So, we then found this state park just south of Boulder, and found that this hike in particular hiked to peaks that yielded views of Denver AND the Boulder flat irons. Sold! After a little bit of a mis-turn getting to the trail head, we finally made it to the trailhead around 2pm. We took a picture of the map so we could track where we were. We started on the homestead trail, went up shadow canyon, to bear peak, and then back down. We ended up taking the Mesa loop on the way back around but it ended up being only slightly longer than if we came back the exact way we came (BUT foreshadowing, at that point, it felt like that little bit extra was a MILLION miles).
The first part of the hike... beautiful views of the mountains (also foreshadowing: we did not know that we would be hiking to the TOP of this thing).
Cute little house at the beginning of the trail. Sidenote: I could REALLY get used to the sunny days that we had in Colorado. It was also SO warm (like 85-90 degrees....ahhh, nostalgia).
A view already looking down and we were barely in to the hike.
Crossing a bridge at the beginning.
Selfie! Because you gotta have one of those. Or a hundred.
...and we just kept climbing...
We came to a little house in the middle of the trail (before things got REALLY rough)... apparently someone used to live here?! Super cool. I love stuff like that.
After the little house, things got, well, INTENSE. It was basically rock climbing for the next 3 miles. Straight up. Our legs were BURNING.
Here was one of the rock formations that we saw WAAAYY off in the distance, and then all of a sudden we looked up and we were right under it. Not shocking at all as I said, we were going STRAIGHT up.
We came to a point towards the peak where the house side of the mountain had been burned. Pretty crazy.
And of course the views from up towards the top started to get SUPER cool. You can't really tell from the picture but we could see the city of Denver (somewhere in the middle of the picture if you look really closely).
Another selfie! In all honesty, this was probably my attempt to stop climbing for two seconds. Phew, it was hard!
Yep, we went up that sucker.
By the time we got to the top, we realized that we were in way over our heads on this hike. IE: we did not realize we would be basically rock climbing for the last 3 miles (which took FOREVER). So, we really didn't get any good pictures at the top, but just scurried back down. It was incredible. You'll just have to take my word. Take note: in this below picture, that rock kind of sticking straight up in the middle? Yeah, that was the rock above that we were standing UNDER at one point. We were DEEP in to this mountain. INSANE. I kept looking back at the bottom going, "holy crap, that hike was crazy... I can't believe we did that!"
And as an added bonus: sunset on the way home. To all those who were wondering, no we didn't have the kids (they stayed with my parents for the day-- they went home after Boulder and we went hiking-- it was amazing to have the day to do something that we love to do more than anything!)