I swear to God, if Blogger somehow makes this post disappear again, I'd slap a baby prostitute. HARD.
Anyways, I've been pretty obsessed with hiking lately. I was never the outdoors-y type. I'd take staying indoor with my beloved computer (w/ lighting fast internet) and TV over spending a day at the beach ANYDAY. However, the weather has been PERFECT in Boulder lately (not today though....it's my day off and it's gloomy and cold....). I want to take advantage of the amazing weather before it gets extremely hot.
I finally had a day off last week and was feeling bored/lazy at home, so I checked online for different hiking trails in Boulder. Luckily we live right by the mountains, so we had easy access to a bagillion of hikes.
After some careful consideration, I chose Royal Arches.
|Round-Trip Length:||3.2 miles|
|Start - End Elevation:||5,710' - 6,915' (6,915' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,205' net elevation gain (+1,417' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
|Skill Level:||Moderately Strenuous|
|Pet Regulations:||Dogs Allowed|
This is the description of the trail. They get REALLY technical here. I was all o.O <--Does not compute.
Royal Arch is perched high along a rugged fold in the Boulder Flatirons. These rocks are remnants of the Fountain Formation, a mineral-rich sand eroded from the ancestral Rocky Mountain uplift 300 million years ago. Sediments deposited by the ebb and flow of inland oceans compressed this layer into sandstone, thrust upward 45 million years ago by the same tectonic forces that created our modern Rocky Mountains. Royal Arch is a fragment of the exposed Fountain Formation sculpted by water, wind and mechanical erosion into the 20’ span we see today.
The following describes the most direct route to Royal Arch, which begins at the Chautauqua Ranger Station and climbs Bluebell Road to access the Royal Arch Trail:
Bluebell Road rises steadily over Chautauqua Park past the Mesa Trail junction (.6 miles : 6,005’) and Bluebell Shelter to the official beginning of the Royal Arch Trail (.7 miles : 6,095’). The Royal Arch Trail narrows through mixed pine to a connection for Flatiron #2 and #3 and bends south up a steep, narrow gulch (.9 miles : 6,188’). Note apple, plumb and maple in this ecologically varied riparian corridor.
The trail steepens considerably as it breaks away from the upper-gulch into a thick, cluttered forest (1.2 miles : 6,530’). It continues strenuously and without reprieve to Sentinel Pass (1.35 miles : 6,768’), a rocky notch at the top of Bluebell Canyon. Examine close-up cross-sections of the Flatiron rock formations before pressing on.
The trail drops from Sentinel pass about 100’ and resumes a demanding, twisting climb over the steady trickle ofTangen Spring to the base of Royal Arch (1.6 miles : 6,915’). Walk under Royal Arch to a set of rocky outcrops with sweeping views over the Boulder foothills, eastern plains and, on a clear, downtown Denver.
I made Nathan go with me. He was all: "Nuh-UH! I have to do research (AKA playing Starcraft with his lab mates)!" Then I called him a wuss and made fun of him for being whiter than sour cream. He reluctantly agreed to go on the trail with me, but not before making me fully aware that I would be entirely on my own if I fell off the trail.
On with the pics:
At the base of the mountain.
Ah...we were soo naive. We were just chillaxing and scoffing at the idea of this trail being "moderately strenuous". Where is the moderately strenuous part? Pfffffft.
Oh HALE NAW!!! We be dead.
After many near death experiences, we finally got to the top. Celebratory picture pose! Note to self: This is exactly why I need a DSLR camera. *adds to B-day wishlist*
Look ma! A donut!!
The view really is amazing. It got kinda overcast cuz we took forever to get to the top, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Spot those CRAZY ASS ppl hanging out at the edge of the cliff.
I was being a wuss...What can I say? I have a terrible fear for heights.
Overall it was a terrific experience! Sure, the hill was steep and our knees ached, but we had so much fun.
It was a great bonding time for Nathan and I. We have rather opposite schedules. I often don't get home til 10pm and he leaves early to go to school. We don't get to spend a lot of time together because I always crash when I get home (it's very hard to keep up the emotional display all day). This is a great way to get some cadio in while having fun with each other. It didn't feel like we were exercising! Plus, it's FREE! YAY!
I hope this post has inspired you to go out and see what mother nature has to offer. Trust me, it's amazing!
Enjoy your Sundays!