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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

A Hike Around Chautauqua

I was craving a bit of outdoor recreation for quite some time; it had been months since my last hike up in the Rocky Mountains. Traveling to Rwanda and New York has kept me in between trips to finish my book, but finally time has started to open up a bit for me. Of course, it helps when I take a day off from work as well. I did so for the specific reason of heading back up to hike in Boulder’s Chautauqua Park. Since I hiked to the Royal Arch on my last trip there, I wanted to go around the iconic Flatirons on this hike.
The skies were a bit overcast and drizzly, but that was good news for a county that has been decimated by wildfires in the last month. It was also good for me since it kept the temperatures down. I knew the hike was going to be difficult enough since I had seen very little gym-time recently, and the cooler conditions the better in my mind. I wanted to get in a workout, but I really didn’t care for my t-shirt to be transparent at the end of it all.
So, in the light rain, I headed up the hill from the parking lot. Already a half mile into my hike I was huffing and puffing and wondering if it would be best if I just turned around and finished a workout in the gym. But no, I wanted to get outdoors for a bit. I’ve spent too much time inside lately, and wanted to see a bit of the foothills along the Front Range.
I continued my hike up into the hills – sometimes wondering if I was even on a trail – enjoying the beautiful golden fall colors as I went. The leaves on the Aspens were the perfect yellow as fall has edge its way in on summer. I made more than a handful of excuses to stop and enjoy the beauty around me, all the while catching my breath as I hiked higher up into the mountains.
Somewhere along the way towards the loop around the third flatiron I lost my way. I’m not sure if I missed a sign, read one wrong, or it wasn’t there at all, but I ended up taking a hike just to the base of the flatiron opposed to up and around it as I had initially intended. It was no bother, though, and probably more of a blessing since I’m not sure it was a good idea to continue – Colorado is one of the highest per capita lightning strike states in the country.

I fit in a few miles on the trail, enjoyed my day out in a really beautiful part of Colorado, and didn’t pay a dime for it. That’s really the best part about Boulder; there are so many trails in the area, and they’re generally all free. Chautauqua Park is no exception to the free rule, and one that I haven’t abused nearly enough. My appetite is hungry for more now, and I hope a return isn’t too far off into my future.
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  1. Planning the Hiking Season | Jason's Travels - April 8, 2014

    […] areas in various nearby counties. The one that most immediately comes to mind is Boulder’s Chautauqua Park, which has been a favorite hiking spot of mine for some […]

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