My Hiking Hero is Bette Erickson from right here in Broomfield, Colorado. Bette is the author of Best Boulder Region Hiking Trails (my hiking bible), and about 600 other great hiking books. (Well — that’s maybe a slight exaggeration!)
Bette also writes a weekly article for our Broomfield Enterprise newspaper. Each week she gives you a glimpse into the details of a hiking trail. My perception of Bette is that she glides up even the most difficult trails because — gosh — isn’t that what your hero does?!?!?
So imagine my surprise when I read last week’s Enterprise article where Bette’s first paragraph started with “Age is a sneaky thief.” She wrote that it stiffens your knees, slows your metabolism, causes mysterious aches, and (gasp) muddies your mind!
Well — how ironic! Read on ……….
Friday, June 27th, Map Master, Wandering Ju and I discovered the beautiful Lost Creek Wilderness area. There are over 121,000 acres of box canyons, crooked creeks, twisty trails, rock towers, arches, and 150 peaks (no fourteeners, however). Lost Creek Wilderness often has a quicker thaw, which means the trails open earlier, and the flowers appear earlier.
For our June 27th hike, we chose the closest trailhead to Broomfield (just outside of Bailey) which provided access into the northeast portion of Lost Creek Wilderness.
The trail climbs gradually through ponderosa and pine forests and then descends into open meadows along Craig Creek.
History Lesson: Payne Creek is named for Jim Payne. In the late 1800′s and early 1900′s Payne and others logged all the way up the valley to the divide between Payne Creek and Craig Creek.
An Interesting Fact: The Colorado Trail crosses eight mountain ranges, seven national forests, five river systems, and six wilderness areas — one of which is Lost Creek Wilderness! Most of The Colorado Trail is above 10,000 feet and it can take six to eight weeks to hike the entire trail.
We reached the intersection of Payne Gulch trail and Brookside trail. There was some slight confusion (muddy-ing of the mind perhaps?) between me and Map Master, but we stayed on the Payne Gulch trail.
We continued on Payne Gulch trail, hoping to intersect The Colorado Trail, but today — it was just a little too far. We stopped near Payne Creek for lunch. The pictures below do not do justice. We had to cross some pretty old, slippery, rotting logs to reach the other side of the creek — where I was convinced we would have a much more pleasant place to lunch.
We all made it.
After lunch (and chocolates), we crossed those old, slippery, rotting logs again.
As we headed back to the car we talked about all our ailments — Wandering Ju mentioned her hurting feet and heels; Map Master mentioned that sometimes her hips hurt the next day; and I am perfect! No — just kidding! I mentioned that sometimes my lower back hurts. There were comments made about getting older, and about mysterious stiffness in our joints, knees, etc.
“No!” I said, “We are not going to succumb to that “old age” thing. And that’s when Map Master said it! So — Bette — age is not a sneaky thief. To quote Map Master ……….
“It’s just hard to be an athlete!!”