I’ve always loved making it to the summit of mountains. Earlier this year, in August, we hiked Green Mountain, but only made it about 2/3rds of the way to the top before turning around. I try not to push my daughter but she’s been going for longer and longer adventures. To the Green Mountain summit and back from top of Flagstaff Road is only around 3 miles. Today, with wonderful companions – including two children older than my daughter – we made it! Our first summit!
We meet at Moe’s Broadway Bagel for breakfast. Then caravan up Flagstaff to the trailhead.
We head out. The children hold hands as we start the ascent.
We learn how bark can make trees resistant to fire. Species such as Limber Pine and Ponderosa Pine can actually survive low-intensity fires.
Ponderosa Pine tree bark smalls like vanilla. MMmmm good, my daughter smells one.
My daughter starts to loose steam. I carry her for a short distance on my shoulders until the summit is within site and she’s ready to make the final ascent.
We make it to the summit! The first time my daughter and I have ever made it to a summit! The weather has held and the view of Indian Peaks is outstanding.
In 1929, the University of Colorado Hiking Club built a stone pedestal atop a rock outcropping at the summit. A metal plaque was placed on the top of the pedestal to commemorate the club’s tradition, “memberships in the club were confirmed each semester by a climb to the top of Green Mountain.” The plaque lists the visible summits and the elevation of each (another tradition of the club was to test members back country knowledge by naming each of the mountain tops). Pegs indicate the direction for each mountain from the vantage of the Green Mountain summit.
We discover the summit registry, a collection of rolled papers stored in a pipe within the pedestal. We each take turns writing our names, date, and comments into the registry.
We sit for a a long while, enjoying the 360-degree views. To the West, snow-capped mountains making up the Continental Divide. To the East, the foothills and plains of front range, the colors of Autumn draped across the horizon.
There’s a glut of chipmunks (a.k.a “mini-bears”) nearby. They dart towards us and our snacks.
Although these striped squirrels are cute and their frantic sensibility is spellbinding to the children, they are also relentless – we end up shooing them away time and again.
We run much of the descent down. My knees start to act up. Pain shoots with each sprint (too many bump runs alpine skiing in my youth?).
My daughter’s requests to be carried reaches a high pitch. Remembering this is for fun, I lift her on top of my shoulders for a hill or two. We make it back to the trailhead in about 45 minutes, half the time it took us to get to the summit.
What a morning!!
- Directions (Google maps)
- Water bottles
- Winter hats
- Toilet paper (in plastic zip lock)
- Wish I had: sun hat, second plastic bag for used toilet paper, bigger backpack as the temperate increased and we shed our clothes, sunglasses, better trail running shoes for my daughter (her Puma shoes have flat soles not ideal for rocky terrain)
- Granola bars
- Dried mango
- Dark-chocolate chips (huge hit)
- Dried sea weed (stopped tears after a skinned knee)
- Wish I had: alternative storage for nuts and dried fruits (plastic bags are surprisingly hard to handle on the trail and rest stops)
- Band-aids came in handy and are definitely worth packing for mountain hikes.
- We had a lot of snacks and ultimately every different type of snack was eaten (at least sampled). Diversity in snacks is ideal.
- Having a small group of older (nice) children made a huge difference in keeping my daughter motivated.
- It would be ideal to have a zip lock for used toilet paper… carrying it in my pocket is not pleasant.
- My knees are not loving longer more aggressive trips. Need to look into what can be done in that area.