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wrenFirst autumn leaves hike

On Saturday, Becca and Elbee and I went to our favorite state mountain park, where we hiked to Spring Pond and then farther up to the new Wild Turkey Trail. It’s a lovely five mile climb through maple, oak, aspen and pine trees. Much to my surprise, I came upon a small maple that was aflame with red leaves. Spring and summer both came a couple of weeks early this year, and I was wondering if autumn would do the same. Now I know. It’s an early autumn, the first time I can recall that the trees were turning before my birthday.

I picked one of the red leaves and later picked a sprig of red berries and brought them home as a surprise for Mr. Wren. After that first maple, I spotted several other trees wearing their autumn colors. I’m hoping the early arrival of autumn mean we’re in for a long fall season, rather than that winter will also come sooner than usual! 8 months ago

wrenGreat new trail!

Our favorite state mountain park has a new trail! I know from talking to a ranger that it is called the Wild Turkey Trail. It can be used to get to the highest point in the park, or it can be used as a connector to a few different trails. So far, I’ve used it to add another couple miles after I’ve climbed up to the big aspen meadow.

Most all of the new trail is a steep up and down sylvan walk. At this time of year, there are lots of colorful berries peeking out of the leaves. It does seem to be a favorite turkey hang out. Elbee loves running at the turkeys and setting them in flight. Fortunately, she’s not interested in catching them, and I can stop her before she gets to the birds if I catch her soon enough.

I last did this hike just yesterday. It was 5 miles of healthy ecstasy. 8 months ago

wrenA couple notable hikes. :)

Our regular daily hikes continue, and each one is wonderful, the best part of my day. I think it would be boring to read about the same type of hike day after day, so I’ll just report on a couple of highlights.

We went south for the Independence Day holiday and discovered a perfect dog hike in Spring Creek Canyon. The hike is nearly 7 miles in and out. The dusty orange trail winds through a red rock canyon filled with cedars and aspens. A mellow creek runs alongside and occasionally crosses the trail, so there is no worry about doggies overheating. After a couple of miles, the canyon narrows into a magical slot canyon cathedral of red and light. Becca and Elbee both gave this hike four paws up!

Yesterday, we were hiking on one of our usual trails near home, climbing up the Dutchman’s trail to the old mine road. We met up with a ranger (which almost never happens), and spent about ten minutes chatting with her. We were very excited to learn that a new 20+ mile trail system is going to be created in next year. Yahoo! This means there will be 5 excellent trail systems within 5 miles of our home. The ranger also encouraged us to join the local trails alliance, which we are going to do today. This will give us a chance to see first-hand how trails are made, and maybe we will get to meet some nice, like-minded new friends. 9 months ago

wrenPutting one foot in front of the other...

Our daily hikes have continued into these hottest of days. When I have time to go at dawn, the cool air is energizing. In the full heat of day, the warm soaks into my skin and feels great. I carry water for Becca & Elbee and let them drink out of my hand, and after the hike is over, they soak in the creek for a few minutes.

We are taking a long weekend this week and going south to hike in the red rocks and hoodoos. I’m excited to explore some new places! 9 months ago

wrenstep by step

I haven’t documented my hikes daily, but I have hiked every day since we returned from Paris. I’m very happy to say that the troublesome foot injuries that started last Spring are all healed, and I’ve been able to hike 4-6 miles daily with very little pain. I’m even starting to think about adding in a little trail running.

A new trail system is being cultivated near by, so there are now four excellent trail systems within just a few minutes of our home. It’s amazing to me that we can enjoy sage brush and cactus flowers or aspens, pines and mountain wildflowers all within five miles of our backyard. Needless to say, Becca & Elbee approve. 10 months ago

wrenweekend hiking

There’s still too much rain, snow and mud for after-work hiking, but just after dawn, when the ground is still frozen, is a good time to hit the trails. I did exactly that on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

On Saturday, we climbed to the top of Burnt Ridge and then caught the aquaduct trail to the old mine road, for a total of 6 miles. It was a beautiful, chilly morning, and I could hear cranes croaking nearby.

On Sunday, we did the same loop in reverse, and it was almost like hiking a completely different trail.

I have nerve compression in both my feets, so I am trying to find a way to keep hiking without too much pain and, more importantly, without exacerbating the problem. It seems as if keeping the distance to no more than 5 miles helps. I think I’ll try hiking poles, too. 12 months ago

wrenPerfect Springtime Hike

It’s been raining here, and the weather is warmer, which is the perfect recipe for muddy trails. I avoided that by taking Becca & Elbee hiking as early as possible.

