Mar 14 2010
I have to be honest with you. Most of the time when I go on a hike, it’s not to be contemplative. This is especially true when I’m with my husband and daughter. Since contemplative hiking requires a great deal of presence and therefore silence, it’s not always the right activity for us. Sometimes hiking is all about getting outside, getting some exercise and spending time together.
The day we hiked up the Ranger Trail in Boulder (Green Mountain Lodge) on March 12th was the first time I had been on that trail. It’s a very good trail for getting exercise. It’s a steady climb up without being crazy steep or sketchy. There was still plenty of snow on the trail, sometimes slushy, sometimes iced over. The trail is nestled on the crevice of two forested hills, one of which you’re summiting, so it’s shady and enclosed the first 45 minutes of hiking. The trees there feel taller and the light gets filtered through them in such a way as to make it seem a bit ethereal. No more than an eighth of the way up is a stone cottage that was closed for the season. I dubbed it the “Hansel and Gretel house” because of its strange location in the woods. It’s actually the Green Mountain Lodge, which I assume is available in the summer for group rentals and picnics.
At the crest of the first hill, you begin to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains to the west—Long’s Peak and everything to its south. Up ahead and looming to the south of the trail is Green Mountain, still a distance to go before reaching the summit.
I’m looking forward to coming back here to this trail in the summer. It has such a different feel than a lot of the trails around the Front Range: shadowy, with taller trees that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. The views of Boulder and of the Divide don’t open up all at once, they peek out and tease you from between trees, only to disappear again when you take a few steps forward or back.
This place feels like a secret, a retreat from the world, an impression I’m sure was heightened because we were the only people on the trail the entire way up, and on the way down ran into a couple of college students sitting on a stump, smoking a joint.