Kindred Spirits

carpenter-peak

  • Day 181: November 11, 2016
  • Hike 49: Kindred Spirits
  • Location: Carpenter Peak, Roxborough State Park
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Cumulative Distance (Hikes and Other Short Walks): 408.12

Earlier this year, I wrote about hiking in Roxborough State Park as part of my 70-at-70 Challenge. During a time span of about a week, I hiked all of the trails in the park by myself. Sometimes I enjoy the peace and solitude of hiking alone. However, this park is a special place, which is not only an official “Colorado Natural Area,” but also the first state park in the United States to be designated a “National Natural Landmark.” This is a park that inspires me to share it with others. Therefore, today I returned to Roxborough State Park to introduce my daughter Teresa to this unique and beautiful park.

Teresa and I have a common interest in the relationships that Native Americans have with trees. For example, Teresa is drawn to Cherokee beliefs and spirituality. Cherokees call trees the “Standing People.” I have a similar interest in the beliefs and customs of the Utes related to trees. As a result, Teresa and I decided to hike the trail to Carpenter Peak this morning. The upper part of this trail features an abundance of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir trees, and it is possible that at one time the Utes walked among them. While we were in the park visitor center, we met a man from Boulder who was going to hike the same trail, and we all set out together. As we walked towards the trail head, Teresa and I told him that we were going to be on the lookout for trees that might be Culturally Modified Trees (CMTs), specifically, the trees that are known in this area as “Ute Indian Prayer Trees.” He seemed intrigued and asked us to tell him more about them. Then he told us that he had grown up in India, and within his personal and cultural belief system, trees hold spiritual significance, just as they do for the Utes and many other Native Americans. We hiked on and continued sharing information about our very different backgrounds and our remarkably similar personal beliefs. Although we found no trees that we thought were CMTs, we stopped often to share our appreciation of the trees we encountered. By the time we reached the peak at an elevation of 7160 feet, we felt like old friends, people who were united by our shared reverence for all trees.   On the top of Carpenter Peak, we paused to eat lunch and enjoy the lovely views. Then we reluctantly turned around and hiked back down to our starting point near the visitor center. Although Teresa and I may never see our new friend again, we felt like we had all been destined to meet, hike together, and share this memorable day.

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  • Day 169: October 30, 2016
  • Hike 48: A Calm Autumn Day
  • Location: Upper Cheyenne
  • Distance: 4.66 Miles
  • Cumulative Distance (Hikes and Other Short Walks): 390.12

This morning our canine family members, Ransom and Sophie, took Curt and me on a peaceful hike on Upper Cheyenne road. Although Ransom and Sophie seemed to think we all needed some exercise, we had no particular goals or objectives for this hike other than to spend some time outdoors and enjoy this autumn day together. Goal met. Objectives accomplished.

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  • Day 164: October 25, 2016
  • Hike 47: A Different Perspective on Red Rocks
  • Location: Red Rocks Park
  • Distance: 7.6 Miles
  • Cumulative Distance (Hikes and Other Short Walks): 380.46

Most people know about the Red Rocks Amphitheater near Morrison, Colorado, the well-known venue where many summer concerts and other events are held. However, many people are not as familiar with the trail system at Red Rocks Park. Until today, I was among this latter group. This morning I hiked several of the trails at the park with a hiking group led by my friend Irina. This is an interesting place to hike, especially in cooler weather. However, there is little shade to provide relief from the sun on hot days. The spectacular red rock formations are the prominent feature of this park. However, many people also climb the stairs to the amphitheater itself or climb the bleachers within. Hiking here gave me a different perspective on Red Rocks Park and a new appreciation of the natural beauty of the location.

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  • Day 158: October 19, 2016
  • Hike 46 – In Search of Ute Indian Prayer Trees
  • Location: Mount Falcon, Jefferson County Open Space
  • Distance: 5.5 Miles
  • Cumulative Distance (Hikes and Other Short Walks): 367.86

Today my daughter Teresa and I hiked three trails at Mount Falcon and encountered several trees that had characteristics indicating that they might be Ute Indian Prayer Trees. It was a lovely day and a wonderful way to share these discoveries with my daughter. Later I contacted some Jefferson County Open Space staff members who promised to check the trees and let me know what they think. Also, they told me that they would try to find out why one of the trails at Mount Falcon is named the “Old Ute Trail,” since no Jefferson County Open Space staff members with whom I have spoken seemed to know anything about the origin of the trail name.

 

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