Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Falcon Trail

Ok, I've decided to start training in earnest for the summer hiking season.  I have this spritely wife who I have a hard time keeping up with, and I need to up my game.  So, where to start?  Distance, that's where.  I still believe in LSD (no, not that LSD), I'm talking Long Slow Distance, the thing I used to do when I ran ultras.  Running no more, am I, but hiking I can do.  So there's this jewel in the Colorado Springs area called the Falcon Trail.  13.1 miles around the Air Force Academy.  It has hills (duh, Colorado!) and streams and grassy meadows and trees and solitude.  So, having not walked further than about 4 miles in over a year, I decided to hike the Falcon Trail.  If you're going to do it, why not overdo it?  Sue is out of town so I had no one to keep up with but myself, so off I went yesterday morning.

Now isn't that lovely?  10 minutes from my house, and you could be anywhere in the backcountry.

Out of the trees and it opens up across a meadow, 

And soon passes by this restored settler's cabin.

Here's me.  My hat is not on backwards because I'm cool or rad (I'm old), it's because the wind was gusting up to about 50mph and this was the only way I could keep the hat on my head.  Sometimes a gust would hit me and almost stop me in my tracks, but I'd just chuckle and try to keep going.  Things were better in the trees.

This lovely stream was in the trees, with ice on the edges from last week's very cold days.

Up in the higher parts of the trail it opens up again with great views of the Rampart Range.  That's the back side of Eagle Peak in the distance.  Year's ago in this spot we watched our dog Mica levitate out of the tall grass when he heard a rattlesnake.  Smart dog.

This is about my favorite spot on the whole trail.  Can you believe this is 5 minutes from where I work!?  What a treasure!

So, I made the whole 13 miles.  It was pretty great when I turned downhill AND had the wind at my back.  Smooth sailing!  I was encouraged that at the end I was tired, but still had a spring in my step and NOTHING HURT.  For me, that's a coup.  My summer hiking season is looking better and better!