which were quite handy!
We did the trail loop counterclockwise, which meant that it wasn’t supposed to be as much of a steep incline. I am not quite so sure about that last part as it certainly felt pretty steep to me! Several times, I had to pause and catch my breath. Meghan was quite patient with my periodic breaks; even though she had ankle surgery 2-3 months prior, she was still in very good shape and could practically run circles around me! She was also very knowledgable about the area, often pointing out hidden roads and trails on mountains in the distance. I was also quite impressed with her ability to name and point out all of the mountain tops in the area! I tried to commit them all to memory, but I think I still need a few lessons before accomplishing that goal.
We reached the top, and as always, the views were beautiful. Previously, I had attempted a section of this trail with the kids, and naturally we did not make it close to the summit. It was nice to be hiking this trail again; this time with someone who could easily maintain a brisk pace and didn’t pitch a temper tantrum after a quarter mile. The conversation was also quite easy; we chatted almost the whole time covering a variety of topics including dog emergencies, health care and almost anything in between.
I missed the kids of course, but it was so wonderful to get out and experience more of what Colorado has to offer. The company was excellent and I was certainly looking forward to another adventure soon!
April 2, 2021
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