Heil Valley Ranch north of Boulder, Colorado was the group hike location this past weekend for Hike for Discovery gang. This nearly 5,000 acre open space park is in the lower foothills of Boulder County and attracts a wide range of wildlife, from rabbits and deer to bears and mountain lions. In the winter Elk migrating from the Indian Peaks Wilderness find their way to this open space location as well. With this wide range of species present there are plenty of warning signs for people using the open space.
Starting off at the first trailhead location we counted off and prepared for a warm day on the trails. Our first destination was the Lichen Trail which allowed us to see the changes in the geology was quite well with the different color of dirt on the trail. Upon completion of the 1.3 mile loop we ended up back at where we started and quickly joked about being done for the day, which was far from the truth for today. It was at this time we started up the Wapiti Trail now in some instances yielding to bicyclists. Hiking up a fire road, across meadows, over a small bridge with wild grapes growing near and into the ponderosa pines we progressed up the trail for 2.5 miles. As we reached the Ponderosa Loop some of the group went along the Ponderosa Trail to the overlook, while I was with the group which took the Wild Turkey loop to the overlook. The difference between the trails was the Wild Turkey loop added a little bit more distance to the hike as well as some greater elevation changes. After hiking the first part of the loop we noticed the hikers across the ridgeline that had gone on the Ponderosa Loop at the overlook meeting spot. The overlook was the spot for lunch, snacks and more so water during the hike. From the overlook we could see Longs Peak once again in the distance, some other peaks in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, as well as the general area of last weeks group hike.
After the break we completed the Wild Turkey loop which was a total of 2.9 miles and started back down towards the trailhead on the Wapiti Trail. Towards the end of the trail we left the pines and emptied out into small meadows which allowed us to quickly feel the warmness of the day, but an occasional breeze did help the situation.
As we made it back to the fire road our hike leader Zoe decided to throw in another Lichen Loop for us so we could add another 1.3 miles to the hike. With the gradual up and down on the trail it seemed more like interval training at that stage of the day.
Anyways we completed the loops and were ready to head back to the trail head for good this time and go to a nearby Mexican restaurant to get a bite to eat, a drink of water and possibly something stronger. For the day we did a little over 10.5 miles in summer conditions, which weren’t that bad as they originally forecasted the day being warmer.
Hike for Discovery is the endurance hiking fundraising program for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society . If you would like to donate as I raise money for the LLS visit the Neil Corman Hike for Discovery Donation page . I thank you for supporting my hiking this summer and more so the LLS.