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Boulder Trip: Hiking

The hiking part of our trip came right after biking every morning, and it was actually a really good 'cool down' workout because we were still working hard (especially Day 2!) but it's a much slower pace than biking. The top picture is a park called Chautauqua that both tourists and locals go for a good hike. You can see a small path leading up the grassy knoll (read: large uphill climb, just doesn't look it!) and those little specks are people.
In fact, we loved these trails so much, and there are so many of them, that we spent every single day taking a different hike. Day 1 was fairly easy, a nice 4 mile loop up to a peak and back down. It was gently raining that day, too, which cooled us off and felt really nice.
The second day we hiked, we took the Royal Arch climb and (mind you, after a 16 mile mountain bike ride) it.was.tough. It was actually only a 3 mile hike, I believe, but it was straight up the mountain on 'stairs' and halfway through I was stopping to catch my breath every 15 stairs or so. I did not want to stop, but this may have been the hardest workout of my entire life...and I puke after hard workouts! This was awful.
Of course I did make it to the top, where apparently you can see Denver. I didn't, and I didn't care. My legs felt like jello and my heart felt like it was going to burst. Needless to say, I didn't have as much fun on that hike but boy did I feel good going down the mountain! Later that night I find out it is considered a 'strenuous' climb, and is 7000 feet in altitude...and I'm a girl who has sat at sea level most her life. The thin air and the climb was making me a bit faint but I'm no quitter!
On our last day in Boulder we decided to take a longer but *ahem* easier hike and it was almost too easy after our hard ascent the day before. I stopped to putz around and take pictures of children's nature art (above) on a stump and the pretty view of trail interspersed with trees. It still got us sweating and it was hot that day, so I felt I did my workout (just the hike up to the posts where all the trails go off is a big climb).
It was very pretty in this park and I'd highly recommend it. Each day we packed granola bars, water, and some individual cheese packets for snacks and lunch was a shared smoothie at Jamba Juice to get our sugars up. I'm not too upset that we never went anywhere else because not only were there so many options to hike, but we had seen a lot of different areas of Boulder + country on our bikes. I would say if you're not a biker, at least try one of these hikes if you go there. You won't be disappointed, and your heart-rate will feel great afterward.

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