Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Cathy Johnson Trail


Take a look at my Mountain Man!

My husband and I recently walked a trail in our community called the Cathy Johnson Trail, that traverses a portion of the Ken Caryl Ranch Metropolitan District Open Space.


The Cathy Johnson Trail  is open to the public, and was dedicated in 1993 to the woman who worked towards the purchase and preservation of the South Hogback area, as Protected Open Space, to conserve it for the benefit of the people, plants and wildlife of the area.


If you click on the photo above, and then click on it again to open it full size, you can see, outlined in red, the full trail path is 2.1 miles in one direction. We began our hike at the NW corner at Valley Road, and walked to the end and then double backed to the beginning for a total 4.2 miles.


The trail begins at a slight uphill climb situated in a narrow valley between the Dakota and Lyons Hogbacks.You can see tire ruts on the trail, as the local Park Rangers use this trail as road when needed, but it is mainly used for hiking, biking and horseback riding.


The trail soon begins a gradual 400 feet downhill descent. You can see a bike rider in the distance.


On one side of the trail is the Dakota Hogback.


A hogback is a geological term for a natural ridge with steep sides formed by dipping strata. The name comes from the ridge resembling the high, knobby spine between the shoulders of a hog.


We saw lots of nooks and crannies in the hogbacks which would be perfect hiding spaces for....


...rattlesnakes! 

That is one of the reasons we stay on the trails and don't go exploring in the wild. We also carry a walking stick with us; not only does it help when we are on a vertical climb, but it also gives us a feeling of protection in case we did see a snake on the trail! Luckily, we did not see any at all.


The other side of the trail is the Lyons Hogback, which is lined on this side with thickets of shrubs, trees and evergreens.


A nice shaded bench alongside the trail.


At one point, the Cathy Johnson Trail trail splits off to the Columbine Trail. The Columbine Trail climbs upward towards the crest of the Lyons hogback and connects to South Valley Park. That trail will be a hike for us to complete in the future.


Obviously, the trail that gradually descended in one direction, gradually ascended 400 feet on the hike back! I am still working on getting my body to make these climbs without needing to stop and rest. After walking my entire life on flat ground at sea level, all the hills in my high altitude area are still a challenge for me.  Hopefully, that will change with time.


Click on photo to enlarge.

One nice way to rest along the way, however, is to take photos of the wild flowers I see! There are so many flowers I have to learn about, and I found an excellent online Eastern Colorado Wildflower resource.  Considering that most of Colorado is a high desert climate, there is no shortage to the hardy flowers that grow here.  

My husband and I feel very fortunate that we have so many local trails to hike and explore. It is turning two former "city slickers" into nature lovers. As one blog friend recently said to me: "Pat, you are turning into Heidi!" That's OK! I always loved that story/movie as a child, and to being living that kind of life now at this time in my life is very exciting to me!




Before I end this post I want to know if there are any RUSH fans among my readers? My husband was sweet enough to treat me to tickets to see both Andrea Bocelli (click here) and Josh Groban (click here) for my brthday, so I treated him on Father's Day to tickets for us to see RUSH perform at the Denver Pepsi Center last week.  He was thrilled, as he saw one of the beginning dates of their "Clockwork Angels" tour at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY last year. If you'd like to hear two popular songs that RUSH performed at the concert we attended click through to my blog's facebook page at this link to hear "Tom Sawyer," and on this link to hear "Subdivisions." I have to admit I got caught up in the excitement of the music and really enjoyed their three hour show! 

I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

Oh, the PLACES I've been!
Moasic Monday
Blue Monday
Our World Tuesday

Thank you to all the blog hosts!

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37 comments:

Helen said...

Hi there! I'm forwarding a few of your amazing photos to my son -- moving to Denver in a few months!!

From the Kitchen said...

Yes, I think "Heidi" is a good description for you! You two have traded lovely tall buildings for lovely tall mountains. What fresh air you must be enjoying.

Best,
Bonnie

Pondside said...

It's a bonus to have such a lovely walking trail near home. I imagine you will soon be walking there with your little grandchildren!

Vee said...

I love that line..."You're turning into Heidi." So cute. I admire anyone who gets out on those trails that go down and up in the blazing sun. Very impressive...

Linda said...

You two are becoming quite the hikers...wonderful! Dona and I are always looking for new walking trails around here...and yes, doing anything at the higher altitude tires you out...we are at about 1500 feet here, but when we go and walk in the mountains...I get very tired at the 6000-7000 altitude. It looks like a great place you've settled in! Have a great day!!

The Gathering Place said...

I'm so impressed that you are both discovering your area on foot! Beautiful scenery-and thankfully, no snakes!

Lynn@Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks like you had a very pretty walk Pat! I'd stay on the paths too:@)

Sarah said...

Pat, it's wonderful that you and your "mountain man" are taking advantage of all that CO has to offer. This looks like a great day!

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

Your mountain man definitely looks like a true mountain man. You two have quickly lost the city slicker in you, which is pretty darn cool to see. Also pretty cool? The Rush concert! So awesome. :-D

ellen b. said...

What a great spot to hike!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Vee, that is why my husband and I bought big sun hats -- they are good protection!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Such a beautiful area to hike! It's so pretty there that you're going to have us all wanting to move to Colorado! :)

Kris said...

How gorgeous is the countryside in which you live!! Lovely!!!
xo Kris

Tracy said...

Such a rich history there... But I must admit I got very sidetracked by the rattlesnakes warning... GAK! RUSH??!! Hubby & I are big RUSH fans. For just 3 guys on stage, their sound is just HUGE... love them! Happy Days to you all there :o) ((HUGS))

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hey Heidi! LOL, one of my favorites too! I think your mountain man is adorable! I love being outside! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Rattlesnakes - yikes.I would most definitely carry a walking stick.

Hope you have a lovely weekend Pat and the rains subside.
Sam

Ruth Kelly said...

Rattlesnakes are all over the west - not surprising that you came across the sign but it was good it was not a snake. It looked like quite a hike!

Lulu said...

You have introduced me to a place that is totally new to me and looks like a beautiful place to explore rattlesnakes and all!

Noel Morata said...

Beautiful area and hike, what spectacular country it is!

Barbara said...

Pat, once again, a beautiful blog post. I almost feel like I was on the hike with you because I've been hiking along the Front Range of Colorado this week, too! Your body will adjust to the high altitude and you are doing the best thing you can for yourself by getting outside to walk. Blessings to you!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I had to smile when I saw the headline of this post because I have a friend named Cathy Johnson. You two have certainly acclimatized to the mountain life. I never heard of a hog back on a mountain, but now I know what it looks like thanks to you.

Sheila said...

It's interesting to see the geographic features that surround you in Colorado. We once lived where rattlesnakes could be found and i saw only three. But workers in the orchards never went out to work without their hoes. You will be in fantastic shape after all the hiking you are doing!

diane b said...

It is good to hear that you have adjusted to the different life style that you have now. Who wouldn't like hiking in that beautiful area.? Your mountain man looks the part.

xinex said...

What a nice trail for a hike. Thinking of a rattlesnake will freak me out...Christine

Betsy Adams said...

Hi There, I'm back after a big birthday week. Trying to catch up a little on my blogging.

That looks like an awesome hiking trail and a nice length for a hike. Welcome to MY world --when it comes to steep trails!!!!!! That's all we have around here.

Looks like you had some great views all around you. What a nice hike... Glad also that your hubby is doing so well in retirement. So many men don't know what to do with themselves after working for so many, many years...My Daddy was one of those men. He had no hobbies... Sad.

Hugs,
Betsy

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Isn't the great outdoors GREAT? It really delivers so much...or shall I say God delivers so much through the beauty of His Creation if we will just go out in it.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Betsy, my husband is not retired as yet! We take our hikes in the evenings and on weekends. :)

Our photos said...

Beautiful photos!
Have a nice day! RW & SK

eileeninmd said...

Pat, you are now living in a great area to enjoy nature. The views are beautiful. I loved this hike and all the beautiful wildflowers. Gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing. Have a happy week ahead!

podso said...

It is so nice that you have those trails practically at your doorstep and even better that you are taking advantage of them. I wonder how long it takes to adjust to the altitude; I certainly experienced some challenges with hills and stairs at 9000+feet this summer.

steviewren said...

Hi Pat! Your area of the country is very pretty. Thanks for sharing the photos and explaining what a hogback is.

Sally said...

You and your husband are adventurers. I cannot imagine walking such a distance! Thanks for informing us about a hogback. I never knew that.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

Cindy said...

O Pat, I wouldn't mind hiking those trails, they look wonderful and easy compared to the hiking I did in the state of Washington. There was nothing gradual about that climb. I'm afraid I did not enjoy it too much.
It's very nice to hear that you are loving Colorado so much. Your scenery there is amazing!!!

Nanna said...

what a beautiful hiking trail, not sure I could walk all of that lol! but it is beautiful!
Helen

Annesphamily said...

Always a nice post from you! Your photos are very wonderful and it is good to see you here. As I lifelong Colorado native I have to remember to drink lots of water when I get into the higher altitude! Oe I get a headache! Take care and enjoy the great outdoors!

Jenny said...

Your mountain man is a cutie!

I'm so glad the move is turning out to be everything, and more, that you wanted!

Willow said...

I can see how you would need to take the trails slowly and adapt to the the altitude. You certainly have beautiful places to build your endurance :)