Exhausted. That’s the only word that could possibly describe my mental and physical state going into this hike. It was a beautiful day and I was determined to stick to my goal of exploring different hikes on my off days from work. So, Bella and I began a very slow incline through Chautauqua Park. I’m not sure why I was so worn out, but I had to stop every couple stair style steps up and catch my breath. I was pretty frustrated but figured I had all day so I might as well take my time and enjoy the beautiful sights. The trail winded through many pine trees and up through red colored rocky formations. Towards the end, a section of the trail got to where you were really having to climb over some steep slabs of rock and Bella got a little nervous. It’s a beautiful thing, the relationship you develop during activities which require you to put your trust in an another living being. She was able to allow me to help her down and push her up some undoubtedly scary looking rocks.
The views from the top of the trail were well worth the hike up and the frustration that came from being so tired. I could see all of Denver and Boulder, and the arch itself was something impressive to look at. As I was scanning the rocks for somewhere to relax for snack time, I noticed a small notebook was tucked into one of the crevices. It was beautiful. Someone had left behind a journal for hikers to write in as they so pleased. There was one story I found that really touched my heart.
It was simple but inspiring. I had just moved across the country myself, something that I had always wanted to do, but had just now found the courage to do. It was so scary, yet here I was a couple weeks later, confident that it truly was the best decision I had ever made. I don’t know the person who wrote this journal entry, but I want to thank you. Your simple story made me smile and feel like I was definitely in the right place at the right time. So, I entered my own short inscription and put the journal away for another hiker to enjoy.
I broke out several different snacks for Bella and I. I am a big advocate for dog snacks on trails, because if I get hungry, I know she’s hungry, especially since she does at least twice the amount of running around that I do. It wasn’t long before we were joined by two chipmunk friends. I couldn’t believe how unafraid they were! Bella just sat watching them run around and I offered them pieces of my snacks. I’m sure there’s something to be said for not feeding the wildlife, but they were so cute and cheeky I couldn’t resist. A fellow hiker took an awesome photo of my interaction with the chipmunk that he so kindly emailed me later.
I gathered our things and we descended back down to Boulder to meet up with a visiting friend from Gainesville. It was a great hike and great day and I would definitely do this hike again, especially with friends or family from out of town. It is challenging, but it’s a wonderful spot to quickly get away and view the city from a distance.