Friday, December 25, 2015

My Saturday hike with Walk2Connect

Walk2Connect at the Spruce Mountain Trailhead
Jonathan reads from his red book with Kanoa, Polly wears a Santa hat
I hiked last Saturday morning with the Colorado group Walk2Connect. Led by Jonathon Stalls, the Spruce Mountain Trail hike was very enjoyable.  Just over a dozen walkers and one fine dog named Kanoa made up the trip.
Jonathon has walked across America with Kanoa while generating support for, and hiked the Camino De Santiago in Spain with his dad. He also has spoken at a TEDx event in Colorado and started Walk2Connect as a "Colorado-based social enterprise group to create whole health outcomes through innovative walking programs focused on connection to others, to place, and to self." He is an outgoing Walking Movement Leader and a really nice guy. Kanoa is a great dog too!
Walk2Connect is all about inclusiveness and communication. Their goal is to get you outside and talking with them while also allowing you some space and time for reflection. I like the mix.
Also on the hike was Polly Letofsky who became the first woman to walk around the world in 1999, walking over 14,000 miles in 5 years. Polly also raised money on the trip for Breast Cancer. She wrote an award-winning book "3MPH" (on my library list), and an audio book. A documentary video was made about the fundraising side of her trip. Polly's walk started by just walking out the door of her home in Vail, CO.
Ben Clagett this year (2015) walked across America and created Walk for 60 to encourage people to walk for sixty minutes daily, modelling what his mom (who was in the group today) already did every day. Ben just finished his trip last month.

Photo break of the surrounding open space
Spruce Mountain Trail, just south of Larkspur was covered in snow, with depths anywhere from clear wind-swept earth to mid-thigh deep cold white.  Mostly the hiking was uneven and slippery. A couple hikers donned cleats over their boots like YakTrax or Katoola Micro Spikes which helped much with traction. Hiking poles helped a lot. Most of the rest of us just slipped along wearing anything on our feet from snow boots to tennis shoes.
We broke into bunches along the trail, talking about trips, asking questions of Ben, Polly and Jonathon and meeting other hikers in the group as we walked. Ben stopped for short breaks often and provided us with snacks and quiet time to enjoy the rocks and views of the surrounding Douglas County Open Space along the trail.
At one break, Jonathon read a post from Paul Salopek, a National Geographic journalist walking around the world on a 7 year journey, following the ascent of mankind in his Out of Eden Blog. The post was very well written and it made me think for a moment as if I were a discoverer. The link to the story is HERE if you are interested. I noticed nodding heads, listened to deep questions and saw thoughtful looks around the group. Ahh, my peeps, people who enjoy hiking AND intellectual writing : )

Beautiful weather with views north along the front range
The climb was fairly easy, the skies clear with the temperatures near the mid-50's.  It did get a little windy at Windy Point on the mountain top loop where Jonathon took photos of us, but was warm enough to begin melting snow on the return trip. I must say the weather was perfect for hiking!
All three Leaders were very interesting to talk with and like to share about the details of their respective trips. I, on the other hand, am shy in groups and do not typically engage with others I do not know. I usually just nod or say hi to another hiker I pass along the trail, so this is what has been missing for me. Communication with other people who enjoy the outdoors as I do; who also understand that solitude is a welcome caller, and who smile to the sound of the wind in the trees; who easily talk about places they have been, people they met, experiences they cherish.
Of course I had to leave the group before they went to lunch together and go in to work, and could not continue the communication we had all started. But I will return and hike more with Walk2Connect. They are running as many as 15 to 45 walks each week in Colorado, depending on the season. Check out their event calendar HERE to find a local walk for you.


  1. Glad you were able to join us, Bryce, and great post about the hike! I'm looking forward to following your blog!

    Ben Clagett

  2. My pleasure and I hope to join you again this fall!