You hike. Well either that or drink beer, but being part of an Americorps NCCC team hiking is usually the more acceptable option of the two. In fact, the first day we arrived in Longmont and met our project sponsor with Habitat for Humanity, we were informed of various nearby trails. I have a few avid outdoorsy people on my team, notably Jack, who would probably go live in the woods if he could, so I knew we would be taking advantage of this free entertainment. The first weekend, we started easy with a trip to McIntosh Lake, a short hike/walk suitable for all abilities, but yet offered spectacular views. It's been awhile since I've been surrounded my Mountains, oh Korea how I miss you so, and thus I was happy to be back to this norm.
The eagerness for a more strenuous hike was split among the team, some eager and roaring to go, while others were unsure of what that entailed. I personally, straddled the line between the two, half of me wanted to get out and explore Colorado, but the other half despises winter and all that comes along with hit. Instagram has become my 'go-to' for local suggestions and advice, and it was there that I first discovered Mount Sanitas, an "accessible hike" a short distance from downtown Boulder. As it was within our travel range (Team Leaders are able to approve travel under 25 miles), and the weekend weather was promising to be good (enough) the team agreed to adventure out together.
When I woke that Sunday morning, I was sure that I'd be hiking the 'easy' trail, both because I didn't feel like exerting myself that day, and also because I wanted others to have the option of doing the same. When we arrived at the trail head however, everyone else was eager for the challenge and thus I joined along. There was some confusion in my mind about the elevation gain, until I realized that I'm used to hiking mountains abroad where the measurements are in meters, and upon this realization felt much better about what laid ahead. The hike up was challenging, thanks in part to the snow and ice that covered most of the trail, but it was just challenging enough for the day. I was happy to have reached the summit, and actually shed a few layers of clothing in the process, but it was only after meeting the rest of my team and catching our breaths that I remembered the 'down' portion of the trek.
My new Nike running shoes were definitely not the right footwear for this adventure, but I had no real alternative, steel toed work boots and moccasins didn't seem appropriate. Had I worn hiking boots I may not have slipped and sled as much as I did, but there was only one real spill. I walked away with a few bruises and a slightly bruised ego, but brushed it off pretty quickly. The major highly of the day was when my teammate Lily and I decided we'd had enough with the switch back, icy trail and instead decided to 'sled' down the side of the mountain. It was only for about 50 feet or so, and there was already a path laid out for us, so why not?
Half the team was sore the following few days, and I do admit I felt it in my shins, so it was either that or the cooler temperatures which kept us from adventuring out again the following weekend. Instead we opted for days of rest and movie marathons, but the following week we were ready to go again. I didn't want to dissuade my team with another mountain so instead opted for an "easy/moderate' trail at Rabbit Mountain, another recommendation from our sponsor Rebecca and also one of the regular volunteers at our Lyons work site.
The hike was not as strenuous as our previous adventure, however the melting snow led to trails of mud, and the wind was no joke. The view was spectacular, but halfway through I was over it, flashbacks to my mud filled adventures in Myanmar left me frustrated and I was ready to be at Oskar Blues, on the balcony, but a beer in my hand. The hike was a total of about 4 miles, and while I didn't enjoy it all as much as I had hoped, I did make it through, good views, a few laughs and a good dose of movement, my body was happy - at least I earned that afternoon beer.
A Year of Service
My life, being anything but predictable, has taken another turn. Rather than moving to Jeju, South Korea - my original plan for Fall '18, I'm going to test drive Denver, CO and its surroundings, an area people just keep telling me "I'd love".