Friday, November 13, 2015

New Shoe Test

Meadow and Red Rock
So I planned to hike a steep trail to test my new shoes. The trail I picked was Carpenter Peak Trail at Roxborough State Park, south of Denver. The trail is rated as strenuous and is quite steep, with sand and rock, along with some tall steps. It is also very peaceful, quite beautiful and not very busy. While my available time would not allow me to reach Carpenter Peak, I did hike half of the trail before turning around to make my time commitments.  A trail map is HERE.

Hiking through meadows

Hiking through scrub
Lots of scrub
The red rocks are always nearby
The trail starts out across from the Visitor's Center and starts very easy and level for the first half mile. Here it twists along the red rocks that Roxborough is famous for. Going in and out of tree cover along with the waist-high meadow grass makes for a varied view. The trail surface is mostly sandy here, a red, course sand from the red rocks.

View of the valley
Continuing to climb
Looking southeast
Climbing the railroad tie steps
Once you cross the dirt road, you begin to climb a steep section of trail with many railroad cross ties holding back the earth. Some of these steps are tall, requiring you to have firm footing before taking the next step. The trail then meanders up through an area with pine and scrub tree cover, zig-zagging quite a bit as it passes a bench on a point. The trail continues to climb and cut back across itself, the view of the valley below opening up as I gain elevation. Eventually, I make the last zag to the right and hike into a dark pine forest with very old trees. I pass the trail junction to Elk Valley and continue on towards Carpenter Peak. Then I continue through the scrub and more trees, still climbing until I reach an open area on a knoll, where there is a bench. Carpenter Peak is above me to the left. All of Denver is to my front right and it looks pretty small from up here.

Red rocks seen from above
And more red rocks from above
The Denver Tech Center is seen through red rocks
My turn around point, Denver is off to the right and very far away
I stop and drink some water, check the time and turn around to return to the car. The descent takes a little less time than the ascent did and I stop every now and then to enjoy the view. It must be bluebird day as I saw several along the trail. One even ran down a bit of the trail towards me, then abruptly turned to the right and promptly disappeared into the scrub. I paused to listen to a woodpecker unseen above me pounding into a tree. The wind whistled through the trees, making me smile.

From just below the knoll
Red rocks with Denver beyond
As for my new shoes, I had not even noticed them, which is good news! They stuck to the rocks and sand without slipping at all, even when my feet were at a steep angle where they should have slipped. I never had to re-tie or adjust them. Nothing was rubbed raw, and my toes didn't jam into the front of the shoe on the downhill either. They just did their job. And that is what I like, shoes that don't hurt anywhere, stick to the ground and still feel comfortable. With my won't-fit-anything feet, that is awesome!

Sign at entrance
Trail Map
Roxborough is a great park that focuses on hiking. They have wonderful programs for the children and families.  To get there, take US 85, Santa Fe, south of Denver, pass over C-470 and continue to Titan Road, where you turn right. Follow Titan Road as it climbs with open views in all directions. Titan Road bends south and changes its name to Rampart Range Road. Pass through the development and turn left at the Roxborough Park sign before entering the Arrowhead community and golf course. Follow this narrow road as it jogs to the right and turns to gravel. You come to the park entrance sign and a kiosk here. Pay the $7 fee to the Iron Ranger and continue to the last parking lot on the right. The Visitor Center is just ahead with Trailheads across from it.

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