Alan and Jonna's 2018 hikes

Here are some quick reviews and photos of some of our favorite hikes of 2018:

1) Joaquin Miller Park, City of Oakland Open Space, Oakland, CA, January 4, 2018 - We had a lovely walk in the Oakland Hills to kick off our 2018 hikes. Jamie drove us up the hill from his house for a walk through the forest. With views across the bay of downtown San Francisco, tall coastal redwoods, moss covered pines, dew covered ferns and more natural beauty than an area this close to a city the size of Oakland should contain. 3 miles with around 250 feet of elevation gain.

2) West Magnolia trail system, Nederland, CO, January 15, 2018 - Lyle and Alan got together for a holiday weekend hike despite both of us still dealing with the effects of week long head colds. We each required a big cup of caffiene to find the motivation to leave the warm coffee shop where we met and to head out into the 20 degree weather. We headed to the nearest trailhead and did a short loop in the West Magnolia trail system. It wasn't a long hike but it gave us a chance to enjoy the falling snow, see the dark snow clouds hanging over the valley and to get some fresh (and cold!) air into our enflamed sinuses. A 2 mile loop with 150 feet of elevation gain.

3) Eldorado Canyon trail, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Boulder, CO, January 25, 2018 - Todd, Lyle and Alan finally got together for our first mid-week hike of 2018. We decided to head down to Eldorado Canyon State Park to check out the state of trails there. It was unseasonably warm but still quite icy after snow earlier in the week. We put on micro-spikes and started climbing up the Eldorado Canyon trail. The views down into the canyon and west to the Continental Divide were fantastic - snow-covered ridges, one above another, climbing over 1,000 feet above the trailhead. We hiked all the way through to where it connects to the Walker Ranch trail system then turned around and back-tracked to the car. A good hike with my good friends. 6.7 miles out and back with a respectable 1,800 feet of elevation gain.

4) South Boulder Creek trail, West Trailhead, Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, January 28, 2018 - Lyle, Jonna and Alan got together on a cold and windy weekend for our weekly hike. In an effort to find a few extra degrees of warmth we headed down out of the mountains to hike the Marshall Mesa trails in Boulder but found that trailhead closed. For a backup plan we headed across the street to the South Boulder Creek West trailhead and hiked there. The temperature was nice but the wind got stronger and stronger as we hiked until eventually we threw in the preverbial towel. Still, a hike along the front range is always scenic and the slushy snow on the trail provided a little extra work-out. 3 miles with a mild 200 feet of elevation gain.

5) Bright Trail, Johnny Park trail system, Pinewood Springs, CO, February 1, 2018 - Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these hikes from the exploration of their appointed trails... or something like that. Todd, Lyle and Alan headed out into the tail end of a snow storm for a Mid-week Retiree Hiking Club outing. Todd volunteered to show Lyle and Alan some of the trails near his home so we headed up the snow-covered 4X4 roads into Johnny Park to where the road was blocked for the winter. From there we climbed up Tom's Trail into the national forest for a long, cold loop that connected to the north end of the Bright Trail. We explored a little of that trail, until the freezing wind turned us back, and then returned to the trailhead via an unnamed mountain bike trail that climbed to the top of the highest hill in the area. We hiked through snow clouds and hiked through forests of trees that were fully encased in frost. It was really spectacular...and really cold. Did I mention the cold? 9.5 miles with 2,150 feet of elevation gain.

6) Mount Sanitas, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, February 8, 2018 - It is that time of the year again - time for the spring training hikes up the five mountains around Boulder. Lyle and Alan kicked off the annual tradition by hiking up Mount Sanitas - the easiest of the five hikes. We started at Settler's Park, hiked over Red Rocks trail to the Mt. Sanitas trailhead. Then went up Dakota Ridge to the trail that climbs the eastern face of the mountain and from there up to the summit. The wind blew us down the southern ridge back to the trailhead and we hiked back over to Settler's Park trailhead via the Anemone Trail. The big thing we noticed this year was the complete lack of snow and ice... This made the hiking easier but really highlights how dry the winter has been. 4.5 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.

7) Shanahan Ridge, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, February 11, 2018 - Jonna and Alan had plans down in Boulder that prevented us from doing a long hike but we still made time to meet up with our friends Desiree and Gaelin for a morning hike in one of the Boulder Open Space Parks. We were worried it would be cold and windy but clear skies allowed the warmth of the sun through which made for nice hiking weather. We started at the Shanahan Ridge trailhead and did a little loop that climbed up the Shanahan North Fork trail, turned south along a short section of the Mesa trail, then dropped back down part of Shanahan South Fork trail to a little connector trail that bridges back to the original North Fork trail. A nice combination of trails snaking up through the forest just west of Boulder with some clear views of the Flatirons and good way to kick off our first 2018 hike with Desiree and Gaelin. 3.7 miles with 800 feet of elevation gain.

8) Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder County Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, March 1, 2018 - The Mid-week Retiree Hiking Club's...uhhh...mid-week back. Todd, Lyle and Alan met up in Boulder and then headed up. Specifically, we knocked out the second of the five spring training hikes by climbing Boulder's Flagstaff Mountain. We decided to take the northern route by parking at Eben G. Fine Park and then hiking up via the Panorama Point trail, then meeting up with the Flagstaff trail to the summit. Once on top we hiked a little loop up top via the Rangeview and Ute trails, then decended back the way we came up. Thanks to the unseasonably warm weather and clear skies we even got a big dose of Vitamin D to go with our views of Boulder and the Continental Divide. 6.6 miles with 1,700 feet of elevation gain.

9) Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO, March 11, 2018 - Our friend Roar's daughter Idun is in Denver this winter as an exchange high school student from Norway. We brought her up to our house this weekend so she could get a little taste of the mountains. The highlight was our taking her up to Rocky Mountain National Park to hike in the stunning landscape there, specifically by hiking from the Bear Lake trailhead past Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake to the trail's eventual end at Emerald Lake. We had great weather for venturing into the high country and the snow-covered mountains looked gorgeous. 3.5 miles up and back down with 700 feet of elevation gain.

10) Red Rocks and Fruita Trails, James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, Fruita Section, Fruita, CO, March 29, 2018 - Jonna and Alan decided to take advantage of Jonna's Spring Break to test out our camping gear for our upcoming summer vacation trip. We left home in a snow storm and drove over to the west side of the state to find some warmer weather. Specifically, we set up camp in the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park campground in Fruita. In order to see a little of the park we went out for an afternoon walk to see both of the park's hiking trails. We had a pleasant stroll along the Colorado River where we saw lots of ducks, geese, doves, red-winged blackbirds and plenty of other birds. 3.0 miles but almost complete flat with just 50 feet of elevation gain.

11) Coke Ovens Trail, Colorado National Monument, Fruita, CO, March 30, 2018 - We chose Fuita for our camping trip specifically because we love nearby Colorado National Monument so much. For our one full free day of the mini-trip we drove through the park stopping to do some of the short hikes along the Rim Drive. The highlight was the trail out to the Coke Ovens overlook which gave a stunning panoramic view of Monument Valley. The Coke Ovens trail was just 1.1 miles out and back with 150 feet of elevation gain. The other trail we hiked, Window Rock, added another mile of hiking with probably another 50 feet of elevation.

12) Green Mountain, Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, April 5, 2018 - After slacking for a few weeks, Lyle and Alan got together to resume our annual spring training hikes. With two down the next one on the list was Green Mountain. We normally do the Hikin' O' The Green for St. Patrick's Day but we're running a few weeks behind schedule this year...Nonetheless, it proved as icy in April as it historically has in March. We started at the bottom of Gregory Canyon and climbed up via the Amphitheater, Saddle Rock and Greenman trails, then came back down via Ranger and Gregory Canyon. It was overcast and windy but we still had some nice scenic views both down onto Boulder and west onto the snow-covered Divide. As is often the case, the beautiful Pasque flowers were just peeking their heads out of the thawing ground to prove that spring has arrived. 5.3 miles with 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

13) Bear Peak, Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, April 12, 2018 - Lyle and Alan checked spring training hike #4 off the list with a mid-week climbing of Boulder's Bear Peak. This is our favorite of the front range mountains because of how incredible the view is over Boulder and across the eastern plains, as well as the panorama of the Continental Divide to the west. However, it isn't an easy trail so you have to earn it! We started at NCAR, going south on Mesa trail to Bear Canyon. We then did the long climb up Bear Canyon and to the peak via Bear Peak's West Ridge. We spent some time enjoying the perfect hiking weather and the stunning views at the top. We took the express route back down via Fern Canyon and then retraced our path on Mesa Trail back to NCAR. A challenging 8.8 mile loop with 2,700 feet of elevation gain.

14) Matthews/Winters Park, Jefferson County Open Space, Morrison, CO, April 23, 2018 - The Mid-week Retiree Hiking Club gathered for a combo ride and hike day - spending some quality time with both our motorcycles and our hiking boots. We met in Nederland and then rode some of the mountain canyons down to Morrison. There we hiked a loop in the Matthews/ Winters Park by stringing together a few different trails within the park. A fun way to enjoy the blue skies and weather of spring. 3.1 miles with a very mellow 250 feet of elevation gain.

15) Dowdy Draw-FlatIrons Vista North trails, Boulder County Open Space and Mountain Parks, Boulder, CO, May 13, 2018 - Despite the rainy weather we got out for a weekend hike after having taken a few weeks off. Our friends Desiree and Gaelin suggested a new trail (for us) which turned out to be a scenic but crazy muddy choice. The rained turned the silty trail into a slick, sticky mess - we ended up hiking with a few pounds of glue-like mud stuck to our boots! The rain clouds clinging to the Flatirons looked very dramatic and the recent rain turned all the grass a vibrant green. The views were all quite striking and it was great to catch back up with our friends. 3.4 muddy miles out and back with 500 feet of elevation gain.

If you enjoyed these you may also enjoy checking out some photos from our 2017 hikes.

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Alan Fleming