Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hiking the Royal Arch in Boulder, CO

After eating a big lunch at Snarf's, it was time to head to the hills and start a hike. Even from a distance, the Flatirons were breath-taking.

It being Boulder, the park was swarmed with hikers but luckily, there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from:

Ben took us up a trail that he knew well, promising great views from the top. Needless to say, this was the easiest part of the trail, and we were soon huffing and puffing heading toward that Flatiron you can see in the center of the picture:

We didn't go far and already the views were spectacular - you could see most of the Colorado campus below:

At the official start of the Royal Arch trail, there was a bear warning posted - luckily, no bears were spotted along the trail, probably because our heavy, wearied breathing scared them away.

Ben seemed barely (bearly, haha) winded, and he kindly made excuses for the rest of us (I'm not going to lie, I was the worst out of the group), telling us that it was the high altitude that was causing us to tire so easily. I took advantage of many a "photo break" to take a picture and catch my breath.
Most of our hike was rocky, steep and heading up, but there were points where we had to go down on the trail, which aggravated me since I knew we'd have to make up that ground later in the trail:

Yup, here's us hiking up again - did I mention how steep it was? Although agile and fit natives, and ashamedly, a group of Colorado freshman, kept passing us on the trail:

Finally, the summit! You can see where the trail gets its name:

The views, as promised, were stunning:

Resting underneath the arch, we were all charmed by a little visitor, some sort of mountain chipmunk (I am notoriously OBSESSED with chipmunks):

One of the aforementioned freshman was kind enough to take a sweaty picture of us:

I call this the roommate picture - I love that Ben and Amy are both laughing and showing the same expression:

We also spotted this little cutie, who had hitched a ride on his owner's neck the whole way up:

With one last admiring look at the layers of rock and the view, it was time to head down:

Andrew wrangled the camera from me at one point and took this picture. If Amy appears to be walking gingerly, it's because she wrenched one of her ankles (weakened by old soccer injuries) so we were careful to take our time going down:

Again, the view of the Colorado campus at the foot of the Flatirons made the hike worthwile from top to bottom:

Just another one of those sweeping views of mountains in Boulder that seemed unreal - I doubt even people living here fail to appreciate this on a daily basis:

As we were leaving the park, we caught sight of a wedding party taking pictures with the Flatirons as a backdrop, which must have made for some amazing photos:

Walking back to the side street where we had parked, Andrew and I caught sight of this front yard and fell in love (the lion heads are a little much but we loved the potted plants) - call it our dream house in Boulder.
If you've never been to Boulder, definitely mark it as a place you must visit at least once in your lifetime.

No comments: