Carpenter Peak Trail
Trailhead: Roxborough State Park Visitor Center
Distance: 6.3 miles, 1171 ft gain (moderate)
Another day, another hike at Roxborough State Park. Truth be told, I had this whole post planned about about the ridiculousness of hiking in 65 degree weather in February and how annoyed I was about the weather in Colorado (no joke, until today I didn't need a coat for almost two weeks). BUT, we got almost 3 inches of snow today and it was 24 degrees when I left work, so it all seems a little moot now. I will still say, though, global warming is real and we can all do things to make that better. Love your planet, love the places you get to explore, and let's have it all exist a little bit longer.
When I have to work on the weekends, I do what I can to take a day off during the week. I usually go for Wednesdays because I have class and that way I'm not skipping out on a whole day of work/pay. Just a half day. Realistically, I should have used the day to do laundry and pick up the apartment, but I haven't been hiking in what feels like forever and I really needed to get out and take my mind off of everything. Roxborough has become that place for me, and I fully intend on exploring everything it has to offer.
The first half mile of this trail is super flat and well traveled. It's part of the Willow Creek Loop and also connects to the South Rim Trail. When it splits to be the Carpenter Peak Trail, there's a sign warning visitors about mountain lion activity. I was SUPER intimidated when I saw this sign, and made sure I was conscious of my surroundings and that I was making noise when I walked. There were other people on the trail, though, and nothing even sounding like a strange noise happened (thank GOD).
From that mountain lion sign on, it's uphill the whole way. There's over a thousand feet of elevation gain in the 3.1 miles it takes to reach the peak. I managed to make it that whole way without using my inhaler (if you think that sounds like bragging, you're right. I'm damn proud of that fact) and only stopping to take pictures. I hiked "with" an old man who told me he thinks I have viking in my blood which I took as a compliment.
Around this point there is a hill that I was CONVINCED was the top. You wrap around the back of the hill and start going down. That did not feel right to me and I had to stop and stare at my map (ALWAYS CARRY A MAP, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE BY YOURSELF!) and text Claire. The old man told me he thinks we were going in the right direction, and eventually I was able to see that he was right.
The top of the peak is astounding. I love exploring the foothills and looking out towards Denver, and Carpenter Peak is no exception. It was relatively windy, so I watched a hawk playing in the wind, took a few pictures, and then had to head down. I was racing against the clock to have time to get home, shower, eat, and make it to class on time (this may have served as the biggest motivator to make it to the top as fast as I did). It was such a beautiful hike, albeit entirely too hot, and a perfect mid-week escape.
Also, I saw 4 giant bucks on my way out. A pretty good day.