A walk from Nederland to Boulder

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So that wind was a little more biting than they said. A cold west wind off the Divide makes for a less than fun ride home from Boulder, and as this was going to be Elaine's first go at it, we decided to save it for another day. As I was walking the dog, I had a thought…"I wonder if it's possible to walk from Nederland to Boulder on almost all trails?" It seems like an obvious answer, and I've biked this route literally thousands of times over the years, but I've never really seriously contemplated a walk of the same distance. When I got home I mentioned the idea to Elaine and she jumped on it…"let's do that today." One key thing Elaine and I like about each other is we push one another to make ideas a reality. Within minutes we were packed and ready to roll.

The hike itself was overall a success. The numbers tell a story…20 miles, 4,500 feet of descending, 1,800 feet of climbing, 95% trails. We had no idea what to expect, as evidenced by our very real conversation of whether we had enough time to catch the last 10:10 pm bus home (we departed at 11 am). We were pleased that the hike took us six hours instead of eleven. I brought the GPS along to chart our speed. 3.3 mph moving average, 3.0 mph with rests. Not bad. According to the ultra-light handbook, three miles per hour is fast.

That said, we have a long way to go. The feet tell the truth. They ache. My hips are sore, as are the front of my calves. Elaine is soaking her feet in hot water as I type this. Our aerobic is fine…it's the muscles and tendons that need honing. The challenge of hiking the Colorado Trail – 480 miles, day-after-day, with packs between 25-30 pounds averaging 20-25 miles per day seems daunting right now. Simply put, we need to get our bodies in hiking shape. As far as I know, the only way to do that is to hike.

It was a great adventure today. It was amazing to hike trails I have biked so much, and see them from a new perspective. You really do see more hiking, including every single little off-shoot trail that heads to who-knows-where. We have a lot of preparation to do. Fortunately, we also have a lot of trails in this neighborhood.

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The original plan for today was to do Elaine's first ever bike ride from Boulder to Ned. Alas, it was blowing like crazy and cold – not ideal conditions for an initiation ride. As I was walking the dog, I had an idea…I wonder if it's possible to walk from Nederland to Boulder? I told Elaine, and she was like…let's do it! After a quick stop at the Co-op, it was up Big Springs to the trails.

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Onto the trails. We had no idea how long it would take, so we brought headlamps. We knew the last bus was at 10:10 pm, so that was our cut-off.

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Yin and yang trail art about three miles in.

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Here's Elaine making her way through Christmas Tree alley. It was brisk and we had a tail wind – perfect hiking conditions.

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Violet sprout on pines.

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Across some secret trails that will not be named here!

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Made it to the Boulder Parks. All downhill from here.

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Elaine heading down the Long Canyon Trail, mile 15 or so.

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And there we have it! Arrived in Boulder. Feet hurt, but otherwise no problem. A great way to spend a Friday, and the best part is, it was 90% on trails. I'd never even really considered walking from Nederland to Boulder, but it's actually a great adventure.

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Forget the 10:10 bus. That Elaine waiting for the 5:40 bus back up the canyon!

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