We set out to climb Burnt Ridge at 6:45 a.m. The sky stayed snuggled under a blanket of cloud cover, but the birds were up and at ‘em, chattering away. The air felt soft and humid.

My foot was a little sore, but it wasn’t too bad. I was able to walk a little faster than last weekend. Becca and Elbee had a great time sniffing, running and frolicking, and they were very good about staying close to me.

The grass on the ground is really greening up, but the shrubs and trees are still leafless. I saw on tiny yellow glacier lily preparing to bloom. These mountainsides should have lots of flowers by next weekend.

A very fun and exhilarating hike, and we were back home by 8:30 a.m.

75 minutes, 4 miles. 12 months ago

wrenReturn to the old favorite hike

On Saturday, I took Becca & Elbee to our favorite state mountain park. With this winter’s scant snowfall, I’m sure we could have hiked all winter, had it not been for my foot sugery. The trails are still very muddy, so we left as soon as the sun was up, before the ground thawed.

It felt great to be hiking on such a beautiful and familiar trail again. The trees were still bare, and the trails were lined in piles of last autumn’s fallen leaves. The air was full of bird songs, including a lot of goose honks. There are a lot of geese in the area this Spring, which is unusual.

As we climbed up the mountain, there were more patches of snow. We didn’t go past Spring Pond because at that point the trails were lined with big ice patches. I didn’t have cleats on my boots and didn’t want to risk another injury.

Speaking of foot injuries, I saw my doctor on Friday and he told me something interesting. He told me that the antibiotic Levaquin now carries a black box warning because it can cause tendon problems. That goes a long way toward explaining my original injury, which occurred about a year ago, when I was taking Levaquin for about 8 weeks to combat a severe and very stubborn ear infection…and was snow hiking most of that time.

Anyway, on the way back, my mind was elsewhere, thinking about a job application I’d just submitted, and I took a wrong turn. I’ve hiked in this park hundreds of times, yet I took a wrong turn! It took me about a mile to realize that we were off course, and then I actually got a little confused. Strangeness! I finally decided to turn around and retrace my steps, and eventually my mistake was clear. I had intended to hike only about 3 miles, because my foot was hurting, but it ended up being a 5 mile hike.

It’s good to be back at it again, and I was pleased that I’ve been able to maintain my heart and lungs conditioning through the winter, despite taking it easy for several weeks following surgery. Right now, the trails are too muddy to hike after the ground thaws, but I’m hoping to do some more early morning hiking this weekend. 12 months ago

wrenCold Sunday Morning hike

This morning I took Becca & Elbee back to the Old Mine trails. We climbed to the top of Burnt Ridge again, but this time we took different routes. We climbed up the Sage Trail and returned on the Cottontail Trail. I thought this was a slightly shorter way, but it is actually longer.

It was cold, 14F, and kind of windy. I regretted not wearing my thermal underwear. Three seasons were evident: wintry patches of snow and bare trees, piles of dry autumn leaves, and Spring green grasses coming up for air. I saw some robins and bluebirds, too.

Total time: 100 minutes. Mileage: 5 miles. 13 months ago

wrenBack in the saddle hike....!


It’s been four months since I’ve done any serious hiking. Finally, thanks to a combination of medical treatments and my wonderful new orthopedic super hiking boots, it was time to give it a try.

I took the girls to one of our favorite spots, the Old Mine Hollow trails. The road to the trailhead is still closed for winter. We squeezed past the gate and walked the trailhead road up to the trails. I planned to take it easy and turn around if I had pain or the trails were too tough. Guess what?! I didn’t have to turn around! Yahoo!

When the temps warm up again, these trails will be mucky with mud, but they were solid this morning, when the temp was 17F/-8C. We started out as the sky was just lightening, before the sun was up. We climbed up the Overlook Trail, farther up to the top of Burnt Ridge, and then looped back down on the Sage Trail.

The ground, trees and bushes were sprinkled in a light snow and made me think of powdered sugar doughnuts. The mountain peaks shone with rising sun and snow. The air sparkled with ice crystals. Birds chirped in the bare trees. Becca and Elbee zoomed up and down the mountainsides and came back every time they were called.

When we were almost back to the car, we met up with a woman and her three dogs, who were just starting out on their morning hike. I stopped to chat, and Becca stayed calm in the midst of all those unknown doggies.

It was absolutely thrilling to be hiking again!!!!!

total time: 80 minutes. total miles: 4 max heart rate: 156. 13 months ago

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