Hiketober – Chimney Gulch

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas… Hiketober!

Every year for the past three years, my family and friends have indulged my desire and need for hiking in the fall. In New England, the mountain sides are covered in blankets of brilliantly colored leaves: golds, crimson and orange. Breathtaking, for sure, and something I make certain I do not miss. Because I love to play with words, Hiketober” was the perfect blend of the name for my favorite month, and my favorite activity.

And so, three years ago, a new season was born.

That year, my parents, aunt, uncles, and cousins set out on our first trip, taking control of some of the simpler, yet beautiful, hikes and connected with each other in ways that we hadn’t really connected before. It was one of the few times we gathered for an outdoor activity that got our bodies moving, and our minds exploring. We first traveled up Artist’s Bluff and Bald Mountain, which provided sweeping views of Cannon Mountain. We later toured the famous Flume Gorge, and got in a little bit of rock climbing along what was once a waterfall. Definitely a successful first Hiketober trip, and each of us continued to hike throughout the month.

Now that I’m in Colorado, I was a bit worried about the continuity of Hiketober with my East Coast family, but it turns out they are holding strong and keeping our season alive with outings to mountains there!

I personally knew that I wouldn’t have a problem holding up my end of the events as there is hardly a lack of activity here, especially hiking. I knew that when Hiketober finally arrived, I’d have plenty of buddies to come along with me on my month of outdoor adventures!

This past weekend, a few of us decided to head out to Golden (home of Coors Brewing Company) and kick off the season, except the season seemed to not want anything to do with us hikers. We were simply seeking a little exercise and some potential views of the foothills. No, instead we were greeted with dense fog that completely covered the mountain top.

Hiketober Summit?

View of the summit from the base of the foothill.

Hiktober Pea Soup

Just about all we could see along the way.

 

Embracing us with its autumn chill, the cool, damp air enticed us to stay in the car instead of head out on the footpath through the unseen trails that lay ahead. Slightly disappointed, we set out anyways; four friends and one very special mascot: Ellie the dog.

Four friends and Ellie, our fearless mascot!

Four friends and Ellie, our fearless mascot!

It was a bit wet along the path; the brush retained the dew from the night before, and showed no signs of drying out. Back when we had our first Hiketober hike back in New Hampshire. It was also a dreary day with low-lying fog that covered the surrounding 4,000 foot peaks – a day not unlike this first Colorado Hiketober hike. We couldn’t see much, and the foliage appeared much less brilliant than normal, but my family still entertained this new season, and we captured some great memories and explored some new terrain in the White Mountains.

But I’ve long since hiked the Whites. The foothills here in Colorado, however, are perfect for a quick trip, and hiking Chimney Gulch satisfied week one of the month. Although we could barely see a quarter of a mile ahead of where we were, we were tipped off from Michael that the views were typically breathtaking. We took his word for it as we pressed on up the trail.

Gulch view 2

Views from when Michael hiked this on a clear day!

Gulch view 3

Another gulch shot from Michael’s trek.

I think that with the denseness of the fog, the hike seemed to go by much more quickly than I expected it to. Since we couldn’t see the peak, we had no idea just how far we had gone, and even once we were at the summit, Michael alerted us that there was a lookout just beyond where we were, however, it was pointless to venture up toward it, considering we couldn’t see it anyways.

A summit without a view

A summit without a view

Despite the weather conditions and lack of views, time spent with friends hiking, is time well spent. And just like my family back east traveled some well-worn trails with me, my new Colorado family has done the same.

Happy hiking everyone, and I look forward to seeing your trail tales throughout the month!

New Colorado family = happy hikers

New Colorado family = happy hikers

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